Console Development For The Yearning Masses

Gamasutra has just pre-announced that Microsoft will be releasing the first beta of XNA Game Studio Express at the end of August for ‘free’ (wait for it…), which will be an extention of C# Express and will allow anyone to write games and applications (nah, just games ;)) for the XBox 360.

Now what’s that about it being free, you ask? No. It’s not free.
You have to pay a 100$/yr to enter a “creators’ club” so that you could “build, test and share” your game (you get a bonus of pre-made stuff to download and use in your game; not bad).

I really like the idea of being able to create my own games for the XBox 360. I can’t remember the last time I heard about a console company distinctly calling homebrewers to try and write games for its product. I can, however, recall the exact opposite.

If this is really going to take off, I would like to make a few predictions for the coming months (years?):

  1. A group of hackers will find a way around the limitation (i.e. need to pay) presented by the “creators’ club” and allow people to deploy and test freely.
  2. Several open source / free frameworks will be released. At least one of the free frameworks will be released by a commercial developer (failed game?).
  3. An open source repository (sourceforge?) will start housing dozens of projects for the platform.
  4. Due to the fact that development and deployment is now free (see 1), the XBox 360 will have a plethora of small, fan made games with horrible quality, much like the Flash scene on today’s web, where real gems are hard to find.
  5. A Visual Basic Express version will be contemplated but not released.

[Update: Lots more info on Dan Fernandez’s Blog.]

[via: Knowing.NET]

[This post has been written using Windows Live Writer (beta). Pretty slick tool – I like.]

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