At the 2006 Gamefest, Microsoft's Game Technology Conference that took place in Seattle August 14 and 15, a number of middleware developers - as well as Microsoft itself - showed off various game-related technological advances for both Windows and the Xbox 360 platform. The most infamous new development, of course, was Microsoft's announcement of user-created Xbox 360 game content, via the GarageGames-developed XNA Game Studio Express.
XNA Game Studio Express will "democratize game development" by allowing users of all caliber and experience to create original game content using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, along with managed C# code. Games can be created and shared for free on the Windows platform, though content sharing and downloading on the Xbox 360 console - according to Microsoft's online FAQ - may only occur if all users involved are part of Microsoft's "creator's club," which requires a $99 annual membership fee.
The news is groundbreaking, for certain, but has arguably overshadowed other Xbox 360 advancements closer to home; namely, the Live Vision camera accessory, which is set for release next month.
In the following pages, Gamasutra explores the Live Vision's features, its upcoming software, and a number of middleware tools, including depth perception capability from GestureTek that could threaten Nintendo's Wii controller's unique charm.