Microsoft’s making it very clear that it is listening to users and developers when it comes to the Xbox One.
First it reversed most of its draconian policies for gaming on its new, yet-to-be-released console, after enormous outrage by gamers. Despite that, PlayStation fanboys still had that one thing to hang over the heads of Xbox proponents: self-publishing.
This mechanism – supported by the PlayStation 4, out of the box – makes it possible for indie developers to create and publish their own content on the system. Microsoft’s Xbox Live chief, Marc Whitten, announced it, saying, “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development.”
Traditionally, publishing a game for a console requires a development kit – an expensive bit of hardware that lets developers debug code and bring up diagnostic tools. Of course not every retail Xbox is now a dev kit: Microsoft already supported self-publishing, in a limited form, on the Xbox 360, with its community games project. Before this announcement, Microsoft was seen as having a staunchly anti-indie approach, while the PlayStation 4 accepted independent game developers without any hassles.
Getting to the point, Whitten said, “This means self-publishing.”
Detailing the extent of the Xbox’s capabilities available to self publishers, “This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE.”
The company will announce full details of the new programme at Gamescom, in August.