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Xbox One won't allow self-publishing by indies

Xbox One won't allow self-publishing by indies

Wed 22 May 2013 3:04pm GMT / 11:04am EDT / 8:04am PDT
Publishing

Microsoft's current publishing practices stay in place for Xbox One

Yesterday, Microsoft's Studios corporate vice president Phil Harrison told Eurogamer that the marketplace on the company's new Xbox One console would combine retail games, Xbox Live Arcade, and Xbox Live Indie Games into a single section.

"In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos. With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they're games," said Harrison.

The problem is that Xbox Live Arcade requires a publisher in order to get onto the service. Independent developers have to work with an outside publisher or obtain a Microsoft publishing deal to launch on Xbox Live Arcade, or end up in the no man's land of Xbox Live Indie Games. With the Indie Games section going away, that means developers are stuck with the standard Xbox publishing rules.

Microsoft general manager of Redmond game studios and platforms Matt Booty confirmed to Shacknews that Xbox One would not allow indies to self-publish.

"As of right now, yes," said Booty. "We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have. I would also expect that for this new generation, that we're going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content. But Microsoft Studios is a publisher that works with a wide range of partners, as do a lot of other people, to bring digital content to the box."

Valve's Steam platform for PC is popular with indies due to the wide userbase and ability to self-publish. Sony and Nintendo are both aiming for indies with new publishing initiatives on PlayStation Network and the Nintendo eShop. In contrast, Microsoft has come under fire in the past for its restrictive publishing practices when it comes to independent developers, and it looks like things won't be changing in the future.

12 Comments

Khash Firestorm
Senior Programmer

38 37 1.0
Ah cool, just another reason to not buy this console. I wonder how they master this anti-marketing but they are really good in it. Whatever I do to make myserlf think positive about Xbox 1 they find way to counter it....

Posted:A year ago

#1

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

368 144 0.4
I think this is actually a good move, there is so much tat on the Xbox Live Indie channel right now, if they are combining marketplaces I don't want generally higher quality XBLA game getting flooded out of view by "Vibrating Controller Massage 5" things. It is bad enough having to trawl through all the Rock Band/Guitar Hero/Dance Central downloads to get to anything now.

Should Microsoft set up a publishing arm to bring the best Indie games to market like Fez, Super Meat Boy and Braid did? Sure, but that system must already in place because Fez, Super Meat Boy and Braid came out.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barrie Tingle on 22nd May 2013 4:54pm

Posted:A year ago

#2

Ryan Leonski

25 7 0.3
Theres some great games on the XBLIG service though including the Penny Arcade's game On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness 3, DLC quest, Cthulu Saves the World, among others. Its a great way if you're looking to make a small game for console. But no more. Sad days are coming.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,152 933 0.8
Now here's a potential boost for Nintendo, Sony and maybe even Ouya...

Posted:A year ago

#4

Anthony Gowland
Lead Designer

176 559 3.2
Its a great way if you're looking to make a small game for console
Really? I'm sure I read reports that pretty much everyone apart from the minecraft clones made negligible amounts of money on it.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Caleb Hale
Journalist

154 228 1.5
Indie games are nice, but they don't sell consoles to the type of audience Microsoft is trying to attract with Xbox One. Again, it's a little early (probably about 7-8 years early) to try to pigeonhole these next-gen consoles on who they are for. Indie games are going to be released on all of them, because they are a force to be reckoned with in the industry right now.

In the gamer-centric circles that frequent these types of trade sites, it's easy to over-inflate the perception an outlet for indie games is an important selling point for a game system. Hardcore gamers, who imbibe themselves in nearly every first-person-shooter or big-budget action title, find indie games a refreshing alternative when AAA gets to feeling a little stale. To the person who buys only a handful of new games each year, they don't need and aren't necessarily seeking that release.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

639 245 0.4
In the gamer-centric circles that frequent these types of trade sites, it's easy to over-inflate the perception an outlet for indie games is an important selling point for a game system.
True. But having a nice selection of games helps. Only if there would be as much big publishers as there was in 2005 :) People are not going to invest in a platform where there are only a handful AAA games per year. Similar issue with the WiiU. There is no software. Its too expensive to make a AAA game for such a small user base. Indies not going to solve that, but there is a serious problem with a company that turns away people enthusiastic about their products instead tapping into their creativity. Just wait until the next generation comes of age who knows nothing about the consoles, and have no interest whatsoever to play or develop for them.
To the person who buys only a handful of new games each year, they don't need and aren't necessarily seeking that release.
Also true. But if the console is sold at a loss, they are not the ones who will generate the profit for the platform holder on the short term.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Caleb Hale
Journalist

154 228 1.5
Tom,

"Gamers" won't invest in a platform with only a handful of AAA titles. Microsoft execs are betting "people" will, especially if that box does other things for your living room entertainment setup. And if the three to four games the more casual gaming fan picks up each year won't cover the loss MS might take on the Xbox One, the annual subscription fee to access virtually all of the system's online offerings will.

Posted:A year ago

#8
This is easy. The console supports windows 8? ... so Microsoft can shunt all indies over to w8 metro/modern ui app development. Basically PC dev plus Kinect?

At the moment it definitely sounds like their focus is ea not indies.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

949 166 0.2
"We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have."
Ooooooooh dear!

Posted:A year ago

#10

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

199 1,091 5.5
They don't need to open the console to anyone, like XBLIG. All they need to do is to open door for "professional indies". Like Sony and Nintendo did. They are not flooded with garbage and they can manage taking care of all the developers...

But Microsoft is clearly after the AAA and some high-profile indie games. That's OK, they don't need to create livelihood for every small developer out there. I just hope that this attitude will come back to bite their a$$, when their audience moves away.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jakub Mikyska on 23rd May 2013 10:45am

Posted:A year ago

#11

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Well that sux!!!

Posted:A year ago

#12

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