updated 10:10 am EDT, Mon August 14, 2006
Write your own Xbox games
Microsoft has unveiled a simplified application which will allow home users to program games for Windows and/or the Xbox 360. XNA Game Studio Express will be available as a free download, whether in the beta to be premiered this month or as the final product for the holiday season. The professional XNA program was released in March 2005. Aside from reduced features, the catch with the Express version is that until the spring of 2007, users will have to pay $99 to belong to a "Creators' Club" (not the final name) if they intend to share their games with others. In spring Microsoft will allow Express games to be sold through Xbox Live Arcade, though the company will vet each title and take a cut of revenue. The system may open up completely within three to five years. Somewhat subversively, MS has also persuaded 10 universities to start using Express in their curricula.