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Microsoft Announces Indie Self-Publishing Reversal for Xbox One

Another 180 has been announced by Microsoft in regards to policies for the upcoming next-generation console platform, the Xbox One. Corporate Vice President for Xbox Live Marc Whitten has issued a statement detailing their decision to allow independent game developers the right to self-publish titles for the Xbox One.

“Our vision is that every person can be a creator,” stated Whitten. “This means self-publishing.”

The news should come as a blessing for indie developers, but ought come as no surprise; just an expectation now fulfilled.

During an interview with Eurogamer at this year’s E3, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer expressed a willingness to change their current policy on independently developed games requiring a publishing partner for digital distribution on XBLA for the Xbox One.

“Our ears are open on self-publishing and other changes and advancements in our publishing ecosystem, but I don't want to stand up and commit to things that aren't plan of record now,” stated Spencer. “That would be wrong.”

When asked in a follow-up question by Eurogamer if the possibility for self-publishing was open to indie developers in the future; Spencer replied, “Absolutely.”

Following a reversal on other policies after outspoken cries of foul from developers and customers alike, the limitation of a publishing partner for independent game developers is now another unpopular policy of the past.

Co-founder and current CCO of Oddworld Inhabitants Lorne Lanning stated in another E3 interview with Eurogamer that despite having concept approval for the latest Oddworld release, New ‘n’ Tasty; their lack of a publishing partner led to their denial for digital distribution.

“They've granted us XBLA concept approval for New 'n' Tasty! but they still say you need a publisher. We don't have a publisher so we're not officially on the platform, even though we're compatible, even though we'll be ready to do it. Period,” stated Lanning.

Further highlighting the concern of essentially forcing developers who have self-financed their own games to revenue share with a publishing partner for digital distribution on XBLA, Lanning stressed his own curiosity as to why a publishing partner was necessary for acceptance onto the Xbox Live distribution platform.

“We build our own IP, we manage our own IP... What's wrong with us?” said Lanning.

Nonetheless these concerns have now been alleviated from independent developers both large and small for the next-generation of digital distribution on the Xbox One.

Though the announcement is premature as these changes will occur during the Xbox One’s first year rather than at launch, the news is true; however additional details for self-publishing will be unveiled during Gamescom next month.


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