I love XNA. I really do. As president of the Game Development Club at my school, we use it and I teach it. But I'm worried about it.

I've always wondered, are there any signs that XNA will ever become more than just a prototyping/arcade game language? I've always gotten the feeling that Microsoft is on the cusp of abandoning it, like they did Managed DirectX. The Xbox Live Arcade is an amazing idea but it's shoved off to the side, well overshadowed by the "real" Xbox games when I feel like it would've had so much more potential, had Microsoft given it more emphasis.

Now with XNA 4.0 CTP for Windows Phone 7 only, it seems to be morphing into some sort of phone-only thing. I'm really unsure about exactly why they are doing that.

What's the current state of XNA, and where is it headed? Is it going into mobile-only, or will 4.0 eventually be released for Xbox and desktop usage?

In other words, is it a language to invest time and money into, or should it be only tentatively developed on, with the constant fear of abandonment? And when I ask this, I'm talking about desktop and Xbox games, as I can pretty clearly see that it is the game framework of choice for the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Since this question is somewhat subjective (but I'm really looking for facts alongside your opinions!) I am making this a CW.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Closing since it's going to be just speculation. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jan 12 '12 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related. gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/22292/… \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jan 22 '12 at 5:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I know this comes late. For anyone who's worried, MonoGame is actually an open-source implementation of XNA, which is fascinating. And it supports multiple platforms. Check it out, even if you decide not to go with it. \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Dec 1 '12 at 19:16

The feel i get from development of XNA is that they're eventually maneuvering it to be the replacement to Managed DirectX. As far as the phone features, that's simply because they're rigging XNA to support Windows Phone 7 (or whatever it's called). They did a similar thing with 3.0 (or was it 3.1?) and the Zune/Zune HD. Overall, i think these mobile devices are just temporary features of the platform and will fade away at some point, while they continue to improve the core of XNA.

Additional evidence is that XNA is being used more to develop high quality works (such as Sol Survivor).

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    \$\begingroup\$ MDX was deprecated years ago, for the record. \$\endgroup\$ – Olhovsky Jun 8 '11 at 4:52

The XNA 4.0 Beta allows you to target both Windows and the 360 under the Hidef profile. Given that the tools are still in beta, though, deployments to the Xbox 360 are not yet enabled.

I think the investment and promotion of XNA on the Windows Phone platform shows a firm level of commitment. At the very least, WP7 will have a slew of XNA-based applications, which will require supporting XNA for a long time.

As earok mentioned, a lot of the breaking changes involved in the 4.0 release are done in the interest of preparing XNA for the future.


For XBOX 360 is your only choice.

For windows I always recommended people to use something else... There are much better options, specially those that work on other platforms than windows (like, work in most of important PC OSes...)

Also Microsoft still act in any way that they think will give them some more money, even if it is bad in the long run or "looks bad", like their behavior with Direct Input (they made the XBOX 360 controller work like crap on Direct Input, declared DI deprecated, and invented XInput, that supports ONLY the 360 controller, and in general has WAAAY less features than DI, it is sorta obvious that MS did that only to sell more 360 controllers on Windows, specially because they are insanely expensive)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh... I lied? (Or said something wrong?) \$\endgroup\$ – speeder Jul 29 '10 at 0:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Common SE courtesy is to post a comment why you downvote, so the rest of the community can benefit. \$\endgroup\$ – Alan Aug 8 '10 at 7:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seemly that does not apply here (I am still wondering why I got -3) \$\endgroup\$ – speeder Aug 8 '10 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hum... Maybe it was XNA fanboys (I found some of those before, even if I say the truth, they get mad at me...) \$\endgroup\$ – speeder Aug 8 '10 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 because you claim that Microsoft doesn't care about long term profits, which is nonsense. \$\endgroup\$ – Olhovsky Jun 8 '11 at 5:04

The XNA 4.0 CTP (now superseded by the Beta) is available for Windows development, I have been using it to work on a Windows game project. I think it's just that it isn't "Officially supported" for anything other than Windows 7 Phone development.

I don't see any reason why Microsoft would even consider abandoning it in the short term, Shawn Hargraves mentions on his blog that they're doing a lot of work on this version to future proof it for DirectX 10 and 11.


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