Xbox One self-publishing: analysts weigh-in

Thursday, 25 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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