Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the XNA Game Studio, a toolset aimed at game making hobbyists. The toolset will apparently make it easy for someone, such as myself, to make high quality games for Windows or the Xbox 360.
The toolset, which will be available in beta form at the end of the month will allow Windows development. And if you pay $99 a year, your game can be available for download on the Xbox 360. Since the games will be a free download on Xbox Live, I’d be angry about having to pay that cost, but it’s not too different from me paying hosting costs so that I can share my free games.
If you want to use this toolset to make yourself some bucks, you’re going to have to wait until next year when they release the Professional version, which has a higher price tag attached.
Scott Henson, the director of platform strategy at the Microsoft Game Developer Group talked up the toolset, suggesting that triple-A developers are so focused on making a hit game that they don’t bother bringing original gameplay or new genres to the table. And he thinks that someone can use this toolset to do so, right?
As he put it, “Who’s going to be the next Doom? Who’s going to be the next Counter-Strike?” Apparently, the first-person shooter was the only genre he could think of.
It’s still unknown exactly what this game studio is going to be capable of. When they originally unveiled the XNA toolset (the version to facilitate triple-A Xbox 360 development, which the amateur Game Studio version is based upon) back at GDC they showed off the graphical strengths, audio abilities, and built in physics. But the question still remains, will it really be easy to create new and exciting gameplay with this suite, or will it be a glorified first person shooter toolkit?
Nevertheless, this is an interesting and promising development. I’m going to have to check it out at the end of this month.