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In the 30 years of video game development, the art of making console games has been reserved for those with big projects, big budgets and the backing of big game labels. Now Microsoft Corp. is bringing this art to the masses with a revolutionary new set of tools, called XNA Game Studio Express, based on the XNA™ platform. XNA Game Studio Express will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry.

During his keynote presentation today at Gamefest 2006, a Microsoft® game developer event hosted by Microsoft in Seattle, Chris Satchell, general manager of the Game Developer Group at Microsoft, announced details of the new technology, which will be broadly available this holiday season. XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows® XP-based PC and will provide them with Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development. By joining a "creators club" for an annual subscription fee of $99 (U.S.), users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360™ and access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress. This represents the first significant opportunity for novice developers to make a console game without a significant investment in resources.

During his keynote, Satchell talked about academic institutions that are lining up to include XNA Game Studio Express in their course offerings. Also showcased was the work of key XNA supporters Autodesk Inc. and GarageGames. Through the Microsoft XNA relationship with Autodesk, the leading provider of 3-D authoring software, game developers and enthusiasts can now more easily incorporate content into XNA Game Studio Express via Autodesk's FBX file exchange format. Joining Satchell on stage was Mark Frohnmayer, president of GarageGames, who showcased ports of its next-generation Torque tools and technology over to the XNA Game Studio Express platform.



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