(Almost) Free Xbox 360 Game Development for the Masses

Big budgets, time constraints got you down? Still want to develop for consoles? Microsoft has the answer for you in the form of XNA Game Studio Express. Aiming to bring console development to the masses, Microsoft will release a new set of tools based on the XNA platform, taking Xbox 360 development to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike.

To be available this Holiday season, XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to everyone with a Windows XP PC. All one will have to do is join a “creators club” for an annual subscription fee of $99 USD; here users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360 and access material to help speed their game development progress.

College students across the United States will be able to get their hands on the tools as 10 universities and their game development schools have already joined the program. These include the University of Southern California, and Georgia Tech College of Computing and Southern Methodist University as they have pledged to integrate console game development and XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula for the first time.

The beta will be available on August 30 as a free download for Windows XP, with the final version to be available this Holiday season.

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