Ah, I have been waiting for news like this ever since I got my Xbox 360 back in November. Microsoft will be releasing a set of tools that let “college students, hobbyists and others create their own games” for both Windows and the Xbox 360 console. The tools will be demonstrated for the first time at Microsoft Gamefest. A lighter weight version of the company’s XNA tools for professional developers, the hobbyist suite is dubbed XNA Game Studio Express:
“The tools we are talking about make it way easier to make games than it is today,” said Scott Henson, director for platform strategy for Microsoft’s game developer group.
In the first incarnation, games developed using the free tools will be available only to like-minded hobbyists, not the Xbox community as a whole. Those who want to develop games will have to pay a $99 fee to be part of a “Creators’ Club,” a name that is likely to change. Games developed using XNA Game Studio Express will be playable only by others who are part of the club.
The current plan is to have a completely open system three to five years down the road, where anyone can make a game, and the community decides what sucks and what rocks. This will drastically change the gaming landscape if Microsoft can pull it off. Finally regular people will be able to build things for a console!
I always figured Microsoft would eventually release developer tools like this for the Xbox 360. They are, after all, a platform company.
Read: CNET News.com