XNA is Dead, Long Live MonoGame

MonogameLogoIf you haven’t been following the indie game development scene, then you might not have heard that Microsoft has confirmed that XNA is dead. This comes as little surprise to me and many in the community, since Microsoft’s recent actions, such as not supporting XNA on WinRT and Windows Phone 8 (arguably their two most important platforms in terms of the consumer market going forward) have made it pretty clear that they haven’t been interested in the technology in some time. Currently, the only places that XNA still lives as far as Microsoft is concerned are Windows Phone 7, an obsolete system, and the Xbox Live Arcade.

Going forward, developers that are already supporting an XNA game have a pretty clear path forward in MonoGame. Migrating to MonoGame will require some work but the upsides are substantial: it is very actively supported by an eager open-source community of developers and it is specifically designed to be cross platform and was designed to be a port of XNA.

If you’re starting a new game development project, it is still a good idea to take a look at MonoGame. MonoGame has not only succeeded in being an adequate port of XNA but has also gone a lot further than XNA as a game development tool and is worth a look in its own right. The idea of a C# easy to use (relative to more traditional game development frameworks) is still a great one and opens the door to game development to a lot of developers who might find a C++ focussed game development tool too intimidating.

To me, this story is less about XNA and game development and more about the danger of basing your project or product on proprietary software. If it weren’t for MonoGame, the XNA developers would be in a poor state right now, since Microsoft was able unilaterally pull support for a technology that they had built their businesses on. If you are being affected by Microsoft terminating support for XNA, then I wish you well and also humbly suggest that you look toward open-source development platforms in the future.

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