Indies Won’t Be Able To Self Publish Games On Xbox One

By Ishaan . May 22, 2013 . 8:30am

Indie developers won’t be able to self-publish their games on Xbox One, a Microsoft representative has shared with Shacknews. Similar to Xbox Live Arcade, indies will require an approved publisher to handle their releases for them.


When asked if indies would require a publisher to publish games on Xbox Live, Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, stated: “As of right now, yes. We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have.”


However, Booty added that he expects Microsoft to explore “new business models and new ways of surfacing content” this generation.


Microsoft are currently the only of the three major console companies that don’t allow indie developers to self-publish their games. Both Sony and Nintendo are allowing indies to self-publish games on their PlayStation Network and Nintendo eShop platforms.

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  • Dat booty.

  • Ferrick

    is this what they call “Fresh out of production, and right into the bin” ?

    • Always No. 9

      Hah, it’s funny because it’s true…..

  • riceisnice

    I’m not sure what this means. Is it bad for Indie developers. Sounds like it’s limiting their options.

    • Akimitsu

      I guess it can be limiting, in that, indies have to find a publisher before they can have a game published on XBLA. As pointed out in the article, Sony and Nintendo don’t have this and the indies can self-publish them. I guess this means there’s more money for indies to earn with Sony and Nintendo, although I’m not entirely sure.

    • mikanko

      I’m not entirely sure on the exact formula, but basically to get a game on Xbox Arcade you have to have a publisher who has released retail games for the system(more than 1, I think I recall the number was 3).

      I believe they use it as incentive for publishers to have such agreements with Microsoft to release x number of games and at the same time creates an arbitrary standard for xbla games. Obviously just because a publisher has released retail games doesn’t mean they back quality digital products, but it’s the policy they keep.

      I think this is why Lab Zero had had to get in with Konami for publishing Skullgirls, and is probably why some games like Divekick don’t currently have plans for an XBLA release.

      So while it does limit their options, it’s also the current status quo for Xbox live so not really anything new.

  • Minos

    …So many bad things one after the other… this actually stopped being funny, its just sad…

    • ShadowDivz

      Still kinda funny

      • Pockystix

        like a dark comedy, if you will

  • Xbox One: No fun allowed edition.

    • More like this: Xbox One, because only one person will smile: Microsoft.

    • TheExile285

      This was perfect, lol

    • Didn’t you hear? Its all about watching TV. And Sports. Fun? Pft.

    • ShadowDivz

      No it’s Xbox One Rule 0: No fun allowed.

      1st RULE: You do not talk about Xbox One.

      2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about Xbox One.

      3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the game is over.

      4th RULE: Only two guys to a game.

      5th RULE: One game at a time.

      6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.

      7th RULE: games will go on as long as they have to.

      8th RULE: If this is your first time playing Xbox One, you can’t play.
      (In case you don’t know, im referencing Fight Club.)

    • Pope The Rev XXVIII

      Xbox Done

  • TiredOfMyOldUsername

    I don’t have much hope in humanity, but if Xbox One end up being popular then i will really lose all remaining hope i have in humanity.

  • andref

    The more I hear the less I like this console. This article stands with something else I read from GI claiming MS is no longer as indie friendly as it used to be

  • Reza Faliq

    Is everyone working on this xbox one on crack or sumthing?

    • Damarius Wingfield

      I was thinking meth but….yep, pretty much!

  • Sentsuizan_93

    Not really big on Xbox, but Microsoft are really shooting themselves in the foot with the Xbox One, one article at a time.

  • FFmax

    Why are they doing this? It’s like they want this console to bomb.

    • Damarius Wingfield

      LOL it might as well be a bomb!

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    you mean, You seriously don’t know why other companies support Indie developers? Microsoft?

    • Geez, there are way too many people watching this right now..

    • What did I tell you about taking pictures of me while I’m eating Shawn!

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        (¬‿¬) only take when you are eating a potato

        • Hahahaha! Just don’t scare Nova-kun off, or we won’t be able to take more candid photos :3

        • O_O!

