Microsoft have announced plans for a free Xbox 360 development kit, allowing gamers to make their own game which can be shared between other users - but only between paying members of an XNA creators club.

The announcement came during a keynote speech at the Microsoft Gamesfest event in Seattle, and will allow anyone with a Windows XP based PC to create their very own games using the XNA Game Studio Express software.

A preview version of the tool will be available by the end of this month, with the full package launching in time for Christmas, but whilst you'll be able to use it for free there will be a yearly subscription fee of $99 (about 70) which will allow users to become members of the "creators club" where you'll be able to build, test and share the games on retail Xbox 360 consoles.

Professional developers will also be given access to a full version of the XNA toolset, but they'll have to wait until next Spring before it becomes available - nearly three whole years since Microsoft originally announced their plans for XNA at the Game Developers Conference back in 2004.

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