It wasn't too long ago that Microsoft released an update that turned every Xbox One into a software development kit. Now, hobbyist developers will have a platform for publishing their wares on the console. It's called the Xbox Live Creator's Program.
"With the Xbox Live Creators Program, you can ship your UWP [Universal Windows Platform] game on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC or simultaneously on both platforms," Microsoft's Andrew Parsons wrote in a post on the Windows Developer blog. You'll even have access to commonplace stuff like Xbox Live sign-ins, Beam broadcasting, Game Hubs and leaderboards. What's off limits for now, though, is pushing your game to the store.
More than that, these self-made games won't exist in main area of the game store on Xbox. "Because Xbox One offers players a curated store experience, games from the Creators Program will appear in a new, distinct Creators game section of the store," Parsons wrote.
So, essentially, this is replicating what Microsoft did with self-published indies on the Xbox 360: relegating them to a cordoned off section within the store and limiting their visibility.
But, ID@Xbox director Chris Charla (pictured above) says there's a potential solution for that. "For developers who want access to more Xbox Live capabilities and to gain additional development and marketing support for their game, they can enroll in the ID@Xbox program -- even after their game ships." But, remember, that can be a costly affair, too. It took one developer around $5,000 to run through the process.
For now, the program is limited to a select group of developer Insiders. That will change and "soon," the company says, with more devs expected to get access.
What does that mean for you, dear reader? Most likely, really weird experimental games. You know, like Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp or I Maed a Gam3 W1th Z0mbies 1n It!!!1. Fringe stuff that you wouldn't see otherwise, but is important to have on the console. Hell, on Xbox 360, someone even made a TV calibration tool that worked really well.
Considering that common game design toolsets like MonoGame and Unity have UWP support built in, it might not be long before some of these potentially bizarre games start showing up.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from GDC 2017!