Although Xbox Live is getting an overhaul, indie developers won’t be able to self-publish on the platform, Microsoft has confirmed.
With the launch of the Xbox One, the company is merging its Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Indie Game, and Xbox Games on Demand channels into one consolidated marketplace.
However, unlike PlayStation and Nintendo – both of which allow self-publishing in their respective eShops – Microsoft is insisting that indie developers be represented by third-party publishers or Microsoft itself.
“As of right now, we intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have,” Microsoft’s Matt Booty told Shacknews.
“I would also expect that for this new generation, that we’re going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content. But Microsoft Studios is a publisher that works with a wide range of partners, as do a lot of other people, to bring digital content to the box.”
Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison told Eurogamer that the days of games being placed in “discrete silos” were over.
“With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they’re games. We don’t make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two,” he said.
Game discovery will therefore depend on search, recommendations, what friends are playing, what is popular in the player’s geographic region, and game DVR, said Harrison.
“These all go to helping you discover the games you want to play, so I think we solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself.
Of course, Microsoft itself will still highlight titles it thinks are of interest to the larger community.
The new Xbox Live, then, would be a blend of curated content with a meritocracy, said Harrison.