          • ShawnOtakuSomething


  • Solomon_Kano

    I can’t even fathom why they wouldn’t do this. Over time XBLA has gotten less and less indie friendly, so you’d think they’d fix some of that moving to Xbox One like “Hey, guys, we know we gave you trouble in the past, but things will be easier now.” That’s what Nintendo did with self-publishing on Wii U, but no dice from MS. This is the ONLY next-gen console without self-publishing.

    Sony opened the indie floodgates, Nintendo’s making things drastically easier, but MS? Well, hey! There’s still the XBLA Indie marketplace… I guess?

    • Considering one of the biggest reasons I had a hard time deciding if I wanted a 360 or not was because of glorious shmups like Ikarauga being released in our territories – which in turn, I had assumed, was due to such Japanese companies preferring to publish their titles on XBLA…

      – if that assumption is true, then I’m afraid they’ve done quite a bit of damage in their shmups department.

      • Solomon_Kano

        One of the main supporters of shmups on 360 was Cave and, to this day, I don’t really know what drew them to the 360. I’d really be interested in hearing what interested them in the platform.

        But since the 360 didn’t have self-publishing (unless published to the Indie channel), I don’t think you’ll have to worry about the One seeing diminished shmup support. If it does though, that likely won’t be the reason.

        • Ah right, I see. Thanks for clarifying bro!

          Now to play the waiting game and see I guess.

          • Solomon_Kano

            No prob, man.

          • Oh, completely off topic but would you like to keep in touch outside of Siliconera? I’d forgotten to ask in the last few occasions but I’ve been meaning to for a while, dood.

          • ShadowDivz

            STRANGER DANGER!

          • ;~; b-but…

          • Solomon_Kano


          • Solomon_Kano

            Sure, but the most I can do is PSN (or whatever the Wii U has, whenever I get around to getting one). I don’t do social media and I never check my email lol.

          • Cool~ I was hoping for a Steam invite though to be honest, since I’m pretty much on Steam 24/7 and makes it easy for people to get hold of me.

            You should be able to find me as Tachibana_Yumi on PSN :3

            I’m not even sure how the Wii U one works yet either, but I think I’ll have to figure out when I finish single player quests in MH3U… Oh well!

          • Solomon_Kano

            Ah, yea, I’m not one for PC gaming (largely because my laptop can’t handle squat lol), so no Steam for me.

            I’ll definitely add you on PSN though.

        • Pope The Rev XXVIII

          Cave is probably jumping to Either Wii U or PS4.

        • mikanko

          Cave said 360 was cheaper and easier to port their games to. They also assume their titles are for a niche hardcore audience, and that the platform choice wouldn’t really limit the number of people who’d buy their games.
          I don’t really think they’re wrong, and the number of people who’ve complained about the games not being available on PS3 are generally a vocal minority. Xbox 360s are pretty cheap in Japan and they’ve just felt it’s safe to assume everyone who wanted their games already had one. This has kinda been the general philosophy of all the shmup developers releasing games on system.

          That said, Cave has nothing to do with this topic as Microsoft would not consider them an indie developer for what this relates to. =P

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, I was just wondering what made Cave choose the 360 since shmups were brought up. A random aside.

            Their reasoning certainly makes sense now that I hear it. The genre isn’t expanding or contracting and they’ve a dedicated fanbase, so the platform they choose is largely irrelevant.

            Thanks for the info!

    • badmoogle

      Well if they’ll continue to moneyhat big indie games like Minecraft then i don’t think PS4’s more open environment will affect them that much.

      • Solomon_Kano

        It’s not really a matter of it affecting them or not, it doesn’t really matter to me if it has any effect on Microsoft themselves, but it means a number of indie games that will be on Wii U and PS4 won’t be able to make it to the One without the developers going through more work than they need to.

        That sucks for the indies and that sucks for the Xbox gamers who’ll end up missing their games because of that.

        • badmoogle

          I agree 100%.

    • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

      Haha funny thing is, they also got rid of the XBLA marketplace and are compiling all games (AAA, indies, AA, etc.) into 1 marketplace. So much for that.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Oh gosh. Come on!

