Microsoft launches a self-publishing platform for independent developers
Microsoft has just made it considerably easier for independent developers to get their games on the Xbox One, through the “Independent Developers @ Xbox” platform.
During the initial stages, indie developers can apply at www.xbox.com/id, and if they’re accepted, Microsoft will give out two development kits, along with full access to Achievements, the Xbox Live toolset, cloud services, Kinect and SmartGlass that developers can use in their games for free. Priority will be given to indie developers with a proven track record of shipping games on mobile, console, PC, or tablet platforms.
Chris Charla, who leads the ID@Xbox program, said that while there is no established set of criteria for getting into this program, Microsoft is looking for established developers that can provide a good feedback to help the program improve in the future. He also mentioned, “We have a pretty quick turnaround to letting people into the program, and signing their hardware agreements and that sort of thing.”
Microsoft is set to begin the initial stages of this program this fall, and it says that it has already talked to over 50 independent developers, including SpyParty’s Chris Hecker, to refine the program. Charla further clarifies that games from both independent developers and major publishers will be sold using the same digital store. Charla said, “On Xbox One a game is a game is a game. There’s no distinction like there was on Xbox 360, like XBLA and Games on Demand and XBLIG. It’s a unified marketplace.”
This means that games from studios like Electronic Arts will co-exist with indie games. When asked about how it aims to tackle the issue of discoverability of small-time indie titles, Charla said, “We’re really working to make it more personal so you cannot just see what the new releases are — you’ll obviously be able to see that — or what’s popular — you’ll obviously be able to see that — but what’s trending? What do my friends like? What do people who play the same kinds of games as me like? So we’re actually really pleased with the way that’s going to work.”
Charla said that the variety of content that will be seen on the Xbox One Store will ultimately be beneficial to the users. He also mentioned that there won’t be any fees for certification or title updates on the Xbox One, which should come as a welcome sign for indie developers.
While the initial stage of the program includes Microsoft sending out development kits, Charla said that the ultimate goal would be to allow anyone to be a creator. As such, there will be a software update that will be pushed to the Xbox One, which will enable any retail unit to turn into a development kit.
Source: Xbox Wire