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Sponsored Feature: Democratizing Game Distribution: The Next Step

February 22, 2008 Article Start Page 1 of 7 Next

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 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.


Article Start Page 1 of 7 Next

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Phillip Ronaldson
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I applaud the start that xna is making in breaking down the barriers of development, it certainly is a positive step. I just hope it does not just stand to reinforce some of the discrimination's of gaming at the moment. Something user content is particularly strong at fostering a broadening and personalising of themes addressed in the content.

The feedback seems particularly geared towards addressing the obvious issues, for example it is assumed that primary content will be violence.

I find it unfortunate that strong sexual content or nudity should be excluded without question or only addressed in the simple form of "sexual overtones" and "nudity". Why is it that violence is broken down into motivation, including cruelty, but sexual content is only displayed by it's inclusion? I quickly googled to try and find out a bit more clarification about the sliders so there may be more finesse in the definitions but it certainly can't be as extensive as for the other aspects.

There are perfectly legitimate contexts in which nudity or sexual content could feature. The reason fiasco over Mass effect demonstrates the deliberate ignorance in certain parts of the community but that is not a problem solved by sanitising content.

It is understandable that the overtly pornographic games may not be consistent with objectives of the xna project but surely games should press on for equivalence with other forms of media.

Would it not be more appropriate to have gratuitous or inappropriately sexual content flag? Or sexism?

How could it categorise political content?

Alternatively is it not possible to have an over 18 rating? and ability for the user to create there own classifications? similar to sites such as youtube. There peer review seems to work fairly well.

Mike Reddy
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ARgh! USA only in the beta. I have students biting my leg off to get involved. The University of Wales, Newport awaits a more open beta with bated breath.

andrew clear
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I wish it wasn't restricted to 150 MB. A good quality game can easily exceed that, defiently with 3D graphics, and XACT created audio.

Jason Harwood
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I understand that whilst this is currently under beta in the U.S. as a member of the xna Creators Club, any idea when this submission process will be available in Australia? or indeed the rest of the world?

Not that I have a game ready for submission as yet, just curious as I am studying a Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment and xna is just such a great and affordable way to reach a global audience. Thanks

jamie h
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Can we get a story or update on the zune features & the distribution model that might take?

Brad Swearingen
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Is the development of a user interface without writing code in the works for XNA? An interface would put the game creation back into the hands of the designers/artists.