If you have an Xbox One you now also have a Xbox One dev kit, thanks to a new update for the preview version of the feature that can make …
On Monday, Microsoft’s Chris Charla issued “an open invitation for other networks to participate” in cross-network play, with Psyonix Inc.’s Rocket League being the first game to support the feature. …
In a recently published feature, XBLA Fans explored multiplayer sports/platformer game #IDARB‘s path to release — for free. As part of our reporting for that piece we spoke with ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla about Microsoft’s newfound willingness to give independent Xbox developers as many game codes as they want.
According to some Xbox Live Arcade developers XBLA Fans has interviewed over the years, the console holder wasn’t always so forthcoming with game codes. It wasn’t the only complaint developers had, either. While there was nothing quite like Xbox Live Arcade when the Xbox 360 first launched in November of 2005, the competition quickly caught on and, in some cases, surpassed the OG of indie game stores with arguably more developer-friendly offerings. Droves of high-profile XBLA developers spoke out against the platform and turned their affection toward Steam, mobile and/or the PlayStation Network in XBLA’s twilight years.
Despite a growing public perception that Microsoft was sitting back and letting this happen while the PlayStation Network became the new place for indies to be on consoles, Charla told us that wasn’t case. Redmond was listening for suggestions as to how it might iterate on XBLA and create a new indie environment with more modern solutions.
“When we started ID@Xbox, well, actually way before we started it, we went [on] a huge listening tour and talked (and listened) to more than fifty studios about what we were doing right and wrong in terms of how we were working with independent developers,” recalled Charla. “ID@Xbox really grew directly out of those conversations. I think XBLA was rad, it was revolutionary, but I also think there was a period where the market changed and we needed to change with it. That’s really where ID@Xbox came from.”
Mike Mika has a problem. Gamers who’ve secured free copies of #IDARB, his multiplayer hybrid basketball/platformer game, likely don’t consider it to be a problem, but for Mika and his team at developer Other Ocean Interactive, it absolutely is. And it’s one that the head of development at Other Ocean can’t help but exacerbate.
“The problem we have, everything is so…we’re just so fixed in our ways,” the design director tells XBLA Fans, “it’s like, ‘Well, this should just be free. It should just be free.’ And we’re probably part of the problem when you hear people complain about free-to-play games, and how that’s been a race to the bottom on being able to make money. I can see how that happens, because while we’re putting this game together it feels like the right thing to do by all the gamers is to give [#IDARB] to them. I’m sure it’s dangerous. We can’t afford to keep giving it to them.”
But he wishes that they could. While acknowledging that giving too much away is “dangerous,” Mika says that his studio is “definitely erring on the side of being as extremely fair as possible.” No one who’s followed #IDARB (It Draws a Red Box) would dispute that that’s exactly what Other Ocean has done with its game. Mika solicited the help of every gamer with an opinion when designing #IDARB. Then he gave his game away for free before it released. Then he again gave it away for free when it released. Now he wants to give some additional #IDARB content away for free — all of its additional content, actually. But he can’t do that; he’s got a family to feed, and a studio to make profitable. So how does Mika do that? Where does he draw the line between what’s free and what’s for sale? He’s not really sure.
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 …
It’s no secret: many developers who brought their games to Xbox Live Arcade last generation were put off by the process and Microsoft’s policies. Some even abandoned the platform as a result. It may have taken a few years and a lot of complaints, but word of the indie development community’s malcontent finally made it to Microsoft, and the platform holder decided to do something about it. That something is the ID@Xbox, for which 25 games were announced last week at GDC.
So what’s different this time around? Chris Charla, the program’s director, recently chatted with Digital Spy and answered that exact question. One of the biggest complaints about XBLA was its lack of visibility. Gamers who powered on their Xbox 360s and explored the dashboard weren’t finding most XBLA games. It wasn’t the gamers’ fault, though; Arcade games were buried deeper and deeper away in the increasingly convoluted Xbox 360 menu system nearly every time it was updated. Charla, reiterating previous statements Microsoft has made about ID@Xbox, explained how indie games are now easier to find on Xbox One.
“There’s not a separate section,” he told Digital Spy. “It’s just a game is a game is a game. Games that come through ID@Xbox will be right next to games from any other publisher.”
And since all games are just that, indie games will receive access to everything AAA games do on Xbox One: Kinect, SmartGlass, Upload, Twitch recording, achievements, etc. While Charla admitted that discoverability is a continuing problem for indie games on all distribution platforms, he believes that tearing down the walls that separated such games from big budget releases on Xbox 360 is paramount to solving the problem.
It feels like we’ve been waiting on game announcements for some time, but the ID@Xbox team unleashed the floodgates last week for the first wave of titles using the new independent development program. Twenty-five games were showcased at a public event during GDC providing developers a chance for direct fan interaction. The ID@Xbox team released a video highlighting five of the games: Super Time Force from Capy Games, Strike Suit Zero Directors Cut from Born Ready Games, It Draws a Red Box from Other Ocean Interactive, Spectra 8 Bit Racing from Gateway Interactive and FRU from Through Games.
ID@Xbox, Microsoft’s initiative for bringing high-quality indie titles to the Xbox One, was announced at Gamescom in August of this year. Along with that announcement came the appointment of …