        If it was just combining the downloadable retail games section with the rest of XBLA, sure, fine. That’s how it is on PSN and eShop, so cool. The problem comes with them folding the indie channel into that, because the indie channel is a massive jumble of games ranging from absolute shovelware to games that could have been on “normal” XBLA (if they had a publisher, of course).

        That’s just going to reduce visibility for the indie games (not that there was much in the indie channel, given how disorganized it was).

        This on top of them killing XNA… I really don’t know what they’re thinking.

      • Göran Isacson

        I’ve also read this, but I’m not quite sure what it will mean (I don’t own an Xbox 360, see). What are the reasons they’re combining the different markets (easier oversight into what gets bought, less resources spent on something?), and how will it affect indie games?

    • mikanko

      This is actually nothing new. They’re just stating they’re keeping the same policy moving forward that they’ve always had regarding xbla. Indie developers have always had to make a contract with a publisher who releases physical copy retail games to get their games on XBLA.

      I’m not really keen about this new system for a lot of reasons, but this shouldn’t really surprise anyone, and people who are acting like this is some new policy seem to be misunderstanding.

      • Solomon_Kano

        I’m aware that the 360 didn’t have self-publishing, I’ve said as much further down to another poster. I’m simply questioning why they didn’t make it happen for the Xbox One, seeing as the PS3 and Wii also lack self-publishing while their successors do not.

        It’s not a surprise, I’m aware that it’s not new, I’m just wondering why they’re the only one of the big 3 to neglect allowing people to self-publish.

        • mikanko

          Ah ok.

          As for why they’re not changing their policy, I think it’s a safe assumption that limiting publishing on xbox live to people who publish retail games ensures that there will BE retail games. Maybe not necessary, but it does give some incentive for publishers to put out more games, so they can also release cheaper to make downloadables on top of that.

          A bigger reason might have to do with the costs and update fees they get away with fleecing from various publishers. I’ve heard a couple of times publisher costs are higher getting things on XBLA.. The bottom line for any of the system makers is they’ll make choices that they think will make them the most bling.

          Or just arrogance, and not seeing any need to change. ><

          Oh well!

          • M’iau M’iaut

            This way they don’t need the cost drawing up contracts for any indie who shows up at their stoop with a title. Or having to explain to each indie why they were paid X and the next guy paid Y.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Ooh, I forgot about the fees they hit people with for updates. It’s actually probably for the best that they don’t allow self-publishing with that in mind, little funds as indies have to spare.

            Ah well, my platform of choice has what I’m looking for. Just a pity that it turned out like this for Xbox users.

        • Kevadu

          I’m not sure about the Wii, but the PS3 has totally allowed self-publishing for a long time now. They’re making a big push for indies on the PS4 but that aspect of it isn’t atually new.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Didn’t know the PS3 had self-publishing. Interseting. The Wii definitely didn’t though, I do know that much. Nintendo had a lot of hoops for folks to jump through to get on eShop.

      • tridus

        It is surprising, considering it’s an archaic policy and the rest of the industry has left it in the dust. And hell, Microsoft themselves totally broke their own rules to make Minecraft happen on the 360, so it’s not like they aren’t aware of the problems.

        That they care so little as to not bother fixing it with a new system release is really something.

        I guess since it’s not Kinect or TV related, they aren’t interested.

        • mikanko

          I guess I’m just cynical then. XBLA has been very successful during the 360s time, and I don’t see Microsoft being all that progressive when it comes to eliminating red tape from their practices.

          My point though was a lot of people seem to be thinking this is anything new, which it isn’t.

  • Stranger On The Road

    Oh, I remember indies; they used to call themselves that because they published their own games independent from publishers. Although, nowadays I can see ‘EA’ indie bundles on sale!

    In the old days, an indie didn’t need no publisher because they will not be an indie if they used one. But according to MS they need a publisher to publish their games! How the flip are they independent if they still need a publisher?

    Now it is a “feature” that indies can ‘self-publish’? Man I feel like a relic right now.

    P.S. For those wondering, this is not a new MS policy for Xbox ONE; it have been on XBL for a while now.

  • Always No. 9

    nOne for me…….

