Sony exited this year's E3 with much of the next-generation console momentum on its side. Not only was the company's PlayStation 4 announced to be $100 less than Microsoft's Xbox One, but gamers also praised Sony for simply not putting DRM on its console and restricting used game sales - both things Microsoft had announced for the Xbox One. Though Microsoft has since rolled back its DRM and used game plans, a recent survey has shown that the PlayStation 4 is far in the lead when it comes to consumer purchasing intentions.
With that huge deficit to make up in the mind of consumers, Microsoft this week announced that it will also be rolling back its strict indie game publishing policies. Microsoft Xbox VP Marc Whitten has stated that independent game developers will be able to publish on the Xbox One without the need for a larger publisher. The policy for the Xbox One requires indie devs to partner with a major publisher, then wait for a one of a limited number of release day spots. From Whitten's statement:
Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.
According to a Game Informer report, every retail Xbox One will also be capable of becoming a developer kit. The feature is one that has not been announced for the PlayStation 4, and one that should help cut costs for developers.
The move is another by Microsoft to counter the good press the PlayStation 4 is getting over the Xbox One. Sony had devoted large chunks of both its February PlayStation 4 announcement and its big E3 presentation to indie games and developers.