Microsoft is making another big change to its Xbox One policies and opening the console's online store up for all independent developers to publish into. The Xbox 360 has long limited the Arcade store to titles published only by Microsoft and other major companies, such as EA. That largely prevented independent developers from releasing titles onto the Xbox without making a deal with a big publisher — something that many developers didn't want to do. But under Microsoft's new policies, small developers will presumably be able to push a game into the Xbox One's primary storefront on their own.
Cloud computing, Xbox Live, and even achievements
Independent developers seemingly won't be limited in any way either. They'll be able to tap into the Xbox One's built-in cloud computing — which should enable them to create even more powerful games — and to generally use the console to its full extent, including getting access to Xbox Live, achievements, and the Kinect. Microsoft hasn't fully detailed what the process for submitting games will be like, but it's promising to reveal more details in August.
Microsoft's previous refusal to allow independent developers to publish their own titles into the full Arcade store has been a point of contention among both gamers and in the game development community. Sony has been allowing self-publishing onto the PlayStation 3 for some time now, and it's been able to cultivate a strong selection of indie titles by doing so. Many have been worried that Microsoft was again limiting the Xbox One, and — in what appears to be another major appeasal — the company seems to have gotten the message. Microsoft's full statement is below.
Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live. We'll have more details on the program and the timeline at gamescom in August.