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Jul
24
2013

Microsoft: Everyone can make XBox One Games – via XBox One

The next generation of console gaming may have finally found its niche – as the generation that blurs the line between video game players and video game creators. That's according to a new announcement by Microsoft, which confirms – like Sony with the PS4 – that XBox One owners can use the next-gen console as their very own development kit.

Xbox's corporate vice president Marc Whitten said that all Xbox Ones will function as development kits, which are usually only available to licensed developers. This will give everyone who owns an XBox One the tools to build their own XB1 games as part of the very system they're playing them on – a trend Ouya started with its independently-focused Android-based console; and subsequently adopted by Sony for the Playstation 4. To add to the appeal, reports spreading on the internet claim Microsoft will allow indie developers to self-publish on the Xbox One, though Microsoft are yet to comment on this part of the equation.

UPDATE: However, the functionality WON'T be available immediately at the console's launch; it will be installed on all consoles at a later date.

Here's Microsoft's official comment:

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.

Let me be the first to claim this day, Global Gamedev Independence Day ūüôā

UPDATED TO ADD:

Mark Whitten added in late-breaking news today that independently-published games will have just as much potential for exposure as professionally-published games, with Microsoft having no intention to separate the two from the future XBox Live Marketplace:

"My goal is for it to just show up in the marketplace. Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what's trending, what's got a lot of engagement on the platform. And you'd be able to find that content in any of those. There wouldn't be any difference based on what type of game it was. Then of course there will be other type of pivots where you can go and look at whether its a genre of game or any other. But you shouldn't think of it as there's an indie area and a non-indie area.

Just as today, where we will highlight things that are coming in on the service, we want to make that more discoverable. We'll make it things that we curate as well as the other ways that you find content whether that's what your friends are doing or what we recommend based on your play behaviour. Or top listings. We want to make sure we have all of those types of discoverability mechanisms."

Microsoft are yet to comment on whether indie developers will experience any cost to their own pockets to acquire devkits or publish their games. But you WILL have full rights to charge for the games if you prefer; and pricing is aimed to be similar to today's Xbox 360 Marketplace.

With little else revealed, Whitten says we'll have to wait to Gamescon to know the rest of the details. Stay tuned!

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    Jul
    15
    2011

    Rumour: Microsoft blurring line between Windows and Xbox for upcoming Windows 8 OS?

    New rumours spreading around the Blogosphere today make the tantalising proposition that Microsoft may be considering baking in support for XBox 360 games and services within the upcoming next generation of their market-leading (for better or worse) Operating System, Windows. Numerous explanations have been given as cause of this rumour, but chief among them is a new entry in the error message tables for Windows that was discovered in closed Beta builds of the upcoming system, which stated: “Could not read XBox 360 disk media”.

    In addition, with Microsoft known to be working on a Software Development Kit for using Kinect on Windows computers; and Microsoft’s own admission that they’d like to see the technology incorporated beyond the XBox, many claim Microsoft may also be planning to bake Kinect support into Windows directly.

    Microsoft have yet to confirm or deny either rumour, which come from multiple sources, some more trustworthy than others. But knowing a little about Microsoft current conceptualising for the next Windows platform, we can draw some conclusions which give the rumours some support. We already know that Windows 8, as it is being called currently, is taking many design philosophies from Windows Phone 7, including the tiled interface and web widgets. One reason for this, as revealed by Microsoft, is to make the interface more intuitive to touch-screens. Microsoft claim two reasons for taking this measure: Firstly, Microsoft want Windows 8 to support as many different types of input as possible, in order to make for a seamless experience. Could this also include Kinect?

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Microsoft claim they wish to unify the Windows experience across several devices; and believe it is best achieved by making a single system that can easily be adapted to any device the consumer wants – from traditional computer, to tablet device, to smartphone and possibly even TVs. In this case, Windows 8 can be seen as a replacement for the Windows Phone system as well as the next step for the personal computer system. One of the key selling points in recent launches of Windows Phone has been its tight integration with XBox live services, which range from profile management to actually being able to play certain games through the phone. If Microsoft integrates XBox 360 support directly into Windows 8, then brings Windows 8 into smart phones, the XBox gaming platform may suddenly become bigger, stronger and capable of even more games and features than ever; plus game developers will suddenly find they’d only need to develop for one platform to potentially target several. This could be the killer combination that puts Windows for smart devices firmly on the map.

    What’s your take on all this? Let us know in the comments.