The XNA Framework can be used to create games that run on the Windows 8 desktop

With the release of Windows 8 and the new development platform for Windows Store applications, there has been some confusion about the level of support for games on Windows 8 that use the XNA Framework and that are built with XNA Game Studio.  I wanted to post something here to help clarify what is and isn’t supported:

  • You cannot use the XNA Framework in Windows Store applications for Windows 8.
  • You can use the XNA Framework in games that run on the Windows 8 desktop.

The process for creating and deploying XNA Framework-based games for the Windows 8 desktop is no different than the process for creating and deploying games for earlier versions of Windows.  In fact, the deployment process is simpler because Windows 8 includes the .NET Framework 4.5 as an OS component, so you do not need to worry about installing the .NET Framework before you install the XNA Framework 4.0 Redistributable on Windows 8.  If you are creating XNA Framework-based games for the Windows 8 desktop, you can use the information in this forum post to create an installer for your game.

Comments (14)

  1. Andy says:

    I don't think there is much confusion – I think there is disappointment that clearly Microsoft has relegated XNA to a 'about to be discontinued API' by not allowing Metro style apps in the store and my not including it (from what we can see) in WIndows Phone 8. Is there any XNA team left at Microsoft? Not as far as I can tell. DOS6 apps are also supported in desktop mode but nobody is writing them any more.

    No amount of positive spin from Microsoft is going to undo the lack of attention and imminent death of the API.

  2. Hi Andy – I wasn't trying to put a positive spin on anything by writing this blog post.  I have definitely run into people who incorrectly interpreted the lack of support for the XNA Framework in Windows Store applications as an across-the-board lack of support for the XNA Framework on Windows 8, including in desktop applications.

  3. Anthony says:

    Will there be an updated XNA studio installer to allow us to work with VS2012? As it stands the installer simply tells us we need VS2010 and based on the addition of game dev oriented tools in 12, it would be nice to have it as an option.

  4. Maxx Delusional says:

    I am usually not a big proponent on open source software, but Microsoft should just release XNA to the community if they are not going to support it anymore.

  5. Hi Anthony – I don't have any information to share about updates to XNA Game Studio.  Please keep an eye on the forums ( and the XNA Game Studio team blog ( for any announcements that might happen in the future.

  6. Hock says:

    Please share the website or any downloadable xna for visual studio 2012.

  7. Hi Hock – There is not a version of XNA Game Studio that works with Visual Studio 2012.  You can install Visual Studio 2010 side-by-side with VS 2012 though.

  8. Eda says:

    Can I use XNA Framework for Win phone 8 game for windows store?

  9. Hi Eda – You can use the XNA Framework to create Windows Phone games that can ship in the Windows Phone app store.  You cannot use the XNA Framework to create Windows 8 games that ship in the Windows 8 store.

  10. Jnova says:

    You can just add the XNA references to VS2012 Express for windows desktop you want get the templates, but you can add the references with no problem as far as I can see

  11. pete says:

    Aaron, why not telling devs to look for monogame? You can use it for the store. Armed and many more do it …

  12. Hi Pete – You're right.  MonoGame is an option for developers who are familiar with the XNA Framework and who want to develop games for the Windows Store.  You can find out more information about MonoGame at

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