Microsoft's ID@Xbox program and associated Xbox One publishing policies represent "the best approach to getting the most developers and the best games on the platform", corporate vice-president Phil Harrison has declared. Moreover, the company apparently no longer distinguishes between developers and publishers in terms of game size, existing reputation and the like - the platform is built to ensure that quality gets rewarded.
"So the ID@Xbox program is self publishing - so that allows developers to be completely in control of their creativity and completely in control of their vision for the game," Harrison explained to Edge in a new chitchat. "Subject to what you would expect in terms of decency and extremes of content, we want developers to literally take their brains through their fingers straight onto the screen and out into the world. We want it to be frictionless.
"Microsoft Studios - as a first party - has and will continue to invest directly in game development talent where we think we can help bring that game to our platform and we have done that for many years," he continued. "And we'll continue to do that for many years.
"The ID@Xbox program is true self-publishing, all the power of the machine, the developer has total control, all the power of the cloud all the power of Xbox Live, all of the capabilities of Kinect, and we're really looking forward to that activity. And maybe we're taking a slightly different approach to other platforms but we think this is the best approach to getting the most developers and the best games on the platform."
Microsoft has stepped up promotion of its indie strategy with Xbox One a fair bit since Gamescom. Every retail Xbox One can be unlocked to serve as a development kit at no additional charge, given the manufacturer's permission, though this isn't a feature we should expect at launch. Developers no longer have to pay a fee for Xbox Live game certification or title updates.
You can read more about ID@Xbox here - director Chris Charla has suggested that "we'll see things we can't conceive of right now" once the program bears fruit, and isn't ruling out the appearance of timed PS4 indie exclusives on Xbox One.
Harrison says that new Xbox Live trending systems and the Xbox One's Game DVR feature will allow great games to circulate much more freely, even without storefront spotlighting. "I think the important thing to recognise with Xbox One is that games are games are games," he said. "We don't actually make a distinction between the size of the game, who the publisher is, who the creator is - the platform itself will allow the best games to come to the top.
"Either through what we're doing in the store in terms of trending and what's hot and what your friends are playing and what the community is playing. Or games that we spotlight ourselves because we think they're great examples of a particular platform feature or they have some unique creativity to them, so we can easily shine a big spotlight on a game and help connect it with the widest possible audience."