Every retail Xbox One can become a dev kit, everyone can self-publish games

Speaking to Shacknews, Marc Whitten, corporate VP of Xbox Live, told us that their indie vision is based on the following idea: "our goal is that everybody can decide to stop playing and start creating." And key to that strategy is that "the box you get at retail can be a dev kit, period."

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Microsoft has been heavily criticized for not allowing indie developers to self-publish on Xbox One. However, Microsoft has announced new, ambitious plans that could make its forthcoming console the most open and accessible console platform on the market.

Speaking to Shacknews, Marc Whitten, corporate VP at Xbox, told us that their vision is based on the following idea: "our goal is that everybody can decide to stop playing and start creating." And key to that strategy is that "the box you get at retail can be a dev kit, period."

"Everyone will be able to self-publish content," Whitten told us, adding "this is the fundamental shift that needs to happen."

Part of why Microsoft originally required publishers for content on Xbox Live Arcade was the way Live was built on Xbox 360. Pointing to dev kits and the PartnerNet developer environment, publishing on Live Arcade was inherently "low-scale." But those bottlenecks are gone with Microsoft's next console. "It's one of the foundational things we're working with Xbox One," he told us. "With Xbox One, all development is done against production network."

"One of the things we missed with on 360 is because PartnerNet was so low-scale, even when we did things like XNA, they couldn't take advantage of the services that we put inside of Live. Now that we've re-architected the system from the ground-up, we'll be able to give developers a full suite of tools," Whitten said. "What happens when you give to the indie world Kinect, cloud, and the things that come with cloud? You'll see ridiculous, crazy things that will really drive about how people think about this platform."

So, how will the process of turning a retail Xbox One into a dev kit work? Whitten explained: "when you register as a developer, it will create a relationship between our Live service and your box so that you can put code that runs inside that environment." However, this feature won't be available at launch, meaning indie devs will either have to wait for the program's launch, or get a dev kit from Microsoft now.

While Microsoft's plans are certainly ambitious, with everyone being able to self-publish games, there is a real threat that Xbox Live can become as cluttered as the app stores on iOS and Android today--especially because there won't be any segregation between retail, downloadable, and indie games on the Marketplace. Whitten says that surfacing will be the big challenge for Microsoft. "I still believe strongly in curation, and that means how do we present users with the content that's most relevant to them?"

"If you make a game with zombies in it, and it's a big hit and people like it, it's going to flow up," Whitten said.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 24, 2013 2:20 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Every retail Xbox One can become a dev kit, everyone can self-publish games.

    Speaking to Shacknews, Marc Whitten, corporate VP of Xbox Live, told us that their indie vision is based on the following idea: "our goal is that everybody can decide to stop playing and start creating." And key to that strategy is that "the box you get at retail can be a dev kit, period."

    • reply
      July 24, 2013 2:27 PM

      Wow they are 180'ing so much they are basically at 540 now.

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        July 24, 2013 2:30 PM

        Guess that Xbox 720 nickname would've been apt.

        But seriously, this approach is much more than a u-turn. It's actually quite revolutionary, I'd say.

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      July 24, 2013 2:28 PM

      This was my biggest issue with the platform. Glad to see.

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      July 24, 2013 2:30 PM

      Not available at launch, but within the first year.

      Reactionary much?

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      July 24, 2013 2:31 PM

      I'm waiting for anouncement of a $399 no-Kinect version. Just a question of time now, right?

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        July 24, 2013 2:32 PM

        no-Kinect will never happen.

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          July 24, 2013 2:41 PM

          Agreed , it needs it just like it needed always online 24/hour check.

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        July 24, 2013 2:40 PM

        why is everyone so adamantly against the Kinect? I honestly don't understand the arguments that
        -you won't use it (then just connect it and put it in a drawer or behind the tv??)
        -it's gonna spy on you (no. it wont.)
        -I hate kinect! It makes me move! (no? only the dancing games pretty much)

        Is it just irrational hate or am I missing something huge?

