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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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