Indies Respond To Xbox One Policies

Developers behind Limbo, Thomas Was Alone, Jack Lumber, and Halo discuss impact of Microsoft's new stance for independent studios and creators.

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Microsoft made waves Wednesday when it announced that independent developers can self-publish on Xbox One and that every system can be used for development.

The move is a major shift from the Xbox 360's current policy and is a reversal from Microsoft's statement in May that indies would need a publishing partner to release on Xbox One.

Microsoft is saving more specific information about the program for Gamescom next month, but the announcement has created a buzz with developers, media, and fans alike.

To get a better understanding of what the policy means for game development moving forward, GameSpot reached out to independent developers big and small about the changes.

Dino Patti - CEO of Limbo studio Playdead

We would welcome such an option. To be honest, we wouldn't let anything stop us from hitting a desired platform anyways, but a self-publishing option is attractive as we probably won't be forced to give exclusivity and a share of the royalties for basic services like QA, rating, and localization. Those services should instead be offered through certified partners at a fixed price or payment model tailored to the specific developer.

Making publishing a frictionless process for the developers is important if you want content. Discoverability is of course big a concern, but I'm sure that is also a concern for Microsoft as well. I would hate to see our next game get mixed with a sea of Free2Play and casino games.

Alex Schwartz - Founder of Owlchemy Labs (Jack Lumber)

For Owlchemy, Unity's announcement of a comprehensive partnership with Microsoft was almost as important as this announcement. Knowing that our tech will be fully supported on Xbox One and that the software and hardware may be subsidized through this partnership is huge for us. Now that we know that self-publishing is possible, it does open some doors but I can't say that we're ready to jump into bed with Microsoft just yet solely due to this announcement. Choosing partners for our products is a huge decision that we don't take lightly, almost like picking a pre-school for your baby boy or girl. You want to know that they're in good hands.

Also, we saw the writing on the wall years ago that any new console would fail if they did not allow self-publishing. I think it was the largest policy mistake of the previous generation to require publishers to be able to gain 'slots' -- a very seedy way, in my opinion, of creating artificial demand. I'm sure Microsoft has been told thousands of times by now that self-publishing will only be a positive for them, and it's great to hear that they're listening to developers in that regard.

So will Owlchemy bring a game to Xbox One? Only time will tell. One of our core tenets is to be super agile and to work with partners that make sense to our current games. At least Xbox One is now an *option*, whereas before it was completely off the table for us.

Jon Radoff - CEO and founder of Disruptor Beam (Game of Thrones: Ascent)

Opening up consoles to independent developers is necessary if consoles like Xbox One are to be relevant in the future. If Microsoft is committed to making their platform as unrestricted as Android and iOS, then Xbox One will have an opportunity for taking a lead role in the living room of the future.

Mike Bithell - Thomas Was Alone creator

It's definitely welcome news. I want as many people to be able to play my games as possible, and I don't see why Xbox One players should be left out. Console as dev kit also makes it a nicely risk free proposition. There are still a ton of questions we need answered about the processes, and crucially the visibility.

Sony have demonstrated the support and marketing clout they're willing to throw behind indie titles time and again, while Microsoft obviously only has the ill-fated XBLIG. We'll see, I remain optimistic. More games for more people can only be a positive thing!

Albert Reed - CEO and cofounder of Demiurge Studios (Shoot Many Robots)

We were thrilled to learn that Xbox One will be open and are eager to hear all the details. We will gleefully self-publish a new version of Shoot Many Robots that takes advantage of the new hotness if it's as good as it sounds!

Alex Seropian - Industrial Toys CEO and Bungie founder

I think this is a great move by Microsoft. It's good for the industry, great for developers and most importantly will be a win for gamers. It means more games, different kinds of games, and a direct relationship between gamer and developer. Everyone wins! We are certainly excited about the emergence of new digital platforms, but our focus right now remains on mobile.

Discussion

287 comments
Lenga Banks
Lenga Banks

Every time they say something Sony 1ups them. Sony is known for copying so MS should just stfu.

DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

Indie games suck no offense but all it ever is was some stupid remake of cod or minecraft they even put them together and they consrantly made crappy zombie games never played one good indie game idc if they go

coolguyhero
coolguyhero

indie evelopers should boycott microsoft .when they are in trouble sony gave them a hand now microsoft open thier doors so it doesnt mean that they are doing a favour for indie developers.

phbz
phbz

They should go for a system similar to Steem Greelight, and let the community decide. 

