MDA, Microsoft help lower barriers to game development and commercialisation

GAME developers here will now be able to create games using free software and publish them on an established online marketplace. They also get a chance to apply for a $50,000 grant to develop these games.

At a media event yesterday, Microsoft Singapore said the Republic’s game developers will be the first in Asia, ahead of more mature markets like Japan and Korea, to publish games online on its Community Games Channel.

Launched last month, as part of an update to its existing online gaming platform dubbed Xbox Live, the Community Games Channel allows amateur game developers, students and individuals to sell and market their games at a marketplace that has 15 million users worldwide, generating about US$2 billion ($2.9 billion) in revenue from downloaded games and content.

It is currently open only to developers in the United States, Canada and Europe. Microsoft will also provide its gaming development software, XNA Game Studio, for free. The move lowers entry barriers for Singapore-based game developers to publish their content, said Microsoft Singapore’s marketing communications manager Ian Tan.

“They no longer have to worry about finding publishers, the right software or which platform is right for them,” he said. “This platform is focused because there is an online community of gamers who are actively downloading games.”

To sweeten the deal, the Media Development Authority (MDA) will grant up to $50,000 in funding for selected games developed for the platform under a new MDAMicrosoft XNA Development Initiative.

“We’re looking at innovative game concepts, not your run-of-the-mill titles,” said Ms Michelle Lui, MDA’s deputy director (business development).

According to Microsoft, budding students from the Singapore-MIT Gambit (Gamers, Aesthetics, Mechanics, Business, Innovation, Technology) game lab paved the way for the latest move by beating 350 entries worldwide to win the top prize of US$40,000 at the Dream-Build-Play 2008 in October, Microsoft’s global game development competition.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/articles/292933.asp

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