There’s no clear answer from Microsoft at the moment, other than the fact XNA won’t be supported going into the company’s new operating system. However, a recent presentation at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference revealed a few more tidbits for us to contemplate.
The first is that Microsoft will be providing XNA developers with a way to bring their current projects across, if they decide to go down that path. When Dave Voyles of Armless Octopus asked MS’s Chase Boyd for specifics, here’s what he had to say:
When we implemented this new sample framework and set up the samples, we modelled it as close as we could with XNA. In fact, with a lot of the new syntax improvements which have been incorporated in Visual Studio , the code can be pretty easily pasted over. We’ve also structured those example code bases to work the way an XNA person would expect the way they would want.
Yeah, OK, not that specific. Hopefully this translates to MS providing developers with code to replace all the XNA bits with their Metro / .NET / DirectX equivalents.
It should be made clear that .NET and DirectX, which XNA runs on-top of, aren’t going anywhere, so plugging all the XNA-specific bits into Windows 8 looks like a code issue right now. How game developers will connect to Metro in the long-term, well, I’m still waiting to hear more about that.
The presentation also talked about the Windows Store, which Microsoft sees as a unified shop front for all Metro-enabled hardware. Here are some details from the relevant slide:
- Max package size of 2GB
- App price range is US$1.49 to US$999.99(!)
- Revenue split 70/30, unless you make over US$25,000, in which case it’s 80/20
2GB is a lot of space (plenty for your average indie game), but not enough for many triple-A titles. This suggests Microsoft won’t be abandoning physical media just yet. How the Windows Store will sync up with Xbox Live is again another question we haven’t got an answer for, but if it’s going to be available on Xbox 360 (eventually), surely it’ll be another avenue for developers to get their games onto the console.
I don’t have anything invested in XNA (I’ll likely be using Unity for my next project), but as a game developer who primarily uses C#, I’m keen to see how this all ends.
Microsoft Outlines Their Unified Metro Vision Sans XNA [Armless Octopus]