Microsoft's Own X-Prize For Xbox Games

from the it's-a-game dept

We recently pointed to an article discussing the increasing role of prizes in the private sector. VCs are interested in them as a way of spurring innovation in a particular area, while companies are using them to get the general public to help solve specific problems. The latest to try this model is Microsoft, which will announce a $10,000 prize for the best videogame made using a particular suite of development tools, called XNA. Critics of private-sector prizes argue that the prize system is not a market mechanism, and so there's no reason to think that the prize winner will actually have developed something of value. But that criticism misses the point with this example. Developing a popular game is just a small part of Microsoft's goal with this prize. The larger goal is to get developers to use its XNA tools to start making games. If they can get several to try, the $10,000 they spend on the effort will be well worth it, even if the actual game that wins never goes anywhere.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    James, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 8:44am

    I agree

    This is a smart way for them to get folks to use their XNA development tools, and, encourage and support those people who might have a good idea but no way to express it (for money).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Quack, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    It is also a good way for M$ to fish for talent / ideas that it is too lazy to try and develop on it's own. $10,000 is completely a slap in the face of good indie devs who actually have hopes to make it big through such means. Epic did the 'make something unreal' contest a few years back and they offered 1,000,000 for the winner, M$ won't do the same for they would rather pay 10,000 steal the ip and make more money off of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Brian, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 9:42am

    what's there to lose?

    It'll be fun to watch the anti-MS crowd try to criticize this move. Personally I'm surprised MS did this, but glad they did. Of course the devil is always in the details, so there may be a catch in the XNA license...

    I know very little about XNA, but I thought access to it was closed. At least closed to the point that homebrew sites were afraid to link to tools made with components of XNA... Been a long time tho...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Brian, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 9:46am


    The ppl that would go after this probably aren't after the $10g (tho some will). It's more the feather in the cap. They aren't targeting established devs, but rather the undiscovered 'talent' locked in mom's basement.

    I'm just saying if I had such ambitions, this sounds like a nice way to get noticed. Hell, even 3rd-place in such a competition would look nice on a resume...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Casper, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 9:47am

    This is new?

    Companies have been using contests for years to get talent/ideas/market share.

    No matter how the contest pans out, M$ will have gained from it. Not only will it get more people into XNA dev, but it will also get the project publicity (like this). This will even trickle down to get the Xbox more publicity as people will be interested in the future development of the platform.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    KurtG, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 11:57am

    VMware held a contest last year...

    VMware held a contest last year for users called VMware Appliance change with eight winners, top winners winning $100k, $50k, $$25k. They got about 160 or so appliance entries that are actual free to download and use. I think it work out great for submitters and users of VMware virtual appliances. So why shouldn't MS do the same?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Geoff, Mar 5th, 2007 @ 1:01pm


    "$10,000 is completely a slap in the face of good indie devs who actually have hopes to make it big through such means."

    Then tell those wonderfully financed indie Dev's not to waste their time. If I knew thing 1 about development or XNA, I'd be busting my keister for a chance at the $$$ - The bucks are the bonus, because MS is not exactly a company who isn't going to turn this into a marketing campaign - Marketing the winner and the runner's up in million $$$ campaigns - but of course indie devs don't want the money OR the fame that goes with this - that's another slap in the face!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    rijit (profile), Mar 5th, 2007 @ 10:45pm

    Not Just $10K

    The other part of the prize is to have the winning game published on Xbox Live, from which the developer gets money in the form of royalties I believe ;)

    This makes the prize well worth any indie developers time, a chance to be published by one of the dominate publishers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    rijit (profile), Mar 5th, 2007 @ 10:50pm

    Re: what's there to lose?

    @ Brian: The XNA GSE tools are a free download for anyone who wants to use them. There are quite a few community sites out now with great tutorials, I am willing to bet their traffic picks up as this news spreads ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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