Microsoft has this morning announced that it will be unveiling its new XNA software development platform at the Game Developers Conference later today. XNA is described as a powerful next-generation software development platform designed to allow developers to deliver breakthrough games while combating rising production costs and increasing hardware complexity. XNA is designed for use with future iterations of all Microsoft game platforms, including Windows, Xbox, and Windows Mobile-based devices.
"Software will be the single most important force in digital entertainment over the next decade," said Bill Gates, founder and chief software architect of Microsoft. "XNA underscores Microsoft's commitment to the game industry and our desire to work with partners to take the industry to the next level."
To illustrate the potential of the XNA platform, Microsoft is expected to make a series of announcements about its own video game tools and technologies, with an emphasis on the areas of online, input, graphics, and audio. Microsoft's plans include: providing Xbox Live-style functionality for billing and security; allowing matchmaking to be made available to Windows developers; introducing controllers that are compatible with all Windows and Xbox game players; and presenting a number of graphics and audio tools, such as PIX and XACT, which have been previously been available only to Xbox developers, to those developers on Windows-based platforms. More than 20 game development and middleware companies have already recognized that XNA will drive advancements in the industry.
"On the PC, we have tools like HLSL. On Xbox, we have tools like PIX. These are both really powerful, and XNA combines the power of the PC and the power of the console into a best-of-breed platform," said Gabe Newell, founder and managing director of Valve Software.
"We are pleased to see that Microsoft shares our vision of helping developers make better games--faster--through the use of their favorite middleware," said David Lua-Kee, CEO of Criterion Software. "We look forward to leveraging XNA in the RenderWare toolchain to implement Windows- and Xbox-specific features."
"Anything that makes the game developer's job easier and removes some of the risk and some of the trial and error is a good thing," said Jez San, founder and CEO of Argonaut Games. "We can concentrate on what makes a game good--gameplay, content, and visuals--and not worry about fighting the hardware."
Stay tuned for more from the Games Developers Conference once the event gets under way later today.