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It's official: XNA is dead
It's official: XNA is dead
February 1, 2013 | By Mike Rose




Microsoft has confirmed that it does not plan to release future versions of the XNA development toolset.

A blog post from developer Promit Roy earlier this week apparently detailed Microsoft's plans to fully retire the XNA Game Studio tools on April 1, 2014, while also suggesting that the future of API collection DirectX is uncertain.

The company has now further explained the situation to Polygon, assuring developers that DirectX development will continue, but stating that XNA has received its last update.

"XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," said the representative. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

Numerous developers took to Twitter to mourn the death of the platform -- or otherwise. Unity CEO David Helgason in particular tweeted, "Farewell XNA, you were never quite the worthy opponent I expected, though you hit some high notes along the way."

He later added, "XNA was originally announced GDC 2005, just 3 months before Unity 1.0. I remember being quite worried at competing with all of Microsoft's might (remember, they really mattered back then). However they never really loved their own platform, and this closure isn't really a surprise if you followed them closely (like I did)"

"Microsoft have essentially turned their backs on 10,000 developers on one of the most promising gaming APIs available today," said Dominique Louis of MonoGame, the Open Source implementation of the XNA Framework.

"Everyone knew it was coming," they added, "but were secretly hoping that Microsoft were going to spring a surprise XNA 5 on them. Essentially, with no movement on XNA for more than a year and the key Microsoft developers moving on to other projects, it was wishful thinking to expect anything but this."

Hope for XNA developers

The news isn't all bad. While XNA is officially dead as far as Microsoft is concerned, MonoGame says it will continue to support XNA developers going forward. XNA devs can continue using the same tools they already have and, thanks to its SharpDX backend, can even publish to Windows 8, which otherwise doesn't support XNA.

"So far we have close to 20 MonoGame powered games on the Windows Store," Louis tells us. One of these -- Skulls of the Shogun -- was even published by Microsoft, which has given its blessing. The company even had MonoGame speak at its //Build summit.

XNA developers left in limbo are encouraged to check out the MonoGame site for more information.


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Comments


Will Regan
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More "The sky is falling" garbage. Microsoft releases one slightly negative comment, and everyone explodes the story out of proportion.

Dave Long
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Sorry? Microsoft are officially announcing they're no longer going to support an application programming interface - that's hardly 'one slightly negative comment'. Your comment is plain odd.

Of course, the sky isn't falling more generally, but for indie devs that were basing their growth on XNA, and hoping for its continuation, this means they have to make small or very large adjustments to their plans. Not surprised by the decision though - the whole XNA thing was very unlike MS' core ethos - and fortunately devs do have plenty of other APIs to use. Sounds like we won't be seeing an XBLIG-style store on the next Xbox though.

Dave Reed
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Sad to see it die. Whilst it wasn't for everyone, it was certainly quite nice for hobbyists, and for professionals to mess aroung with for spare-time projects. Even developing an WP7 game with it was quite a pleasant experience, with better-than-expected performance (translating a C++ codebase to C# wasn't so much fun, though...)

No big surprise if this means that XBLIG just isn't happening on next-gen, though, given the way they've treated it and its developers in recent years. Just more XBLA, strictly for big publishers only, if you want indie games, choose another platform?

(Then again, maybe they'll try to put Metro and the Windows Store on the next-gen Xbox?...)

As for the future of DirectX being uncertain... that one seems unlikely. It would be great for Microsoft to embrace OpenGL, and the future being OpenGL ES 2.0/3.0 on everything... but no, that's not the Microsoft way...

(Still, XNA, and even DirectX, are tiny things to lose, compared to the Windows Desktop, which is clearly on its way out if MS continue down their current path...)

Brian Anderson
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My hope is that XBLIG will continue on the next XBox with something similar to the Windows 8 store. I don't look forward to using C++ / DirectX again

GameViewPoint Developer
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The funny thing is XNA always looked to me like a viable way onto a home console, which was it appeal for an indie developer. The main benefiters of this will be Unity.

