As expected, Microsoft today announced the Independent Developers @ Xbox Program which allows independent developers to publish games for Xbox One. First, you have to apply for the developer program. After the application is approved, Microsoft will offer developers free development kits and access to its Xbox One toolset which includes Kinect, Cloud, etc. There is no developer application fees as well.
After becoming “registered Xbox One developers,” , developers will be able to do self-publishing of games on Microsoft’s Xbox One. Developer can also take advantage of Xbox Live functionalies like Achievements, Online multiplayer, SmartGlass, Kinect, etc,. Microsoft is planning to give priority for initial applications “to independent game developers who have a proven track record of shipping games on console, PC, mobile or tablet.”
What are the criteria for becoming a member of ID@Xbox?
Of course, we’ll be evaluating each developer application individually on its own merits, but in the initial phase of ID@Xbox, we are looking for professional independent game developers who have a proven track record of shipping games on console, PC, mobile, or tablet. We want to ensure your success in your development effort on Xbox One. Developing and publishing a console game is not trivial!
Our longer term plan is that anyone with a retail Xbox One will be able to develop, publish, and sell their game on Xbox Live.
What is the game information form like? What are the standards?
The game information form is simply a form that all Xbox One games submit to tell us more information about their game.
In terms of content, we’re not interested in enabling vulgar, offensive, or objectionable games on Xbox One. At the same time, we’re not trying to be censors. We’re applying reasonable, common sense guidelines. If you look at the huge variety of games that have shipped on Xbox 360, you have a very good idea of the breadth of content at all rating bands that we’re excited to have on Xbox One.
Do ID@Xbox games have to go through certification?
Yes. Certification ensures that we deliver high quality games to Xbox players that won’t break or behave inappropriately. We have release managers who will help you navigate the certification process, as well as clear documentation available on certification requirements, such as acquiring ESRB or other ratings. Also, this is probably as good a place as any to mention that we do not charge publishers or developers to update their games on Xbox, and there is no limit on how many updates you can make to a game on Xbox One.
Where will my game be on the Marketplace?
On Xbox One all games are treated as equal. We are committed to making discoverability good for everyone. There are three places customers will find new games. First is the spotlight which is curated by Xbox. Second is trending, which highlights what’s popular with your friends and the Xbox Live community. And third is recommendations, which is based on what you and your friends like to play.
Can I use my retail kit as a development kit?
As part of our vision for enabling everyone with an Xbox One to be a creator, we absolutely intend to enable people to develop games using their retail kits. Right now, though, you still need a development kit! We provide two kits to everyone in the registered developer program. Additional kits, if needed, can be purchased.
Will ID@Xbox have full access to everything else that First and Third Party games have?
Yes. Developers in ID@Xbox have full access to the Live stack and support the exact same features as all other digital content on Xbox One – full support for multiplayer, Game DVR, Kinect, in-game transactions, updates, DLC, SmartGlass, etc. Bottom line: if a feature is supported on Xbox One, games in ID@Xbox can take advantage of it.