Microsoft's Kodu Game Lab
launched on Xbox Live's Community Games channel for $5 on Wednesday, bringing to market a "new visual programming language" that's made to be accessible enough for children to make games.
, known originally as Boku
, utilizes an icon-based language to allow inexperienced users to create small games with no programming knowledge. Kodu
game makers use the Xbox 360 controller to navigate menus, with no keyboard required.
was created by a group of just six people operating within Microsoft Research. The game creation tool is only in version 1.0. Matthew MacLaurin, a Principal Program Manager in the creative Systems Group at Microsoft Research wrote on the official Kodu blog
, "I'm sure we missed something. We are standing by to fix any bugs the minute they appear and to flip a service build quickly if necessary. I've been in software long enough to be quite sure we'll need a refresh at some point."
MacLaurin also emphasized to users that Kodu
is for making small games. "If you're careful with performance, you can make significantly larger worlds, but you're not going to make Gears 3 with Kodu 1."
Microsoft showcased Kodu prominently
at CES in January, when a 12-year-old girl took the stage to show how a game could be made in Kodu
also allows game creators to share their work with friends over Xbox Live. The game is available in Canada, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.