We’re all content creators now, right. But how many of us can create console games? Next-Gen spoke to Microsoft’s Chris Satchell about his attempts to bring a gaming version of YouTube to Xbox 360. Colin Campbell reports…
XNA Game Studio Express is a Do-It-Yourself game programming tool, that enables consumers to create console games from home. It has the potential to change the way games are consumed, and how they are perceived. It also has the potential, like similar initiatives in the past, to slip quietly into oblivion.
The investment is significant. The core team of about 36 people have been working on this for three years. Plus, other resources internally have been pulled in. You’re certainly looking at tens of millions of dollars. Why is Microsoft spending all this money on XNA Game Studio Express?
XNA boss Chris Satchell says, “We’re making massive investments here. There’s no huge financial windfall at the end of this. This is not a P&L that we built.”
Microsoft sees this as a benefit to its platform, and also to the industry as a whole. The benefits to Xbox 360 are building community, generating content and, possibly, generating revenues. The benefit to the industry is in drafting more talent.
Chris Satchell says, “There’s tons of creativity out there, but people don’t have the same access to the tools and the platform as high-end developers. That’s where XNA Game Studio Express comes in. It’s like giving those guys a platform that they can build on. It’s really lowering that barrier for entry.”
moscallout There’s possibilities in the future to monetize this. Maybe we can monetize it through advertising." /moscallout
Creators will, some time next year, be able to upload their games (assuming approval) to a new channel on Xbox Live dedicated to community games. Satchell says, “Anybody on Xbox Live can pick your game up. You’ll have an audience of six million people that can go and play your game. You don’t have to have a publisher, you can now just share with the world. It’s a really good differentiation for our platform to have those tiers of content, ranging from Triple A to Arcade to Community.”
It’s yet another example of companies working hard to demonstrate their belief in community content. The YouTube / MySpace thing has come to gaming through Express, and through other initiatives like Sony’s LittleBigPlanet. The games might not all be classics, but the enjoyment is in the sampling. “Sure, a lot of these games will be homages to arcade games. But it’s just fun exploring what people have done. I think that’s a really unique thing for our platform.”
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