When Microsoft came out and announced that they were redoing the way they work with Indie developers to be more open, people were equally surprised and excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately, we were not given too many details with the promise that everything would be revealed in August. With Gamescom now in full swing, Microsoft has come out to outline the program and frankly, it sounds pretty great.
Known as the Independent Developers @ Xbox or “ID” for short, the program is open to any developers to apply, but at the outset, Microsoft is “prioritizing” developers with a proven track record. Obviously, as the program gains traction, this will change. Once your application is accepted, Microsoft will send out two Xbox One development kits at no cost, full access to achievements, the Xbox Live tool set, cloud services, and Kinect and SmartGlass for use in games.
Two free development kits? Looks like I’ll need to jump into game design because that seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.
So how did this all come about? Microsoft went to the source and consulted with over 50 independent developers including Chris Heckler of SpyParty fame. The best news is that players will not have to navigate through a number of menus to find these games anymore as Microsoft is making Xbox Live a unified marketplace. There can be some challenges with that including a cluttered marketplace, but I have confidence that they’ll do what they can to prevent that from happening and making everything easy enough to find.
What’s interesting is that the long-term goal is to eventually open up any Xbox One to be a developer kit. This ID program is just the beginning to a bigger plan of eventually turning the Xbox One into a hobbyist machine.