Required Software

Describes the additional software required to use XNA Game Studio.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

XNA Game Studio leverages the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment, extending it for game development. You can use XNA Game Studio with supported versions of Visual Studio tools. Click on one of the following links for more information about using XNA Game Studio with Visual Studio 2005

XNA Game Studio is not supported on any member of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 product line or any pre-released version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.

XNA Creators Club

To develop games for the Xbox 360, you will need a membership in the XNA Creators Club. Obtain an XNA Creators Club membership from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Xbox LIVE Membership

XNA Game Studio supports networking and multiplayer functionality using system link, that is, a LAN connection between game machines, or through the Xbox LIVE service. The following table describes the Xbox LIVE membership requirements for this functionality.

Xbox GameWindows Game
Run an XNA Framework GameXbox LIVE Silver membership + Creators Club membershipNo memberships Required
System LinkXbox LIVE Silver membership + Creators Club membershipNo memberships Required
Contact Xbox LIVE Servers, for Example, Sign-On, Query Friends, Query Gamer ProfilesXbox LIVE Silver membership + Creators Club membershipXbox LIVE Silver membership + Creators Club membership
Xbox LIVE Matchmaking and MultiplayerXbox LIVE Gold membership + Creators Club membershipXbox LIVE Gold membership + Creators Club membership
The XNA framework components that interact with Games for Windows LIVE require an XNA Creators Club membership. If, for any reason, a LIVE profile without a Creators Club membership is set to auto sign-in on a Windows-based computer, the game will not be able to connect to the LIVE service and the XNA framework gamer services components, including the Guide, will not be available. To disable auto sign-in for a LIVE profile on a Windows-based computer, launch an XNA framework game and open the Guide while disconnected from the network.

Please note the following.

  • XNA Game Studio supports system-link play and Xbox LIVE multiplayer between game machines of different types, for example between a Windows-based computer and an Xbox 360 console. This is typically referred to as cross-platform system link or cross-platform Xbox LIVE multiplayer.
  • Because a membership is not required to use networking features on a Windows computer, it is possible to test and debug your multiplayer game with only a single Xbox LIVE Silver membership and Creators Club membership by running the game cross-platform between a Windows computer and an Xbox 360 console. The Xbox LIVE Silver membership and Creators Club membership are required in order to run the game on the Xbox 360 console. Similarly, you can test and debug your game using system-link between two Windows computers, in which case, no Xbox LIVE Silver or Creators Club membership is required.
  • If you are running an XNA Framework Game on the Microsoft Windows operating system on a dual-core AMD processor, and the game contacts the Xbox LIVE servers or otherwise uses the Gamer Services extensions, you may experience unpredictable behavior such as the game process hanging. To workaround this issue, the AMD Dual-Core Optimizer from AMD should be installed on the computer on which the game is running. The Optimizer is currently available at the following location.

Support for networking and multiplayer is not included in the XNA Framework redistributable. Therefore, the preceding requirements are not applicable to independently-published XNA Framework games.

Additional Required Software Installed by XNA Game Studio Setup

The following additional required software is installed for you by the XNA Game Studio setup program.

DirectX Runtime

XNA Game Studio Setup installs the DirectX runtime, which is required to use the XNA Framework game API.

Microsoft Cross-Platform Audio Creation Tool

XNA Game Studio Setup installs the Microsoft Cross-Platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT) from the August 2007 DirectX Software Development Kit (SDK). XACT enables you to author audio content for your game. XNA Game Studio Setup installs a version of XACT that is compatible with the XNA Game Studio product. XNA Game Studio may not work with content authored using other versions of XACT.

XACT Requires .NET Framework 1.1. If .NET Framework 1.1 is not installed, XACT launches, but using the tool causes XACT to generate the message, "Object reference not set to an instance of an object."

Not all installations of Windows Vista or Windows XP SP2 have .NET Framework 1.1 installed. Also, it is possible to have .NET Framework 2.0 installed, but not .NET Framework 1.1. To determine if you have .NET Framework 1.1, click Start on your Windows desktop, click Control Panel, and double-click the Add or Remove Programs icon. If .NET Framework 1.1 is installed, it will be shown in the displayed list of applications.

You can install .NET Framework 1.1 from the following location.

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