Microsoft Confirms the End of XNA

Microsoft Confirms the End of XNA


Microsoft says there will be no future development of its XNA development tool, which could be bad news for fans of Xbox Live Indie Games.

Microsoft's XNA is a toolset used for developing software for Windows, the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone devices, that's especially popular with indie developers on the Xbox 360. Among the well-known games developed with XNA are Bastion, Chime, The Adventures of Shuggy, Terraria, Dust: An Elysian Tale and Cthulhu Saves the World. But Microsoft says the XNA development tools are no longer in "active development," confirming information contained in an email sent to developers and employees that was revealed to the public on January 30.

"Presently the XNA Game Studio is not in active development and DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology. Given the status within each technology, further value and engagement cannot be offered to the MVP community," the email states. "As a result, effective April 1, 2014 XNA/DirectX will be fully retired from the MVP Award Program."

That represents potentially bad news for the Xbox indie scene, according to an unnamed developer who told CVG that it could be the first step toward the eventual removal of the Xbox Live Indie Games service. "No-one wants to learn a dying technology, and a big part of XNA's appeal was the prospect of selling a game on Xbox Live, even if that wasn't the most commercially sensible thing to do," he said. "If there are no advocates of the technology, and we infer from the lack of internal support in Microsoft that there will be no XBLIG on the next-gen machine, there is no-one to drive XNA adoption and no incentive to learn it."

There's a possibility that Microsoft will roll out another "newbie-friendly technology" prior to the launch of the next Xbox console, but if not, the challenge to indie game makers will rise substantially. "XNA was a managed language, meaning it was much harder to crash the whole Xbox OS via an XBLIG," the developer said. "The same would not be true of the lower-level APIs that 'proper' game developers use."

In a statement to Polygon, however, Microsoft said it is "actively investing in DirectX as the unified graphics foundation for all our platforms... DirectX is evolving and will continue to evolve." And while XNA development has halted, it will remain a viable development kit for the foreseeable future. "XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," a company representative said. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

Sources: Polygon, CVG, Promit's Ventspace


I get the feeling that this isn't going to improve Microsoft's poor reputation around here.

I just want them to make sure the framework stays up to date. To be honest, the framework is (more or less) pretty complete. I guess at some point you just have to say "this is finished". I do lament their lack of proper 3D primitive drawing, though.

I doubt this is the end of indie service, more likely they're just going to force everyone to upgrade to another "more advanced" and more tightly controlled toolset.

I get the feeling that this isn't going to improve Microsoft's poor reputation around here.

Indeed. Windows 8 is crashing and burning in its reputation, Windows Phone has a horrible app store. The only thing it has going is it's cheap and smooth and easy to organize. My Lumia does have nothing to get though. Apps either aren't made or aren't updated like the iOS counterparts.

XBLIG has always been bad and this is going to make things harder for indie developers to contribute to XBLA. It also doesn't help that the costs of XBLA for developers are absurd. $10k for one patch? The only XBLA games that are decent are owned by big companies or games that have some huge support.

Seriously though, if they go the way of Sony and make it impossible to develop games for the platform, they could go the way of PSN arcade. And that would be terrible.

Hey guys, just to point out that there is MonoGame, an open-source community supported version that supports Windows 8 as well, which Microsoft totally support.

Meh, it just gives indies more reason to focus on the PC, which is a win if you ask me :)

Hey its always good news to see that microsoft is increasing their variety.....oh wait.

Well this sucks. I've been working on a video game for the past few months using this framework and NOW I hear that it isn't being supported anymore? Granted I was thinking of releasing the game on PC only, but still, it feels like I might as well stop on my project. :-/

Thanks Microsoft. I was starting to like this framework until the rug was pulled out.

Maybe now less green inde devs wont fall into the death trap that is Xbox Live.

Hey guys, just to point out that there is MonoGame, an open-source community supported version that supports Windows 8 as well, which Microsoft totally support.

Well of course Microsoft would support it. They only have to not scowl, nod, and cut losses by not doing the work themselves.

It is pretty sad to see stuff like this go; especially when it gave rise to such gems as Bastion.

You get used to it. There was a time that Microsoft was pushing ASP and .NET for websites.

Now they changed back to HMTL, HTML5 that is but still. I tell you microsoft has a hand of killing off internal projects. If they make a coding language... learn another one.

Ah, XnA is stopping..... Well since Microsoft never thought most European countries were interesting enough for opening it thereI find it hard to care.

XNA is a nice enough framework but it was one of Microsoft's latest bastion of non-interoperability: the games would only run on Windows, and unlike the regular Mono, MonoGames was quite a few version back, I believe. In any case, Unity provides a better framework and comes with a pretty good 3D engine. And you can still use C# to develop.

I believe Epic also allows you to use their engine and tools for free until your game starts generating money. That's probably too much for a small indie game, so that explains the success of Unity.

Does this mean that XNA games will no longer be supported, or is it just that there won't be any future versions of XNA?


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