Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Xbox One Promises to Allow Indie Self-Publishing

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 25, 2013

This really shouldn’t be news. It’s kinda sad that it is, and represents a reversal of Microsoft’s previous position (along with many other changes to the Xbox One since their E3 unveiling). Really, it just takes us back to where we’ve been with the 360. But that is, and was, a pretty good thing…

Xbox One to Allow Indie Self-Publishing

The further news is that every retail system can be used as a dev box (just like the Ouya!). They’ve made some efforts to streamlined their infamous certification process (which only applied to some indies on the 360). There are hints of some possible improvements over how things have been done on the 360, with more details to come in the near future.

As I said – this is good news, but it shouldn’t be news. Sony shouldn’t have been able to make the kind of splash they did at E3 by simply staying the course (and offering slight improvements for indie devs). But, due to the contrast to Microsoft’s attempt to lock down the system on all fronts, they enjoyed a huge boost. By all rights, Microsoft – as really the pioneer of indie, downloadable gaming on the console – should have remained at the forefront.

But as they say, better late than never. Sony made some serious marketing / launch / indie dev missteps at the launch of the PS3, and it took them quite a while to turn the ship around. Microsoft’s about-face is happening only weeks after E3, prior to launch, so it’s cool they are reacting so quickly. I have no doubt that at this late date, the changes they are having to make on policy and the operating system to adapt to this change of direction is not in any way cheap. It’ll do a lot to salve public opinion.

But as this is clearly a change in position only driven by overwhelming public outcry, I remain concerned about their underlying direction.  I worry that they are only making a show of repentance because they got caught.  And I worry that they are completely out-of-touch with the modern gaming audience, as they had no idea that their policies would go over like  a lead balloon.

So that’s the wet blanket. But still, this is positive news, and I earnestly hope that Microsoft takes this opportunity to get a real clue not only about the Xbone, but for Windows and the market in general. It’s been known to happen.

And then the big question – would I, as an indie, consider supporting the Xbone now?

Maybe. I’m not much of a fan of what they did with XBLIG on the 360, but maybe now that they’ve gotten the indie religion, they’ll make some improvements. If indie support is more than just talk, I’ll definitely take it under consideration. This reversal has taken me from a “definitely not” back into the maybe zone.

And as a totally awesome side-note, I want to bring up this quote from a source article at GameInformer: “This puts them back in the game with independent developers, which was still a major weakness.” While I totally want to side with the author, I’m not completely sure that indies are quite the market driver that consoles have to please. But hey, if nothing else, we’re getting there, and it’s awesome that it’s getting recognized! GO INDIE!!!!

Filed Under: Biz, General, Indie Evangelism, News - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Felix said,

    this is clearly a change in position only driven by overwhelming public outcry

    Or rather, by a sinking feeling of “this time they’ll really refuse to buy our crap, and we can’t afford any more market screw-ups”.

    Seriously, the hurry with which Microsoft reversed all the key decisions regarding the XBox One betrays two things:

    1. they’re desperate* — a dinosaur corporation like them can’t move anywhere near that fast under normal circumstances;
    2. all those decisions were arbitrary, artificial and unnecessary; had there been any real justification, they wouldn’t have been as easy to reverse.

    Oh well, more power to the gamers I guess. And indies. 😉

    *And by that I mean utterly, genuinely desperate, for real this time. The way we’ve never seen them before. Makes sense, too, if you look at their other product lines right now.

  • Anon said,

    When Bill Gates finally grasped how important the internet is (after seeing how successful Netscape became in relatively short time) Microsoft also went into complete panic mode and did a “Crazy Ivan”.

    This seems to be a similar thing, albeit much smaller in scope now. The Internet Explorer is still free, after all those years, forever killing the idea that you could make money with an internet browser. This was perhaps their most radical business decision ever.