There’s always tons of news that comes out of the Game Developers Conference every year, and Microsoft made sure to announce something at GDC 2017. They will be initiating a program called the Xbox Live Creators Program, which will bring “full open game publishing” to Xbox One. There is an already existing program called ID@Xbox that allows qualified indie game developers to self-publish their games on Xbox One and Windows 10. The Xbox Live Creators Program will allow anyone to make games for the same platforms. Sign-ups for the program will be initially limited and more spaces will open up periodically as it becomes more popular.
Xbox Live Creators Program will allow for limited Xbox Live integration into games, like leader boards and party chat. Xbox Live achievements, Gamerscore, or multiplayer matchmaking won’t be available on Xbox Live Creators Program games however. Program developers won’t have to follow any non-disclosure agreements or concept approvals, but Microsoft reserves the right to remove “harmful or inappropriate content” from the Creators store.
This is the first program that Microsoft introduced that will allow just anyone to publish on their console and PCs. This indicates a pretty major shift in the technology giant’s thinking. Chris Charla, Director of the ID@Xbox program, said that the ability to develop, publish, and sell games on a retail console is an important step. In line with this, Charla said, “You haven’t been able to make a game on a consumer piece of technology since the Commodore 64.”
A really easy way of looking at this shift is to understand that Microsoft’s main goal is to sell their consoles and Windows 10 operating systems. By creating a program like this to piggyback on their current one for indie developers, Microsoft is garnering interest. They need to capture as many markets as they possibly can. They’ve got the hardcore gamers already, both in the console and PC markets, the casual/family gamers, the home media users, the work from home types, and the indie developer crowd. With this Xbox Live Creators Program, Microsoft has the ability to latch onto the would-be game developer crowd and casual coding group.
Say I wanted to make a game, but didn’t think I had the skills to pull it off. Or maybe I wanted a little bit of developing experience to say I did it. Even further, perhaps your child wants to be a game developer someday.Well, now you can hand them an Xbox One and say, “Have at it, Jimmy!” This Xbox Live Creators Program might seem like small news to some, but it’s really an important step in creating an entire new faction of the gaming market.
By creating this new marketing and opening their doors wide open to them, Microsoft is setting themselves up for even more console sales. The hope is that everybody (and their mom) will want an Xbox One so that they can develop games that they’d love to see. The same program should boost Windows 10 sales, because the PC gamers will be able to play the creations.
Personally, sales aside, this is a very smart move on Microsoft’s part. User-created content popularity is at an all-time high. Having a platform that allows people to create is always going to be a great addition. There’s also the fact that user-generated content is generally cheaper, which allows players to buy without much fear of buyer’s remorse. I’d love to support a new developer and pay a few bucks for their game, whether or not it turns out to be spectacular. It’s currently easier financially for me than buying a AAA title, and I’m helping someone else live out their dreams at the same time.
How do you feel about the Xbox Live Creators Program? Do you think it’s a great addition to Microsoft’s library of services, or do you consider it fluff? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!