David Klingler
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I'm not too concerned because of this announcement. I expected Microsoft to ignore XNA once XNA 4.0 was released. We still have MonoGame, though! That's still active and improving.

Samuel Batista
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MonoGame is backed by Xamarin, the developers of MonoTouch and MonoAndroid. I believe MonoGame will continue to be developed and improved and will become a great option for C# developers to target several platforms using a stable and feature filled XNA-like API.

Benjamin Quintero
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until M$ cans C# in 6 months =) C* is the new hotness now!

Zirani Jean-Sylvestre
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I hardly see MS cancelling C#

Furthermore, the language is open

Benjamin Quintero
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...and you'll never need more than 640k of memory either. i don't exclude any possibility when it comes to Microsoft. They have a weird habit of clinging onto dinosaurs like MFC but are quick to abandon new technologies like XNA without reason. Not likely but you won't hear me say never.

Ricardo Amores
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I just wanted to note that neither Bill Gates nor Microsoft, ever said the "640Kb of memory" line.

Doug Poston
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ProTip: Don't take any comment where Microsoft is spelled with a "$" seriously, they're trolling. ;)

Benjamin Quintero
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@Doug touche good sir. =) It was just a joke, other than the part about never actually knowing what kind of logic Microsoft uses to determine what stays and what goes. XNA was limiting in some respect but it was an excuse for me to learn C# and discover the beauty of lambda functions, so I can't hate on them too much.

I am a little shocked that they would toss out a generation worth of man hours like that. C# performs decently and I would imagine that it will only work better on the NextBox. Canceling support for XNA most certainly means no C# on NextBox, no XBLIG, and less XBLA games. This baffles me... I guess games have no place on a all-in-one media center. Their next console campaign will say, It does everything (except play games). =)

"Let's take the platform that defined XBLA with games like Fez, Bastion, Super Meat Boy, Braid(?) and make sure those games can't be ported or sold on the NextBox. Let's also kill any chance of new gems appearing as well..."

Randell Trulson
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Until this is actually from a direct MS source / website. It is a rumor. On the blog there is a link at the top that says "visit follow up post" where there is supposed to be a back peddling email saying DirectX is still evolving. This contradicts the first email in the first blog. So until MS themselves posts it...it is all rumors.

Scott Burns
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It says in the article that Microsoft reps cleared up the DX and XNA misunderstanding saying that DX was continuing on and XNA was not.

Randell Trulson
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eh...it isn't an article its a blog post, from someone who doesn't even work at MS or ever did. I have written to some of my contacts (actual people that work at MS in the Xbox division) to find out the truth. Until MS themselves posts it.....it is just BS.

Scott Burns
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I was actually referring to this article, not Promit Roy's blog. If you read the article again you'll see where Mike quotes the Polygon article about it as Polygon was the site who were the ones to receive the clarification from Microsoft spokespeople that there no future versions of XNA coming.

If you're waiting for more then you'll probably be waiting for a long time since, as far as Microsoft would be concerned, the fact has been disseminated and reported in the news now.

Nick Putnam
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I'm using the XNA framework with farseer physics to complete my capstone project in college right now. Was this not beneficial experience with career goals towards gameplay programming? What might be beneficial experience to have for the industry? Thank you for any and all advice. :)

Nathan Fouts
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Gameplay programming rides in top of the language. Skills you learned in terms of managing state machines, organizing class/struct, dealing with collision detection APIs, synching animations, sounds, learning how to use a debugger but also use console output, all of these are still applicable in the industry.

Samuel Batista
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@Nick: Making (and most importantly finishing) a game is beneficial career experience if you want to make a career out of making games. The framework / language you chose to use is almost completely inconsequential, unless you want to work at a big game studio that targets consoles, in that case you need to know how to program in C++.

