New Software Development Platform Integrates
Innovations Across Industry
Microsoft Corp. today announced XNA, a powerful next-generation
software development platform. XNA empowers developers to deliver breakthrough
games while combating rising production costs and ever-increasing hardware
complexity. Games for future iterations of all Microsoft® game platforms
including Windows®, Xbox® and Windows Mobile-based
devices will be unleashed by tools and technologies from the XNA
XNA is the catalyst for a new ecosystem of interchangeable, interoperable
software tools and technologies from Microsoft, middleware and game development
companies. By integrating software innovations across Microsoft platforms
and across the industry, XNA forms a common environment that liberates
developers from spending too much time writing mundane, repetitive boilerplate
code. Instead, XNA frees game creators to spend their time where it matters
most on the creativity that differentiates their games.
Software will be the single most important force in digital entertainment
over the next decade, said Bill Gates, founder and chief software
architect of Microsoft. XNA underscores Microsofts commitment
to the game industry and our desire to work with partners to take the
industry to the next level.
The industrywide XNA initiative will be unveiled today in a keynote speech
delivered by Microsofts Robbie Bach, senior vice president of the
Home and Entertainment Division, and J Allard, corporate vice president,
Xbox platform, and chief XNA architect, to hundreds of game developers
at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif. In the speech,
Bach will outline some of the challenges that game developers will face
in the near future.
Silicon advancements and new features like high-definition and pervasive
broadband will send game development costs skyrocketing, Bach is
expected to tell conference attendees. The video game industry must
band together to find a solution that ensures vitality and sustainability
for years to come, while responding to consumer desires for bigger, better
As part of the XNA unveiling, Microsoft also announced Allards responsibility
for overseeing and driving the XNA initiative companywide. At the
heart of XNA is choice. No game today is built with just one tool, and
no game tomorrow will be either, Allard said. By creating
an environment where software innovations flourish and work together,
XNA will allow game developers to redefine whats possible in games
and give gamers the freedom to pursue their own paths. XNA closes the
gap between what gamers want and what developers dream.
Illustrating the potential of the XNA development platform, Microsoft
will make a series of announcements about its own video game tools and
technologies in four key areas: online, input, graphics and audio.
* In response to strong customer demand, Xbox Live development tools
for functionality such as billing, security, login, friends and matchmaking
will be made available to Windows developers. The tools will make it easier
to create the same social, unified online gaming experiences on Windows
that game players have come to expect on Xbox. On the input front, as
part of XNA, Microsoft will develop a common controller reference design
and unify input APIs and button standards across multiple platforms. The
result will be a family of common controllers for Windows and Xbox game
players. In addition, the move will fuel a whole new wave of compelling,
cross-platform input devices from peripheral manufacturers.
* In graphics and audio, many tools such as PIX (an analysis tool) and
XACT (an audio authoring tool) previously available only to Xbox
developers now will be available on Windows as part of the XNA
development platform. Likewise, innovations from Windows such as High-Level
Shader Language (HLSL) will come to Xbox. The DirectX® API and the
Visual Studio® development system will continue to be the baseline
environment for both platforms. Collectively, these tools and technologies
will enable movie-quality graphics while forming the impetus for new software
that will help developers cope with the looming complexity of high-definition
video and audio.
On the PC we have tools like HLSL. On Xbox we have tools like PIX.
These are both really powerful, and XNA combines the power of the PC and
the power of the console into a best-of-breed platform, said Gabe
Newell, founder and managing director of Valve Software LLC.
More than 20 game development and middleware companies already have recognized
that XNA will drive advancements in the industry. David Lau-Kee, chief
executive officer of Criterion Software, said, We are pleased to
see that Microsoft shares our vision of helping developers make better
games, faster, through use of their favorite middleware. We look forward
to leveraging XNA in the RenderWare tool chain to implement Windows- and
Because its software, we can add new and improved XNA tools
consistently, spurring continuous innovation in games. Developers wont
have to wait for new silicon to enjoy the latest advances, said
Dean Lester, general manager of Windows Graphics and Gaming Technologies
at Microsoft. The benefit to gamers will be dramatic leaps in production
quality and gameplay for the next-generation Xbox and the next generation
of Windows. And it starts today.