I told you we weren't crazy!

Originally posted to Shawn Hargreaves Blog on MSDN, Sunday, February 24, 2008

This article is brought to you by the order of one Brandon Bloom, who told me I should post something with this title after GDC.

I'm very happy that we were finally able to announce our plans for distributing XNA Framework games through Xbox LIVE Marketplace. I work on the framework, so am not directly involved in the distribution mechanism, but it is a crucial part of our "enable indie developers" story, and much of the framework was designed with this goal in mind.

When we released the first version of Game Studio Express, many people looked at it and concluded that although developing for Xbox was cool, it was seriously limited by the lack of any distribution mechanism. At least you could self-publish your game if you targeted Windows, though.

With Game Studio 2.0, things got even worse. Our new networking API was only available to Creators Club subscribers on both platforms!

Had we gone mad?

Perhaps we were so focused on academia that we didn't care it was impossible to publish a game which used LIVE networking?

Maybe we got too distracted by the details of designing a nice API, and never even noticed this flaw in our scheme?

Actually, we were planning for the future. If you think about it, a game published on LIVE Marketplace has to use LIVE networking: it just wouldn't make sense to build on any other technology.

The networking bits in Game Studio 2.0 are a developer tool. By shipping the API before the distribution mechanism, we gave you a chance to learn how everything works, and get your game ready so that come this fall, you can send it out to an audience of 10 million Xbox LIVE gamers.

As an added bonus, the exact same API will soon work on Zune, too!

Hopefully our design decisions will make more sense now...

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