  • Raltrios

    “Hey guys! You wanna make some cool games for the community so everyone can have fun and you can better learn how to create games thanks to the feedback? That’s real cute, but we’ve got this new business model you have to conform to. It’s called, ‘All Your Money and Soul R Belong To Us! It’s fantastic, the fans will really appreciate how you’ve gone to great lengths to screw them over by choosing to fly with us. When they see how much money we – and only we, I might add – are making, they’re sure to want to come working for the leeches! We’ll be raking in the production value!”

    Yeah, no. I expect less than a million console sales worldwide for months until they realize they just bought the farm and scramble to reorganize.

  • SirRichard

    Microsoft must be living in their own little bubble or something, some sort of lala-land where pre-owned fees, always online DRM and keeping the filthy indie poors out are completely desirable traits. It’s like they don’t even realise what made people like the XBLA.

    Why would you actively turn down the chance for more games for your system, especially in these times of ever-growing indie popularity?

    • Steven Higgins

      It’s like Microsoft is TRYING to fail.

  • xxx128

    I already have an Xbox one. And i am pretty happy with it, its rock solid, build like a tank and it plays prons, With 360 everything went downhill with the 3 reds. We had customers that had their 360 repaired for the 11th time.

    The 3rd generation xbox looks like its dead in the water already not even to mention that design-wise they apparently have re-invented the VHS recorder.

    Either way this isnt a console, i agree, its another low spec PC with lots of advertising streamed right onto your dashboard and games that do not belong to you after you have purchased them.

    Microsoft go home.

    • Ferrick

      “I already have an Xbox one…”

      umm… what ? If your claims are true, then mind if i borrow your time machine then ?

      • Tincho Kudos

        I think he meant the first Xbox, not this new Xbox one. Man, this name sure is confusing

        • Ferrick

          haha ikr! Its such a stupid name, why would they name the new xbox like the old xbox (most of us still call the first gen Xbox as Xbox 1 or Xbox Gen 1)

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Let’s do try and keep the discussions on thread topics please. If folks need to share passions outside the topic, that is probably best done on the Open Thread.

  • komiko12

    Are those circle pads? They are weirdly placed.

    About the news, it’s either they are being jerks or they have forgotten what indie means.

    • Solomon_Kano

      Nah, they’re analog sticks. They do look like circle pads from that angle though.

  • Luna Kazemaru

    Why MS you can’t be this silly…can you?

  • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

    Well this is no change from their current policies, but it doesn’t look as good when both Sony and Nintendo are gunning for indies and Steam still is as appealing as ever.

  • Guys, it’s all good. We just saved couple hundred bucks!

    • Damarius Wingfield

      *Claps hand*

  • Go2hell66

    Obviously microsoft is trying to sell this console to publishers instead of gamers

  • Makes sense now since it seems like it’s more of a T.V console than a gaming console.

  • Lemon

    Unless Microsoft comes up with some exclusive that I really, really, really NEED to play, I don’t foresee me ever getting this Xbox One. I remember the reason I bought the first original Xbox was to play KOTOR. But with all these new features that I do NOT want present in their newest product, and their much touted games being EA games, Call of Duty, Forza etc, I think I’ll be very satisfied with getting only a PS4 and Wii U in the near future.

    But…IF they announce a new exclusive DoA Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox One… That and a Kinect…might be interesting? Then again, on second thoughts, jumping around in my living room in front of my TV while pretending that I’m really playing volleyball sounds incredibly silly.

  • Uh, Microsoft is REALLY doing it wrong with their console reveal. You’re supposed to show what’s GOOD about the system, not what’s bad. Can we really say that all of the information that they revealed during and after the conference has painted their console in a positive light?

    That’s a shame for someone like me who tries to be optimistic about everything because all of this information so far is severely turning me away from them.

  • TheExile285

    lol, Microsoft

    what the hell are they smoking

  • The Xbox One self published it’s own grave.

