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.