Microsoft’s relationship with individual creators is notoriously dicey. The hefty corporate entity has taken heat for a number of its policies, such as the displacement of the erstwhile Xbox Indie Games service, and charging the little guy exorbitant fees, causing Phil Fish to infamously tweet “Not Xbox” when asked which system Fez 2 would be for.
Everyone had hoped that that was a thing of the past. Supposedly, we were heading for brighter days with the Xbox One’s ID@Xbox Independent Developers publishing program (yes, that’s what they are calling it). Over the summer Microsoft announced that any Xbox One could be used by the world over to develop games.
That may no longer be the case. Although it is possible to convert your expensive new hardware into a dev kit, potential developers must apply through Microsoft first, and doing so could brick it. According to a statement from Microsoft yesterday:
Changing the settings in this menu is only intended for developers for Xbox One, and this alone does not turn the console into a development kit. We strongly advise consumers against changing these settings as it could result in their Xbox One becoming unusable.
Okay, wow. It seems that Microsoft are keeping things close to the chest with regards to who can make a game for their platform. As for how things will unfold, right now we don’t know. While this isn’t yet catastrophic to creators who dream of self-publishing on the system, it does raise an eyebrow, given the company’s dubious manners in the past, which Fish has called out as “anti-indie.” Hopefully for creatives becoming a developer for Xbox One isn’t as onerous as it sounds.