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Microsoft Opens Gaming Development to Community

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Among several announcements made at the GDC, one of the major ones made by Microsoft during a keynote address is that they would open up game development to the console community. Since the early days of home gaming, PC users have had the opportunity to download and enjoy many gems through various Internet portals like CNET’s Download.com and IGN’s FilePlanet. This could bring similar opportunities for console gamers who are looking for hours of mindless titillation (Desktop Tower Defense anyone?). Although PC gaming has seen some resurgence of late, it pales in comparison to the dominance of next-gen consoles in the market and the hour is ripe to bring some of this creativity to the rest of the gaming world. Although this will probably indundate the space with tons of crap games, perhaps this will reveal the hidden talents of aspiring developers just as MySpace and YouTube has done for musicians, comedians, and other low-profile performers.

Xbox 360 Becomes First Video Game Console Ever to Invite the World to Create Original Games and Share Online With Millions
Flood of community-created games to double leading games library

SAN FRANCISCO – Feb. 20, 2008 – In a landmark announcement during the keynote address at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft Corp. promised to soon allow Xbox LIVE members to play, rate and share community-created games. As the first in the industry to pioneer high-speed online gaming and high-definition games, Xbox 360 once again broke new ground by introducing a new, open distribution service for games created by the community and soon playable by its 10 million Xbox LIVE members. Community-created games on Xbox LIVE will quickly double the size of the Xbox 360 game library. By the end of 2008, Xbox 360 owners will have access to more than 1,000 games, making it the largest, most creatively diverse library across all next-generation platforms.

“The time has come for the games industry to open its doors to all game creators, enabling anyone to share their creations with the world,” said John Schappert, corporate vice president of LIVE, Software and Services for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “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.”

Inviting Everyone to Share Their Own Games With Millions
Demonstrating a look into the future potential of community-created games on Xbox 360, Chris Satchell, general manager and chief XNA architect at Microsoft, announced that seven games created using XNA Game Studio 2.0 would be available immediately for Xbox 360 owners to download from Xbox LIVE Marketplace:

  • “JellyCar.” Created by Walaber from the United States, this game is about driving a squishy car through squishy worlds, trying to reach the exit.
  • “Little Gamers.” This is a 2-D high definition action side-scroller based on the famous Web comic “Little Gamers” created by Loïc Dansart, a 24-year-old software developer from Belgium.
  • “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai.” An intense 2-D action platform game created by James Silva from the United States, “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai” has a unique, highly stylized look and fast and fluid action.
  • “TriLinea.” This puzzle game created by Edison S. Prata Jr., Renato Pelizzari da Silva and Davi da Silva Prata from Brazil mixes fast-paced action with strategy.
  • “RocketBall.” Created by Tyler Wanlass, Patrick Murty and Todd Barrons of the United States, this neighborhood game of dodgeball explodes onto the street with fast-paced multiplayer action.
  • “ProximityHD.” This game, created by Brian Cable from the United States, takes the essence of strategy games – battles for control of territory and armies – and distills it down to a simple, easy-to-understand set of rules for casual players.
  • “Culture.” Created by independent game development company Hidden Path Entertainment from the United States, “Culture” contains challenging games and puzzles based on beautiful flowers.

An Xbox 360 community game created using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio software and XNA Creators Club membership will be able to be submitted for distribution on Xbox LIVE. Each community-created game must then undergo a thorough peer-review process and be evaluated for accuracy in representation and appropriateness. Community game developers will be able to beta test the process this spring and will be able to distribute their games on Xbox LIVE by the end of this year.

About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of more than 300 games in nearly 40 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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