BludshedX
BludshedX

Unfortunately for them, Microsoft's true intentions have already been shown. If it wasn't for Sony and public disgust, Microsoft would not have changed a damn thing. It just goes to show how out of touch Microsoft are with gamers and who's best interest they really hold at heart.


These changes are great, but I still consider those back on the Xbone bandwagon as a result of them as simply: gullible.

steelmouth
steelmouth

I hate it when everyone is positive where is the doubting Tom's 

ElDuderino1
ElDuderino1

Microsoft is untrustworthy.  It's that simple.

david1230
david1230

 what you fail to really understand is most "normal" people understand microsoft tried using features and such that all or most of the majority of gamers told them from jump street that  they didn't want. Then finally when their stock prices are going down they fire Don and then try to cull the herd by saying, "ok guys, clearly you aren't all the suckers we thought you were, here you go now we will give you the console you want", you don't see the problem with that sentence? that is literally what they must be saying in their head, and guess what it worked cause all of you sheep bought it and are not pre ordering the xbox one, so them taking you all for suckers and then changing policies to get your money is actually a problem, because they thought, think, and know you are all suckers, just like apple knows with their users.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

Gamespot, you missed one,

Phil Fish creator of Fez:

"FEZ II is cancelled. i am done. i take the money and i run. this is as much as i can stomach. this is isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign. you win."

HAMMERCLAW
HAMMERCLAW

I detect a distinct feeling of dismay and chagrin from some of these indie developers. I think they're worried about drowning in a sea of competitors, now, with each XBO being a dev kit.

RatedSTARZ
RatedSTARZ

I'm glad that Microsoft is making all these changes, but I can't help but wonder that this is also due to the bad publicity at E3. Microsoft seriously needs to stop flip-flopping back and forth, and stand by what they say. 

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@coolguyhero actually with this reversal indie developing is cheaper on xbox than ps4, sony you have to buy a 2500 dollar dev kit, xbox you just need to buy the xbox.

funktacious
funktacious

@BludshedX Why? It's really pretty simple, if you think $100 extra isn't really that much for an investment that will likely last you 10 years, and you think the features, services, games, and tech it has over it's competitor is worth a factor into the cost, then the Xbox One sure is looking great. The fact that there's still more news and game announcements to come only makes it better, because if you're satisfied now, it's likely only going to get better before it would get worse.

steelmouth
steelmouth

@ElDuderino1 Not that I agree but its great to see a different opinion, now the article is balance thank you doubting Tom

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

My god, do you fell better. Way to come across as an ass

Acekidder
Acekidder

@Hozzyboy What are you talking about? hacking is not good for anyone especially when our personal details are involved don't be a fanboy of any side get both and win win as a gamer.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@Hozzyboy i really hope it doesn't happen since I am getting both systems. are you really any better than a sony fanboy by being an xbox fanboy

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@HAMMERCLAW then they just need to make solid games to make themselves stand out from the crowd, healthy competition is always a good thing.

jophy
jophy

@RatedSTARZ stay by what they say doesn't really work well for them. "Always Online No Sharing #dealwithit" -> look at the amount of backlash they have lol

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@RatedSTARZ why are you complaining about GOOD policy changes, the company is listening to the gamers now cause we voted with our wallets. If only some other companies would start listening to the gamers, cough Bioware cough

BludshedX
BludshedX

@funktacious@BludshedX Ofcourse there are those who were perfectly fine with their original announcements and direction and would still buy one regardless had Microsoft not made the changes. For the sake of all who purchase an Xbox One as a result of Microsoft's recent flip-flopping, I sincerely hope that Microsoft stick to those changes and not flip-flop back to their original plan. When it comes to Microsoft, I think it's best not to resort to wishful thinking when it comes to the long term though.

I've seen the Xbox evolve from the original to the last iteration of the Xbox 360, and as a gamer since the 80's I haven't been more appalled of the disconnect from gamers and the bloat of all the extra crap that most gamers probably wouldn't care about. They got a lot right (xbox live for instance) but MUCH more wrong.

And lets not forget the "evolution" of Windows.

