Microsoft has finally detailed its plan for developer self-publishing on Xbox One. The program is known as ID@Xbox, and will "enable qualified game developers to build, publish and make their games available" without paying any application fees and with full access to the console's resources. Microsoft plans to ensure "easy discoverability" for indies via new trending and promotion features, and will give out two free devkits to registered developers.
"Xbox has long engaged with independent developers through Microsoft Studios and Xbox Live Arcade to bring their creative visions to gamers," reads a release. "It is with these developers in mind that Xbox One was architected to be the best platform for development, digital distribution and discovery.
"ID@Xbox was crafted to ensure ALL developers can take advantage of this amazing platform, and the team met with more than 50 developers to hear what they want in a self-publishing program."
Applications for the program will be accepted from 20th August. Anyone can apply, but priority "will be granted... to independent game developers who have a proven track record of shipping games on console, PC, mobile or tablet". As you already know, there will be no fees for game certification or subsequent title updates.
"Developers will have access to the same great benefits that existing Xbox developers have today, including the full power of the console, cloud services, Kinect and Xbox Live toolset such as Xbox SmartGlass, multiplayer, Achievements, Gamerscore and more," the piece notes. Microsoft offers the following bullet point breakdown of how Xbox One game discovery mechanisms will work:
- All games are located together in the Xbox One Store and rich search scenarios using voice will get results across the entire catalog of experiences.
- Trending keeps your finger on the pulse of what friends and the community are playing.
- Recommendations bring forward new games, based on what you like to play.
- Spotlight showcases Editor Picks for great games across the entire store.
- With Game DVR and Upload, new games will be found as gamers capture and share their videos across the service.
- Achievements and Challenges enable developers and the community to create special events out of games.
The head of ID@Xbox is Chris Charla, who'll lead a team of community managers. There will be worldwide developer events to "foster the creative community" on the console, taking place in London, Seattle and San Francisco to begin with.
The Xbox One devkit giveaway sits nicely alongside last month's revelation that every retail Xbox One can be upgraded into a devkit free of charge, given Microsoft's approval - this last feature won't be available in time for launch, however.
What do you think?