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          July 24, 2013 2:42 PM

          100 dollars for something that you don't want that the PS4 doesn't force on you ?

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            July 24, 2013 2:45 PM

            This is pretty much the reason. Something a lot of people have no desire to use raising the price of the device. They'd rather have the option not to pay for it and get the lower price device.

            Or just go with the PS4.

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            July 24, 2013 2:48 PM

            it's more like $200 if that ama thing on reddit was right

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              July 24, 2013 3:00 PM

              ^^^^^ they say it's 50% console 50% Kinect basically.

              Hell, I'd buy a $200-250 console!

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                July 24, 2013 3:09 PM

                If it is true and they could have sold a $299 Xbox One at launch without the Kinect it might trump every other stupid decision MS has made about it. They would have doubled or tripled sales at least.

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            July 24, 2013 2:51 PM

            What are poor people doing buying consoles anyway $100 should be pocket change

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          July 24, 2013 2:42 PM

          no, it's just irrational hate. you're not missing anything.

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            July 24, 2013 5:58 PM

            Yeah! Except the thread right above yours with a valid point.

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          July 24, 2013 2:45 PM

          Well this one -

          - you won't use it (then just connect it and put it in a drawer or behind the tv??)

          But then you are paying for something you have no intention of using. That's the issue right there.

          I've no intention of getting an xbox one anytime soon, but I can understand people being annoyed at having to pay for something they don't want, especially when the competition is offering that option.

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          July 24, 2013 2:46 PM

          It's not irrational hate. MS touted the first Kinect and did nothing with it to appeal to core gamers. Now they're singing the praises of Kinect with the Xbox One--and, again they have yet to show any games that appeal to core gamers.

          It's true that packaging the Kinect with the X1 provides lots of opportunity for developers to invest time and money into creating a game that shows off what we all know the Kinect is capable of. But they're not, at least at present. Why should I have to pay an extra $100 for a peripheral I have no interest in using?

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            July 24, 2013 3:09 PM

            I guess we should have all shit on Nintendo and the Wii for the motion controls when it was released too, because I didn't want any of it. Why did I have to spend extra for the motion controllers, when all I wanted was a new GameCube with gamepads, bigger storage and a wifi connection?

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          July 24, 2013 2:51 PM

          Mental retardation.

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          July 24, 2013 2:56 PM

          Why do I have to pay for something I won't use?

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          July 24, 2013 3:12 PM

          MS wants every machine to have Kinect, or else nobody will develop for it, simple as that

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          July 24, 2013 3:26 PM

          It is largely irrational hate, but there are two genuine reasons.


          1) Price, people don't want it and dont see the benefit in it, other than telling your xbox to change the tv channel. Which is a novelty at best. So there for don't want to be strong armed into paying $100 for something they don't see the value in.


          2) MS have made ZERO effort to explain the potential of Kinect 2. The first kinect was a premature and somewhat broken piece of hardware that did a huge diservice to the idea of camera based feedback. But there is huge potential for that kind of stuff with a much more advanced device like the kinect 2. I'm not talking about wavey arm games, but integrating it with typical experiences to make them more response. NPCs that look you directly in the eye, NPCs that can see you're literal expression as they speak to you, stuff like that has amazing potential. But MS have done NOTHING to get people excited about that possibility.

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            July 24, 2013 3:27 PM

            *ugh god typos. Too much whisky.

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            July 24, 2013 3:56 PM

            One other concrete reason: I live in an apartment, so there's not enough space for the "Kinect zone" in front of my TV, and I don't want to be "the loud neighbor who keeps shouting XBOX all the time". Kinect was designed for Suburbia, not a "we have just enough room for a coffee table and couch" apartment.

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              July 24, 2013 4:01 PM

              the space required for the new Kinect is significantly reduced and if your walls are so thin that talking to your TV is annoying your neighbors then they're going to be annoyed frequently unless you literally never have another person in your apartment

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                July 24, 2013 4:05 PM

                I never have had another person in my apartment. (I know; I'm trying to fix that.)

