Microsoft recently confirmed it would support digital self-publishing on its upcoming Xbox One gaming console, and on Tuesday the company officially announced a program called "Independent Developers @ Xbox" (or ID@Xbox) to support that development.
As part of its Gamescom announcements, Microsoft revealed that the program, which was based on the feedback from more than 50 independent developers, will provide all the same tools given to major developers and publishers. Conversely, indie developers for the Xbox 360 don't have access to all Xbox Live tools and require a publishing partner to be listed on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Live Indie Games can't make use of the current-generation Kinect sensor, can't support achievements and are relegated to a separate area on the marketplace.
In an announcement article written by Chris Charla, director of the ID@Xbox program, Microsoft revealed indie developers can access the next-generation Kinect sensor, SmartGlass applications, Xbox cloud services and all the features afforded to any other developers.
"In talking with scores of independent developers over the past year, it’s clear they are ready for new ways to develop and reach customers," Charla wrote. "So, we’re acting to meet the needs of the development community and in turn, enable a proliferation of games for Xbox fans."
Indie developers can apply for the ID@Xbox program immediately, though the application currently seems to take into account the developer's pedigree into account, including shipped titles and "key people" at the company. Those accepted into the program will be given development kits at no cost, though Microsoft is still planning tools that will allow all Xbox One owners to use their consoles for game development. Charla said those tools will "eventually" be made available, though no specific time frame was provided.
Microsoft's announcement follows a backlash from developers following comments from company executives that all titles on the Xbox One store would require a publishing agreement. Larry Hryb, Microsoft's director of Xbox Live programming, later said the console would support developers regardless of team size, funding or business model.
Source: Xbox Wire | Image via Microsoft