Microsoft outlines Xbox One indie dev program
Applications now open for Independent Developers @ Xbox program; priority given to established developers; no fees whatsoever.
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Today at Gamescom 2013 Microsoft announced the Independent Developers @ Xbox program, the company's all-new policy that will allow any developer to self-publish on Xbox One.
The announcement comes after Microsoft reversed its stance on independent publishing policies last month, confirming that all studios can self-publish on Xbox One.
Today's announcement details the program at length and provides a vision for where it will head in the future.
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 told GameSpot. "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. Whitten said additional kits can be purchased, but he declined to discuss pricing information.
All independent developers will have access to the same benefits developers have today, including the "full power" of the console, as well as cloud services, Kinect, and features like SmartGlass, multiplayer, achievements, and Gamerscore.
Leading the Independent Developers @ Xbox program as director will be Chris Charla, who previously held the title of XBLA portfolio director at Microsoft. He will oversee the program and work with developers as well as a staff of community managers.
"He loves games; the people and the space," Whitten said.
Applications for the Independent Developers @ Xbox program are being accepted beginning today at www.xbox.com/id. Acceptance into the program will be granted with priority to "qualified" developers with a "proven track record" of shipping games for console, PC, or mobile.
According to Whitten, a "qualified" developer is defined as an outfit that has "established themselves in the indie community" and have "made great games" and have "exciting ideas."
No application or membership fees will be charged 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.
The initial phase of the program will launch this fall.
Looking ahead, Microsoft reiterated its long-term goal is to enable every Xbox One console to be used as a development kit, though Whitten declined to say when this might happen. "Our focus right now is more on the people that have experience because we're learning at the same time," he said.
Regarding the revenue share Microsoft will have in place for independent Xbox One developers, Whitten said "it's the industry standard. It's not different for this set of creators than other creators on the platform."
Overall, Microsoft's new Xbox One independent policy will be shaped by the developers it serves, Whitten said. "I think that's critical," Whitten said about changing and evolving the program over time based on feedback.
"I don't think there's any other thing we can do."