×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Microsoft Makes Xbox One Friendlier for Indie Gamemakers

Company continues reaching out to gaming community to make its next-generation console more attractive

Microsoft keeps looking for ways to make its Xbox One more appealing to the gaming community.

This week, Microsoft said that the Xbox One will enable individuals to self publish games on the new console, out this fall.

To do that, each Xbox One will essentially operate as a debug unit for developers. Currently, developers must pay more for a debug version of a console.

There are also rules that get in the way of effectively turning the Xbox 360 into a key platform for indie gamemakers: While self-publishing is possible, the Xbox 360 only enables individuals to make their titles available through Xbox Live’s little seen “indies” section and requires a Microsoft-certified publisher to distribute the titles elsewhere.

Not anymore.

According to Xbox VP Marc Whitten, “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live.”

The move to support indies is the latest effort for Xbox to rally people around its new videogame console set to replace the Xbox 360 this fall.

Ever since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One from its headquarters outside Seattle, gamers have complained that the company was too focused on streaming apps and delivering other forms of entertainment other than games. In other words, the hardcore gaming community felt ignored.

SEE ALSO: Is Xbox One the Next Cable Box?

Sony quickly stepped up and embraced that same audience during the E3 videogame confab this summer in Los Angeles, where it generated praise for not requiring a constant Internet connection to operate the system and the ability to play any games on the system, including used or borrowed titles — all things the Xbox One wouldn’t allow.

But two weeks after E3, in June, Microsoft changed its mind and announced that the Xbox One would allow any disc on any Xbox One system and not require an Internet connection to play games, after the initial setup of the system.

“We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity,” said Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment at the time. “While we believe that the majority of people will play games online we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.” He has since moved over to Zynga.

SEE ALSO: Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft’s Xbox for Zynga

Now the move to court indie gamemakers could help Microsoft make the Xbox One into even more of an attractive system for gamers. It needs to, given the $500 pricetag it’s asking for the Xbox One. Sony’s PlayStation 4 will be $100 cheaper. But new systems like Ouya, are also giving people another option — and a cheaper one — to play casual games, which are seen as a threat to the more expensive consoles about to hit the market. Ouya only offers up downloadable titles from indie gamemakers and costs $99.

Sony’s PlayStation group has already been supporting indie developers for years, helping launch hits like thatgamecompany’s “Flower” and “Journey,” and Giant Sparrow’s “The Unfinished Swan,” among others.

But is reaching out more to gamers a clever marketing move or a rare sign that Microsoft is able to change course faster than it ever has before? It could be both, but for now, the Xbox One finds itself the topic of conversation more than the PlayStation 4. And in the coming battle between the next-generation of consoles, perception — good or bad — will be a key factor in determining which company sells more consoles.

Microsoft plans to release more details on its indie strategy at the Gamescon conference in August.

More Biz

  • Alan Horn Bill Tanner

    Alan Horn to Keynote Variety Business Managers Elite Breakfast, Bill Tanner to Be Honored

    Bill Tanner will be recognized with Variety’s 2019 Business Managers Elite Award at the annual Business Managers Elite Breakfast presented by City National Bank, which takes place in Beverly Hills on Nov. 13. Co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Variety editor-in-chief, [...]

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content