Randell Trulson
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This "rumor" has been persisting for almost a year now. Why Gamasutra gives this guy so much credibility is beyond me. Here is an actual MS blog by an actual MS worker yet this never got noticed.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/08/01/
xna-developers-and-windows-8.aspx

Frank Cifaldi
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Which "guy" are we giving credibility? The reason this report exists is because Microsoft has finally acknowledged that they will not make a new XNA, the only "guy" we're giving credibility to is the unnamed Microsoft representative who provided the statement.

Randell Trulson
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With the exception of myself, has anyone actually presented a credible source such as a link to an actual MS sponsored or owned site stating anything like this?

It is rumored, based on my sources, that actually work at MS, that there might be a merging of the DX and XNA technologies. But I don't want anyone to write an article about it stating that.

Until MS themselves pops it up on DX website, XNA creators club, or the MSDN forums...it is BS. :)

Randell Trulson
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Still luv you guys :D Just didn't like everyone freaking out when I can't actually find a cause of the freak out.

Tom Spilman
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We've been using MonoGame (http://www.monogame.net) for almost a year now. We can target every open desktop and mobile platform with over 90% code reuse.

We highly recommend MonoGame as your XNA replacement moving forward.

Benjamin Quintero
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I've tried MonoGame in the past and it's been highly unstable for me =(. Features are there one day and gone the next. The transition from OpenTK to SharpDX hurt me to the point of no return. I know that there are growing pains but it's tough to wake up one day and lose critical features that worked in favor of adding partial support for a new platform.

I may just try making a smaller/simpler game with it, but porting my 360 game has been impossible and frankly unthinkable. I am certain that it will be a great API when the dust settles a little more, hopefully before its too late. Not sure what the future of MonoGame is considering native DLL interfaces are getting blocked on some platforms like Mobile; not sure about Win8 since I'm still on Win7.

Tom Spilman
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@Benjamin

Not sure what you are talking about. MonoGame still uses OpenTK on iOS, Android, Linux, OUYA, and Windows. SharpDX was added to support Windows 8 Store, Windows Phone 8, and Windows desktop. No features have been removed and both OpenTK and SharpDX are there.

That said... Working our of a development branch is not recommended for those who require a stable codebase. Work from one of the tagged releases or the installer. Or do like we do and maintain a stable branch in your fork and only merge upstream changes after you test things.

Tom Spilman
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> considering native DLL interfaces are getting blocked
> on some platforms like Mobile

Actually we've seen the opposite... all the mobile platforms allow native calls from C#. It was only WP7 that disallowed this.

Benjamin Quintero
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Agree to disagree I guess. I am sure Monogame will find its place in the world like Allegro did for many years.

But an honest assessment for the people new to the scene; buyer beware, this is not xna but more something inspired by xna. Mileage may vary. Dont expect to swap a few libraries out and get your 360 game onto another platform. There is maybe 90% reuse for simple games and maybe (big maybe) 60% reuse with games that use more advanced xna features like the full spectrum of xact settings, streaming audio, compression, cubic render targets, texture formats, and more. It may be in your best interest to start with monogame and just work around the quirks than to port your highend game.

Dylan Wilson
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I think you missed an important point Benjamin. MonoGame is truly cross platform. You can (or will be able to) port your game to iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, Windows 8 and OUYA. That's something you can't do with XNA by Microsoft.

I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with MonoGame. Try not to judge to harshly on your past experience because things are constantly changing. It may have some missing functionality compared to XNA, but it is still being actively developed and should get there over time. It is stable enough to create real games already. Maybe it will never replace XNA, maybe it will, I don't know.

Benjamin Quintero
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@Dylan, "will be" being the operative phrase. This could be one of the long term staples of multi-platform development for indies... when it's done.

I don't mean to talk MonoGame down so harshly but I think some people are in that honeymoon period with it so I am sensing a lot of blind loyalty to it. The kind of Apple mentality of working in it with eye wide shut. That's awesome, I'm super happy for them but don't pretend it doesn't have serious issues =).

