Not one month after pulling an Xbox 180 and reversing their policy on used games and Internet connectivity, Microsoft has done it again. This time, however, they are addressing a concern that lies not with the consumer but the developer.
Earlier this week a report surfaced that suggested Microsoft was thinking about changing their stance on indie game self-publishing, and now they have done just that. Although they plan to reveal more about self-publishing at this year’s GamesCom, Microsoft apparently didn’t want the rumors to swirl any longer.
However, while the big reveal will have to wait until August, Microsoft was willing to talk about the various self publishing features that will be at indie developers’ fingertips. More specifically, Microsoft revealed that every Xbox One console will double as its own dev kit for development and QA testing.
Moreover, the entire feature suite of the Xbox One (achievements, Kinect, Xbox Live, etc.) will be at indie developers’ disposal. As Microsoft’s Marc Whitten explains, although indie devs have struggled to get their games out there as of late, that will change with the Xbox One.
“Our intention is that there will not be an indie ghetto. I do believe in some curation and I want the best to flow to the top. But I also want to be able to see what’s trending on the surface. At the end of the day, discoverability will be driven by spotlight human curation and by usage.”
Whitten also says that the end goal is to allow for cross-pollination between the Xbox One and Windows 8 devices. Indie publishers will presumably be able to craft experiences that work for consoles, mobile devices, and PCs.
It’s also important to note that self-publishing will not be “fully there” at launch — some features are still being ironed out. Again, expect more details at GamesCom.
It’s clear that after E3 2013, Microsoft saw what gamers had already seen: the Xbox One was caught in a losing battle with the PS4. In order to increase their chances for success, Microsoft has pivoted in some pretty drastic ways, first with regards to used games and now self-publishing.
Obviously, it’s better that the console maker change their stance now then after the Xbox One launches, but one has to wonder why Microsoft couldn’t foresee this sizable gamer backlash. And if Microsoft’s stance on self-publishing and used games can change seemingly at the drop of a hat, what else might change?
How do you feel about Microsoft changing their stance on Xbox One self-publishing? Does that change your perception of the next-gen console?
The Xbox One launches this November for $499.