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198 02/10/2021

Pro development is almost unilaterally done in C++. If you're planning on targeting multiple platforms, this is a must since it's the only thing that's supported on every console and OS. Note: if you're new to this, I'd start with something much simpler like XNA - still very, very powerful, but it'll let you focus on your game instead of memory leaks and other neophyte C++ hurdles.

Also, developing for any of the three major consoles (if you include Wii in that category) will require a dev hardware, which is difficult/impossible to obtain unless you're working with a group that has an established presence in the game industry. (Read: Gearbox, Bungee, etc.)

To date, Microsoft is the only company to produce a free/very, very cheap option for independent developers to write and publish console games, and XNA is no slouch - many people are building very interesting things with XNA, and as far as I've been able to tell it's more than powerful enough to take full advantage of the current console hardware. Most of the work is done on the GPU these days, anyway, and the CPU code just coordinates things.

Oh, and your XNA code willrun on Windows, as well. =)

More thoughts

I recently started working for a medium-sized game studio, and my development rig /pipeline consists of:

PS4 dev kit. XBox One dev kitWindows machine - dual Xeon (20 cores, 40 with hyperthreading), 64GB of RAM, Titans.

It still takes 15 minutes to compile one of the larger games.

All actual coding is done in Visual Studio. The Sony and Microsoft tools allow connecting to your dev kit over the network, and provide remote debuggers that connect to Visual Studio. I haven't seen similar tools for other operating systems, but I haven't really looked.

The PS4 version is built through clang. XBox and Windows go through the Visual C++ compiler. (Some of our guys do their initial development on the PS4 because compilation is significantly faster.)

Most of the popular engines go a long way towards handling differences between the hardware, but when you get into shaders and real platform-specific optimizations (memory transfers are different beasts when comparing consoles to PCs), you're going to have to become something of an expert on consoles. On my team, we have one guy who is the PS4 expert, one who is the XBox expert, One super-badass who is the everything expert, but everyone works on everything.

Update 2017

XNA has been dead for awhile now. Look into Unity if you're C#-inclined.You can now develop for XBOX using a retail console.
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