                I also hate voice control in general, especially with how inaccurate and lagged it usually is. I'd rather use a keyboard and mouse or a D-pad and A / B button to use controls that have immediate feedback, not sit there and yell at my TV for 2 minutes to back to the guide screen, because the air conditioner is running on the wall adjacent to where the TV is, therefore drowning out the microphone on the Kinect sensor.

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                  July 24, 2013 4:14 PM

                  I would wager that any movie I watch is louder than the volume I speak to my TV with as far as what a neighbor would perceive.

                  I expect the quality of voice control to improve significantly, that's how the technology works. I use it plenty already. Even in niche scenarios it's super handy. When I'm watching TV while eating dinner I don't have a KB/mouse + controller nearby (or don't want), or my hands are covered in burger juice, or my hands are busy making dinner, etc. If my 360 controller has turned off (as it always does by the time a normal episode of TV ends) it's almost always faster for me to say 'Xbox Next Episode' once than to turn the controller back on and wait for it to sync and then press A.

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                    July 24, 2013 4:35 PM

                    Sure, those things are neat tricks, but judging by the response of most people here that isn't enough to sell them on something that is costing them another 100$.

                    Show these same folk a killer gaming application of that tech and they'll be all over it, thats why its so crazy MS haven't even attempted to show anything like that yet. And by killer app i dont mean "do something I can already do with a joypad or a mouse & keyboard, but without lifting a finger" I mean do something we've never seen anywhere before, that delivers on some of the early promises MS made about the Kinect 1.

                    I think it will happen at some point, its just mind boggling MS haven't even tried to convince us of that with anything yet.

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                  July 24, 2013 4:53 PM

                  The Kinect 1 is smart enough if you know all the commands you can just rattle them all off and it does whatever it needs to.

                  Like you can say Xbox, TV & Movies, My Video Apps, Amazon Instant Video and it will launch amazon instant video.

                  Conversely, you can say each of those and wait for the on screen prompts for the next command as well.

                  The voice navigation around the entire system is really good with the Kv.1, and I assume it will be even better with the noise cancellation the Kv.2 will have.

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                July 24, 2013 5:59 PM

                Or just maybe his apartment is fine and Kinect isn't for him? Why does his place have to be defective if Kinect won't work there, he didn't design the fucking thing and he didn't even ask for it.

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                  July 24, 2013 6:16 PM

                  no my argument was definitely that his apartment isn't functional and should be torn down and replaced with a Kinect 1 compatible environment for playing with the Kinect 2 and the Xbox One.

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              July 24, 2013 8:51 PM

              You can stand 3 feet in front of the thing now and it'll see you. The new one has rooms like yours in mind. They've showed this all during E3 (with people from the crowd allowed to go up). The technology behind it is impressive.

              Plenty of videos like this have been released too:
              http://youtu.be/bydLSVVuaRM

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            July 24, 2013 4:27 PM

            Totally agree with you on 2. There is so much potential with the Kinect 2. If Microsoft made a detective demo where you have to analyze a crime scene, interrogate suspects, and decide what happened, it would go a long way into convincing people what the power of the Kinect is.

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              July 24, 2013 4:31 PM

              Exactly, there is a great deal that could be done with that thing. And i think we will eventually see that, as long as MS has the balls to stick with it and make it mandatory.

              Instead of throwing money at crytek to make that dumb, redundant looking quicktime game they should have split that budget up between a dozen indie developers and gave them early access to the tech and told them to go wild.

              But no, lets focus on developing something with really dramatic explosions instead and just assume someone else will figure out later on why we're shipping this thing with our console.

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                July 24, 2013 4:37 PM

                yeah I just doubt the groundbreaking use of Kinect 2 is somewhat that a) is in a launch title and/or b) is ready to show months before shipping. I'm sure it'll take some time. And the original Milo demo and subsequent failure kinda kills any ability to do just a pure early concept demo.

