Create your own Xbox 360 games with XNA Game Studio Express

Big news, the XNA team today announced a new product, XNA Game Studio Express, designed to enable hobbyists and students create games that target both Windows and the Xbox 360 using the XNA Framework. 

Why is this Big News?
Well, to quote the official press release:

In the 30 years of video game development, the art of making console games has been reserved for those with big projects, big budgets and the backing of big game labels. Now Microsoft Corp. is bringing this art to the masses with a revolutionary new set of tools, called XNA Game Studio Express, based on the XNA™ platform. XNA Game Studio Express will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry.

Best Summary Quote
"It's our first step of creating a YouTube for video games" Peter  "It will give you everything you need to bring your game to life on Xbox 360." - Peter Moore, Vice President, Xbox (Washington Post)

Garage Games Engine

In addition, GarageGames, technology provider and developer of one of the most successful Xbox Live® Arcade titles, “Marble Blast Ultra,” has migrated both its Torque Shader Engine and new Torque Game Builder 2-D visual game designer over to the XNA Game Studio Express platform.  

"Creator's Club" Membership
To run games on an Xbox 360, you'll need a "Creator's Club" membership ($99/year). The membership provides you the ability to
 "build, test and share their games on Xbox 360 and access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress."

Quick Summary:

  • Price: Free tool and free to develop on Windows. For Xbox, you'll need a "Creators Club" membership which runs $99 a year for developing on Xbox 360 or $49 for four months.
  • Platforms: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, Xbox 360.
  • Tools: XNA Game Studio requires Visual C# Express Edition
  • Framework: XNA Framework, a custom implementation of the .NET Compact Framework for game development.
  • Language Support: Since the XNA Framework is a set of managed code libraries, you can use any managed .NET Framework language.
  • Availability: Beta 1 will be on August 30th, the final version "will be available this holiday season".

Coding4Fun and XNA
We're big believers in XNA Game Studio Express and we're working with the XNA team to build out samples, tutorials, and content in the coming months on XNA Game Studio Express. In fact, the XNA team has been working with Coding4Fun contributors like Andy "the Z-man" Dunn who created Space Wars, the showcase game shown at MicrosoftGameFest and Ben N was written by none other than regular Coding4Fun contributor Andy "the Z-man" Dunn and the XNA team is also talking to Benjamin Nitschke to port Rocket Commander to the XNA Framework.

More Info



Press Coverage
Tom's got the
best coverage summary so far


PS: Did I mention that it's a great time to be a Microsoft Hobbyist?  


Comments (22)

  1. Gamasutra has just pre-announced that Microsoft will be releasing the first beta ofXNA Game Studio Expressat

  2. Yes, the BBC got my attention with that headline too.  Here’s the official press release. …

  3. Sascha says:

    1. The only question that remains:

    Do I really need to have an ugly Visual C# Express Edition or does it integrate nicely into Visual Studio 2005 Professional? Having Express and Pro side by side sucks (file associations, etc.)…

    2. If not (and thats what I suspect):

    How about a pure "library and documentation install without the For-Whatever-Reason-Express-Stuff-Is-Needed"?

    3. About downloading:

    Just place it in the common MSDN download places (and btw. do a genuine test, or whatever), but this Passport-Shit sucks great time. Passport is simply useless and pointless, and the common procedure…

    1. Create E-Mail Account somewhere on the web

    2. Create Passport Account

    3. Download

    4. Activate

    5. Delete E-Mail Account

    … is just annoying.

    4. About Announcements:

    Damn… just release it. Would be nice to have a public API documentation beforehand, so we can see what we get. Due to point three…

    Btw, great work 😀

  4. jeffyjones says:

    Why the hell would you charge developers to make games for your platform? That’s pretty stupid.

  5. Jeff's Junk says:

    One of the reasons that Microsoft has been able to break into the video game business is because they've

  6. Well the big announcement is out. XNA Express is a great new development environment that lets ordinary…

  7. AlfredTwo says:

    Well the big announcement is out. XNA Express is a great new development environment that lets ordinary…

  8. Garry Trinder says:

    "Why the hell would you charge developers to make games for your platform? That’s pretty stupid."


    I suspect to cover the costs of support, QA, and publishing to/maintaining the online community, and possibly limit the dev program to more serious participants though $99/year shouldn’t be a large barrier for most people, and is significantly less than what professional developers pay.

    If you don’t want to pay the fee, you can develop on Windows for free, and only pay when you have working code on Windows and want to also make it available on XBOX 360.

    For comparison, Sony offered a limited dev kit for regular PlayStation end-users called Net Yaroze. Their price for entry was $750. The PS2 equivalent was its Linux Kit which was $200.

  9. Wow! Microsoft is releasing an express version of the XNA Game Studio. For those of you not familiar

  10. Dave says:

    Sony’s Net Yaroze wasn’t supposed to be just about the software to develop games, it was supposed to include access to get professional help and to view source code of professional examples. I’m hoping Microsoft can encourage a strong community around this.

  11.  Announcing

     the Windows Mobile Virtual User Group Meeting [Via: trobbins ]


  12. Visual C# 2005 users can develop games for Xbox 360! Thats great news. There is a small licensing fee to pay per year, 99$Game development with the free tool set will also allow games to be

    made for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista, so if you don’t

  13. Nonsense says:

    Charging anything for the priviledge to run toy games on xbox is BS. Who cares what Sony did – they are greedy milk-you-for-your-last-penny scumbags too. How about taking a little bit of the royalty money from the commercial titles, the monthly fee for the xbox live subscription and putting that towards giving a little something back.

    $99/year to write and run games that have to be distributed in source form to other suckers who pay $99 year along with the lack of network support on the xbox for any of the games you create (A non-networked game?! What’s the point?) make this a big non-deal.

  14. * Updated list to include XNA Game Studio Express which is now public * Updated list to include Flight

  15. ben says:

    hey how do you make ip adresss work

  16. this is about a funnest game on earth because you get to pick gun on this games when you get it

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