    • Pope The Rev XXVIII

      Xbox One You are already dead- Kenshiro

      • Kai2591

        someone should make a gif of that haha.
        kenshiro as ps4 and the enemy that he used those words on as xbone :)

  • SoundMatch

    One of my best friend called me a liar everything that’s being announced. Even after I show him the article he still calls me a liar. I hope I can help him before its too late. Gaming is becoming about procuring as much $ as possible. But what Microsoft fails to understand $ is making people happy…

    • Damarius Wingfield

      Sometimes it’s best not to be overly concerned and forceful. My famous quote: “To each and every person’s own personal HELL”. If he’s aware of what you tried to do for him, leave him be. Sometimes sympathy shouldn’t be given but you can empathize with his choice and his suffering should it occur. Wisdom from a young adult.

    • Göran Isacson

      Holy hell if he’s THAT much in denial, even after all these articles have been published, I don’t know if your friend CAN be helped. sometimes… sometimes there’s just nothing you can do…

      • SoundMatch

        But hes my childhood friend… I can’t give up on him. Hes a fool who learns from his own experience not others. Dammit I wish Event Status+gaminganarchist had their own TV station or something.

        • Göran Isacson

          If nothing else, I commend your dedication. Hopefully it will all work out for him… somehow. Without losing TOO much money.

          • SoundMatch

            Thank you

  • Domii

    The more I hear about the Xbox One, the more likely it seems that MS has no intention to satisfy the hardcore gamer. As of now it seems all the momentum is on Sony’s side with the PS4. Both MS and Nintendo will have to have huge showings post e3.

    • Kaitsu

      You haven’t been keeping updates with Nintendo lately, haven’t you?

      • Domii

        Ofcourse I’ve been keeping up with Ninty. I think you’re the one not keeping up since the WIIU is struggling to sell.

  • DCBlackbird

    well you did promise 15 new exclusives…. hmmm

  • Istillduno

    Wow, just wow, this has to be the worst console launch I’ve ever seen, all M$ needs to do now is declare the 360 to be dead a few weeks down the line and announce an incredibly lame launch lineup and they’ll have done it all.

  • ShadowDivz

    Microsoft does what nintendon’t.
    Sorry, it just seemed appropriate. xD

  • Ruins72

    So as someone who is poor/lower class and therefore cannot afford a broadband connection, if I spend money on this thing, I can’t use it? Are you serious? I won’t say for certain I’m turning my back on them because I have faith things’ll turn better for me but they have a lot of convincing ahead of them.

  • Damarius Wingfield

    GUYS remember when I said we shouldn’t get this and wait it out!

  • Vesperion

    *looks to see a Xbox One article* oh look more bad news

  • Göran Isacson

    I wonder what “explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content this generation” really means. Does it mean “if this method goes tits up we’ll change our mind”? Can they even do that if things don’t go through very well? And will this mean that more and more indies will jump ship to some other format?

    • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

      I can qsuedo-answer your last question. To me it sounds like Microsoft is sticking with their guns and going with what they know. I remember before the announcement, a few indie devs were asking for an easier process of getting their games and content onto the store. Less red-tape, less hoops to jump through. But now it doesn’t look like things will be made neither easier, nor harder. Whether that means more indies will jump out, only time will tell, but the grass does look greener on the Sony and Nintendo pastures.

      • Göran Isacson

        Huh, so it’s not that things have changed in any particular direction, only that they’re still headed in a “not-so-positive” direction? I guess the only thing now is to play the waiting game.

        If Xbox One becomes a big hit among the masses for it’s abilities as a “all media in one” box, indies will most likely keep developing for it due to it’s widespread userbase (although that does depend if “widespread userbase” in this case translates into “userbase willing to spend money on indie games”). If Xbox One fails to sell and spreads itself so thin that the customers don’t see much use in one, they’ll be heading for the easier platforms.

  • Natat

    It almost sounds like Microsoft WANTS this console to flop. But that just can’t be possible, now can it…?

    • SoundMatch

      I believe the ignorant masses will make this somehow work and then after a second wave of rage microsoft will try and make some kind of deal aka if you make someone buy an Xbox One we will let you play this game for free etc.

  • ZEROthefirst

    Thought all of this news on how bad the Xbox One is becoming before release was hilarious, but now that I see more keeps coming… I’m just starting to feel bad for Microsoft here.

    Of course a little chuckle here and there doesn’t hurt lol

  • Tee Niitris

    I don’t get why Microsoft is being difficult with the indie developer protocol. I don’t see where it would hurt to loosen up, and it appears it would only help. More games equals more variety and more exposure for the system.

