When we released XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 in December 2006, we had a feeling it would be an important development. After all, we were solving a set of common problems faced by all game developers. By offering a managed code framework and by empowering community members to run code safely on their Xbox 360 consoles, we made it easier for creators to write games.
With the release of XNA Game Studio 2.0, we added multiplayer support over Xbox LIVE and made several other improvements. We enhanced our tools with a steady stream of samples, articles, mini-games, and other types of content that are posted at http://creators.xna.com throughout the year. As the community embraced XNA Game Studio, we saw that we were redefining who could be a game developer.
The response of the creator community to XNA Game Studio has been overwhelmingly positive. At the time of this writing, we have seen over 800,000 downloads of our tools. Over 400 academic institutions incorporated XNA Game Studio and C# into their computer science curriculums.
Even more gratifying for us was to see the games created by our community members. We were delighted by the 200-plus entries in our “Dream. Build. Play.” contest. In fact, the games were so good that five publishing contracts were awarded -- four of them by Microsoft.
As many have foreseen – and passionately anticipated – the next step for community game development is to let creators share their games widely with others. We are pleased to announce that in spring of this year we will enable community game distribution with a beta for Xbox LIVE.
As a premium (paid) XNA Creators Club member, you’ll be able to share your games with other creators via Xbox LIVE Marketplace. (For information on becoming a premium member, see XNA Creators Club Premium Membership.) After the beta, you’ll be able to share your games with 10 million Xbox LIVE users.
This article provides general instructions on how to prepare your game for submission. It goes over the guidelines for acceptable content, describes the peer-review system, and shows you how to download and play a community game. Some of the procedures for the beta differ from the general procedures. This article will specify the beta differences.
This article assumes you already know how to use XNA Game Studio, you have an XNA Creators Club premium membership, and are familiar with the Xbox 360 console. However, if you are a new creator or want to be a creator, don’t sweat it. We’ll point you to resources where you can learn more.