In its annual demonstration of programming prowess at GDC on Wednesday, representatives of the Redmond company announced seven new community-created games for free via Xbox Live, and promised more...for the Zune.
Microsoft expects explosive growth through community-created games, stated its corporate vice president in charge of Xbox Live, John Schappert today. That growth would put some 1,000 plus games on Xbox Live by the end of this year, far exceeding its competitors' catalogs.
However, as has been incorrectly reported through some media outlets, these games will not be playable on the Zune, at least not for some time. Currently, games that run on the current Xbox Live incarnation are created in XNA Game Studio 2.0. Zune compatibility will come with version 3.0.
And according to Microsoft, availability of that suite is not expected until Spring of 2008.
"Keeping with Zune media experience, XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability and access to user's music, allowing the user to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations," reads an FAQ post this afternoon to the XNA Game Creators Club forum. "In addition, the XNA Community Games Platform team has announced the ability to have multiple Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc gaming experience."
Today's announcement heralds a new push by Microsoft to bring the community closer to the development process. Neither Nintendo nor Sony has announced a similar program for their respective next generation consoles.
"Our goal is to drive a creative and social revolution in games with the same transformative power that we've seen in digital music and video sharing," Schappert said in a statement.
Seven new, free games are being made available today:
- "JellyCar," a game where the player drives a jelly-like car through a similarly jelly-like world
- "Little Gamers," a 2-D high definition action side-scroller based on the famous Web comic of the same name
- "The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai," a 2-D action platform game
- "TriLinea," a strategy-based puzzle game
- "RocketBall," a dodgeball-based action game
- "ProximityHD," a simple army strategy game
- "Culture," a set of games and puzzles based on flowers
Microsoft says in the future, all a developer would need to produce a game for Xbox Live and submit it will be the Game Studio software and a membership in the XNA Creators club. All submissions would go through a testing process before being approved for Xbox Live listing.
A beta test will begin this spring, with expected availability of more community-created games later in the year.
Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, XNA, Game Studio, XNA Game Studio, Zune, GDC