Microsoft has given students and hobbyists and entry point into the world of game development with XNA Game Studio Express. This program, coupled with the language C #, has enabled such developers to create PC and Xbox games on the fly– eliminating the need for large teams or extended development times.
Presently, there are around 10 million subscribers to Xbox Live. If a hobbyist or student does indeed gain access to these 10 million subscribers, it could be the big break that they are looking for to gain entry into the game development community. Game development companies are scouring the entries for possible employees– not to mention that Microsoft has been approving some games for commercial sales.
For a select few, Microsoft has even given large cash prizes and bonuses out. In the "Dream Build Play" competition, five developers will win the prizes of a lifetime: internships and free money! Winners also received a year's worth of subscription to the Xbox Live service that enabled them to create games in the first place. The "Dream Build Play" competition was the kickoff to a large celebration by Xbox Live fans– who can enjoy an onslaught of new games every day thanks to the decision by Microsoft.
But just as things could not get more exciting- Microsoft offers a democratic solution to weeding out the bad games from the good. This feature, aptly named "Peer Review," allows Xbox Live gamers to vote and flag games as they see fit. The best games will rise to the top of XNA stardom, while the rest will be left out in the dark abyss of games that could not make it. This allows for games to be judged based on their overall playability and user response – and not judged by an executive in a pristine suit.
There is a hugely positive response from both Xbox Live Arcade players and Xbox developers. As icing on the cake, the complete package of XNA Game Studio Express is completely free to developers: you can make the next killer game for absolutely no cost at all!
With every passing day, we can only imagine the number of innovative and creative games that will come out for Xbox Live users in the near future. Since the XNA Game Studio Express package has very few limits in terms of graphics, performance, and stability; there have already been commercial-quality games that have made their debut in the short time span this global reach was introduced.
If you've ever been interested in game design, it's time to strike while the iron is hot– and get those games created while there is still a large uproar in the community for new releases.