Alright, I have to say that this pretty much an unarguably good move by Microsoft here. Apparently, they’re opening up to the indie developer community by allowing self publishing of games for their platform.
The news comes via GameInformer, and apparently Microsoft isn’t thrilled that the cat was let out of the bag since this was supposed to be a major announcement at Gamescom in August. Nevertheless, they’ve decided to share some information so that people aren’t left completely in the dark about it but are withholding most of the details for Gamescom.
They’ve also stated clearly that this support for Indies will not be available at launch time, since the system isn’t quite ready yet. Marc Whitten, corporate vice president at Xbox said that the timeline for the staged implementation of the feature will be revealed at Gamescom, but that you could expect to see full support for Indie developers within the first year.
When the system is in place, any Xbox One console will be able to operate as a debug unit, allowing Microsoft to approve specific systems to play games that are still in development.
The system also eliminates the need for developers to have established publishers in order to get their games on the platform which was a huge issue, people were self financing, self marketing, self developing and were still expected to share revenues with a publisher that had basically done nothing.
While Whitten says that this was basically Microsoft’s vision all along, it’s possible that this was a very recent policy change. Back at E3, one of the biggest complaints that the Xbox One received (and the PS4 was praised for) was its support for Indie developers.
It explains why the feature isn’t ready for launch, even though one of the most important things for a new console is the number of titles it has. And indie support would certainly help on that point.
Still, no matter what their reasons and motivations were, it’s a win for the community, and I’m happy about this upcoming change. Props to Microsoft.