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By 29 July 2013 | Categories: news

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Just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be another Xbox One related twist, Microsoft announced yet another development, this time though, it is a positive and potentially  exciting one.

According to the Redmond company, independent developers will be able to publish their games on the Xbox One without having to partner up first with a publisher, as required by the Xbox 360.

Furthermore, developers will apparently be able to use the same consoles available in stores as development kits.

According to Kotaku, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Xbox Marc Whitten is quoted as stating that the company’s vision entails “every person being able to become a creator”, every Xbox One usable for development, and that every game and experience would be able to take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live.

“This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live,” he elaborated.

Shifting sands

This is a dramatic tide shift from how development for the Xbox 360 worked, which more clearly resembled an exclusive club, with developers first having to acquire a development kit in order to access PartnerNet, through which they could test their unreleased games. The abolishment of these hoops  also means that suddenly the smallest indie developers could well find themselves hitting the ground running and potentially growing into a larger development studio.

While devkit functionality would not be available at launch, apparently developers would only need to sign up online, following which they would be able to download the devkit, edit source code on their PC and transfer it over to their console.

Whitten did elaborate that indie games also would have their space to shine on the console, with a central marketplace in which people will be able to find all kinds of games, including those created by indies. Inside that, users will be able to use different “pivots’ to discover curated content, recommendations, what’s trending as well as game genres.

Potential and Promise

However, taking a page out of Apple’s App Store book, there would still be a certification process that games would be subjected to. Although specifics about how exactly this would work have not yet been detailed, this is not necessarily a bad thing at all, as it works quite well to separate the wheat from the chaff and ensure that a certain standard is met, at least on the App Store.     

For Microsoft, this should go a long way towards addressing its ‘indie problem’, with the company previously being slammed by Oddworld’s creator Lorne Lanning for only being interested in large publishers and multi-million dollar game studios.

To the point

Indeed, if Microsoft can lure indie developers to its new platform – as Sony has made a concentrated effort to do – then its new console becomes considerably more attractive, addressing one of the mitigating factors against investing in it. Indeed, while triple-A titles may still garner most of the attention and marketing, all indications are that we can look forward to independent game developers increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Thus Microsoft’s move away from ignoring developers is another step in the right direction, following the abandonment of its confounding and unnecessary DRM enforcement. 

In recent news, the sales of next-gen consoles were forecast to fall short of their predecessor’s popularity.

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