Microsoft looking to create a "YouTube" for games

Microsoft will be putting the power of XBOX 360 game development in the hands of gamers beginning August 30. At that time, Microsoft will make available a beta version of its XNA Game Studio Express software which allows hobbyists to create games for both Windows XP/Vista and XBOX 360 platforms. A final version of the software, which is built on Visual Studio Express and .NET technology, is expected to be made available from the software giant by the end of the year.

For those looking to take their game development to the next level, gamers will be able to join a "creator's club" for $99 per year. The subscription affords budding developers the ability to build, test and distribute their games for the XBOX 360. Additional tools will also be at their disposal to make game development faster and simpler.

Microsoft's Peter Moore went on to state what he hopes to see accomplished with the software toolkit, "Ultimately, long term, ... I think that there's the ability here to create the YouTube of games." Microsoft general manager of the Game Developer Group Chris Satchell said, “XNA Game Studio Express will ignite innovation and accelerate prototyping, forever changing the way games are developed. By unlocking retail Xbox 360 consoles for community-created games, we are ushering in a new era of cross-platform games based on the XNA platform. We are looking forward to the day when all the resulting talent-sharing and creativity transforms into a thriving community of user-created games on Xbox 360.”

CNET notes that Sony tried a similar strategy with its original PlayStation console in the form of its $750 Net Yaroze developmental kit. Microsoft is looking to give its XBOX 360 platform every advantage possible as it will soon face stiff competition from Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3. Giving the Average Joe access to tools to create games to share with friends and the online community is a good way to make people take notice of the 360.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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