It certainly looks that way.
Here are the clues:
- Update to the Zune software to allow the Windows Phone to work with it. Comes with several new apps, all of which are still free. Paid apps are now supported in the Zune software, but if there are none for the Zune HD, guess where all the development work will go? [Especially when it costs $100 to join the XNA Creators Club]
- A new version of the XNA Game SDK has been released, as part of the Windows Phone SDK – but this version doesn’t support developing apps for the Zune HD.
- The new “App Hub”, for submitting apps, and which replaces the XNA Creators Club, specifically lists that it is for apps developed for Windows Phone 7, and XBox 360. No mention of Zune HD.
I am sure that we’ll see Microsoft continuing to supply Music and Video for sale through the regular Zune software, but the app market is clearly about to be killed off… unless, that is, Microsoft is just spending a little extra time before releasing a version of the XNA Game SDK 4.0 that supports Zune HD.
I think that’s pretty much unlikely.
So, if you’re buying a Zune HD today, Microsoft’s message appears to be that you are not going to get any apps other than the ones that are already available.
That seems rather disappointing – the Zune HD has touch, accelerometer and a graphics chip capable of some great 3D (check out the racing game, Project Gotham Racing Ferrari Edition for an example), but the current XNA Game SDK for it provides no hardware 3D support.