With the upcoming launch of the Xbox One from Microsoft, independent developers will have new ways of getting their games published. Historically as an independent developer you would need to partner with a publisher in order to get your game published on the Xbox 360 platform. Today at the Xbox gamescom press conference, Xbox Vice President Phil Harrison announced the launch of a new program called Independent Developers @ Xbox. Through this program independent developers will no longer be required to partner with a publisher for Xbox One titles and will have access to development kits at no charge.
This program is aligned with Microsoft’s overall strategy of opening up the ecosystem for content creation to the widest audience possible. The ID@Xbox program along with the upcoming Project Spark application will certainly remove many of the barriers to game creation, publishing and monetization that have inhibited widespread game content generation.
Whilst the ID@Xbox program will allow independent developers to be completely self-sufficient, they can still choose to use publishers. The choice is now in their hands if they want to focus exclusively on the creation of the game, take on the challenge of publishing and marketing or rather partner with a publisher to leverage skills and increase exposure. The important win here is that there is now a choice and each independent developer can make the decision themselves based on their team size, skills and circumstances.
Another significant benefit of the ID@Xbox program is the full access it provides to independent developers for: SmartGlass, Kinect, Xbox cloud services, Achievements and Gamerscore. This additional access will allow independent developers to create truly innovative, fully featured Xbox One titles and have them published in the same ecosystem alongside the AAA titles of the industry. Discovery for players will be significantly easier on Xbox One for these independently developed titles, as they will feature in the same Xbox One Store. The options of Spotlight, Trending, Recommendations all apply and will aid games in discovering these otherwise hidden gems.
The ID@Xbox program looks to be an important milestone in the evolution of independent game development and offers a brighter future for consumers having access to more choice and variety in gameplay experiences.
For more information on the new program you can visit the website: www.xbox.com/id.
Are you an up and coming developer that will benefit from the ID@Xbox program? Or perhaps you are more interested in Project Spark. Let us know what your take is on Microsoft’s new direction in opening up the development ecosystem.