Microsoft isn’t expecting its new indie initiative to bear fruit until next year, Phil Harrison has said.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, the Interactive Entertainment Division’s vice president said indies won’t start piling up come November.
“I don’t think we’re going to see things at launch. I don’t think it’s realistic to see a developer get the programme and build a game and get it into the market on November 22,” he said.
“It’s reasonable to expect in early 2014 we’ll start seeing the first games come through.”
Harrison said that Microsoft received “hundreds” of applications for ID@Xbox within the first few hours after announce, and although he doesn’t have figures he expects that number is now “in the thousands”.
As for who exactly is applying, it seems to be all sorts.
“There’s been a lot of debate about what is an independent developer? Is it Capy with two people, or is it Crytek with 200 people? I think it’s both and it’s everybody in between,” Harrison said.
“There’s been too much focus on the financial structure as to whether they qualify for being an indie. For me, it means they are independent of their own design decisions, they’re independent in thought, they’re independent in motivation and creative direction.”
The executive said Microsoft is working to improve discoverability on Xbox Live, which should help indies make money from the service.
“If you look at our Upload service you’ll see it’s more than viral marketing. We’re trying to complete the circle where people see friends rating games, they see an upload of the game and there’s a button that says ‘buy me now’. This is strongly related to the ID@Xbox programme too, where these viral tools will help independent developers connected with their audiences,” he said.
“Upload is a feature that accrues benefits to any developer or publisher, irrespective of type or size. It’s going to be a big, big win for games discoverability. One of the number one questions that any independent developer has to ask themselves, irrespective of platform, is what is our acquisition strategy? How do we connect our smart game idea with the audience? It’s no longer about buying a couple of double page ads in the specialist press and getting a preview, review and tips over three months. It’s a bit more sophisticated than that.”