Microsoft Research project Kodu (formerly Boku), an Xbox game designed to help children learn the basics of programming, has been released as a PC beta.
The game was created by Microsoft Research and debuted over a year ago at PDC 2008. It was released to Xbox LIVE community games in Spring 2009 and since then has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. According to Microsoft, Kodu is used in more than 60 educational institutions across the globe to introduce children to programming.
Matthew MacLaurin, director of the Redmond FUSE (Future Social Experiences) Lab and the game's creator, based the game off watching his daughter's experiences with computers. "Today, it seems like the simple magic of programming has been completely lost in the shuffle," MacLaurin said. "We need to show kids how exciting and creative it can be."
Microsoft claims anyone from seven to 70 can create a game in minutes. The Kodu team claims it will provide Kodu update releases on a roughly two-week cycle. According to Matthew MacLaurin, Principal Program Manager in the creative Systems Group at Microsoft Research: "It's our goal to be very transparent about what we're working on in the hopes that this next phase will be an active collaboration with energetic Kodu users around the world. These next few months will be filled with activity."
Download: Kodu PC Beta