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Going from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, there's still a lot of red tape when it comes to content access and content distribution from third party affiliates. As such, it was confirmed that the policy of preventing independent developers from self-publishing for the Xbox console will carry over from the 360 to the XB1.
Those of you not in the know, in order to publish any game on the Xbox 360 via the Live Arcade or via retail, you have to sign a three-game publishing deal with Microsoft, meaning that you have to publish at least three games within two years of each other on the Xbox 360, whether it be multiplatform or exclusive. Alternatively, you can hand over publishing rights to Microsoft, and they will publish the game for you (i.e,. Mass Effect 1, Alan Wake, etc.,). This limits independent developers from putting their games on Microsoft's console because most can't afford the royalty fees, the patching fees, distribution fees and the certification fees, and thus you either have a bigger publisher take up the mantle or you can plop your game on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel. Well, that trend will carry over with Microsoft's latest console.
Shack News managed to get an interview in with Matt Booty, the general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, and they asked about whether or not the new console would make content publishing changes for indie developers heading into the next generation and Booty stated that...
“As of right now, yes. We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have."..."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."
That's a ton of PR jargon right there. But breaking through the BS, Shack News wanted to confirm with Booty if indies could self-publish or not and he fed them that line. On the up and up, the Xbox Live Indie Game section will still be available for independent developers. So for content creators who can't get their games on the Live Arcade or distributed through the mainstream marketplace on Xbox consoles, there is still the XBLIG route.
This is a step backward (or rather, no step at all) compared to what Sony and Nintendo have done, especially given that with Nintendo's partnership with Unity, anyone using the engine will have access to publishing content on the Nintendo Wii U.
In the case of Sony, they've already announced that they've opened up negotiations with smaller and mid-budget studios to enable them to quickly, easily and efficiently produce content on the PS4 with as little certification roadblocks as possible. They've also waived all distribution, patching and certification fees, insofar that there is no longer red tape preventing a developer from porting their game over to Sony's console.
In addition to this, Sony has also made it possible for developers to price-point their games and content between $0.99 titles all the way up to $60 titles with no disparity between the availability of the games on the PS4. In other words, they're aiming to work on a meritocracy system similar to Steam as opposed to the plutocracy that's currently employed for Xbox Live.
I sure hope Microsoft has an ace up their sleeve for E3 because this is not looking too good, especially coupled with the used game fees and 24 hour check-in.