Microsoft to offer Xbox 360 programming tools to the masses

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Yes, budding games creators, you too will soon be able to create your own games for the Xbox 360 console – at least that’s what Microsoft will make slightly more of a reality by releasing its XNA Game Studio Express for Windows XP in December. A beta release is coming out on 30th August. The kit will also allow Windows XP games to be created.

A downside to this is that users will need to pay a $99-per-year fee to Microsoft to join the XNA User Group in order to test their games on an Xbox.

It won’t be the only software you’ll need to create top-notch (or even vaguely good) games as it’s just a tool for piecing together audio, graphics and code into something that’s actually playable. It’s not going to be as easy as those halcyon days on your 8-bit machine, typing in listings from a magazine (I can’t believe I actually fell for that one) – but Microsoft are perhaps aiming it at lower-end games producers who can then release cheaper shareware titles for the console.

What do you think? Is this a good idea or will we be deluged with cheap but mediocre titles?

(Via Reg Hardware)

Andy Merrett