I've just started the development of an XNA game, and I'm asking myself if it wouldn't be better to use an open-source alternative since I absolutely want to keep the complete control over my game. I need to be able to sell it to whoever I want, using the media I want.

Based on the XNA license and all that sort of legal stuff, am I allowed to sell an XNA game on my own, or am I forced to sell it through the Xbox Live Marketplace?

I'd like to see some reliable reference with your answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Which platform(s) are you making the game for? \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ PC (Windows) only. \$\endgroup\$
    – user6244
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 9:42

3 Answers 3


Check out this answer here. The simple answer is: Yes.

The networking stuff that uses "Games for Windows Live" does not work on Windows without Microsoft's blessing. But you can always just use the plain ol' networking stuff in the .NET Framework.

You cannot distribute XNA Game Studio (the Visual Studio bit) - this affects the Content Pipeline APIs for building content. This means, if you have a level editor for example, your users will have to manually install XNA GS.

The XNA Framework runtime, on the other hand, is redistributable.


Yes you can sell it by yourself, XNA inhibits no restrictions like that whatsoever. However you can't package the XNA framework installer into your installer, you will have to ask people to download it separately.

Edit: on the PC that is, there is no way to bypass the Xbox and WP7 stores.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you mean the XNA Game Studio installer, which is required to use the Content Pipeline APIs. The XNA Framework Redistributable is, in fact, redistributable. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes, you're right. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roy T.
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 7:57

I couldn't find easy 'official' reference on the subject, but I can provide indirect evidence.

There are currently several XNA games on sale on Steam, which is not related to Microsoft in any way, see for instance Beat Hazard: on Steam store and on XBox Live Indy Games.

There are parts of XNA that are off-limits though. You can't use most of the online functionality on the PC, as it is related to XBox Live and using MS's dedicated servers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ And Magicka as well \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 12:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, Magicka as well. There are several examples available. \$\endgroup\$
    – jv42
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 12:43

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