If you followed Microsoft’s GDC press conference this week, you probably heard a little about their XNA service for the 360. XNA is a way for the community to create their own games, have their games reviewed by their peers, and then make them available for other 360 owners to download. Kind of like YouTube…but with games. If you’re interested in developing games via XNA, you can download XNA Game Studio 2.0 for free — though a paid membership to the XNA Creators club is also required ($49 for 4 months or $99 for 12 months). As I understand it, released XNA games would then be something you’d be able to purchase via Xbox Live.
Wait a minute, isn’t Bright Shiny Games all about trying things cool things on the cheap (and preferably free)??? Well, as announced during Microsoft’s keynote, there are seven XNA-developed demos available on Xbox Live. Some of the demos are relatively short, but you get enough time with each game to get a flavor of what they’re like. I’ve spent a few hours over the past few days playing them, and I’d recommend that anyone with Live do the same.