How Microsoft will use trending to make 'a rational marketplace' on Xbox One

By Andrew Yoon, Oct 03, 2013 4:45pm PDT

On Xbox One, games are games are games. That means indie games and retail games will all appear under one Game Store. Chris Charla, director of the ID@Xbox program at Microsoft, said that consumers have become much more savvy today, which removes the need for differentiation between smaller and larger games. "We think consumers understand the value proposition between a $15 game and a $60 game," he said at IndieCade. "We think that the games that are coming from the ID@Xbox are rad enough that any other studio in the world can ship."

However, with every Xbox One eventually able to become a devkit, there's the potential for the Xbox Game Store to become overwhelmed with titles, much like the App Store or Google Play. Charla says that there are a number of built-in features that will prevent that from happening.

First up, there will be "light concept approval" for games on Xbox One. That means there will be "no fart apps" on Xbox One, even if you try to self-publish one. There's also plans for curation to create "a rational marketplace where good games get seen by lots of people."

There will be ways to sort content on the Store, of course, using rather standard methods: "Most Popular," via release date, sorted alphabetically, etc. However, Charla is most excited to show games that are "trending." These aren't games that are simply popular. Instead, this information is based on "how many of your friends are starting to play this game."

Self-publishing on Xbox One will be a bit more restrictive than on other platforms. For example, Microsoft won't allow devs to set their own prices on games. Developers will be able to offer a "wholesale" price, but Microsoft will ultimately determine the final price that appears on the Store. In addition, developers won't be able to set their own release dates. "We're going to work with you to set the right release date," Charla said, but "we don't want ten games of the same genre on the same date."

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