Mercury News reports today that Microsoft will release a scaled-down version of it’s video game development tools to the wider public at an extremely affordable $99.00 price point in order to build up a community of video game developers for it’s Xbox 360 console much as YouTube has aggregated a huge community of do-it-yourself video producers.
The software, XNA Game Studio Express, has the promise of creating a huge community of modders, such as that which exists for video games on the PC platform, but will also allow users to provide their games for fee or free through the Xbox 360 microtransaction platform, Xbox Live Marketplace. The software will allow users to create games for both the PC and Xbox 360 simultaneously.
The software obviously serves Microsoft’s needs in it’s competition against Sony and Nintendo in the next-generation video game console battle. But the extremely low price point for Microsoft’s development software also creates a huge new opportunity for small businesses to experiment with an entirely new marketing platform with very little barrier to entry.
The possibility now exists for even mom and pop shops to create an immersive brand experience or practical, hands-on virtual product demonstrations.