Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will support self-publishing for indie game developers.
Just two months ago, Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, said that developers would still need a publisher — either with Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party partner — to get their content onto Xbox Live.
“As of right now, yes,” he said. “We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have.”
Booty added, “I would also expect that for this new generation, that we’re going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content. But Microsoft Studios is a publisher that works with a wide range of partners, as do a lot of other people, to bring digital content to the box.”
The decision was an odd one, leaving Microsoft as the only company not to allow independent developers to publish their own games. Sony in particular has been aggressively pursing indie developers, and gave hands-on demos for more than 25 games coming to the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita at the Game Developer’s Conference in March.
But now, about a month after reversing its controversial 24-hour check-in requirement and DRM policies, Microsoft has announced that not only will independent developers be able to self-publish on the Xbox One, but that the console itself will double as a developer debug unit.
“Our vision is that every person can be a creator,” Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten said in a statement. “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.”
Whitten added, “This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.”
What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to allow self-publishing for indie games?