Xbox Live Arcade pointman David Edery spoke at length in a recent interview about his predictions on the development tool XNA.
"Internally, the executives have locked down how it should work and so and on, and we're preparing for an announcement very shortly," he told GamesIndustry. "There's not a lot more I can say at this point, but it's just a matter of timing and it's really rolling along."
Edery asserted that the tool, designed to allow new and novice developers the means to create their own games on a small scale, will separate the Xbox 360 online options from the competition.
"With all this random stuff coming from the community, every once in a while there's going to be a real gem in there that you just couldn't have found otherwise, it wouldn't have found its way on to a console. So I certainly think from an innovation perspective it's going to help us leapfrog the competition, effectively until they find a way to duplicate it, assuming they ever do," he said.
A key benefit of XNA, he said, was that it could satisfy niche markets that could not logically be catered to otherwise.
"I'm not going to green light a hardcore scuba diving game for Xbox Live Arcade today because there are not enough people who are interested in that. But with XNA it's perfectly possible. So I'm much more interested in it from a perspective of can it be used to satisfy more people, with more diverse content, than anything else," said Edery.
At the same tme, Edery warned that a lot of small developers are going to be in for a big surprise when they find themselves in over their heads.
"I'll be honest with you, I still think a lot of them are going to flame out, a lot of people are going to learn the hard way that it's not as easy as it looks," he said.