Geeks With Blogs
Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer
By SETH SCHIESEL Reaching out to millions of aspiring game developers around the world, Microsoft plans today to announce a contest that will award $10,000 and the opportunity to entice millions of eyeballs to the next great digital diversion for the company’s Xbox 360. In addition to the game console’s snazzy graphics, the Xbox Live online service has been the most important component of the Xbox 360’s success since its debut in 2005. And perhaps the most popular aspect of Xbox Live has been the service’s arcade component, which allows users to download and play smaller, relatively simpler games like Uno and Geometry Wars that usually cost less than $10. (By contrast, top-end games can sell in stores for around $60.) The popularity of Xbox Live Arcade has in turn attracted the attention of game developers looking to create the next Tetris or Minesweeper. Late last year, Microsoft introduced a suite of software tools for making so-called casual games called XNA. And so at a game makers’ convention in San Francisco, Microsoft plans to announce a contest akin to the television show “Project Greenlight” that will award a cash prize and a potential slot on Xbox Live Arcade to the best new game created with XNA tools. The company intends to announce the winner of the contest, called “Dream-Build-Play,” in August. “This competition highlights the power of XNA and the popularity of the Xbox Live Arcade service with its millions of users,” Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft’s group product manager for the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, said in a telephone interview. To help increase the popularity of casual games, Microsoft will also announce the introduction of a new 512-megabyte portable storage device for the Xbox 360. The previous portable storage unit contained only 64 megabytes of data, and so Xbox Live Arcade games had been limited to an official size of 50 megabytes. With the new unit, Microsoft will also raise the official size limit on Xbox Live Arcade games to 150 megabytes, allowing enhanced graphics, sound and artificial intelligence. Posted on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 9:37 AM XNA Programming | Back to top

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