Over in Germany at Gamescom, Microsoft have announced ID@Xbox, their system for allowing smaller independent developers to publish on the Xbox One. This system allows these developers to become a Registered Developer, at which point they will be given access to two development kits, developer documentation and developer forums. The process for publishing, such as getting age ratings and addressing geopolitical policies, will also be explained to these developers as well as tips on how to promote and market their games the best they can.
Once the developers receive the kits, they will be able to submit a 'game information form', which explains to Microsoft what they are building and how they may help with the development process. Microsoft intends not to censor any developer with this process, but at the same time they also have no intention to release vulgar, offensive, or objectionable games onto the Xbox One. After the submission is reviewed and approved, the developers will be given a 'Title ID', allowing them to start work on the project.
When the game is ready to submit for certification, developers will be able to get in contact with a 'release manager', who'll talk them through the process, will make sure the games work properly and will not break when released. Once certified by Microsoft, the game can be released onto the Xbox One. If an update is needed for the game at any point, the developers will not be charged, nor is there a limit on how many times they may update the game.
Microsoft hopes to open up this system to anyone with a retail Xbox One eventually, but for now they are looking for professional independent studios with a proven record on console, PC or mobile. One of the first developers who have applied to the service are Oddworld Inc, who announced that they applied via Twitter
, meaning that New 'n' Tasty
may make its way onto the console after all.
Developers will also have full access to everything any other first or third party developer has for the platform, meaning they will be able to develop full support for multiplayer, Game DVR, Kinect, in-game transactions, DLC, updates, Smartglass and quite possibly even achievements and challenges.
How will gamers discover all the games published through this system though? Microsoft have announced that there will be three ways customers will be able to find new games: Spotlight, which is a selection curated by Microsoft, Trending, which highlights who's popular with your friend and the whole community, and Recommendations, which is based on what you and your friends prefer to play.
Registration for ID@Xbox is open now, and if you happen to be a proven independent developer reading this, you can apply here