Friday, 24 May 2013

Indies Still Won't be Able to Self-Publish on Xbox One

No indie love here.

Let's round out the week with more Xbox One stuff, because sure why not? If you still haven't heard by now, the unveiling of the Xbox One is generally agreed to have gone over less than well. There are plenty of things to be concerned about; the lack of backwards compatibility, the need to be connected, the used games thing. However, these are concerns of the gamer, what of concerns of the game maker? Well, if you're a dev then you're going to already be familiar with Microsoft's policy regarding indie games, because it's the same as the last time.

Unfortunately, this means that Indie developers still aren't going to be able to self-publish on Xbox One.

It's a shame, because as far as I can tell the Xbox Live Marketplace is one of the best places to be if you want to get your games out to a large market. There are places online computer wise like Steam, GOG, and other stores, but for consoles it's generally seemed like Microsoft was the one that you really wanted to be on. Of course now with Sony and Nintendo doing things like waiving fees and such, that might change, regardless of how good or bad the new Xbox Marketplace might be.

Odder, and perhaps more worrying still, is the number of Indie developers that still want to put something out on the Xbox One, but haven't gotten word back from Microsoft:

"Rami Ismail at Dutch studio Vlambeer, for example, said that Microsoft actually got in touch with him about development for the platform, and then never got back to him when he made contact. The Super Crate Box developer hadn't heard of any other European devs who were looking into creating Xbox One games either, and he's a fairly well connected guy."

This doesn't mean that the Xbox will have no indie games this next generation, but with its competition doing all it can to court small time developers and Microsoft seemingly going in the opposite direction, it's incredibly hard to see why you'd choose to try Xbox if you're trying to go that route.

Don't get me wrong, there's time to turn things around, but I don't really know how likely it is now that Microsoft has gone on the record with things. I didn't really have any predictions regarding this next generation Xbox, because the 360 did a lot of things right and got Microsoft in really solid. People who dismissed them during the Xbox years took notice and started changing their minds. This honestly seems like a step backwards though. It was almost what people were expecting Sony might be dumb enough to do, again.

I honestly just don't know. I suppose a small bit of relief is that I don't seem to be alone in that mindset.

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