Indie Developers Won't Be Able To Self-Publish On Xbox One

The solo and small-team game makers who’ve made games like Fez, Braid and Limbo won’t be able to control their own destinies on Microsoft’s next game console, according to a Shack News report. The article quotes Matt Booty, who is Microsoft’s general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, as confirming that indie devs will still need publishers to get their games onto the newly revealed console.

Booty does say that Microsoft will explore new business models though.

This news comes in stark contrast to Sony’s promises that indies will be able to self-publish content on the PS4. The publisher model, of course, means that some other entity has to decide whether to take a risk on helping get a game on a console and that someone else gets a cut of profits.

Looking back on it now, the Xbox Live Indie Games space wound up becoming a neglected ghetto for creators trying to find an audience. The energy that that scene once held migrated to mobile and has blossomed PC, where platforms like Steam let creators chart their own way. One thing that’s enabled indie creations to find success has been the ability to set and change release windows and prices as they see fit. No need to charge more money to ensure multiple partners get a cut and no need to rush out a game that still needs polish because someone else says you have to. If you're an indie developer, chances are that Xbox One just became a lot less attractive to you.


    Is this another one of one of those 'potential scenarios' Microsoft is going to backtrack on? Anyway, it might just be that you need a publisher to make games for the Xbox OS. You may be able to self publish games on it if you use the Windows OS, with the WinRT framework. Just means you won't have access to low level Xbox stuff. Anyway, I'm waiting until BUILD to see how it works, cause MS will be talking about developing for the Xbox One then.

      Also, no links to the original report? I'd like to base my opinions on what the person from Microsoft actually said, not your interpretation of it, thanks.

        Original report (can't find it) said unless it has a publisher, or you get published by Microsoft Games (or whatever their publishing arm is), you can't release your games.

        Combined with merging all three game channels, this is kinda bad.

          There's got to be more to this that they're not telling us. I hope. :/

            I'm more inclined to buy PS rather than XBox, without being some sort of fanboy, but this is pretty rubbish over the past few days.

            Hubris is the best word to describe it. Third Console Curse strikes again.

              It does have a similar feel to the PS3 launch, doesn't it? They're not listening to what gamers want, they're telling us what we're going to get.

                Yeah, but Microsoft have been trying to do this for a while now - look at Windows 8, a classic example of Microsoft trying to dictate the direction of the market (and failing miserably).

                  To be fair windows 8 is Microsoft scrambling to get on board the touch train. That aside its a good system. Don't forget that some 40 pct of the market is still using xp... They do have to try and drag people into the future sometimes.

      Its not really backtracking when it was the same on the previous console.

    If this is true and the PS4 can back up their pledge to support indie game development while the Xbox abandon's them, then it would make it very difficult to choose the Xbox over the PS4.

    The PS4 is sounding more like the better option every day.

      Agreed, it really is isn't it. Also, no doubt the Dualshock will go through another incarnation and come out with similair triggers, as it always does with every version of the Playstation (evolving with a new feature). Im definitely on board with the ps4 this generation but not the xb0 at this point.

    This will damage Microsoft, the indies aren't going to be terribly pleased. Just ask Tim Schafer

    "“@Polygon: Indie developers cannot self-publish on Xbox One ” Booo! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BoooOOOoooOooooo! Boo!"

      The one thing that made me laugh about the article you linked is that they referenced to the fact that MS killed off XNA.

      Old news, and MonoGame is supported on windows/windows phone, I'm going to assume that it will be supported on the Xbox One, and has basically identical API's to XNA.

    The indie scene was only a veritable wasteland on XBL this time because MS didn't support it and made it WAY too expensive to get games onto XBL in the first place. If they actually did something like Steams project greenlight? There would be a bloody thriving marketplace for it. Have conditions though, that once a game reached a certain level of popularity it had to move to the proper XBL etc etc.

    Games like Prison Architect, Kerbal Space Program and the such could easily move from PC to console and would be wonderful additions to xbox live and PSN if they would be supported.

    I wonder if Sony just had a group hug with all these indie devs when this news came out.

    It seems MS are setting themselves up for failure with the Xbox One from a gaming point of view. However, I'm sure the Xbox One will be great as a media centre...for those in the US.

    Is it just me or is this continuing to look more and more like 'EA the Console'??

      Yh, thats the best way of putting it. The EA Console ahahah.
      Microsoft are trying to force change, plus this thing about Kinect allways watching and listening to you even if its not being used has proved quiet unpopular aswell.
      We get consoles for games, not to listen to the Radio, watch TV or check the weather.

      This is why sony are getting more support, they are going back to what the Industry is about and making a Gaming Console, ofcooarse PS4 will have its many other features, but the games are the main concern, and with Sonys huge amount of First-party and Third-Party Talented Developers, Im expecting a very very impressive show at E3 because of PS4.

    This doesn’t even affect us in AU, does it? We didn’t have access to Indie games an 360 as they would have had to go through our censors and no indies would have wanted to pay the fees.

      I don't think they're talking about those kinds of basically home-made games that showed up on the indie games channel. I think they're talking about indie developers as in developers that aren't part of or funded by a major publisher, who are becoming an increasingly significant part of the market. Think games like Hotline Miami or Thomas Was Alone rather than the assorted zombie massage games that showed up on the 360's indie games.

    I saw Terraria available on the PS3 last night for over $20. I swear when that was first released I paid $10 for four copies on Steam. The console indie scene is going to struggle at those sort of prices. Console makers need to make sure it's as cheap as possible to publish a game. They seem to forget that PC gaming is a competitor.

      Yeah, that one seemed a bit overpriced to me, too. On the other hand, Thomas Was Alone was free for PS+ subscribers, so they kind of give with one hand and take away with the other.

    Microsoft sure likes digging its own hole.

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