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                  July 24, 2013 4:40 PM

                  Yeah I really hope they've got something special up their sleeve. Thus far i'm excited by the whole drama and pantomime of the new consoles, but as far as the systems go themselves, I find them pretty uninspiring so far. The only really potential for something really new comes from the kinect, but i'm not going to spend money until I see something that lives up to the ideas bouncing about in my head.

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        July 24, 2013 2:59 PM

        Some of you guys really don't understand how consoles work, do you? This is never going to happen.

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        July 24, 2013 3:27 PM

        It's nice to have a single sku but the biggest problem is they haven't presented the value over the competition warranting the additional cost. With as poorly as their presentation has gone so far, I wouldn't doubt that there's more value there than has been put forward. I'm not sold on it, especially with most of the valuable exclusives also coming to PC.

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        July 24, 2013 6:15 PM

        There is a rumor going around that this will happen in 2014 along with a bundle that includes a smaller hard drive that will cost less then a PS4.

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      July 24, 2013 2:44 PM

      MS does need to enforce some categorization. I'm meticulous in searches and would like to be able to flit between retail, indie, and downloadable (however the later is classified). Not because I don't want the categories to intermingle, but because, as Andrew mentions, the current implementation could become cluttered.

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        July 24, 2013 6:54 PM

        The problem with that is the "indie" category is so unruly and undefinable that it will be very hard to split them out.

        Many of the Kickstarter Darlings (Broken Age, Shadowrun Returns, Wasteland 2) which are made from larger independent studios would fall in the same catagory as Baby Fart Machine V2 since they are both indie. Steam is showing how hard it is to filter it out right now with the Greenlight and the issues with that.

        Classifying what is Indie will be as debatable as classifying the planet Pluto was.

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      July 24, 2013 2:47 PM

      great article. According to some journalists this was going to be a Gamescom announcement. I hope they have others planned.

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      July 24, 2013 3:02 PM

      They're like a kid that's flunking so their answer is to copy the good student's paper. I mean I really hope they're learning something but there's still a lot of wtf over the direction they thought was good enough before.

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        July 24, 2013 3:08 PM

        I dunno. I'm kinda over all that, now. You make the changes, I like the changes, we're good.

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          July 24, 2013 3:13 PM

          You are speaking to a PS4 fanboy, nothing will make him happy

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            July 24, 2013 4:02 PM

            Well I own a 360, I just found their Xbox One presentation made it clear they were heading in very lame directions. Sure they can fix it but I wouldn't personally check out their console again for a few years. They deserve some marketplace failure for all the issues. I mean it's not like they don't have the resources to do this shit right, so who the hell needs to give them charity. Not me.

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              July 24, 2013 4:16 PM

              "Deserves failure" is harsh, but this was certainly their Ken Kutaragi E3 2006 moment.

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              July 24, 2013 11:33 PM

              I love all the people who treat a corporation emotionally like some kind of jilted lover.

              If their product provides enough value to me to justify the price then I buy it, if not, I don't. But I don't have these sagas of infatuation, betrayal, resentment, and reconciliation with companies like so many shackers seem to.

              Do I have likes and dislikes? Sure I do. For example, I say good things about Nintendo around here. You could say I like Nintendo, that I'm a fan. Sure. But do I have a Wii U yet? No, I don't. Because as it stands, it just doesn't provide enough value to justify $350 of my money right now. Am I optimistic that this will change in the future? Sure. Will I buy a Wii U as soon as it crosses that threshold? You bet.

              For me, I'm no Vulcan, but emotion just doesn't really seep into my business transactions with faceless corporate monoliths. I save that shit for real people. So if Microsoft changes their product from something less appealling to something more appealing, that directly affects my attitude toward their product. I don't go "Too late, Microsoft, you hurt my feelings, so now I'm mad at you! If you send me flowers on my birthday for two years in a row we can kiss and make up and then my affections towards you may have warmed up enough to consider your products once again!"

