announced an update to XNA Game Studio, its free Xbox 360 development tools. The update will allow Xbox Live Arcade or Community Game developers to include Avatar support in their games. The update will also include support for the Xbox 360's Party system. Additionally, the update gives professional XBLA developers the ability to release downloadable content.
Along with the new XNA Game Studio update, Microsoft announced this year's Dream-Build-Play competition. The contest charges developers with creating an XNA game and offers cash prizes to the winners as well as a chance to publish their games on Xbox Live Arcade. Joystiq readers may recognize CarneyVale: Showtime and The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai (pictured), both of which won previous Dream-Build-Play competitions. Dream-Build-Play 2009 will begin accepting submissions on April 6.
Finally, and much less interesting, Microsoft is previewing its latest development kit. The kit has "additional debugging memory" which should help developers "push the console to its maximum capabilities." Just don't push it too hard, mkay?