It has been confirmed that the Xbox One will allow self-publishing for indie developers and that the console itself can be used as a development tool… Ahem, every system is eligible. All that you need to do is visit a website, sign up as a developer, and set up your console as the devkit. Say whaaaat?
A Microsoft statement, below, explains:
“Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live.”
Microsoft’s corporate VP Marc Whitten did make a statement that this new feature will not be available at launch, but it will be added at a later time.
While this seems like a step in the right direction for Microsoft in mending relationships with indie devs, some, such as Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail are not impressed. Rami tells Edge that this kind of announcement should be expected from “any serious contender,” and not applauded.
Others, such as Minecraft creator Notch, are applauding the move. In a quote from an interview with Edge,
“I think it’s a wonderful idea to have the actual box be the dev kits. This makes it easier for both the developer and for Microsoft, and presumably they could make it a lot cheaper since they’d only sell unlock codes. I realize there are other factors at play here, though, like a perceived need to make sure only ‘legitimate’ developers get access to it, so a monetary barrier might still be in place.”
Some companies are happy, like Farsight Studios. Farsight Studios is responsible for games like The Pinball Arcade (which, by the way, can be released on the Xbox again because of this self-publishing ability). This new development will open the door for these indie companies to create Xbox One versions of their games.
This development could allow for discoverability and exposure without limiting the scope of achievement for the developers. But this could also mean games are hidden in sub-menus or drowned in a sea of other indie games. Whitten did claim that this would not be the case in his interview with Kotaku:
“My goal is for it to just show up in the marketplace. Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what’s trending, what’s got a lot of engagement on the platform. And you’d be able to find that content in any of those. There wouldn’t be any difference based on what type of game it was. Then of course there will be other type of pivots where you can go and look at whether its a genre of game or any other. But you shouldn’t think of it as there’s an indie area and a non-indie area.”
Right now, however, indie devs are wary until more information is released.
Stay tuned for more information at Gamescom in August.