Unity for Xbox One will be free for all ID@Xbox devs

Microsoft confirms middleware will be available free of charge for all independent developers signed up with new self-publishing program.

Xbox One independent developers will not need to pay for a Unity engine license, as Microsoft will make copies of the software free to all members of the self-publishing ID@Xbox program. Program head Chris Charla announced the news today on the Xbox Wire, confirming also that special Xbox One-only Unity Pro seat licenses will also be free.

"Of course, middleware isn't cheap. One of the cool things about working at Microsoft is that we have access to pretty amazing resources. For independent developers though, tools like Unity on console can cost quite a bit," Charla said.

"We thought about paying for some developers' Unity licenses but the more we talked about it, the more we felt paying for some developers' licenses and not others just didn't feel right," he added. "To us, ID@Xbox is about providing a level playing field for all developers."

Charla said Microsoft will devote marketing a promotion to "promising-looking" Xbox One independent games, but made clear that the goal of making Unity free is to level out the playing field as much as possible.

"We want to make sure the dev who's working away in Omaha, or Coventry, or Chiba will have the same shot to realize their vision on Xbox One as one of my developer friends we hang out with in Seattle or at a trade show like GDC or Gamescom," Charla said. "Because at the end of the day, we want gamers to pick the hits. That's what Xbox One is all about: One games store, the best discovery tools on console, and a powerful, equal playing field for all games, from developers big and small."

The Unity add-on for Xbox One supports "every element of Xbox One," including Kinect, SmartGlass, and the impulse triggers of the Xbox One's new controller. Unity is already available for Windows and Windows Phone at no cost.

"So from one base game, developers can ship their games across all Microsoft platforms," Charla said.

Charla teased that Microsoft is also working with "other middleware and service providers," though no specifics were announced. Microsoft formally announced the ID@Xbox program during Gamescom 2013, naming Charla the leader of the new effort.

On Xbox One, all games will be housed together. Gone is the "Indie" section from Xbox 360. Microsoft claims, though, that games won't get lost in a sea of content thanks to greater discoverability through "rich search programs." Editor's Picks and Trending sections will highlight certain games.

"All games are treated equally [on Xbox One]," Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten said in August. "It's not like 'Oh, I have to go to the Indie section.'"

Every developer accepted into the program will receive two development kits at no cost, while additional kits can be purchased. Eventually, all Xbox One systems will be able to act as a development kit, though it is unclear when this will happen.

No application or membership fees will be charged for ID@Xbox members and there will be no extra costs for game certification or title updates. Microsoft stopped charging fees for patches and updates on the Xbox 360 earlier this year.

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Discussion

64 comments
YD_11
YD_11

Pretty cool stuff from MS here. I can give or take a plethora of Indie games but they are good supplements to your big titles. 

Vodoo
Vodoo

I want the "Indie" section separate! I don't want to wade through 90% trash every time I look for a new arcade title designed by professional devs.. Indie slop should NOT be mixed in with the real games because devs that spend a lot of money on their game are gonna lose potential sales because people won't want to deal with all the crap they have to go through in order to get to the good games. Sony is placing way to much importance on Indies and Microsoft is wrongfully copying them. Supporting Indies and making it easier for them to get a game online is fine, just don't do it at the expense of professional games or the customers that don't give a damn about Indie games.

rasterror
rasterror

Another reason why I want a One, I can dabble in making my own game without having to buy additional hardware.  I'm not trying to create the next blockbuster but it might be a new hobby.

fillup0
fillup0

Expect a shit ton of shovelware games guys, Unity is about as easy as engines get.

kujel
kujel

This is good news for devs everywhere :)

unreal101
unreal101

See, if things like these were announced at E3, MS wouldn't be half as hated as it is now. Better late than never, I suppose. Now just reveal the secret sauce, and all will be forgiven  :P


velvethammer2000
velvethammer2000

Sony fans having been saying how great indies are... let's watch as they somehow make this story a negative because it's MS.

daabulls23
daabulls23

No license fee is pretty sweet. Unity for PC is a nice free start as well.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

Insert the part where the Sony's tell us how this relates to Box sucking.

instigator81
instigator81

Can't wait for patch to make all consoles a dev-kit.  That could be a while though.  As a programmer who has never done anything game wise I would love to take a shot at it.

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

Well done. Hopefully many devs take advantage of this. 

pszone
pszone

MS don't like losing so they try to all there power to win . long ago people complain about ps3 pricing and know people don't seem to care. Getting PS4 because cheaper. better service than ever they ever done.

thomasn7
thomasn7

This is good news. Unity seems to be good software. Hopefully we get better games.

jer_1
jer_1

This is actually some of the first good news I've heard for the xbone. Well done microsoft (can hardly believe I just said that).

racerxgundam
racerxgundam

i hope M$ is cool about this. i like indie publishing. i think its been pretty good so far. 

