Microsoft Transforms Community Game Developers Into Entrepreneurs

LONDON - 22nd July, 2008 - During the keynote address today at the Gamefest 2008 Microsoft Game Technology Conference, Microsoft Corp. revealed that it will allow anyone to turn the hobby of game-making into a full-fledged career. Through what is now officially called“Xbox LIVE Community Games,” Microsoft makes its marketplace of millions available to members of the XNA Creators Club to create, sell and share in the profits generated by their unique creations.

Microsoft has already opened up game development to the masses by offering the easy-to-use, affordable XNA Game Studio toolset. With this newly announced business model, Microsoft will have truly democratised game distribution by enabling XNA Creators Club members to participate in the multibillion-dollar-a-year console gaming industry.

Newly appointed to his role as Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Group Chris Satchell said the business model was designed to create the best possible experience for both consumers and developers. Community games that have been submitted by XNA Creators Club Premium members and have successfully passed a rigorous peer-review system will be added to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalogue for sale to consumers. Creators will be able to choose from three suggested preset retail price points varying from 200 to 800 Microsoft Points to sell their creations and will receive up to 70 percent of the total revenue generated by their game.

“Not only are we democratising game development with Xbox LIVE Community Games later this year, but we’re creating an opportunity for aspiring developers to start their careers on the world stage,” Satchell said.“It is really a win for both developers and consumers because this will no doubt act as an incentive for game creators to continue to develop the best, most innovative games for Xbox 360.”

A host of new and creative ideas are already appearing on the Xbox LIVE Community Games beta. When the service launches for consumers this fall, community-created games on Xbox LIVE are expected to double the size of the Xbox 360 video game library, offering some of the most inventive, quirky and unexpected games ever seen on consoles. By the end of 2008, Xbox 360 owners are expected to have access to the largest, most creatively diverse game library across all next-generation platforms, with more than 1,000 titles spanning Community Games, Xbox LIVE Arcade and retail blockbuster titles.

When the bold new Xbox experience, a re-launch of the largest online social network on TV that is fun and approachable, is released late this fall, the Community Games storefront will be an easy-to-use addition to the existing marketplace on Xbox LIVE. The new Community Games channel is currently scheduled to launch in the United States, Canada and select European markets later this year. Other regions will be added over the course of 2009 and beyond. Consumers will also be able to view and rate community games on Xbox.com, watch trailers, and even play a trial of each game before buying it.

“Since first launching XNA Game Studio in 2006, we have been working hard on improving the toolset and building resources for the community, and the response has been amazing. To date, we’ve had more than 1 million downloads of XNA Game Studio and adoption in more than 700 universities,” said Boyd Multerer, general manager of XNA.“For some perspective, the incredible creative community we’ve unleashed worldwide is more than 25 times the number of professional developers in the industry.”

Microsoft also is giving aspiring developers a hand with the second annual Dream-Build-Play game development contest based on XNA Game Studio projects. The competition will yield prizes in excess of $70,000 and an opportunity for one of the winners to sign an Xbox LIVE Arcade publishing contract. Three of last year’s top performers and winners,“The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai,”“Blazing Birds” and“Yo Ho Kablammo!” from the United States, Canada, Sweden and United Kingdom, respectively, are all slated for release on Xbox LIVE Arcade in the near future.

For more details and Dream-Build-Play Official Rules, see http://www.dreambuildplay.com/main/Rules.aspx.

For more information on XNA Game Studio, head over to http://creators.xna.com.

-Ends-

For press information please contact:

Nik Thakkar / 020 3047 4087 / nik_thakkar@jcpr.com

Seema Parmar / 020 3047 4001 / seema_parmar@jcpr.com

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of more than 300 games in nearly 40 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows ( http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as“Age of Empires,”“Flight Simulator” and“Zoo Tycoon”; Xbox and Xbox 360 ( http://www.xbox.com), including such games as“Gears of War” and franchises such as“Halo,”“Fable,”“Project Gotham Racing” and“Forza Motorsport”; and MSN Games ( http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as“Bejeweled” and“Hexic.”

About Xbox LIVE

Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 26 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favourite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

About Xbox LIVE Arcade

Xbox LIVE Arcade on Xbox 360 is the premier destination for digitally distributed high-definition games. Xbox LIVE Arcade is a fast-growing phenomenon with a diverse library of originaldevelopment and classic titles from the world’s best independent and established developers and publishers. With a dynamically updated library and free trials for every title, Xbox LIVE Arcade makes it easy for every type of gamer— from casual to hard-core— to get instantly immersed in the fun. Xbox LIVE Arcade also lets friends connect and play these incredible games either from the same room or from around the world via the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/livearcade.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq“MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Gamefest 2008

Microsoft leads the industry in helping game developers create amazing games for Xbox 360 and Windows. Gamefest 2008, scheduled for July 22 and 23, will feature 120 sessions spanning 11 tracks to help game developers, producers and publishers improve their skills, learn about new development techniques, and pick up powerful new tools to assist with building the best games possible and engage the community.

About XNA

XNA helps developers access the largest installed base by providing professional-quality tools, support and solutions that can be used across Microsoft gaming platforms. Developers get access to broader distribution channels while shortening time to market. With intuitive, efficient and innovative cross-platform tools, XNA lets you develop once and distribute broadly. More information can be found at http://www.xna.com.


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