So far, the Xbox One's actual game offerings have left gamers wondering where they fit into the Xbox One's plan –– at least until Microsoft makes another pitch at the annual E3 electronic games expo. But there's one key group of video game innovators who're incredibly displeased with the direction Microsoft is taking with the Xbox One: indie game developers.
Microsoft won't allow indie game developers to self-publish their own games, and is requiring indie developers to either partner with Microsoft, or partner with a third-party publisher to gain access to Xbox Live.
It's a policy which emulates the Xbox 360: indie developers, then, had to partner with an approved publisher in order to have access to Xbox Live Arcade platform. Xbox Live Indie Games didn't carry such a requirement, allowing indie developers to self publish. But the Indie Games store was also far less successful than its Arcade counterpart, and its elimination was rumored long before the announcement of the Xbox One, spurred by Microsoft's decision to drop support for its XNA program –– the basic platform for developing indie games on Xbox 360 –– earlier this year.
Though Xbox Live Indie Games was a mixed success, it was a way for indie developers to set themselves apart from their bigger, billion dollar, competitors. But such a distinction doesn't sit well with Xbox One's vision.
"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," Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms said to Shacknews, who broke the story. "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."
And statements made by Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Phil Harrison, corroborate that view.
"In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos," Harrison, said in an interview with EuroGamer. "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."
Microsoft requiring indie developers to sign up with the company, or with a third-party developer, is unique in the major game console world: both Sony and Nintendo allow indie developers to publish onto their networks.