Microsoft has released its XNA Game Studio Express Beta, software for aspiring game developers. The program is compatible with both Windows XP and Windows Vista, and all games developed on the software can be migrated over to the Xbox 360 this holiday season as part of the XNA Creators Club. The catch is, XNA Creators Club requires a yearly subscription fee of $99, or a four month trial fee of $49. Not too shabby seeing as you’ll be creating Xbox 360 titles with the software. The real version of XNA Game Studio Express and the XNA Creators Club for building and distributing games on the Xbox 360 will launch simultaneously in the next few months, and XNA Game Studio Professional will be available in spring 2007.
Edit: I’m going to disagree with Matt and say that it seems to me sort of silly to charge people for the capacity to make games for Xbox 360. Microsoft might do themselves a favor by just letting this one go for free. It only contributes to the draw of their console by providing more content for users. I guess maybe there is some logic behind charging, but those rates seem inordinately high. Perhaps it could be a onetime fee sort of thing. As it stands, it’s almost as if users are being charged to work for Microsoft. Nice racket. – Blake
XNA Game Studio Express Beta [gamasutra]