ID@Xbox E3 2014

Sony’s emphasis of independent games during their 2013 E3 press conference and show, including how easy it was to develop for and publish on PlayStation, was the antithesis to Microsoft’s policies on the Xbox 360. If a developer wanted to put a game on the Xbox Games Store, they would have to find a publisher and shoulder numerous other fees, costs, and restrictions. At some point, many developers decided it was not worth the hassle and made their games only for the PC or for the PlayStation platforms.

ID@Xbox looks to change this trend by making developing for the Xbox One simple and appealing for indies. The major alteration, according to program director Chris Charla, is to make the new system one of “‘transparency and openness.’” This paradigm shift transforms not only how publishing works, but also the way it is communicated. ID@Xbox offers an easy to understand and implement system compared to how it was on the Xbox 360. Self-publishing is now an option and there are no fees for processes like certification and title updates. Microsoft will even provide “two free Xbox One development kits plus free access to middleware tools like Unity, Unreal Engine, and HomeBrew.” In addition, Charla explains how social media, especially Twitter, is a great tool for independent developers and the ID@Xbox program.

Being accessible via social media means developers can not only get support quickly when necessary, but also keeps the ID@Xbox team honest. Charla likens it to a spotlight, which of course highlights the benefits of the program, but also exposes any flaws. Nevertheless, he says his team is ready to engage with developers and take their feedback seriously because having “a direct relationship with everybody, is essential. We’re never going to stop listening.”

Source: OXM Online