The policy differences between the Xbox One and Playstation 4 continue to narrow as Microsoft confirmed a Game Informer report Wednesday that independent developers will be allowed to self-publish on its next-gen console. Additionally, it also revealed news that will make developing for the console even easier.
The confirmation comes from multiple sources including a statement from Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten provided to Engadget.
“Our vision is that every person can be a creator,” Whitten wrote. “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. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at gamescom in August.”
Microsoft suffered withering criticism from developers, journalists and gamers following the reveal of the Xbox One in May and June. This was in part due to Sony’s consumer friendly and developer friendly pronouncements such as the ability for indie devs to self-publish games.
This new announcement has the potential to push the Xbox One past the PS4 in terms of indie dev friendliness as any console purchased at retail for $500 can be turned into a debug unit. Debug units typically cost much more than retail units which will lower the ceiling of entry.
Gamescom is scheduled for Aug. 25 to 28 in Cologne, Germany.
Update: Whitten provided further updates to Kotaku and Polygon which reveals that turning the Xbox One into a dev kit and self-publishing won’t be available at the console’s launch but within the first year.
“My goal is for it to just show up in the marketplace,” he said. “Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what’s trending, what’s got a lot of engagement on the platform. And you’d be able to find that content in any of those. There wouldn’t be any difference based on what type of game it was. Then of course there will be other type of pivots where you can go and look at whether its a genre of game or any other. But you shouldn’t think of it as there’s an indie area and a non-indie area.”
“Just as today, where we will highlight things that are coming in on the service, we want to make that more discoverable. We’ll make it things that we curate as well as the other ways that you find content whether that’s what your friends are doing or what we recommend based on your play behavior. Or top listings. We want to make sure we have all of those types of discoverability mechanisms.”
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