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.