But with that said, for all who like Windows 8 as is, and Xbox One as is, great and I wish you all a happy generation of gaming.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@funktacious @BludshedX sony isn't perfect either, remember the public outcry at the cost of the ps3. remember when it was initially announced that all ps3's would be backwards compatible, or how about their network safety that wasn't so safe.

HAMMERCLAW
HAMMERCLAW

@stan_boyd @HAMMERCLAW Absolutely! It's like I told people online, weeks ago. Nothing with Microsoft is set in stone. If a policy doesn't work, they'll change it. Most of the people complaining about Microsoft changing things, weren't going to buy an XBO, whatever.

cnx2022
cnx2022

@stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ 

It would be great if you quit your "holier than tho" attitude coming on here as if you were some kind of Internet granny-ranting, nagging, and complaining at those who (you say) are complaining- See, everyone has a right to differ, but you don't seem to get that.

You think MS reversing its policies were good? You think the result was the desired out come? You voted with your wallet? GOOD for you! --applauds, whistles, and cheers for you!

Now guess what? There is a current online letter with over 12,000 people requesting that MS bring back its initial proposals for the XB1. Meaning, these people COMPLETELY disagree with every word that comes out your mouth regarding this situation.

But you feel the need to call people out with negative adjectives, or negative verbs, such as "quit complaining" As if this all would be much better if everyone simply saw this situation as you do.


Its people like you that make this world a harder place, but you come as this "white knight", trying to let people know how wrong they are, and how right you are. If you cannot take a different opinion, then maybe you should step back for a while.

Has it ever come across your mind that these people state their opinions, to maybe find like-minded people as them to share and expand their opinion, and not to come across little naggers, and pointers like your self?  Oh, right. We all have a right to our opinion, even when its uncalled for and imprudent. Yeah, heard that one before.


Get over your self, and quit calling people out. Or will you plan on going to those 12,000 people head on as you do now and try and convince them how wrong they are too?

valknight
valknight

@BludshedX @stan_boyd @funktacious Throughout the history of the consoles it's always been the console that has the most to offer in the arena of entertainment that has won out. 

Most analysts say that due to the usefulness of netflix and amazon prime and hulu and hbo go... that most cable subscriptions will become obsolete. Why watch tv with commercials when we can simply pick a show and splurge out on it episode by episode without interruptions of commercials?

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@BludshedX @funktacious what do you mean by extra crap, do you mean like netflix and hulu and all those other things that sony are adding onto the ps4 that xbox already had?

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@BludshedX @stan_boyd @funktacious there were rumors before the announcement that sony was going to be an ALL digital system with no discs at all, don't know about online drm but early rumors were full digital.

BludshedX
BludshedX

@stan_boyd @funktacious @BludshedX True. Though Sony do still seem to keep the, for lack of better words, average-hardcore gamer in mind when it comes to their console.

Though an interesting point to make would be, had Microsoft not done their reveal prior to the ps4's, would Sony have come out sounding like the great saviors as they did, or would they have incorporated similar community angering aspects?

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@pezzott1 I change my mind mid way through stuff all the time, like when I painted my room, it was originally gonna be all blue, but I decided part way to leave one wall white cause it looked better.

pezzott1
pezzott1

@Acekidder @HAMMERCLAW @stan_boyd Don't know what life has tought you... but to me changing your mind mid way is either bad planning o very bad reaserch. Either one comes with a cost.

If you think thats a company "maturing", then well... good luck with the x1. 


Acekidder
Acekidder

@HAMMERCLAW @stan_boyd Changing policies that don't work is always a smart move Microsoft is certainly maturing as a company not digging their heels in and knowing when its time to change shows great promise for the future.

cnx2022
cnx2022

@funktacious @cnx2022 @stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ

Well, approaching someone for the first time anc calling it all silly, is already a pretty disrespectful approach, not to mention that it already indicates you probably missed a point.

2.TYou said:

 It would certainly help to know what your opinions were because right now all I got is that a guy made a  good point about MS decisions being parallel with gamer demands as of late


ME:

No, it would not help to know what my opinon is to help transmit my point to this dude, and you saying the same, clearly indicates you missed the mark as well. 

That you think he made a good point is beyond me. The reason I even directed my attention at him was for a different reason.


3. and then a guy with a God of War profile pic (AMAZING games btw), a Sony exclusive, proceeds to lay into to him as if he's never heard of debating or persuasive counter points before (and god forbid we ever see that on the internet!). You're right we don't know your stance, but you couldn't blame someone if they felt you're probably a Sony fanboy. 


