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Microsoft has 'no plans for future versions' of XNA software, will not phase out DirectX

Microsoft has no plans to produce future versions of its XNA development tool, a spokesman for the company confirmed with Polygon today.

Earlier this morning, an email was sent to select employees and developers stating Microsoft's XNA Game Studio software was "not in active development."

XNA and DirectX developer lead Promit Roy reproduced a portion of the email on his personal blog. The email states XNA and DirectX will be retired from Microsoft's program effective April 1 of next year.

"The XNA/DirectX expertise was created to recognize community leaders who focused on XNA Game Studio and/or DirectX development," reads the statement. "Presently the XNA Game Studio is not in active development and DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology. Given the status within each technology, further value and engagement cannot be offered to the MVP community. As a result, effective April 1, 2014 XNA/DirectX will be fully retired from the MVP Award Program."

The XNA development framework has been used to code games for release through Xbox Live, Windows Phone marketplace and any Windows-based devices. The program is popular among indie developers, and was used for Supergiant Games' Bastion and Polytron's Fez as well as a number of Microsoft Studios-published titles, including recent release Skulls of the Shogun and Dust: An Elysian Tail.

According to a source speaking with CVG, phasing out XNA could herald the end of Xbox Live Indie Games.

"No-one wants to learn a dying technology, and a big part of XNA's appeal was the prospect of selling a game on Xbox LIVE, even if that wasn't the most commercially-sensible thing to do," the source said. "If there are no advocates of the technology, and we infer from the lack of internal support in Microsoft that there will be no XBLIG on the next-gen machine, there is no-one to drive XNA adoption and no incentive to learn it."

A representative for Microsoft told Polygon that there are no plans to discontinue the use of DirectX for its Windows and Xbox platforms, but it will not be producing updated versions of the XNA program.

"Microsoft is actively investing in DirectX as the unified graphics foundation for all of our platforms, including Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone," the representative said. "DirectX is evolving and will continue to evolve. We have absolutely no intention of stopping innovation with DirectX.

"XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," the representative added. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

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