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Xbox One makes indie-game publishing and promotion harder for developers

LIMBO Screenshot - Limbo

Microsoft is losing the popularity vote fast. Between the drama over always-on Internet connections, preowned game fees, and even Kinect, the Xbox One isn't impressing too many people. And its continued lack of support for indies may push some developers away.

Both Sony and Nintendo are embracing independent gamemakers and building positive relations with them, but Microsoft won't allow these developers to self-publish their games on Xbox One.

"We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have," Matt Booty, the general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, told Shacknews.

That means developers need a publishing deal with either Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party representative to release titles on Xbox Live Arcade. Xbox Live Indie Games is an exception, but developers there struggle to gain visibility, and Microsoft hasn't been supportive enough of the marketplace.

However, Microsoft has now announced that it's doing away with those separate channels and just making a single one for all games, according to Eurogamer. That may make promotion even more difficult for indie developers.

"We don't make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two," said Phil Harrison, Microsoft's corporate vice president.

That's a different approach than what we're seeing from the competition. Sony recently established a new section exclusively for indie games.

"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," added Booty. "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."

The PlayStation 4 is definitely shaping up to be the more indie-friendly console, and the Wii U isn't doing too bad, either, with games like Little Inferno.

Follow @wita on Twitter.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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Games: LIMBO

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