Monday, March 20, 2006

MS Releases XNA and Opens Xbox Live

In the face of escalating game development costs, expanding teams and ever more complex hardware technologies, Microsoft Corp. today delivered a pre-release version of the first XNA Studio tools and unveiled the XNA Framework to attendees of the Game Developers Conference 2006 in San Jose. Microsoft also announced that the company is opening its Xbox Live Server Platform to game developers and publishers, allowing them to innovate and extend the Xbox Live experience in their titles.

XNA Studio Eases Game Production Challenges

XNA Studio represents a set of tools and technologies Microsoft is building to help streamline and optimize the game development process.

"Developers need a better way to make games and manage the production process," said Chris Satchell, general manager of the Game Developer Group at Microsoft. "XNA Studio enables all developers -- from major development studios to the two guys moonlighting on a dream project in their garage or dorm room -- to create games in new, more efficient ways."

XNA Build also provides studios with a foundation that helps them easily identify game asset relationships and dependency information to unlock a wealth of benefits, ranging from incremental content builds to assistance in identifying orphaned or unused content. Tools such as XNA Build enable game developers to spend less time building and maintaining their internal tools infrastructure, and more time creating great game experiences.

"Creativity is the core of Ubisoft's success. Since the very early days of Windows and Xbox, and now with Xbox 360, XNA and soon Windows Vista, Microsoft has provided us with excellent developer tools, support and online services in addition to great hardware," said Martin Sevigny, director of production technology at Ubisoft Entertainment SA. "With this collaboration, our developers can focus on their creation instead of being constrained by the platform."

XNA Framework Simplifies Cross-Platform Game Development

The XNA Framework contains a custom implementation of the Microsoft .NET Framework and new game-development-specific libraries designed to help game developers more easily create cross-platform games on Windows and Xbox 360 using the highly productive C# programming language. Using the XNA Framework, game developers will benefit from the ability to re-use code and game assets in developing multiplatform titles, without sacrificing performance or flexibility.

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