That is what my profile portrays, but it also throws people off. See, That the dude and you assumed I was a SONY fan boy because of my avatar is your mistake not mine. People need to learn to listen, despite appearances. To make things worse, many people like him are too concerned with looking "smart", and making sure the witty remarks always puts them at an upper hand. That approach works sometimes, but then comes a point that it is simply  an obnoxious person dressed up as a "logical" debater.

4.

YOU:

Also if 12,000 is a big number to you, you must live far away from a major city (not that there's anything wrong with that). It took millions of gamers' outcries and disappointing pre-orders for MS to realize they needed to change it. MILLIONS. 


ME:

You again are not getting the point. Nice how you patronize me by having made such ridiculous assumptions that I will not even try to clarify. I am already well aware of how many gamers' outcries it took. That is even beyond the point I was making.


5. YOU:

Nice try trying to saying he's wrong because 12,000 people disagree with him but fail to mention MILLIONS do.


ME: clear clarification of your current state of ignorance. "Prove him wrong"? I was according to you, using 12, 000 who disagree to prove him wrong? Again more of your snug dis respectfulness.

You many mistakes here. Might want to think again, before calling people "silly", and making all kind of wrong assumptions, and maintain a snug attitude all the while having misunderstood the whole message.

funktacious
funktacious

@cnx2022 @stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ Well as a spectator of this silly argument it would certainly help to know what your opinions were because right now all I got is that a guy made a  good point about MS decisions being parallel with gamer demands as of late, and then a guy with a God of War profile pic (AMAZING games btw), a Sony exclusive, proceeds to lay into to him as if he's never heard of debating or persuasive counter points before (and god forbid we ever see that on the internet!). You're right we don't know your stance, but you couldn't blame someone if they felt you're probably a Sony fanboy. Also if 12,000 is a big number to you, you must live far away from a major city (not that there's anything wrong with that). It took millions of gamers' outcries and disappointing pre-orders for MS to realize they needed to change it. MILLIONS. Nice try trying to saying he's wrong because 12,000 people disagree with him but fail to mention MILLIONS do.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@cnx2022 @stan_boyd if you say so, guess only you are titled to your opinions, I guess my being happy for indie game development being more accessible is bad. now please don't bother wasting your time responding again, cause I really don't care what you say and you don't care what I say, I will continue to talk to other people as much as I like because its my right to do so but anything you say I will simply ignore. 

cnx2022
cnx2022

@stan_boyd 

what in HELL are you talking about "praising, sony?" That is your 2nd incorrect assumption about me.

hate on Xbox? that is your third. 

Not interested in INdie games? 4th wrong assumption.


clearly, you are not listening. Just interested in come-backs and accusing. You are what is wrong with dialogues on Internet.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@cnx2022 @stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ ah but your stance has been pretty clear in your previous posts, your stance based on what you have been posting is "praise sony, sony is awesome MS is not", are you even interested in the xbox, after all this article is about the xbox and indie games, or are you just here to hate on the xbox like the other sony fanboys. After all if you are not interested in the xbox and its indie games then shouldn't you do as you told me and go find somewhere with like minded individuals like a sony board.

cnx2022
cnx2022

@stan_boyd @cnx2022 @RatedSTARZ

In your desire to make a witty come back you failed in 2 things. One, the reply I made to you was not one in which you were referring to indie devs.

2. You just made a huge mistake in your assumption in which you said:  only the people who agree with you are? "


See what I mean, how you need to get over yourself? coming to accuse and be all witty. This had NOTHING to do wih me. You do not even KNOW my opinion on this matter, and already calling me a "hypocrite"? There goes you again.


stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@cnx2022 @stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ there is a reason that MS is removing these policies and its not because 12000 people are asking for online drm's and crap indie policies its because of lack of preorders cause the majority hated the old policies and 12000 is a small number. Preorders have gained a very big boost since they removed the online drm.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@cnx2022 @stan_boyd @RatedSTARZ soooooooooooooo people think its bad that indie devs can now make games without having the trouble of a third party backing them? And I too am not allowed an opinion, only the people who agree with you are? You sir are a hypocrite, I am stating my opinion and you are telling me everyone but me is allowed to, so before you try and berate me for being a "white knight" perhaps you should look at your own "white knight" attitude mr saviour