XNA Game Studio Express Public Beta Released

Microsoft today released the public beta of XNA
Game Studio Express, the pioneering technology designed to open up game
development to new audiences, including hobbyists, students and
independent developers, in the hopes of injecting a shot of creativity
into the electronic entertainment industry.

Novice game creators can download the tool today from http://msdn.microsoft.com/xna
to develop games for Windows XP and Windows Vista, at no charge. The
games built on Windows can be migrated to the Xbox 360 console system
starting this holiday season as part of the XNA Creators Club
subscription for $99 a year, or a four-month trial cost of $49, opening
up retail console game development to anyone for the first time.
Since the announcement of XNA Game Studio
Express’ upcoming availability on August 14, the public response has
been overwhelming – more than 100 schools have requested information on
how they can incorporate XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula
and the breakthrough news has generated millions of hits on Internet
search engines.

As one of nearly 20 leading universities
worldwide incorporating XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula,
including Southern Methodist University’s Guildhall and the University
of Southern California’s GamePipe, Microsoft announced additional
support from DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington, a
leader in the field of digital interactive entertainment education.
Through its ProjectFUN software running on XNA Game Studio Express and
summer workshops starting in 2007, DigiPen will bring Xbox 360 console
game development for the first time ever to thousands of children ages
10 through 16.

“XNA Game Studio Express is an incredibly
accessible tool for making games for Microsoft’s game platforms and
will provide our university students with modern tools and console
development experience,” said Claude Comair, founder and chairman of
the board at DigiPen Institute of Technology. “And now with our
ProjectFun for XNA Game Studio Express, we’re eager to extend our
educational offerings on Windows and Xbox 360 to include young

In conjunction with today’s release of the XNA Game
Studio Express beta, XNA partner GarageGames will begin enrollment for
its Torque X beta program which can be accessed via http://msdn.microsoft.com/xna.
Torque X includes both Torque Game Builder and a version of the Torque
Shader Engine which have both been developed in conjunction with XNA
Game Studio Express, allowing budding game developers to use drag and
drop tools to easily create great games. The final version of Torque X
will be released this holiday.

The final version of XNA Game
Studio Express and the XNA Creators Club for building and distributing
games on the Xbox 360 will launch simultaneously this holiday. XNA Game
Studio Professional will be available in spring 2007.

Source: Xbox-Scene