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Rumour – Microsoft dropping XNA and DirectX?

It seems that DirectX and XNA are being phased out. Microsoft sent out emails to DirectX and SNA MVP’s that their services will no longer be required in that field.

Before proceeding, let’s first define some of those acronyms used above. DirectX should be familiar to most PC gamers – it’s a suite of software installed on your PC when installing or updating a game. In a nutshell, when a game is telling your PC to draw all those fancy things on the screen via your ultra-overpriced-underpowered graphics card, it is doing so via a convenient framework of instructions provided by DirectX. The game is supposed to draw a square with a pretty bump-mapped-tesselated-wibbly-wobbly thing that is an evil monster for you to shoot; DirectX talks with your graphics card driver to make that happen.

That’s what it does. Sort of…

XNA is a development platform and technologies for games on the Microsoft platform, and is most commonly used by indie developers of Xbox titles.


Finally, an MVP is a “Most Valued Partner” – typically a person or organization related to the field and consulting and/or assisting others; something like a mentoring program.

An except of the mail sent out to the affected MVP’s reads as follows:

The XNA/DirectX expertise was created to recognize community leaders who focused on XNA Game Studio and/or DirectX development. 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.

How does this come together? DirectX has been integral to bring games to the Microsoft Windows platform, since the original releases of DirectX along with Windows 95. Certain technologies included with the DirectX bundle haven’t seen much use of late, such as DirectSound or DirectPlay (software for playing sound and media playback respectively), but Direct3D and its sibling, Direct2D, are THE essential ingredient in just about any game released today. Naturally where media or enhanced sound playback is a must, alternative and better technology has been harnessed by developers for some time now.

XNA hasn’t seen any updates for at least two years, and was speculated to be retired in the near future anyway; DirectX, not so much.


Why the strange letter to the MVP’s regarding this development? Could it just some simple housekeeping on aged technologies? Is DirectX being phased out? What about the fact that DirectX 11.1 was only to be available on Windows 8? What is it evolving into? Where is the customer-facing information saying that DirectX and XNA are being wiped from existence?


Thanks to Slashdot for the alert and I Programmer for the source!

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