Microsoft Rolls Out Game Development Software


Apr 2, 2001

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Microsoft Corp., looking to leverage its expertise in software as it tries to catch up to competitors in the video game industry, on Wednesday introduced a new platform to be used in building games for its Xbox console.

At the Game Developers Conference here, Microsoft unveiled XNA, a new system that it said will underpin games for future versions of the Xbox, as well as for the Windows and Windows Mobile operating systems. Microsoft, a distant second place in the console market behind Sony Corp., said much of the goal behind XNA will be standardization, and it will make some Xbox technologies available to Windows developers for integration into PC games.

Among the features that will be ported over are the development kit for the Xbox Live online gaming service and an audio authoring tool. Microsoft also said it would create a unified controller standard so that control pads and inputs would be alike across both Xbox and PC games. Certain graphics technologies used in Windows would also come to the Xbox, Microsoft said. The Xbox is more like a PC than its competitors, using relatively standard storage and processing components.

The company recently installed a permanent head for its game studios, which has put out few hits on the Xbox but has a longer history with PC games. It also moved to unify its content development and marketing management.