GDC: Microsoft brings games to Zune
Microsoft wants to compete with Nintendo and Sony on the market for mobile consoles. At the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, the software giant announced that it would be developing games for its Zune portable media player. The Zune has been available in the US since 2006 but has yet to be launched elsewhere.
The XNA programming environment will be extended to portable devices in the version 3.0 of XNA Studio and cover three platforms along with the PC and Xbox. Microsoft presented the first Zune game, Zauri, that has a multi-player mode via the wireless networking in the device. In addition, music from the Zune library can play as a soundtrack for games.
The Xbox Live online service will also soon allow players who have developed their own games to publish them and have them evaluated by a live audience -- provided that the games have been programmed with XNA Studio. At the end of last year, Sony presented a similar function for its PS3 Home. Microsoft hopes that these "Xbox Live Community Games" will quickly double the number of Xbox 360 games. But XNA development chef Chris Satchell says that there will be 1000 titles by the end of the year anyway. Among others, he says that the PC hits Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto will be released for the Xbox 360 by the end of the year. (Erich Bonnert) /