I will say that it's definitely the one of the best and cheapest solutions, so far, outside of using one of the big licensed engines like Unity.

Tom Spilman
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> don't pretend it doesn't have serious issues

I think you are blowing something small out of proportion.

Of the elements you have cited only XACT and TextureCube are actual areas were it needs more work. All it takes is one person to step in and fix them... it is not an impossible situation with no solution in sight.

- FEZ is porting to MonoGame (http://tinyurl.com/aly9xt5)

- Bastion uses MonoGame on Chrome Native Client.

- Skulls of the Shogun on Windows 8, Xbox, and Windows Phone 8 uses MonoGame.

They somehow have worked thru the serious issues and have shipped games and submitted fixes and features back to MonoGame.

> when it's done

Software is never truly "done". MonoGame has a long roadmap ahead.

Benjamin Quintero
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...case in point.

Chris Howe
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MonoGame is great and it has given me at least a shot of getting my game on the Windows Store, which I'm very grateful for, but I agree with Benjamin that porting from XNA to MonoGame is not necessarily as simple as advertised. I have a 360 XNA project that I've been porting to MonoGame so I can run on WinRT. I've encountered all kinds of issues, mostly with the shader pipeline, but numerous other things too. I have them all documented at home because I intended to write a blog post about it when I was done, but it has taken far longer than I expected. I guess I had expectations from what I'd read that MonoGame would be a dropin replacement for XNA, which it might be for simpler projects, but not for me. If you have a moderately complex project, especially if you use a lot of custom content processors and/or shaders, then the porting will be painful at times.

Robert Morin
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I knew that XNA and the use of the C# was the next step up from Blitz Basic and DarkBasic Programming in terms of game development, but to see that XNA is going by the wayside, and being as dead as HD DVD is something. Although I'm not ruling out the use of C# in the future. C++ is still the standard for professional game development, yes, but C# isn't as much of a headache, and just seems to be a far more fun language to program in. For each their own. At least it's better than Java.

Kujel Selsuru
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If you're interested in continuing to use C# for game development I suggest using MonoGame, I've only looked at it a little but from what I've seen it's a great replacement for XNA and it's much more cross platform.

Kujel Selsuru
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F*** M$, I'll just use MonoGame. I love C#, C++ is alright but it's no C#. I'm increasingly losing interest in porting my last game to XBLIG and just going straight to OUYA with it.

Dragos Inoan
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Truer words have never been spoken. C# is no C++

Mike Motschy
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@Dragos Truer words have never been spoken. no C++.

(I don't actually mind c++, but for quick game development, I don't find it very fun)

John Woznack
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I'll bet that XBLIG will be terminated next. Seems like a logical step for MS.

Yu Ki
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Interesting. I still remember when it was 2005 Microsoft put so much time and energy on this open platform.

Amir Sharar
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For the next Xbox, it would make sense to create a tool more akin to Unity, that not only includes scripting but all other tools for design.

If I were MS, I'd approach Unity and ask for an exclusive license for this purpose (exclusive in the sense that it will allow Indies to self-publish for the next Xbox with exclusivity on it for that platform). But since that isn't likely to happen, it would make sense for Unity to approach MS and offer an exclusive license in this regard that will allow for a next gen XBLIG.

The benefit of going with MS is that they have experience in this whole "self-publication" aspect. XNA was more than just the toolset, it was the community, the self-policing, the self-publishing, and the shared knowledge that came from it. Developers were doing more than giving/getting coding help, they were making each other's games better, they were sharing marketing tips, conversion rates, art/audio/code advice, testing each other's products, and made friends.

So it seems like a natural marriage between Unity and the next generation of XBLIG. Whether either company has the foresight to make that happen is another issue. Unity doesn't allow a person to self-publish on the console space...this seems like a grand opportunity for them.

