Microsoft is announcing right now DreamSpark, a new program that gives free developer, designer and related software to college students in 11 countries. DreamSpark goes live today in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and gives away free stuff like Visual Studio, Expression Studio, and even Windows Server.
For gamers and game designers, an exciting inclusion in the program is the XNA Game Studio 2.0 software (as opposed to the free Express Edition), as well as a 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club, which means free running of XNA games on the Xbox 360.
The full list of free software:
- Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
- Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
- XNA Game Studio 2.0
- 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club
- Expression Studio, which includes Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media
- SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
- Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
- Sql Server Developer Edition
- Virtual PC 2007
- Visual Basic 2005
- Visual C++ 2005
- Visual C# 2005
- Visual J# 2005
- Visual Web Developer 2005
We’re talking over $2,000 in free software, just for being a college student. We’re talking a huge gift to students, letting classes teach this stuff without software costs, lettings students develop software without these costs, and letting any student pick up some stuff to play around with without a monetary commitment.
Students will go to Microsoft’s Channel 8 site to download any of the software, following a third-party authentication process to verify they are a current student.
UPDATE: Channel 8 now has a video interview with Bill Gates about DreamSpark (requires Silverlight):
DreamSpark is live now at downloads.channel8.msdn.com
UPDATE 2: Running through the verification procedure with a college student now. It has a list of 40+ colleges it can do automatically, and an apology for the others:
School or organization not listed?
The world is a big place. We’re doing our best to get every country and school included quickly. If your location or school aren’t available, don’t give up. Click here to find another way to be verified on DreamSpark.
Running through the alternate procedure…
In the U.S., you need to get verified through Journeyed. In France, this site, in Switzerland, Microsoft’s Student Download site. In other countries, you need to obtain an ISIC card to get the software. Journeyed has 1,500 universities in its database.
My buddy was verified with a single click. Nice! He just entered his name, social security number and date of birth.
UPDATE 3: Boy, email confirmation is taking forever, still waiting on it 20 minutes later.
UPDATE 4: After about half an hour, the Journeyed confirmation arrived. You need to login before clicking the URL in the email, then you can download everything in DreamSpark. I’m trying the XNA Game Studio 2.0 and Creators Club subscription. You can download using a download manager or direct link.
Downloaded at a blazing 940 KB/s. Looks like everything worked perfectly. Enjoy your free software, students!