The Xbox One announcement hasn’t exactly been a smashing hit that Microsoft was expecting it to be. Fan outcries about their DRM policies has especially been the sorest point; so much so that they did a U-turn on said policy to appease disgruntled gamers. Ever since then, Microsoft has tried their hardest to listen to fan feedbacks, and change things up to ensure that their next-generation console will satisfy gamers around the globe. Case in point: their latest policy change concerning self-publishing, which just made the console a lot more appealing to indies.
Most indie developers have a lot of positive things to say about the change. Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail told Edge:
“Microsoft opening up to more experiences, allowing for more diverse developers and allowing more content for gamers isn’t something we should applaud, it’s really something we should expect of any serious contender in a platform war in 2013. This is literally Microsoft removing arbitrary barriers that stopped us from releasing on Xbox platforms at all. Removing barriers between developers and gamers is always a good thing.
NimbleBit co-founder David Marsh said, “The Xbox One announcement has definitely shifted our attitude towards the console from ‘don’t care’ to ‘very curious’.”
The idea of every Xbox One doubling as a devkit impresses Gun Monkeys studio Size Five Games:
“ It is one less barrier, one less hurdle to have to get past,” said studio founder Dan Marshall. “If I can pick up a console and know 100% for sure that my game’s going to run the same on everyone else’s that’s a godsend. This is a brilliant idea, and something Microsoft should be shouting from the rooftops. Massive saving for indies ultimately means more games, and better games thanks to that extra bit of cash flying around.”
Still, there are concerns about how smaller studios’ games will be sold through Xbox One’s storefront, especially considering the software giants they have to compete with in the market. On this subject, NimbleBit’s David Marsh said, “ XBLIG had a big problem being represented as the ‘kids table’ compared to XBLA games. The curation and presentation is a big unknown at this point, and it’s the part that will make the difference. Self published games need to have the chance to be top billing next to bigger publisher games if they are popular enough, and be presented in the same store.”
Clearly, there are still a lot of questions that Microsoft have yet to answer. Lucky Frame co-founder Yann Seznec puts it best:
“For me, there’s not really enough information to draw any conclusions. I like the idea of an Xbox doubling as devkit, that seems like a really great thing. But ‘self publishing’ can mean a lot of things! What will be the approval process? How much will it cost? How will the storefront be designed? Will ‘self-published’ games be hidden in a million sub menus? Will there be a structure for marketing support? Will terrible games get rejected? If so, who decides what is terrible?”