Xbox One Gets More Developer-Friendly

Microsoft has announced three policies designed to support independent game developers for the Xbox One. It will let developers release games without the need for a third-party publisher, will speed up the review process, and will make sure the console itself can be used for developing games.

Originally it had appeared Microsoft would stick the policy it uses on the XBox 360 that requires all developers to use a publishing partner. While that’s been explained as a way of maintaining quality, smaller developers have criticized the restriction as making it less financially viable to release a game.

According to the firm, there won’t be any restrictions on the type of games people develop, or how big or small those games are. Though Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the precise figures, GameInformer reports it’s likely Microsoft and independent developers will take a roughly 50-50 split from the revenue on what will likely be downloadable titles.

Microsoft also plans to drastically cut the review time for games, with around two weeks as the target. This will be done by reducing the review scope to simply cover whether the game meets submission requirements, and whether it has any major bugs that make the game unplayable. Developers will then be responsible for quality control and updates.

Another big change is that developers won’t need to buy a special “dev kit” machine to work on games. Instead they’ll be able to legally modify a standard Xbox One to run games that are in development and don’t have final coding approval, making the machine what’s known as a debug unit.

This won’t be available at launch, but eventually Microsoft will be able to authorize individual consoles to switch to debug unit model. Developer also look set to get access to  a bank of players who’ve had their consoles authorized to run beta tests of unfinished games.

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