If you’re an indie developer hoping to be able to escape the confines of the current way Microsoft are handling the way small developers release games on Xbox Live, you’re out of luck. Flying in the face of Sony with their Playstation store, or even Nintendo with their eShop, Microsoft don’t believe the current method is broken.
If you’re an Indie Developer intending to release a game on the Xbox One, you must seek a publishing deal with either Microsoft themselves, or a third-party publisher. This is an all too familiar story, the same as Indie developers must jump through with the Xbox 360 / Xbox Live.
Shacknews bought up this question, and were answered by Matt Booty, the general manager of Redmond Game Studios and platforms.
“As of right now, yes. We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have.” He also 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.”
“Oh dear,” tweeted the rather vocal Mike Bithell. Mike is the developer of the hit indie game “Thomas Was Alone”. He further tweeted “So it looks like you won’t be seeing #project2 on your Xbox One…”
Two Tribes developer, Toki Tori 2 got in on the Twitter action too: “No self publishing on Xbox One probably means no Two Tribes games. This was really a chance for Microsoft to fix the broken XBLA setup. :(“
So – in my opinion, this is a pretty silly choice by Microsoft. Right now, Indie developers are flocking to the Playstation 4. Sony are setting themselves up to be very good friends with Indie developers. While it is possible to write of indie developers as creators of titles which may not matter much compared to the next COD, there is something you should remember. Titles like Minecraft are created from small indie studios, and other titles such as Amnesia, Thomas Was Alone, Limbo, Trine, Terraria among dozens of other games are fantastic titles that should be enjoyed.
The PC has long been the home of indie development, and various services, including Valve’s Steam and Humble Bundle make it easy for the developers to self publish the games. While it’s not exactly a ‘painless’ process, it certainly is a hell of a lot easier than going the Xbox route.
A couple of weeks ago, Sony added the “Indie game” category onto the Playstation Store, as a sign of their support. Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami and other games are now being ported to the Playstation format too. While this may not be exactly a killer blow to Microsoft, it never hurts to encourage as much development on your console as possible.
It takes only a small amount of googling to hear Indie developers not having many kind words about Microsoft’s treatment of Indie Developers. It was only a short time ago MS mentioned they were looking into improving the way they handled the indie game situation. Leaving it the same as it currently is, isn’t improving it.