Microsoft has announced its new indie games developer programme in a bid to win over small studios.
Independent Developers @ Xbox (or ID@Xbox as the press release likes us to call it) is a programme build following consultation between Microsoft and 50 developers, the platform holder claims.
The self-publishing programme encourages indie studios to sign up, with each developer receiving two Xbox One dev kits for free.
What's more the ID@Xbox programme will be lead by Chris Charla, who will be the 'personal' contact between Microsoft and the majority of the devs on the programme.
The team will also include community managers to provide 'quick responses to submissions, questions and support needs.'
ID@Xbox will also hold events and forums this year in London, Seattle and San Francisco.
This is not a free-for-all, developers will still have to register and they can from today at www.xbox.com/id. So, really, it's not quite 'self-publishing'.
Once accepted on the programme, the studio will become a registered Xbox One developer. Priority will be given to developers with a proven track record of making games on PC, mobile, console and tablet. Again, not a free-for-all like it is in the mobile and PC spaces.
Xbox wont charge an application fee for the programme, either.
ID@Xbox's will start in the autumn, and eventually Microsoft says it wants to make any Xbox One capable of being a dev kit for self-publishing. That means anyone can be an Xbox One developer. It sounds pretty good for budding creators out there.
The move from Xbox follows criticism of its treatment of independent developers, meanwhile its rival PlayStation has dominated the conversation around supporting smaller studios.
The man in charge of the programme, Chris Charla, said this in a statement: “Microsoft has a heritage of enabling developers to do great things and that support continues today. The independent development scene has matured and changed a ton in the past couple of years, so we are acting on that to meet the needs of the development community. We’re really proud to offer this new path onto Xbox One and we’re excited to see what independent developers will build.”
Meanwhile, Chief product officer Marc Whitten added: "“Xbox One was built from the ground up to be a great platform for developers of any size to create and share their ideas with the world. We are committed to bringing together the imagination of game developers from around the world together with the power of Xbox One. We know Xbox fans will fall in love with the quality and diversity of games on our platform. We are committed to ID@Xbox and are fully invested in helping independent developers succeed on Xbox One.”
Microsoft's official press release featured a number of quotes from indie studios, such as Ripstone, Dlala and Splash Damage. But our favourite quote is from Debbie Bestwick at Worm's developer Team17.
“We want to be treated as an equal. Our games stand up in their own right.”
What do you make of Microsoft's new indie-developer programme. Is this more like it?