It appears that with the demonstration that Xbox Live XNA games are coming to the Zune!

These are the community developed games using the XNA studio 3.0 tools, but I would venture to expect 1st party published games as well.

Cesar on the Zune Insider blog was smart to point out that XNA is available to develop for the Zune device, but that no time frame is currently announced when games will be available.

So far some points known are:

  • Touchpad based games –  This could mean this feature is  limited to generation 2 Zunes.
  • Wireless Mobile Games – Does this mean Head 2 Head multiplayer, or possibly mobile versions tied to Xbox Live over Wi-Fi?
  • Integrated soundtrack to your collection – Similar to how you have a custom soundtrack on Xbox 360 games by overlaying your own music from your collection
  • All Zunes Supported – The XNA games can run on the Zune 30/80/4/8 with the only main difference being the touchpad of generation 2.  Yet another way Microsoft advances all their models where technically feasible, to provide the features to all users, unlike some other company we know.

From the Microsoft GDC keynote blog:

11:02: Shows the shooter game Zauri built using XNA Game Studio on Windows, Xbox 360, and… the Zune! The Zune’s touch controller  looks to be a natural for gaming. You can play Zune tunes in the background while you play, and the Zune’s wi-fi support will even allow multiplayer gaming.

Below are images of the demo game Zauri, which is a test game for Xbox, Zune, and also apparently mobile phones.  It appears the Live anywhere is starting to take shape as the number of vehicles to play games is definitely growing.  We just need some release details and time lines.

zune-games-big-01 zune-games-big-02

zune-games-big-03 zune-games-big-04


Hands on with a Zune4/8 running the XNA games:

zune-games-hands-on-01 zune-games-hands-on-02


zune-games-hands-on-04 zune-games-hands-on-06



Pictures thanks to Engadget

Here is also video from the GDC keynote demonstrating Zauri playing on the Zune:

From looking at the video we can see other games installed on the Zune which are more than likely just test games:
  • Alien Takeover
  • Hexic
  • Zauri
  • Marblets

More information about the XNA studio 3.0 Zune development can be found on the XNA forums

They have posted the XNA Zune FAQ:

Q: Will this feature only work on newer Zune devices?

A: XNA Game Studio 3.0 currently will support Zune 4/8, Zune 30, and Zune 80 devices.

Q: Can I build ccgame files to share my Zune game with my friends?

A: The XNA Game Studio 3.0 preview will not support sharing CCGame files with other users. This is a planned feature for the release.

Q: Can I transmit the game to another Zune device wirelessly?

A: No, you must deploy the game to your Zune through your device connection on your PC, using XNA Game Studio 3.0 to deploy.

Q: Do I need an XNA Creators Club subscription to deploy the game?

A: No subscription is required to deploy the Zune game from your PC.

Q: How does the wireless support work?

A: The Zune device can support multiple Zunes that have wireless turned on.  If all the Zunes have the game deployed, and the game is written to work in a multiplayer mode, you can join in and play games with other Zunes.

Q: Are there any limitations on how I can use the music that’s stored on the Zune

A: Any DRM licensed music cannot be played; otherwise you have full access to the music and pictures stored on the Zune.

Q: You mention the Zune will be supported in XNA Game Studio 3.0, what else is supported in XNA Game Studio 3.0?

A: We have not announced any other features for XNA Game Studio 3.0 at this time.

Q: Will XNA Game Studio 3.0 work with Visual Studio 2008?

A: Yes, XNA Game Studio 3.0 will only work with Visual Studio 2008 and Express 2008 SKUs.

Q: When will we be able to try this feature out?

A: We expect to have a preivew of XNA Game Studio 3.0 available in the spring.

Q: What kind of gameplay limitations do I have?

A: With a 240×320 display and a design for one-handed usage, building games on the Zune requires some creative thinking that aligns better with mobile games.  The XNA Community Game Platform team has worked hard to give you the broadest access to the XNA Framework API.

Q: Is the full XNA Framework Graphics API available on Zune?

A: No, The Zune supports 2D graphics through the XNA Framework SpriteBatch API’s. Rendertargets and the ability to directly set pixel data to textures enables developers to be creative with their Zune games.

Q: How much memory is available for Zune games?

A: Games on Zune are limited to 16Mb for code and content.

Q: Does the Zune support Xbox LIVE?

A: No, the Zune doesn’t connect to Xbox LIVE.  All networking takes place over a local ad-hoc wi-fi network.  However, the networking APIs are similar to what is available in XNA Game Studio 2.0.

Gizmodo has also published a video walk through of the Zune Games on a Zune4/8.
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