Thursday, February 7, 2013

XNA is Dead

So, it is official: XNA is dead. In late January 2013, an email was sent to DirectX/XNA MVPs which explained that Microsoft would no longer be maintaining the XNA toolset.

While this news was disappointing to many independent game developers, the announcement was hardly a shock: there had been no update to the XNA framework since late 2011 and many developers at Microsoft were moving from XNA to other teams.

Also, earlier in 2011, the announcement: No XNA Support for Metro applications in Windows 8 marked the "beginning of the end" for many developers, as the future of the XNA framework became uncertain.

Microsoft’s shift to Metro applications in Windows 8, and the underlying application architecture WinRT, has challenged many developers to re-think their future coding on Microsoft platforms.

For example: is it worthwhile learning C++/CX (C++ Extensions), the development language for WinRT? Who is to say there won’t be an announcement in the future: C++/CX is "no longer being supported"?

Fortunately, the future for XNA-based game developers appears to be anything but uncertain.
The options available to replace XNA are growing and target platforms beyond Microsoft.

Here is a solid list of alternatives to XNA, which include:

At the time of this writing, MonoGame seems the most natural replacement for XNA, essentially because it is an open source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework; MonoGame has a strong following already and inherits the existing XNA community base.

As noted by XNA MVP George Clingerman, one of the most important things was the community: XNA attracted a strong and vibrant development community excited and passionate about game development.

Quote: "It's surprising that a game development framework could do that, but it did. It changed lives."
Consequently, check out #becauseofxna – XNA may soon be dead but clearly not forgotten!

In conclusion, this is also a great opportunity to extend this blog from merely XNA game development to game development in general: developing XNA-based topics such as MonoGame to additional languages, platforms and technologies – whatever else may encompass Indie/Pro game development in the future.

One final goal, as always: write more game code, write lots more game code J