One of the biggest reasons for the high number of PC exclusive games is that the process of shipping to console just isn’t that easy. It’s hard to get games approved, needs development units, and is a general hurdle.
The Xbox Live Creators Program seeks to fix that, and today marks its launch. Now, anyone can publish Xbox Live-enabled games to Xbox and Windows 10. Those titles have now begun to appear in a new section of the store, giving a curated experience but also providing significant publicity for the developer.
It also means devs can integrate features like leaderboards, sign-in, presence, Kinect, and more. They can do so using the same tools as UWP titles, which are available in popular engines like Unity, Construct 2, MonGame and Xenko. What’s more, you only need a regular Xbox One to use the program, mitigating the need for a dev console.
Currently, six indie games are available:
- Whispers in the Dark
- Stereo Aereo
- Animal Rivals
- Derelict Fleet
- Space Cat!
- Solitaire HD
Eventually, the ‘Creators Collection’ will be home to hundreds of UWP-created games. It appears developers can charge for these early versions, but there are a few limitations.
ID@Xbox Support Still Available
With this new scheme, some may assume it will replace the ID@Xbox program, but in reality, both can co-exist. The Creators Program simply makes it easy for devs to publish their games, while ID@Xbox provides support with development and marketing.
As a result, those published through the Xbox Live Creators Program can still apply for ID@Xbox afterward. Doing so will enable other features like Achievements and online multiplayer.
On the whole, it looks like a win-win. Similar to Steam, players get access to a wealth of game but crucially there’s better curation. Developers will be able to gain popularity without the Xbox Store being overrun with low-quality content.
Microsoft is encouraging developers to jump on board via the SDK, which you can download from this site. The first wave of games can be viewed by Insiders on the Alpha Ring.