The software will be downloadable and have the ability to create games for both Windows PCs and Xbox's, which will of course immediately corner the independent game design market for Microsoft. Eventually Microsoft plans to allow designers to sell their personally created games on Xbox Live.
The buzz is already starting amongst a highly influential group, video game design teachers, and the unique selling points are two-fold – the ability to demo your games to your friends on your TV and the price point vs. high-powered and expensive PCs typically required to run the games.
Moore hopes the availability of easy-to-use programming tools will spark independent game development at many levels, from garages to universities. Already 10 universities have committed to adding Game Studio Express to game design curricula this fall. “We think high school science teachers will embrace this very quickly,” Moore says.
Georgia Tech University video game design instructor Blair MacIntyre says his students will now be able to buy an Xbox 360 rather than a high-powered PC to test their game prototypes. “Imagine how exciting it will be to be a student and be able to show your friends your class project running on their Xbox, hooked up to their TV in their living room,” he says.
I can see this as next-gen UGC in the next year or two, with the potential to create a cottage industry for many graphic designers/ game developers. Which of course begs the question — will users include brands in their games? If so, will it be handled by companies and marketers as a variation on YouTube, or because it’s Microsoft & users have the potential to make a profit, will we demand it be highly regulated? Will we start cutting individual product placement deals with indie designers?
Should be interesting!