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Xbox One self-publishing: analysts weigh-in

Thursday, 25th July 2013 21:13 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Microsoft announced last night it will allow developers to self-publish on the console, and today, industry analysts have weighed-in on the firm’s change of heart.

“It’s too bad that Microsoft had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right – and smart – thing” – David Cole

Collated by GI International, here is what various analysts had to say to the site:

“Marc Whitten’s comments regarding Microsoft’s policy changes for independent developers and games sound promising and could lead to more good will between indies and Microsoft,” said Billy Pidgeon, independent analyst. “It appears the company is responding to industry and consumer concerns, and Whitten’s remarks address big issues for independents: lower barriers to entry including self-publishing, and freedom on pricing and curation to overcome the discoverability problem.

“Microsoft’s previous attempt to run a community-based independent game marketplace and Apple’s App Store give small developers somewhat open access but result in a glut of undifferentiated software of questionable quality and value. Apple’s model in particular leads to low quality copycat software where significant spend is necessary to attain the top chart positions that enable developers’ success.

“Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all need to bring more quality and value to their respective downloadable software markets. The dedicated game platform vendors have an elevated opportunity to get it right, and more to lose in the short term if they don’t.”

According to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, anything that gets tools in the hands of creative people with less friction is good for the business.

“Essentially, they are making dev kits available for $500, and the approval process is similar to the iOS approval process,” he said. “I think this is really user friendly and will encourage a lot of people (including a ton of people who have never developed a game) to give it a try. That will increase the number of games developed, and it is likely that a few of the efforts will be really cool.”

David Cole of DFC Intelligence believes developers will no flock to the system, but he wonders whether Microsoft will ease its publishing regulations.

“Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all need to bring more quality and value to their respective downloadable software markets.” – Billy Pidgeon

“There is always an issue of concern when you open up publishing you get a lot of junk and it can overwhelm consumers,” he said. “The overall impact on the Xbox business is probably negligible. It mainly means consumers will have access to a bunch of products that are already available for PC and mobile platforms, so it is not really a big selling point to get someone to buy an Xbox One.”

Finally, Lewis Ward, research manager at IDC, thinks it is a big deal for smaller developers, despite the historically high patch costs and requirements on Xbox Live.

“Xbox Live has emerged as the best overall connected console environment in North America,” he said. “Just look at the incredible success of Minecraft on the Xbox 360. Imagine what Microsoft could do for indies if it stopped shooting itself in the foot with onerous terms and conditions!

“Well, this is a big step in that direction. This was the last big ‘philosophical’ difference between where Xbox One appeared to be going and where PS4 and Wii U were going in terms of indies. It’s too bad that Microsoft had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right – and smart – thing, but, hey, however you get there, you get there.”

A few indie developers also had a few things to say on the matter, and you can look over a few of those quotes here.

Xbox One is slated for a November release.

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13 Comments

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  1. pcbros

    “It’s too bad that Microsoft had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right – and smart – thing”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but how do we know that Microsoft didn’t have this planned all along and was waiting for Gamescon to announce it? The fact that each console is a potential dev kit couldn’t have just come out of thin air and into reality in just a few weeks.

    I think Sony was just screaming “Indie!” so loud that people expected Microsoft to do the same. But I think they wanted to focus on the console, games, exclusives at E3 and had other goodies (like this announcement) for a future convention like Gamescon.

    Also, Microsoft announced a deal with Unity a while ago. It also appears developing for XB1 will be rather simple (similar to Windows 8). Has Sony announced any details on what tools or how easy it will be to develop for the PS4?

    #1 9 months ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    @1

    “Microsoft announced a deal with Unity a while ago”

    Other way around. Unity supports windows 8 which is exactly what Xbox One runs on. Unity will be running on next gen no problem. Get your facts straight. Also there are plenty of articles through professional game industry site that have all spoke about developing on PS4.

    Just an example:

    http://www.webpronews.com/heres-an-inside-look-at-ps4-development-from-the-blacklight-retribution-team-2013-06

    Not to mention how many indie games announced for the system.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. MrWaffles

    If Microsoft had this planned all along then all the PR guys should be fired yesterday.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. gomersoul

    they didn’t have it planned… why lose the trust of a lot of gamers just so you can attempt to retrieve it. the negative press on xboxone is what forced their hand. they had to do something or they were staring failure right in the face. I’m not getting one regardless but to say they had anything but their own interests at heart is absurd

    #4 9 months ago
  5. bamn66

    Xbox won

    #5 9 months ago
  6. Aullah

    Every PR and communication guy should be fired like DM.

    #6 9 months ago
  7. pcbros

    But Microsoft has always had support for indie developers (Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows 8). Why would anyone think they would kill it with Xbox One?

    Also, They never said they would not support self-publishing. I think they just wanted to focus on next-gen games and exclusives at E3.

    Let’s be real, after E3, the games people were talking about were Titanfall, Watchdogs, Battlefied 4 etc., not indie games.

