Microsoft Goes Indie!

by on Aug.15, 2006, under consoles, games programming, xbox360


Gamasutra reports that Microsoft is getting into the independant game biz. As of August 30th, anyone with a Windows XP can download Microsoft’s XNA “Game Studio Express” and start making various games for the Xbox 360.

For an additional fee of US100$, indie developers will then be able to access the Xbox Live Arcade service, both to list their titles and to possibly download content for their game dev needs.

The engine itself will be a “XNA version” of GarageGames’ Torque engine, plus some upporting tools. This engine has been a popular choice among indie developers, although I’m somewhat ashamed to say I’ve never played anything from there.

Putting aside my typical cynicism of Microsoft, I have to admit this is cool. Yes, they have an agenda – to sell more Xboxes. Yes, they’d love to envelope indie development. Sure it’s to their advantage to reel in fresh programmers and designers to get them accustomed to using their products.

But there’s a plus side too :

  • it’s the first time anyone’s been able to create content for a major console without hacking into it.
  • Also by creating a “community of interest” surrounding indie gamedev, it elevates it, bringing it closer to the mainstream.
  • You have extensive Microsoft resources teaching you how to make games.

Not bad, for evil Microsoft.

I wonder what Greg thinks of this…


Microsoft XNA Dev Center

4 Comments for this entry

  • covert.c.

    You are totally correct. Your game will likely sit in an "amateur area" until Microsoft decides they like you. Then you will pay Microsoft for it to be featured, and any money they make will not go to you.
    I have two things to say about this :

    • The whole "indie Xbox" thing isn't exciting. If you want to make games, you can still find enough challenge by doing it on a regular PC. You might even find an audience! For free!

    • It's an outlet for the curious. I've never even glimpsed a devkit for a real console, much less set my mind on how one is programmed. Will I do actual development for it? Probably not. Will others? Yep. Will they get rich? NOPE!

  • digi

    I would be really interested to read the fine print in the legal documentation regarding copyrights and ownership. I'm willing to bet MS will claim ownership to any game made for the system which would be a very typical move. There is a very popular trend at the moment in the music industry for large companies, labels and bands to get creative people to work for free. Add to it, MS is making you *pay* to design games for their system? What??

    A recent example by the CBC:

    And here an extreme case as outlined in a recent post by my buddy MUX (

    man, speaking of sleezy tactics, did you ever hear about the Limp Bizkit sleezery? Man, those guys are *scum*. They posted in national guitar magazines that they were looking for a new guitarist for the band, and that they'd be doing auditions in nine cities across the states. Big news, right?

    The details of the "talent search", otoh, were *evil*. To "audition", you had to sign up on a form that said, in carefully chosen legalese:

    - that you agreed that your audition pieces would be three to five original licks
    - that your audition would be recorded, and the recordings would belong solely to Limp Bizkit
    - that you agreed that your licks could be used by the band regardless of whether or not you were chosen to be in the band, and lastly

    omg. apparently they held auditions in four cities, with hopeful guitarists lining up around the block to hand over their best original music and pay them to take it, then cancelled the other five cities and announced that they wouldn't be hiring a new guitarist after all. They walked away with thousands of dollars and hundreds of new song ideas. Fred Durst needs to be shot in the face.

    the problem is, imho, that lawyers and marketing folks are devoid of creativity, and see creativity as a product that they can harness and sell. if they can do so without giving the artist any money, more value!

    apparently this kind of stuff happens all the time.
  • dragko

    I love the new look. Though i HAVE HAD QUITE ALOT TONGIHT oops caps. HAHAHA.. cople drink you would think I am a newb. Noob... NOORB./

    WOW!!1one. alot ={wow}

    Micorshaft. Beh. though they are getting me to buy a crappy system for this.
  • UNO

    Like the new lay out streamlined. No barnacles on the boat.

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