Developing an indie game for Xbox One? Better make it for other platforms too.
Indie developer Vlambeer, which worked on Ridiculous Fishing and is currently working on Luftrausers, has highlighted a flaw with Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program for the Xbox One. It allows for indie developers – regardless of size – to develop for the console with all features accessible and self-publish it. So what’s the problem? According to Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail, there is a clause in the policy that states that any game arriving for Xbox One also releases for other formats at the same time.
Speaking to Joystiq, Ismail stated that, “Microsoft was doing reach-out to certain developers back in the early days of ID@Xbox, and we discussed potentially bringing Nuclear Throne to Xbox One with them. There had been mentions beforehand that there was a launch parity clause in the contract, with the exception of games that were already signed to another platform during the announcement of their self-publishing program. Thus, before we signed with Microsoft, we e-mailed Sony that we quickly wanted to sign Nuclear Throne with them with a month of exclusivity.”
Yes, you can break the clause if you sign an exclusivity deal beforehand. However, this presents a problem for indie devs due to constraints in resources. It’s hard enough creating a game for one platform – try developing for two.
Ismail has called for the parity clause to be removed. “Honestly, we’ve had enough trouble with our promise for a simultaneous release for Luftrausers, so by getting rid of parity we’d be able to focus on one platform for Nuclear Throne first. We’d rather Microsoft allow us not only the freedom to self-publish, but also to publish in whatever order we prefer…. We’ll keep pushing for Microsoft to drop the clause, and we’d recommend any other developer to do the same.”
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