Monday, August 14, 2006

Microsoft to let gamers create own Xbox games

Microsoft is expected to offer a new set of software tools on Monday, which will let independent and hobbyist video game makers create their own games for the Xbox 360 console, media reports said.

A test version of the software, called XNA Game Studio Express, will be out by August 30. The final product will be available this holiday season for an annual subscription of 99 US dollars per year for Xbox 360 game development.

The software will let anyone with the desire create their own video games and then share them on Microsoft's Xbox Live online game service, said Peter Moore, a Microsoft vice president.

"It's our first step of creating a YouTube for video games," Moore said, referring to the wildly popular free online video sharing Web site. "It will give you everything you need to bring your game to life on Xbox 360."

YouTube is a wildly popular Web site featuring videos from ordinary people around the world.

The program would be a first for consoles, which traditionally have been the exclusive domain of skilled programmers, artists and designers.

However, analysts cautioned that making a game-- a multidisciplinary process requiring artists and animators, programmers and mathematicians -- will never be easy.

"It's going to allow very talented individuals to actually be able to do a game in a few weeks instead of taking years and spending millions of dollars," said Richard Doherty, research director at the Envisioneering Group.

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