At the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the Xbox Live Creators Program. In theory it lets any developer that wants to create an Xbox Live-enabled indie game, to do just that. With the recent fall of Steam Greenlight and the current state that Steam Early Access is in, it concerns me for whats to come. Then again we’ve seen GOG deliver a great platform for indie games. Here's to hoping Microsoft has studied both of those platforms and paid attention to whats worked and what hasn’t worked thus far.
Independent Games @ Xbox was announced way back in 2013, with the main idea being that anyone with a good pitch would receive two Xbox Development Kits to produce games for both Windows and Xbox. Microsoft has finally gone through with this program and most companies have already found success with it. As someone who’s deep into the indie gaming pool, I welcome this with open arms. As long as they use real quality control and don’t just open up the flood gates, they are giving a much needed platform for Indie developers to sell their finished products. This could lead to exposure for new and amazing studios, companies that are right now currently floundering in Steams Early Access.
Microsoft has worked hard to make sure that its much easier to integrate Xbox Live with the Xbox Live Creators Software Developers Kits. They are currently boasting about the following features:
- Integration with Xbox Live Social
- Use of both GameDVR and Beam Broadcast
- Xbox Live leader boards and stats
- Title Storage/Connected Storage
- Xbox Live Sign-in, profile, and Gamertag
- And finally a real presence on Xbox Live with activity feeds that feature recently played titles
So with the proven success of Independent Games @ Xbox, the awesome store front that GOG currently has, Steam finally listening to the consumer by axing Greenlight. With this exciting announcement, there is a lot to be excited for in the world of indie gaming. Every day more and more eyes are on the indie world and the genre is ever growing as people discover experiences they’ve never had in gaming before. I’m not ready to throw up my hands and declare this a touch down because we’ve all seen Microsoft take great ideas and present us with a broken product or what is very obviously a non-consumer friendly product. I’m optimistic and hopeful but very cautious with my excitement at the same time.