Microsoft 'phasing out' XNA development framework

Microsoft 'phasing out' XNA development framework
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

January 31st 2013 at 4:45PM

DirectX 'no longer evolving as a technology'

Update: Microsoft has confirmed that it will not be producing further versions of XNA.

Microsoft is phasing out its XNA development framework, according to an e-mail allegedly sent to a number of developers.

As reported by CVG, according to a blog post published by Action = Reaction Labs CTO Promit Roy, who has previously worked at Microsoft, Nvidia and Day 1 Studios, said that in the e-mail Microsoft confirmed that it will retire the framework from its MVP Award Program.

In the e-mail Microsoft also states that DirectX is “no longer evolving as a technology” and that XNA Game Studio is "not in active development", and as a result XNA would be axed as of April 1st 2014.

The move raises questions about Microsoft’s future involvement with its DirectX tech in future.

“The XNA/DirectX expertise was created to recognize community leaders who focused on XNA Game Studio and/or DirectX development,” read the e-mail to developers.

“Presently the XNA Game Studio is not in active development and DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology. Given the status within each technology, further value and engagement cannot be offered to the MVP community. As a result, effective April 1, 2014 XNA/DirectX will be fully retired from the MVP Award Program.”

The move raises questions about Microsoft’s future involvement with its DirectX tech.

XNA has traditionally been used by indie developers, as it offers a set of free development tools and is regarded as easier to program with than many other platforms. The development framework can be used for Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Zune.

Previous games to be developed with the tech include the likes of Fez, Flotilla, Terraria and Bastion.

One developer expressed concern that the removal of XNA could also spell the end for the Xbox Live Indie Game service on Microsoft’s next Xbox console, given that amateur developers will need extra knowledge to get a fully functioning game working on Xbox.

"There's a lot of extra knowledge needed to make something workable and XNA was a managed language, meaning it was much harder to crash the whole Xbox OS via an XBLIG - the same would not be true of the lower-level APIs that 'proper' game developers use," they said.

"No-one wants to learn a dying technology, and a big part of XNA's appeal was the prospect of selling a game on Xbox LIVE, even if that wasn't the most commercially-sensible thing to do. If there are no advocates of the technology, and we infer from the lack of internal support in Microsoft that there will be no XBLIG on the next-gen machine, there is no-one to drive XNA adoption and no incentive to learn it."