    Core games aren’t enough anymore. Microsoft knows this, that’s why they’re making it a “general entertainment system.” What they seem to not know is that most people won’t be bothered with anything besides cable (which is enhancing the media watching experience on their own) and HDTV.

    So they’re likely not getting the general entertainment crowd, repelling the hardcore gamer crowd (for other reasons), and appearing to belittle a chance to give their console more variety.

    To top it all off, MS doesn’t have the US market wrapped around the way they think. Sony does makes products that appeal to people overseas. If Microsoft doesn’t do something to “sell” their system, they’ll lose the only strong market they have. This map indicates they already have (so far)

    Also, more people look at the internet these days. Joe Schmoe has a good idea of what’s going on.

  • biskmater

    HA! And I thought the “use your real name” thing with the PS4 was a deal breaker.

    • Testsubject909

      If I recall, that bit was optional and from the way they talked about it, sounded as though it was set for if you paired your account to Facebook or set, by default, to reveal to your friends only, meaning that strangers wouldn’t get your real name.

  • Aristides

    More like Xbox NOne, guess I won’t be publishing any of my games on this system in the future. lol

  • Taylor Davis

    Wow, well when I went to the conference yesterday I was depress, the more I hear Of Xbox one and how horrible it is, I just don’t support Microsoft anymore. Well Ps4 will be awesome!~ (I hate you forever mircosoft!)

    I’m Xbox Done. Go home,Xbox!

  • Happy Gamer

    that’s booty

  • DemonicX

    What in the world was Microsoft smoking when creating the Xbox One..? Honestly, I’m starting to really hope that at least a majority of 3rd party developers don’t even support this console. I guess Microsoft forgot that they already missed April 1st.. *sigh*

    • Testsubject909

      Business Man: “But as you can clearly see on the graph, our estimated projection shows that this course of action is the ideal means for us to optimize our profit!”

  • Derek E Nay

    Indies are not indies if they go though a publisher >.< So Microsoft just killed the Indie scene in Xbox One.

  • tridus

    Xbox One – For when you want a Netflix box that might also play some games.

  • Lucian Kara

    Microsoft: For when you want to make EA look fantastic by comparison.

  • Krisi92

    Let’s look at the bright site: Rare’s going to return to Nintendo now after Microsoft’s gaming department dies? Maybe to make a new Banjo-Kazooie or Donkey Kong Country?

    I like this Xbox One more and more.

  • Testsubject909

    So, this is slightly dated info, it’s back from about a year or two ago when I started to do some research on publishing on different consoles or Steam, to see how much profit and liberty was granted to the publisher in question, or more specifically, for indies.

    My discovery on Xbox Live Arcade was such. The profit you get is, obviously, just a portion of the profit made, I forget the percentage but I remember being disappointed by a low number.

    Next, for you to see a single cent from your game, you need to wait each quarter. When reaching said quarterly time, meaning 4 paychecks at best per year, you need to have made at least 500$ profit. If you have not made 500$ yet, you will not receive any money, not until it finally does reach that amount and when it does, you will need to wait until the next quarterly paycheck.

    The pricing is preset, that is to say, preset to certain points, custom pricing options are limited to those that Microsoft allows.

    Microsoft reserves the right to reduce the price of your game if it so chooses to put it up as some sort of special and reserves the right to even give your game away for free. So even if you set a price, Microsoft is still at liberty to do as they please with the price of your game.

    This is all about Microsoft’s Xbox 360’s XBLA.


    And now…. Well…

    Come, sit with me, ponder and wonder why the fuck people still publish heir indie games on Xbox… Oh and I know a few reasons why, but I’m still wondering, in the end, considering a few interviews as well that denounced how bad a profit they made with XBLA compared to, say, Steam. Come and ponder.

    … Oh yeah, and I forgot when they had that update that shoved Indie games on the side where most common customers would probably never notice it.

    • PoweredByHentai

      What’s really interesting is that Retro City Rampage made a huge profit on PSN. More so than even Steam. I am honestly curious as to what the PSN payout frequency is and what their guidelines are.

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