    I personally enjoy indie games but let’s face it, most indie games are playable on current PC’s (Steam), they are not system showcases or system sellers.

    I think there is still a lot to be learned about the Xbox One and PS4… we shouldn’t jump the gun.

    #7 9 months ago
  8. pcbros

    @2

    “Unity Technologies announced today during Build Conference in San Francisco that it has added Xbox One support for Kinect, SmartGlass support to its development tools and has also extended its commitment to Windows 8 the W8 Phone. The Xbox One version of the game engine will also feature cloud computing support, and developers being published by Microsoft Studios will be able to use Unity free. The firm will release the commercial version of its Store Add-on for Windows later this summer, and it will also be waiving the $1,500 license fee for licensed Unity Pro 4 developers as part of its Microsoft deal.”

    Let’s not forget, Sony is charging $2500 for devkits. While every Xbox One is a devkit. So the $100 difference Sony was hanging on to (sacrificing their PS Camera to the abyss) will mean very little now, especially for developers.

    So it seems Sony now is the one who has to “alter” their policies. And I’m sure they will.

    #8 9 months ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    “Let’s not forget, Sony is charging $2500 for devkits. While every Xbox One is a devkit. So it seems Sony now is the one who has to “alter” their policies. And I’m sure they will.”

    Cute!

    SOny is upfront about the costs to develop on PS4 where MS is not. Yes every console can be a devkit but they have yet to talk about the certification process and the cost of such which won’t be free, not to mention the cost of patching or distribution. We will see how indies respond when the console releases but at the moment most of them are leary especially with how quick Microsoft is to do a 180. Microsoft is practically forced to do all these changing of policies and now they are playing catch up, hardly a sign of a innovator of the industry.

    #9 9 months ago
  10. pcbros

    @9

    Cute? It’s a reality. How is self-publishing or charging $2500 for devkits innovative?

    Let’s not go into innovative. I find it hilarious that the PS4 Camera (that Sony scrapped to desperately drop the price) looks exactly like a Kinect. I’m sure they are hoping people will see both and since they look identical, they can fool them into thinking they are the same.

    Microsoft on the other hand, by sticking by the Kinect, has given creative indie developers NEW innovative tools to work with.

    Microsoft is placing itself in a very good position. Everything Sony has been clinging on to (DRM free, no internet required, self-publishing, etc) has disappeared. And Microsoft has taken a step further by making their system a devkit.

    Who cares if they were “forced” to do these changes or not… the fact is they made them. Let’s see if Sony can catch up now ;)

    #10 9 months ago
  11. MCTJim

    to all the devs that are whining: Lets see..flashback, we wanna be able to patch our games for free..ok done…whine some more..we wanna self publish……ok done…..whine whine whine..we wanna have you promote our game like a publisher would and not charge us…OMG that is the whole idea of self publish…the entitlement attitudes of some devs is outrageous.

    To the ones on board and that havent whined..good for you.

    All I can say is be prepared for a glut of crap games and copy cats…its like that on PS/Apple/Droid..I hope when everyone finally sees the plan they have, its written to avoid crap and glut.

    #11 9 months ago
  12. Phoenixblight

    “Let’s not go into innovative. I find it hilarious that the PS4 Camera (that Sony scrapped to desperately drop the price) looks exactly like a Kinect. I’m sure they are hoping people will see both and since they look identical, they can fool them into thinking they are the same.”

    You have evidence of this other than out of your ass because there is no proof of what you claim. You can see with the Xbox One that Kinect is the core device of the system where with the PS4 you can tell it was not but an additional device. Its actually quite funny Sony does the same thing as Xbox last gen and MS did what SOny did only they were much quicker to say “oh shit” and go backwards.

    “Microsoft is placing itself in a very good position. Everything Sony has been clinging on to (DRM free, no internet required, self-publishing, etc) has disappeared. And Microsoft has taken a step further by making their system a devkit.”

    It was already a dev kit. Sheesh, you are really grasping. The console would be already be finalized and starting manufacturing by now that decisions like this would have already been made long before the release. MS has horrible PR.

    @11

    “to all the devs that are whining: Lets see..flashback, we wanna be able to patch our games for free..ok done”

    Patching for free is only for the 360. Nothing has been said on Xbox One.

    #12 9 months ago
  13. cw5th

    @ 10:

    The One costs 499$, then there’s a fee(MS won’t say how big it is(strange isn’t it)) and the XBone isn’t really a devkit. A real Devkit has 12GB Ram and a few other nice additions to make it easier for devs.

    A retail-XBone is not a Devkit.

    @11:

    “All I can say is be prepared for a glut of crap games and copy cats…its like that on PS/Apple/Droid..I hope when everyone finally sees the plan they have, its written to avoid crap and glut.”

    You can’t be serious…

    Just look at the 360 Indieshop. There’s so much of your “crap and glut” and you think it’s going to be different with the one? The PSN-Shop has its own stinkers but not nearly as much as the 360 Indiegames.

    #13 9 months ago