Getting a game certified for consoles can be a lengthy and expensive process — one that usually stops most independent games at the door unless they get a publisher to foot the bill
However, Microsoft is now opening up its Xbox Live Creators Program to the public, allowing indie game makers to become their own publisher while opening up players to new, creator-driven games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Starting today, gamers can try out the first wave of self-published games in the newly added “Creators Collection” on Xbox One or under the “Games” category on the Windows 10 Store.
Some titles available for play now include the Star Fox-esque space shooter Space Cat!, rhythm/action hybrid Stereo Aereo and Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag game featuring terrain-twisting powers.
For those interested in getting their own game up through the Creators Program, a retail Xbox One can replace a professional dev kit via a free Dev Mode Activation app. You will also need a Microsoft Developer account, which will cost money but could be as little as $20.
From there, a game uploaded to the Creators Program undergoes a simple certification process (the game has to follow Microsoft policy, after all) and as soon as that’s complete, your game’s as good as shipped.
While Creators Program titles can utilize social features, players’ Gamertags, leaderboard scoring and more, they won’t be eligible for achievements or use of online multiplayer. For that, they will have to go through Microsoft’s more stringent ID@XBOX program.
This isn’t the first time Xbox has held a hand out for indie devs. The Xbox 360’s Indie Games program allowed for smaller games to be published cheaply with the help of peer review (and even had a few gems like Death Goat and One Finger Death Punch) but didn’t carry over to the next-gen Xbox One.
Though a major boon for devs wanting to avoid creative control (or bankruptcy) when publishing their projects, a lack of quality control could tarnish the initiative — not unlike Steam’s now-defunct Greenlight system — so consider our fingers crossed that more good than ill comes from Xbox’s new open door policy.
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By Parker Wilhelm
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