I was excited about the recent xbox 360 creators club announcement.
the idea is that xbox 360 users will pay an annual fee to get access to the option of developing xbox games on their PC - using the XNA platfrom - and then uploading them to an xbox 360 community space. MS says that the development tools will work with the free VS Express packages, so it may be cheap for people to get onboard.
autodesk is also involved, so maybe gmax will make a triumphant return. these days, modders basically have to rip-off 3ds if they want to create their own game elements for games like HaloCE.
it sounds like a fantastic community program, but some questions remain unanswered. will the creators' club provide the average user access to the same potential game quality as the companies that have access to the Xbox dev kits or will it be a digital kids' table? also, what are they going to do when people knock off space invaders, gauntlet or bejeweled?
update: the XNA team blog answered some of my questions: "The program we are building, however, is more than a beginner tool. You will be able to write full-on games with shaders and high-end graphics if you want to go deeper. For example, we have an excellent relationship with Garage Games. They’ve been creating a managed code version of their tools and engines that work the XNA technologies. They’ve built a souped up version of Marble-Blast entirely in C# that is just rocking."
- XNA game builder screen