In an e-mail sent to select employees and certain developers, Microsoft has announced that their development software, XNA Game Studio, is no longer in active development and that it along with DirectX will be dropped from their MVP Award Program on April 1st.
A portion of the e-mail reads;
"The XNA/DirectX expertise was created to recognize community leaders who focused on XNA Game Studio and/or DirectX development," reads the statement. "Presently the XNA Game Studio is not in active development and DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology. Given the status within each technology, further value and engagement cannot be offered to the MVP community. As a result, effective April 1, 2014 XNA/DirectX will be fully retired from the MVP Award Program."
XNA was used by quite a few indie developers to get their products onto the Xbox LIVE marketplace, on Windows Phone and also on any Windows PC. Microsoft has stated that XNA will remain a supported toolset for game development on those platforms, but that there will be no future versions of the software. Nothing was said about the future of the XBLIG (XBox LIVE Indie Games) program, but no developer in their right mind is going to take the time to learn a dead product.
There was also no word from Microsoft about whether there will be a new product replacing the game development toolset, but that they are committed to continuing to evolve the DirectX platform for the various devices that use it.
This is a shame as XNA using a managed language (C#) and containing the content pipeline made working on games relatively painless for people starting out at development or just hobbyists who like fiddling with graphics. Perhaps the competition from other, more complete, game development toolsets, like Unity or even the free Blender, caused Microsoft to abandon the project.