Gamescom 2013: Microsoft Announces Independent Developers @ Xbox Initiative
Today, at Gamescom, Microsoft has announced a new platform for indie devs to bring their games to the Xbox One. This platform is called the Independent Developers @ Xbox Initiative, which aims to make publishing and developing on the new console more accessible and easier than before, with the Xbox 360. Their aim is to be as transparent with the process as Sony was with the PS4, and bring in as much fresh talent as possible.
Promising developers can apply for the initiative starting from today and become registered developers, and in the process receive two Xbox One development kits. All of this will not cost devs anything at all, as all costs are covered by Microsoft. Chris Charla, the program’s director, had this to say to IGN, “The program is open to developers of all scales” and elaborates saying that the program will be inclusive rather than exclusionary and allows all kinds of devs to take part in the program. Microsoft wants to bring in new talent, and at the same time maintain relationships with sound and reputable developers who have successfully shipped games before.
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This move by Microsoft will hopefully counter a proliferation of cloned indie games making their way on to the Xbox One, as is the case with other digital services like Apple’s App store. How they will be policing and quality control on the new platform is uncertain at this time. Certification it seems will be streamlined in due time. Charla claims that Microsoft wants to make the service “straightforward and accelerated for developers”. But how this whole process operates is still very much a mystery, as indie devs participating in the program are under strict NDAs, or are uninformed at the moment.
On a more positive note, it’s great to see Microsoft seriously taking on the challenge of indie development and offering a model for self-publishing on the console. Whilst it still remains unclear, there will surely be more specific details will be revealed in time.