Indie Developers Unable to Self-Publish on the Xbox One

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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Xbox One Logo

There has been some controversy surrounding Microsoft’s newest next gen console, the Xbox One, and it looks like more is on the way. Microsoft, in a interview with Shacknews, has revealed that independent developers still won’t be able to self-publish their own games for Xbox Live Arcade, and instead must make a publishing deal with Microsoft Game Studios or another third-party partner.

This is a rather unusual move by Microsoft, whose relationships with indie developers have started to crack. Limitations placed by the software juggernaut led to many indie games never being released on the Xbox 360, and with this strict policy returning to the Xbox One, the trend will probably continue. The games published on the Xbox Live Indie Games service will be exempt from this policy, but the level of success that indie games find in that marketplace as been a lot lower.

As mentioned earlier, this treatment of indie developers is not new. Microsoft confirmed earlier this year, that they were not going to release new versions of the XNA development kit any longer, which is required for all indie games on the Microsoft Indie Games service.

xbox one 2

Asked by Shacknews if Microsoft will continue it’s publishing restrictions on their newest console, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, Matt Booty, answered. “As of right now, yes. We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have.”

Continuing, he added, “I would also expect that for this new generation, that we’re going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content. But Microsoft Studios is a publisher that works with a wide range of partners, as do a lot of other people, to bring digital content to the box.”

Microsoft is finding itself being left behind in concerns to growing healthy relations with independent developers. In strict contrast, Sony and Nintendo have allowed indie developers to publish their own games on both the PlayStation Network and the Nintendo Network without such restrictions; especially Sony Entertainment, who is leading the charge by aggressively reaching out to acquire indie content for the PS4. If Microsoft desires the Xbox One to be a haven for future indie games, they should examine other possibilities that would make both them and independent developers happy.



About Samuel North

A writer at Operation Rainfall, a lover of videogames, and an insomniac who can't tell what day it is. There really isn't much else interesting to say, except that I've eaten an entire box of ramen noodles in one sitting.