Microsoft details long-awaited Xbox One self-publishing plans
Full access to Xbox One services; no fees for game updates; MS will set price for titles
Microsoft has finally detailed its independent self-publishing service for the Xbox One, allowing developers to create, sell and market games through the new home console.
All developers accepted for the scheme will receive two Xbox One development kits free of charge, as well as access to the full range of services on offer to games development teams - cloud services, Kinect and the Xbox One toolset, which includes Smartglass, multiplayer, Achievements and Gamerscores.
In order to help with the discoverability issues that trouble all self-publishing stores, Microsoft is promising that all games will feature in the regular Xbox One store and be supported by voice search.
On top of that the store will also feature trending games reflecting what the community and friends are playing, recommendations based on a consumer's playing habits, spotlighted games and the ability for developers to set community challenges, as well as support the Xbox One's Game DVR and Upload services.
"It feels like Microsoft is interested in not only removing roadblocks for indies to get their games on Xbox One, but they're also genuinely interested in finding ways to bring new and innovative indie games to their platform"
Speaking to GamesIndustry International in an exclusive interview published today, Phil Harrison, corporate vice president at Microsoft Europe's interactive entertainment business, revealed that Microsoft will set the price of self-published games after developers have established their wholesale price and that developers are likely to receive an industry standard 70/30 split in their favour.
"The developer can set their own wholesale price and we act as the retailer. So Xbox Live acts as a reseller, and Xbox Live Store will be setting the ultimate retail price to the consumer. That's the way in which our store has always been structured," he said.
Developers will have access to a global support team headed by Chris Charla and a team of community managers, with Microsoft looking to establish physical events for developers in London, Seattle and San Francisco starting this autumn.
"Microsoft has a heritage of enabling developers to do great things and that support continues today," said Charla. "The independent development scene has matured and changed a ton in the past couple of years, so we are acting on that to meet the needs of the development community."
Independent developers who have already given their support to Microsoft's new initiative include Chris Hecker, The Behemoth's John Baez, Paul Wedgewood from Splash Damage, Other Ocean's Mike Mika, Team 17's Debbie Bestwick, The Odd Gentlemen's Matt Korab, Ripstone's Phil Gaskel and Dlala Studios.
Applications for the self-publishing service, named ID@Xbox, are being accepted from today, with Microsoft stating that priority will be given to developers with a proven track record in shipping games on console, mobile, PC or tablets.
There are no application fees for certification or for title updates. While applications are being curated to begin with, Microsoft has said that eventually it hopes that every Xbox One will become a development kit for self-publishing purposes.
"It feels like Microsoft is interested in not only removing roadblocks for indies to get their games on Xbox One, but they're also genuinely interested in finding ways to bring new and innovative indie games to their platform to help games reach their potential as an art and entertainment form," offered Chris Hecker, developer of Spy Party.
The full interview with Phil Harrison, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the interactive entertainment business in Europe, can be read here.