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I was wondering why I cannot just put all XNA dlls in the same directory as the game.exe, but I need to install that XNA redistributable?

if i try to run it i get an "assembly not found" error even though that assembly (dll) is there in the same directory.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Well installers often do many other things than just copying files. For example XNA redist tries to install/update DirectX on a user computer to required version. I guess it can also write some required information to registry.

However, even if you can just copy XNA files with your game, that, most certainly, will violate license terms.

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Yes you can only redistribute the redistributable not the separate XNA dlls that will violate the license. – Roy T. Oct 30 '12 at 11:46
thanks for the info about the license. actually i am still interested as to why a game doesnt run without the redistributable, though all DLLs are in the same directory as the exe. – clamp Oct 30 '12 at 13:05
@clamp see: "required information to registry" in the answer. – Joshua Drake Oct 30 '12 at 16:19

When you have a redistributable, it usually is for not sending the end user the complete engine you used, as the end user only need some specific files. For XNA is the same.

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