Xbox One to ditch Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games branding

In 2005, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 console, and in addition to the standard disc-based retail games offered a way to download smaller games via Xbox Live Arcade. Later, Microsoft added Xbox Live Indie Games to the Xbox 360, giving small developers a quick way to release their titles on the console in a manner that didn't require a publishing deal.

Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One console will change that dynamic when it launches later this year. As confirmed by Microsoft Xbox exec Phil Harrison in an interview with Eurogamer, games made for the Xbox One will simply be labeled as Games on the dashboard whether they are released on a disc or available via download.

Harrison stated:

With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they're games. We don't make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two.

Instead, the games portion of the dashboard will offer recommendations to users, along with categories and trending games, according to Harrison.

So what does this mean for independent game developers? Shacknews reports that, in a chat with Matt Booty, Microsoft's general manager of its Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, all game developers must have some kind of publishing deal, either with Microsoft or a third-party company, before their games can be released for the new console.

Both Sony and Nintendo allow small game developers to release downloadable games for their consoles without any need for a formal publishing deal. Booty did hint that Microsoft could change its stance in the future on this issue, saying, "I would also expect that for this new generation, that we're going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content."

Source: Eurogamer and Shacknews | Image via Microsoft

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Sorry MS. That's it. Game over for you.

When I watched the XBox One reveal, I thought "I'll wait and see what they're going to do for indie developers". The lack of indies on stage (as compared to the PS4 presentation) was a big downer, but I held off judgement until E3 (where maybe more info would be revealed).

But this... this is it. "All developers require a publishing deal".
Way too onerous for indies, compared with the ease of the "app store" model, today. A single developer who's put countless hours into developing a game will NOT go through with publisher BS, especially when there are easier options available (Win Marketplace, App Store, Play Store, Greenlight, etc.).

I'm not really a fan of Sony as a company. Their "divisions as discrete businesses" is a terrible way to get customers to trust a brand name. Their computers, media players, and TVs are overpriced. The PSP was just weird with its proprietary memory cards and failure-prone mechanical spinning disks. The PS3 was a gigantic, expensive, power-sucking brick that slowly lost features over it's lifetime, and had too few exclusive games to entice me.

Despite all that, the PS4 has something going for it. The Playstation division listens to their audience. Gamers and developers, big and small are all covered equally.

The days of AAA, multimillion dollar blockbuster games is over. That's not to say they don't have a place in the industry, but the small, agile indies are able to crank out short, beautiful, distilled experiences that are the epitome of what "gaming" should be.

If I wanted an epic, cinematic experience, I'd go see a movie. I don't want another 3rd-person, cover-based shooter with exploration, platforming, and quick-time elements. (Seriously, take a look at how many recently released games fall into this "mould" [also mold]).

Unless this is an example of the mis-informed journalism that seems to be rampant around the XBox One reveal (also, entirely MS's fault), or Microsoft 180's their position before launch, then I will NOT be buying one.

If I end up buying a next-gen console, then it'll be a PS4. Depending on the games, *maybe* an OUYA. Most likely, though, I'll stick with my PC, and iPad for this generation of gaming.

/endrant

The Indie game market is small. They will stick to what they have for now and once more time becomes available to look at this small problem, I'm sure they will address the problem accordingly. I'm sure they have much bigger problems they are dealing with getting ready for E3 and the future launch. Its just business.

I would like a perfect console as well. Each company is doing there best to deliver, but only so much can be done in a day.

This is not bad... as long as the publishing deal is nothing too crazy. I'm sure it's just like how it is on Xbox on Windows/Windows Phone.

We don't know the final terms of that "formal publishing deal" yet. Microsoft has gotten a LOT better at dealing with indie / small developers for phone and Windows RT/8 's store. We have to see how it progresses. Remember that getting a game in the Live Arcade wasn't any piece of cake even if you HAD a publisher, and they may want to move away from that mess without losing control. That said, the idea that they aren't segmenting the games they publish into these catagories is AWESOME news for small developers in a lot of ways, everything is treated as a game, searched for in the same way, and downloaded in the same way.

My theory,and its simple.

XBOX OS runs separately than Windows(virtualized with hyperV). To be able to run Xbox games, you need to have a publisher. If you don't have a publisher,you'll just publish your game through the xbox/windows store as an APP. you get to use the WinXRT API and not the low level xbox stuff. You don't get access to advanced xbox live features.

vcfan said,
My theory,and its simple.

XBOX OS runs separately than Windows(virtualized with hyperV). To be able to run Xbox games, you need to have a publisher. If you don't have a publisher,you'll just publish your game through the xbox/windows store as an APP. you get to use the WinXRT API and not the low level xbox stuff. You don't get access to advanced xbox live features.

That could very well be the case, they have said nothing about the store. I think it's a safe bet that MS is going to unify the API for apps, and games as well, on the Xbox like we know they are for Windows and Windows Phone. This time for example Xbox is going to be a part of BUILD when it never really was before.

GP007 said,

That could very well be the case, they have said nothing about the store. I think it's a safe bet that MS is going to unify the API for apps, and games as well, on the Xbox like we know they are for Windows and Windows Phone. This time for example Xbox is going to be a part of BUILD when it never really was before.

yup,its part of BUILD.And blue and its features haven't been shown yet,which is why they cant comment on whats happening on that front.

Yeah I've thought for a while that the Windows Store would replace the Indie channel. The only problem I have with this is that the "indie" games will now be classified as apps, and not placed in the games tab. Which is one of the main issues now on the 360, the Indie channel has sub-optimal placement and treatment. Maybe "App Games" will be able to be shown on the Games tab.

Stryker297 said,
Yeah I've thought for a while that the Windows Store would replace the Indie channel. The only problem I have with this is that the "indie" games will now be classified as apps, and not placed in the games tab. Which is one of the main issues now on the 360, the Indie channel has sub-optimal placement and treatment. Maybe "App Games" will be able to be shown on the Games tab.

theres a special tab on the xbox one interface called "my pins",im pretty sure you'll be able to pin either apps from the store, or xbox games.

But how will people know to even look under "apps" for indie games in the first place?
There's a disconnect. When I want to watch YouTube, I think "app". When I want to play something like Monaco, I think "game".

You'd never think to find the indie games under the "Apps" section. Discoverability is still broken.

cyberdrone2000 said,

You'd never think to find the indie games under the "Apps" section. Discoverability is still broken.

"games made for the Xbox One will simply be labeled as Games on the dashboard whether they are released on a disc or available via download."

Please read the article before posting or at least try to.

The publishing deal requirement is a bit stupid, and it won't be received well by independent game developers at all.

Ambroos said,
The publishing deal requirement is a bit stupid, and it won't be received well by independent game developers at all.

No it will not.

I don't see this as a bad thing TBH. I'm for the better regulation as XBLIG was full of crap and that's just something Sony and Nintendo have no experience in.
I'm with vcfan and his theory though, there will be a place for indies on the Xbox One.

Ambroos said,
The publishing deal requirement is a bit stupid, and it won't be received well by independent game developers at all.

Indeed. It's already prompted a few indie developers to announce they're developing on essentially everything but Xbox One. It makes Microsoft the only ones not embracing the indies (Nintendo, Sony, and Valve all do), which is a pretty foolish decision. But it probably won't make a noticeable dent in their sales.