In yet another change of heart from Microsoft, they have confirmed that the Xbox One will support self-publishing for indie game developers. On top of that, retail Xbox One systems will be able to double as game development kits, meaning that any Xbox One purchased can be used for game development and testing purposes.
In a statement from Marc Whitten, Corporate Vice President of Xbox, on Xbox Wire, he said that their vision for the Xbox One is to have everyone be a creator. And that every Xbox One can be used to support that vision by doubling as a development kit.
“Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at GamesCom in August.”
However, indie developers are mixed about the Microsoft’s change of heart. While some developers are glad to see a change of policy, many remain skeptical about it.
TowerFall creator, Matt Thorson said that self-publishing would make a “huge difference” to him.
“For me, lack of self-publishing makes it very difficult to consider launching on a platform. I’ve never worked with Microsoft, but I’ve heard horror stories from other indies. Fingers crossed they’re aware of the problems and are ready to put in the work to catch up to Sony. They seem to be on the right track with this and the recent removal of the XBLA patch fee.”
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine creator, Andy Schatz also expressed excitement about Microsoft’s policy change. He mentioned that with an open platform approach, indie developers will be able to save time and energy on pitching their ideas and game to publishers as it removes the need for them.
However, Schatz did go on to mention that if without help from Microsoft, indie developers who self-publish would still face a hard battle ahead.
“If Microsoft doesn’t promote your game, it will still be a gigantic uphill battle to see any sort of meaningful sales.”
And lastly, Skullgirls developer, Peter Bartholow expressed skepticism about the policy change. He mentioned that while the change of heart from Microsoft is welcomed, he will have to wait until he “reads the fine print before making any kind of final judgement”.
“I’d need to see the fine print before making any kind of final judgment. After all, these new policies were crafted by the same people that made the last set of awful policies.”
While Microsoft may have finally caught up with the PlayStation 4 policies, but it is currently still unclear if the playing field for these two next gen consoles are level. Microsoft plans to release more details on their self-publishing program at GamesCom 2013.
What do you think about Microsoft’s change of heart? Would we see more indie game developers flocking to the Xbox One because of this policy change or is it too late for Microsoft? Let us know in the comments below.