It happened again; Microsoft pulled a 180 on one of its more unfavorable policies, allowing indies to self-publish their games on the Xbox One without the need of a publisher. While Microsoft has said not all of the features will be available at the launch of the system, the company's goal is to create a system with "as low of a barrier to entry as possible" for independent developers.
Details are still scarce at the moment, but the change in policy is obviously a good thing for Microsoft… right? What does allowing Indies to self-publish mean to you, as a consumer?
Lance Liebl Follow on Twitter
It doesn't really mean anything to me, personally. I'm not buying an Xbox One – at least, not at launch; I'll wait until they offer a nice bundle or get one used a year or two after launch. So like I said, it means nothing to me.
But to indie devs and consumers that are purchasing the Xbox One, that's great news. Giving some power and freedom to indie developers isn't a bad thing. Sure Microsoft making all of these announcements feels like they're just trying to keep up with the Sony hype, but at least they're putting in the effort (facade or not) to show that they're trying to earn back some trust.
The best part of Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten's comments is that he said “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development.” No doubt that's a fairly new vision. But whatever… it's a better vision than “Xbox, TV. Xbox, Wheel of Fortune.” Phil Fish won't have anything to complain about now…
Verdict: Great news for indie devs and fans, but means nothing to me
Matt Liebl Follow on Twitter
I'm still skepitcal on the change in policy; there's just too much mystery still surrounding it. Here's the thing, I want to read some official documentation about the policy — not hear it secondhand from some fluff Micrsoft PR press release or some bitter indie developer. Give me the facts. Until I hear facts, I'll remain skeptical — and this applies to both systems, not just the Xbox One. Even Sony is acting shady on a few issues (the most recent being the PS4 RAM scandal).
Obviously I'm excited about the change. I want to see indie devs able to release their games on the Xbox One. I want to see both consoles succeed. So for me, I want this change in policy to be the real deal, not Microsoft spinning words in the best possible way.
While not all of the self-publishing features willl be available at launch, Microsoft's supposed goal of "a low barrier of entry" for independent developers sounds promising. As a developer, I'd be thrilled; but as a consumer, I'm sticking with my PS4 pre-order. Though with each change the Xbox One does look more appealing.
Verdict: It sounds promising, but I'm still skeptical.
Mike Splechta Follow on Twitter
One can't help but laugh a little bit at Microsoft's situation, but you have to acknowledge that they're trying, even if it's only after the fact that they tried to push some ridiculous restrictions on its users.
Microsoft changing their Indie self-publishing rule doesn't really come as a surprise. It's another move to keep up with Sony's brilliant marketing of the PS4, and honestly, it's working. I don't consider myself an Indie purist, but it's a welcomed change. I hope it's open and accessible enough for a lot of Indie developers to hop on the Xbox One train eventually. After all, getting your game on multiple platforms and reaching as many gamers as possible is end goal right? Maybe not.
Indie devs still might feel the sting a little; it's understandable. You don't just automatically trust the hand that scolded you repeatedly, just because it's holding a tasty treat. Let's just hope the bad blood eventually subsides.
Verdict: At least they are trying..
Tatiana Morris Follow on Twitter
When Microsoft announced the Xbox One no one expected to see this much of a change. The move to allow independent developers to self-publish on the Xbox One is phenomenal. This decision was a direct response to what both the game industry and gaming community were calling for, an indie and AAA friendly console. While the PS4 was already offering the ability to self-publish, people wanted to find a sense of equality for devs on both consoles. The change in policy contains endless possibilities.
The large Xbox LIVE community presents a great opportunity for small developers to get their name out there. But self-publishing doesn't come without some risks. The indie games section on the Xbox One could easily become overwhelmed by the sheer number of games being published. Steam handles indie games beautifully; perhaps Microsoft will enable something similar to the Greenlight system. There are the indie developers out there that have bad blood with Microsoft over their previous methods of publishing indie games. Microsoft will have to regain the trust of those that they've burned before, but devs that are newer to the industry probably will give self-publishing on the Xbox One a try.
The decision itself will bring tons of games to the Xbox One that otherwise wouldn't have been able to make it on the big screen (maybe to your PC, but not your TV).
Verdict: A great opportunity for smaller developers.
What does Microsoft's decision to allow Indies to self-publish on the Xbox One mean to you? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter: @GameZoneOnline.