Microsoft hints at replacement for XNA for Xbox One indie game creators

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would no longer offer updates for its XNA development tools. The tools were first released in 2006 and were made specifically for small indie game developers to make games for Windows and for the Xbox 360 game console.

Microsoft has been rather vague about how it would support indie game developers for the upcoming Xbox One console. Today, Kotaku reports that Microsoft's Xbox division head Don Mattrick offered up a little more information on those plans, along with hints that the company plans to offer some kind of replacement for XNA.

Mattrick is quoted as saying:

We're going to have an independent creator program ... We're going to sponsor it. We're going to give people tools. We're going to give more information ... That is something we think—I think—is important .... That's how I started in the industry. There's no way we're going to build a box that doesn't support that.

The statement about Microsoft's offering "to give people tools" would certainly suggest the company has some kind of software it plans to release that are similar to XNA. Mattricjk's statements about an "independent creator program" would also seem to be somewhat different than earlier reports, which claimed indie game makers would have to secure a standard publishing contract for the Xbox One to have their games appear on the console.

Microsoft has confirmed that games made for the Xbox One will simply be labeled as Games on the console's dashboard, ditching the Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games labels that are currently used for downloadable games for the Xbox 360. Hopefully we will learn more about these plans at E3 in two weeks.

Source: Kotaku | Image via Microsoft

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Seems like an awful waste to throw so many assets and resources in XNA to start anew with something else. XNA was so well supported, it had so much backing from MS and third-party from starter kits to tutorials, etc..

helios01 said,
Seems like an awful waste to throw so many assets and resources in XNA to start anew with something else. XNA was so well supported, it had so much backing from MS and third-party from starter kits to tutorials, etc..

Kinda reminds me of WPF, and Silverlight, and LINQ2SQL, and plenty of other technologies MS have invested loads of resources in, gotten people to spend money learning them, and then just abandoned...

FloatingFatMan said,

Kinda reminds me of WPF, and Silverlight, and LINQ2SQL, and plenty of other technologies MS have invested loads of resources in, gotten people to spend money learning them, and then just abandoned...

Which is no different than anywhere else.. some things work, some don't. I actually admire them for not holding on to a bleeding cow for a change and actually moving on while still supporting customers during the migration.

They also seem to be moving towards more open standards.. I mean, HTML5/Javascript replaced Silverlight, that is a good thing... WPF is still available and alive for legacy applications and really is a gateway to Xaml which is better anyway sooo

Here's hoping for a new cross-platform (Windows 8 - Phone - Xbox One), .NET-based, newbie-friendly toolkit, and better management of indie games than we saw on Xbox 360. Honestly, though, if they're just going to make an equivalent to XNA one may wonder why they didn't just evolve the existing XNA instead.

Asik said,
Here's hoping for a new cross-platform (Windows 8 - Phone - Xbox One), .NET-based, newbie-friendly toolkit, and better management of indie games than we saw on Xbox 360. Honestly, though, if they're just going to make an equivalent to XNA one may wonder why they didn't just evolve the existing XNA instead.

What if it's just a free VS Express for Xbox package like they have for Windows phone 8? It's becoming clear that the cross-platform framework for everything going forward will be based on WinRT.

GP007 said,

What if it's just a free VS Express for Xbox package like they have for Windows phone 8? It's becoming clear that the cross-platform framework for everything going forward will be based on WinRT.

That would be my guess. It will be up to the developer to use something like SharpDX or SlimDX if they want something .Net-friendly.

Well, haven't they already established that there won't be an indie program for the X-1? If yes than, who would even be interested in a XNA replacement if MS still doesn't get it?

It says: "We're going to have an independent creator program ... We're going to sponsor it. We're going to give people tools. "

Pretty sure that means they will have an indie program.

It in fact has NOT been established. Its been rumored and assumed. That idea has been picked up by bloggers and forum posters as the truth. Now there is clarification by MS that goes against the negatives rumors swirling. Its funny, I checked joystiq and big surprise, no sign of this announcement. Thankfully Kotaku tries to keep us informed on gaming news and not just push whatever the believe regarding a product.

My guess is that games from the Windows Store will be made available to the Xbox One as the indie program... and in this case, those games will run in the non-exclusive 'apps' VM. Purely a guess though.

jhoff80 said,
My guess is that games from the Windows Store will be made available to the Xbox One as the indie program... and in this case, those games will run in the non-exclusive 'apps' VM. Purely a guess though.

I remember hearing that it will happen, but not for about a year or so after the launch. I think it was on Windows Weekly.

Hmm, well what do you know, yet another rumor that people picked up and held up as fact to hold against the Xbox, turns out to not be true. When will people on the internet take a deep breath regarding this stuff.

Now to sit back and wait for the PS/Wii fanboys to create some rumor that is completely contradictory to this rumor, and then to start yelling that Microsoft doesn't care about gamers/used games/privacy/etc. and so they refuse to buy an Xbox One, even though they had no plans on doing so.

virtorio said,
Now to sit back and wait for someone else at Microsoft to say something completely contradictory.

You do realize that Mattrick is in charge of Xbox right? and what did they contradict?

virtorio said,
Now to sit back and wait for someone else at Microsoft to say something completely contradictory.

I wonder who could contradict the guys that's in charge.

StephenBratz said,
Now to sit back and wait for the PS/Wii fanboys to create some rumor that is completely contradictory to this rumor, and then to start yelling that Microsoft doesn't care about gamers/used games/privacy/etc. and so they refuse to buy an Xbox One, even though they had no plans on doing so.

EXACTLY THIS!

virtorio said,
Now to sit back and wait for someone else at Microsoft to say something completely contradictory.

I've paid attention to all the Xbox team statements and there were no contradictions. Misinterpretations by juvenile fanboys yes, but no contradictions.

Example 1: MS says Xbox One doesn't require you to be connected to the net to play games, but it does require you to have an Internet connection. The kiddies were up in arms about this "contradiction". All they meant is you have to activate your software online and verify it occasionally, but you don't have to be on the net every time you play.

Example 2: MS says if you give a game to a friend there will be a fee for him to install the game on his Xbox. MS says there is no fee for used games. This is the big fake "contradiction" that created noise. All it means is that MS charges the owner of the game license no fee for selling a game. If you give the game to someone else then they need to buy their own license. If the owner goes to a friends house and logs on their machine anyone can play the game free of charge. This is exactly the way Xbox Live Arcade and On Demand games work today. No contradiction but this is what MS should have said: "Xbox One game rights will function exactly the same as Xbox Live online game purchases function today."

Edited by Avatar Roku, May 29 2013, 4:18pm :