-addendum-
At the same time, if MS does open up publishing to be more like Apple's setup, then this idea doesn't make much sense. :P

Stanley de Bruyn
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Me thinks its more XB2 core targeted XNA is DirectX 9.0(L) related and limited.
XB3 will be DX1?.?.? So with the MS Appstore and W8 and W8RT it will be obsolete. It not supporting nextgen Xbox. Because if so the new XB3 OS need also support DX9 ish.
DX10 and up is becoming more mainstream.

So I see XNA main core platform xbox360 wich limits XNA on PC to DX9.
XB3 will replace that and it API is to modern for XNA.

Knowing that xboxlive will be very large crossplatform with appstore on 4 platforms
XB3 W8 WP8 W8RT so no future for XNA.

MS drops xbox1 realy fast for XB2 so XB2 will be drop so fast with XB3. So typical MS.

So C# will stay but in the future with posible DX11.1 up support.

I see it more that a legacy depending framework is dropped a bit to fast. Doesn't fit the new emerging MS platforms.

Olivier Riedo
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No surprise there. The XNA team's been disbanded for quite a while, and last MS Techdays I attended, the official stance was "use sharpDX". The whole self-publication aspect Amir's talking about is taken over by the win8 appstore, which is pretty much garanteed to be working with the next console.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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I started my first game, Monsters of War, using XNA. I like XNA and C#, it's pretty easy for a complete n00b like me. Saying that, I won't even have a game for another year or two :P I just didn't understand how to get the classes up and running for months(I didn't have InterwebZ).

Microsoft should've let XNA games on Games for Windows. Instead they waited too long and now we have the Windows 8++ App Store. I also find it dumb that online play is only for X-BoX 360 and Windows Phone 7/8. (I think you can use peer to peer).

Have to wait and see on the next X-BoX, but I'm guessing it will allow XNA made games... We'll see. I really wouldn't even know where to begin with C++.

Kujel Selsuru
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C# and C++ are very similar the biggest difference is you have to handle memory management yourself (that and a diiferent library of course). That is not a big deal but it does slow things down and does add more bugs to be removed. XNA was really cool because of the content pipeline but MonoGame more then makes up for that. The single biggest lose from this is indie will have a harder time getting on consoles. At least we have the Ouya and MonoGame supports that.

GameViewPoint Developer
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Why would you use MonoGame instead of Unity?

Kujel Selsuru
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@GameViewPoint Developer: Because MonoGame is free for one and you can build your own tools to work the way you want.

Nick Harris
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This reinforces my decision to create my own development tools.

Eric Pobirs
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I guess this lends support to the rumors of a return to x86 for Xbox. If the new machine can run Modern UI apps with little or no tweaking, then the Windows app store becomes the indie channel by default. There still needs to be a tool chain for the budding game developer beyond VSE. MonoGame helps but it is poor leadership on Microsoft's part to not have an inhouse effort on this front.

Garrick Williams
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Sigh, I'm engrossed in developing a game engine with XNA and this happenns.

Is it still worth pursing with MonoGame? I was plannng on using it for porting anyway.

Tom Spilman
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XNA isn't being deleted from the internet or anything. XNA4 still works on Xbox, WP7, and the over 1 billion Windows PCs in the world. I think you are pretty safe.

Then you have MonoGame which runs on just about every mobile device and PC platform in existence today.

I am really not worried.

Kevin Bolander
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MonoGame is awesome. It allowed me to get a game in the windows 8 store no problem. You can even run XNA in a xaml window and take advantage of things like texboxes and complex UI. MonoGame's community will continue to grow and become stronger than XNA's ever was because it is open source and has such passionate devs. Long live MonoGame!

Steve Daly
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Well - XNA works on win 7 and xp - whic accounts for likely 70% of the pc's in the world and this statement "can even publish to Windows 8, which otherwise doesn't support XNA." is quite incorrect - it will run quite happily from desktop mode.

So its still useful for a couple of years yet.


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