Yesterday Microsoft released XNA Game Studio Express, which allows anyone who wants to make a video game the opportunity to do so.

XNA Game Studio Express is a new offering, targeted at students and hobbyists for game development. XNA Game Studio Express is based on Visual C# Express 2005 and lets developers target both Windows and Xbox 360. –XNA FAQ

This first release is still a beta version, but allows full functionality for creating Windows based content at no cost to the developer. Those wishing to create games for the Xbox 360 will have to pay an annual subscription of $99 to become a member of the XNA Creator’s Club. Currently the beta version of XNA Game Studio does not permit commercial development of Xbox games. Those wishing to make money off their 360 games will have to wait for the full professional release, due out in early 2007.

Personally, I think this is awesome. Obviously the main draw of this package is the ability to make Xbox 360 games. For the first time anyone will be able to create content for a gaming console. Ok, ok, not anyone. Making a game that is both engaging and fun as well as stable, is no small task. This won’t be for everyone, and if you think you can just sit in your moldy basement and single-handedly pump out a game, you’re nuts. However this does allow small “mom and pop” developers to actually compete with the big boys. Hopefully this will produce some fun and, more importantly, new game ideas.

If I ever get my life organized and have some free time, I would love to contribute to the development of an Xbox 360 title. I am sure you will soon see development communities popping up all over the Internet. Now to just learn C#….