XNA Game Studio Express Beta Now AvailableMicrosoft has released the public beta of XNA Game Studio Express, the pioneering technology designed to open up game development to new audiences, including hobbyists, students, and independent developers, with the hopes of injecting a shot of creativity into the electronic entertainment industry. Novice game creators can download the tool today at no charge from http://msdn.microsoft.com/xna to develop games for Windows XP and Windows Vista. The games built on Windows can be migrated to the Xbox 360™ console system starting this holiday season as part of the XNA Creators Club subscription for $99 a year, or a four-month trial cost of $49, opening up retail console game development to anyone for the first time. "XNA Game Studio Express is an incredibly accessible tool for making games." —Claude Comair, DigiPen Institute of Technology Since the announcement of XNA Game Studio Express' upcoming availability on August 14, the public response has been overwhelming—more than 100 schools have requested information on how they can incorporate XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula and the breakthrough news has generated millions of hits on Internet search engines. As one of nearly 20 leading universities worldwide incorporating XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula, including Southern Methodist University's Guildhall and the University of Southern California's GamePipe, Microsoft announced additional support from DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington, a leader in the field of digital interactive entertainment education. Through its ProjectFUN software running on XNA Game Studio Express and summer workshops starting in 2007, DigiPen will bring Xbox 360 console game development for the first time ever to thousands of children ages 10 through 16. "XNA Game Studio Express is an incredibly accessible tool for making games for Microsoft's game platforms and will provide our university students with modern tools and console development experience," said Claude Comair, founder and chairman of the board at DigiPen Institute of Technology. "And now with our ProjectFun for XNA Game Studio Express, we're eager to extend our educational offerings on Windows and Xbox 360 to include young children." In conjunction with today's release of the XNA Game Studio Express beta, XNA partner GarageGames will begin enrollment for its Torque X beta program which can be accessed via msdn.microsoft.com/xna . Torque X includes both Torque Game Builder and a version of the Torque Shader Engine which have both been developed in conjunction with XNA Game Studio Express, allowing budding game developers to use drag and drop tools to easily create great games. The final version of Torque X will be released this holiday. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express and the XNA Creators Club for building and distributing games on the Xbox 360 will launch simultaneously this holiday. XNA Game Studio Professional will be available in spring 2007.