Ever play a game and wish that you could go in, and fix all the problems that are in the game? Or just feel that you could make a better game than half the companies out there? For those of us who wish that we could make our own games, Microsoft's answered our wishes. They're releasing XNA Game Studio Express for Windows XP and Vista (and hey, it's free!). Here's the beta XNA Game Studio Express.
On top of that, they're developing it for the Xbox 360 but that will cost some money (presumably because it'll most likely be on Xbox Live, where M'soft will have to basically cover the upkeep for downloading and uploading it). Basically, XNA will give people the tools to create games; think of it as a high-end video game editor and directing tool. It probably won't be for everyone (although since it's free, anyone can try their hand at it), but it will essentially act like a website building program like Dreamweaver or FrontPage, or an image creating editor like Adobe Photoshop.
This is a great idea. It gives the average Joe a chance at creating video game content, and possibly also expanding the market for video games. With the way video game development is going in terms of funding and resources, this essentially is a cheap and easy way to bring more people into the industry. It doubly helps when you realize that most video game companies are effectively "risk averse" to spending money on esoteric or untried ideas. Why spend money on something that could absolutely flop, when you can spend money on a concept that's already a known quantity? This will help alleviate some of that, on a grassroots level.
Otherwise, if someone can build a Babylon 5 Space Sim game using this, I'd be happy. Or use this to translate Japanese PS2 games that are, um, uh, of... questionable content. Then I'd be really happy. But I'd also end up single. Sigh.
For more info, go straight to Microsoft.
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