Microsoft today released the download of the first Beta of XNA Game Studio Express, a software that will allow any user with some programming talent to create games for the Xbox 360 game console. A writer of the "XNA Team Blog" said that the purpose of the release is to "start getting feedback on what we'll be releasing."
XNA Game Studio Express represents a set of APIs needed for the general functionality of Windows and Xbox 360 games. The final version of the package will be available for free, but users who want to run their own games on an Xbox 360 will have to become members of a special "creator's club" - which apparently will also include tools to upgrade an Xbox 360 to a "development system." The annual membership fee for this club will be $99.
The download of the XNA Game Studio Express Beta is restricted to participants of the XNA Beta Program. Users interested in downloading the software can join the program through Microsoft's Connect website.