> wii u

m4a5
m4a5

Always good news, especially to Unity devs/programmers like me...

CriticalCritic
CriticalCritic

Unity? Beware the Ides of November. There will be an influx of games that put "Supra Mayro Kratt" to shame.

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

Quote "We thought about paying for some developers' Unity licenses but the more we talked about it, the more we felt paying for some developers' licenses and not others just didn't feel right," he added. "To us, ID@Xbox is about providing a level playing field for all developers."

But only a few months ago telling independent developers to go fuck themselves so your corporate pals in EA and the like could monopolise all the profits felt so right !

theKSMM
theKSMM

@Vodoo I don't think it will be a problem.  Apple doesn't have separate sections of the iTunes App Store, but through promotion and increased sales status, the professional-grade titles find a way to bubble to the top.  I don't imagine that Gameloft games will end up getting lost  under the game that the guy from Omaha is current working on.

Stevo_the_gamer
Stevo_the_gamer moderator moderator

Dev kits as well only cost $500 for the XONE and $2500 for the PS4. Crazy difference.

wookiegr
wookiegr

@fillup0 You mean the indie titles already on Xbox Live for 360 aren't shovelware? If you give people tools to create you expect lots crap to look forward to.

moesuir
moesuir

@unreal101 what hate ? they listened to users and changed everything. MS is the best :)

wookiegr
wookiegr

@velvethammer2000 Isn't the mere mention of "Sony fans" a way of you subconsciously trolling yourself? I see you hate yourself because you see yourself in others. You can be treated. You have our support.

LickTheEnvelope
LickTheEnvelope

@velvethammer2000 ... PC gaming fans as well. Nothing negative here... only thing negative is how long it took Microsoft to listen to what everyone is saying.  All this should have been done years ago.

phbz
phbz

@velvethammer2000 Probably they will come up with something genius like PS4>X1 and then clap themselves on the back.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@instigator81 Evidently my comment deleted itself. Start with something like RPG Maker VX Ace, if you can deal with how rigid of a program it is and the fact that you WONT be able to make your game look ideal. The programming is exposed and you don't really have to actually do any work, assuming you have things planned.

Then again that negates the point of being a programmer.

megakick
megakick

@pszone How do you know the service is better? Are you from the future? Based on there current service, lag, hack, brick, wait, sorry, too bad... I would have to disagree.

instigator81
instigator81

@pszone It is hard to disagree with your statement, but only because it is worded so poorly.

Tzardok
Tzardok

@thomasn7 I have looked into this software for a while. I really want a specific game but the industry never creates it. So it has come to the point that I may need to create it myself. Unity has a lot of documentation to help you and tutorials as well. It is overwhelming at first (haven't programed in years). I dare say you don't need programing background but the learning curve is very high if you never tempered with basics before. The point is however, if you truly dedicate yourself to it, you can pull it off (like most things in life =) ). 

Bottom line, I like the unity software and the philosophy behind it and I think you can make some pretty interesting stuff with it.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@de-astroturfer Actually they never were. But say what you want, fool.

ekelly10
ekelly10

That sounds more like something you said

arqe
arqe

@de-astroturfer Hmm , they said developing for Xbox One will be free since the beggining.

Riddick123
Riddick123

@Grenadeh That has happened to me before.  Go new website design.  I am getting updates every time there is a comment added and I have the receive emails disabled.

instigator81
instigator81

@UNCStriker88 @instigator81 From what I have seen that seems to be a little too high level design for what I want to do.  However, chance to do motion capture using Kinect sounds interesting.

haze0986
haze0986

@UNCStriker88 @haze0986 it looks interesting but i dont see how it would work when trying to create a new game, landscapes for sure but anything else i wouldnt bet on

UNCStriker88
UNCStriker88

@haze0986 actually it is game development, it not programming and all that but it is a platform to develop games

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

@kujel @de-astroturfer My apologies it wasn't meant to be derogatory towards autistic people more expressing disbelief towards how literally he took my statement, but on the subject of offence what is your stance on GTA's portrayal of women, personally I find that offensive as its clearly an attack on women, if you agree then fair enough, otherwise its a little hypocritical don't you think ? PS Im hoping you'd agree so I can reiterate my apology safely in the knowledge you didn't express offence to gain leverage in the debate, you might be thinking what the hell is he on about but I believe you have to really understand someone before an apology can be truly sincere.

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

@ekelly10 Yeah because they literally said that didn't they, what are you autistic or just clutching at straws and the past especially the recent past is ALWAYS relevant !!!!!!! especially when it comes to determining a companies REAL attitude towards the little guy !

ekelly10
ekelly10

Sounds different than telling them to fuck themselves and entirely irrelevant now anyways