              If Gearbox makes a cool HD revamp of Homeworld and it gets good reviews, I'll say, "cool, HD Homeworld! i'll buy that!", not "Well, your product may look mighty enticing, Mr. Pitchford, but I'm afraid my sensibilities have been just too damaged by your dalliances with that Nukem harlot, you shall have to woo me further before I consider any entreaties from your direction!"

              I mean am I the odd one here? Is this how capitalism is supposed to work and I just missed the memo? Sorry for going off into a rant, this isn't about any one post or poster but more just general attitudes I've seen with people's comments regarding different companies.

              It's not a relationship. They're just groups of people throwing stuff out there in the hopes that people will like it enough to send them money and make a profit. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. it's not personal. I know that may be heresy to Apple cultists and the like but I wasn't aware this trend of treating a giant business conglomerate like it's your girlfriend or an embittered ex was so widespread.

              /rant

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                July 29, 2013 1:52 PM

                tl;dr

                ...just kidding. Pretty good post and I feel the same way.

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            July 24, 2013 6:19 PM

            wrong a ps4 would me him happy.

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      July 24, 2013 3:07 PM

      "Everyone can stop playing and create his own games!" This is such a hackneyed claim that it's amazing anyone takes it seriously...;) Sounds just like Ouya--oooops, I forgot, the Ouya devkits have been shipping for a few months, meanwhile when the xb1 "dev kit for n00bs arrives" seems to be anybody's guess and at the moment such a product simply does not exist. (Along with the xb1, of course.) WIth the volume and scale of Microsoft's pre-shipping publicity, you could be forgiven for forgetting that the darned thing hasn't even shipped and that nobody has one.

      Dog bites you once, shame on the dog. Twice...

      99% of the people who buy an xb1 will buy it to *play* games, not create them. Microsoft seems to consistently miss this message, somehow! The company keeps trying hard to push xb1 as something else other than a premiere gaming console. As it is, I'd advise no one to do anything apart from waiting to see what ships when the xb1 actually ships, and I'd wait on intelligent, probing reviews of the product *before* I'd buy it. Otherwise, you may get bitten even a *third* time--and if you do then by that point you will deserve whatever you get--most definitely.


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        July 24, 2013 3:15 PM

        I think your fears are overreaching and unnecessary. There is no once bitten twice shy scenario going on here unless you create it, and you're likely only delaying yourself from enjoying what everyone else will at launch. Waiting for the price point to fall a bit from launch makes sense, saying that Microsoft is lying about everyone being able to develop doesn't. Your argument against the propensity of users willingness to develop has no bearing on the veracity of Microsoft's statement here and is pretty droll -- they're saying everyone has equal access, not instant desire.

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        July 24, 2013 3:27 PM

        actually as part of buying an Xbox One you're required to sign a contract that ensures you will become a game developer within a minimum of 3 months, that's why this feature exists duh

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      July 24, 2013 3:09 PM

      Wow. That's rad.

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      July 24, 2013 3:29 PM

      They just signed a deal with Unity so that's likely going to be it.

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      July 24, 2013 5:55 PM

      Does the new indie game structure differ from the current structure with the 360? Will we see more indie games on the Xbox One than the 360?

      Titles such as Rogue Legacy on Steam, could they also land on the Xbox One?

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      July 24, 2013 8:30 PM

      "become a dev kit" usually means "can play unsigned xex's off of a random dvd-r or off the hard drive or a usb stick"
      marketing speak is yayaya

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        July 25, 2013 11:26 AM

        I guess that in order to run your own app, you will need to use some special software on both console and PC. Most likely it will be like with XNA. In that case you need to install an app on the 360, and a plug in on Visual Studio, then using that plug in you can deploy your app to the 360.

        You can never install an XNA app on the 360 using a USB or DVD. Since this is for indies, I don't think that they will allow to create retail games, only digital downloads...

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      July 24, 2013 8:56 PM

      ...the best part is selling their own fat asses back to them...