Microsoft plans to retire XNA

1 Feb

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Earlier today CVG has published a leaked (someone is going to get fired very soon) internal Microsoft email that reveals that XNA Game Studio is basically dead and that the Redmond company is planning to abandon it XNA and DirectX from its ‘MVP Award Program’ – a reward initiative for developers.

But, what the hell is XNA? Well, basically it’s Microsoft development framework that had become popular among numerous indie developers, such as Supergiant Games (Bastion, 2011) or Polytron (FEZ, 2012), for its user-friendly technology.

Check the full mail in question below:

“Our goal is to provide you the best experience during your award year and when engaging with our product groups. The purpose of the communication is to share information regarding the retirement of XNA/DirectX as a Technical Expertise.

The XNA/DirectX expertise was created to recognize community leaders who focused on XNA Game Studio and/or DirectX development. 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. As a result, effective April 1, 2014 XNA/DirectX will be fully retired from the MVP Award Program.

Because we continue to value the high level of technical contributions you continue to make to your technical community, we want to work with you to try to find a more alternate expertise area. You may remain in this award expertise until your award end date or request to change your expertise to the most appropriate alternative providing current contributions match to the desired expertise criteria. Please let me know what other products or technologies you feel your contributions align to and I will review those contributions for consideration in that new expertise area prior to the XNA/DirectX retirement date.

Please note: If an expertise change is made prior to your award end date, review for renewal of the MVP Award will be based on contributions in your new expertise.

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding this change.

The same mysterious source told CVG that the retire of XNA could be an omen for the removal of the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

“What will be interesting will be to see if Microsoft replace XNA with another newbie-friendly technology, which seems unlikely, or if they will persist with XBLIG for the next-gen using their other technologies. There’s a lot of extra knowledge needed to make something workable and XNA was a managed language, meaning it was much harder to crash the whole Xbox OS via an XBLIG – the same would not be true of the lower-level APIs that ‘proper’ game developers use. 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. 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.”

We really hope Microsoft is planning to replace XNA with something (good) and not letting die the indie scene on its platforms.

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