As part of their Gamescom 2013 conference, Microsoft reaffirmed their dedication to independent developers by announcing the ‘Independent Developers Initiative.’ Through the Initiative, Microsoft will be able to curate a wide variety of talent without putting any cost on the indie developers themselves.
The Initiative starts with an application process where Microsoft evaluates every potential developer, from the single coder in his basement to the triple-A team. Every developer chosen for the Initiative, once approved by Microsoft, will receive two Xbox One development kits for free.
However, as Microsoft’s Chris Charla explains, the program will not be an all-inclusive club, at least not at first. When the program first launches, Microsoft will be seeking out teams that have already shipped games and “are reasonably well established.” Clearly, the goal is to curate indie content that will meet a certain quality standard, so Microsoft is going for the established teams first.
Part of that quality guarantee will include a set of strong moderation policies that will prevent anything crude or offensive from making its way onto the Xbox Live marketplace. At the same time, though, Charla says, “We’re working to make this as straightforward and accelerated for developers,” which suggests that developers won’t have to jump through as many hoops as they did with the Xbox 360.
Of course, it was only just a few weeks ago that Microsoft wasn’t about to allow indie self-publishing at all, but thankfully they saw the error in their ways. To be frank, a lot of gamers are thankful they saw the errors in a lot of their policies.
While Microsoft is still keeping a lot of the major details about this Independent Developers Initiative a secret, they wanted to take the stage at Gamescom and reaffirm their dedication to the indies who may have felt burned early on. In fact, even those developers who don’t make it into the Initiative can start development on their own indie titles, as each Xbox One console will double as a dev kit. That functionality won’t be available at launch, though, but is said to become available some time in early 2014.
What do you think of Microsoft’s Independent Developers Initiative? Does it sound like Microsoft is working hard enough to win back the favor of indie developers?
The Xbox One will be out this November.