Xbox 360 development, that's what. With a shockingly small amount of fanfare, Microsoft has ushered in a striking new Xbox Development Kit, which is purportedly designed to increase efficiency and reduce cost for Xbox 360 dev teams. Aside from boasting an undisclosed uptick in RAM, built-in flash memory, a more capacious hard drive and a slimmer form factor, this XDK will also be sold at a "significantly reduced price from its predecessor." 'Course, the folks in Redmond aren't saying what exactly that sticker will look like, but those interested in taking the plunge regardless will also have the option to license a Sidecar attachment that enables debugging and disc emulation. We're told that said accessory can be shared among multiple XDK consoles, and in turn, it should lower the overall price to create, test, debug, and release an Xbox 360 or Xbox Live Arcade game. It's still a guessing game when it comes to an actual launch date, but it'll become "the standard kit" when new orders are fulfilled in the future. Feel free to peruse the gallery below if you're interested, and toss out a wild guess as to what that Sidecar will go for on eBay during the next century. Aim high, bub!
Gallery | 4 Photos
Xbox Development Kit and Sidecar: slimmer, sleeker, cheaper
Microsoft has released a brand new Xbox Development Kit that is designed to increase efficiency and reduce cost for Xbox 360 development teams of all sizes. It will feature additional RAM for development purposes, built-in flash memory, larger hard disk drives and a smaller form factor at a significantly reduced price from its predecessor.
The new XDK console gives developers the option to license a Sidecar attachment that enables debugging and disc emulation. Not all members of a development team need these capabilities, so this new Sidecar option offers greater flexibility for studios. The Sidecar can be shared among multiple XDK consoles, removing the need to license additional higher cost debugging consoles. These changes will reduce the overall price to create, test, debug, and release an Xbox 360 or Xbox LIVE Arcade game.
"Microsoft is known in the industry for providing easy-to-use tools that allow developers to create high quality games without a huge time investment. Now we're offering those tools at a lower cost to reduce their monetary investment as well," said Pete Isensee, principal program manager for the Xbox Advanced Technology Group. "The redesigned Xbox Development Kit is also an indicator of our continued investment in the platform; it is one piece of our ongoing programs to support Xbox 360 for years to come."
The new XDK and Sidecar will be available to all developers who have existing licensing contracts with Microsoft. When the new XDK console launches, it will become the standard kit when fulfilling new orders.
Independent developers without publishing contracts who are interested in creating games for Xbox 360 should look into XNA Game Studio, which can be used with standard retail Xbox 360 consoles. XNA Game Studio is available to download for free on App Hub at http://create.msdn.com. By becoming members of App Hub, developers can launch their titles on Xbox LIVE Indie Games without a publishing contract.