Yesterday’s news that Microsoft will allow indie developers to self-publish on the Xbox One came as good news to gamers. Microsoft’s previous policies of not allowing self-publishing and charging to host game updates were major roadblocks for small studios. With both policies apparently being reversed, Microsoft looks to be trying recapture some of the magic from the early days of the Xbox 360 when it seemed to be a haven for indie developers.
Joystiq asked some developers for their reaction to the news and they expressed cautious optimism. Most seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude. Peter Bartholow, CEO of Lab Zero Games, said that he’d “need to see the final details to really know one way or another” while Rami Ismail of Vlambeer said that he would “have to wait until Gamescom to hear all the details” to make any decisions. Gaijin Games wanted to “do a little more research into the specifics” before committing to the platform.
Engadget spoke to Retro City Rampage developer Brian Provinciano who was less positive about Microsoft’s indie game policy changes.
After my experience working with them to release on Xbox 360, I have no interest in even buying an Xbox One, let alone developing for it. The policy changes are great, but they don’t undo the experience I had. I’m not ready to forget what I went through. Working with Microsoft was the unhappiest point of my career. Policies are one thing, but developer relations are another.
Although Micorosft said they will have more details of the path to self-publishing at Gamescom in August, Marc Whitten did confirm to Kotaku that the system won’t be ready for the console’s launch, but hopes to have it set within the first year. The ability to change a retail Xbox One into a dev kit via an online update will also come later.
Meanwhile, Sony continues to woo indie developers. While a PS4 dev kit normally costs $2500, sources speaking to Polygon said that Sony is letting developers borrow them for up to a year for free. Additionally, Develop reports that Sony Europe will host a quarterly indie developer event at their London offices.