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Microsoft flip flops again, this time on Xbox One self publishing

Oh Microsoft, will you pick a policy and stick to it please? It's nice of you to keep changing your mind giving me stories to write about, but this is just getting silly now. We might as well not believe any policies you have at this point, because they could about turn at the slightest whiff of public displeasure. This time though, it's over Microsoft's claims that indie gamer designers couldn't self publish on Xbox Live on the One. Well, now they can.

Initially this was just outed as a rumour among a couple of gaming blogs, but soon after, Microsoft stepped up and said that “every person can be a creator,” and that “every Xbox One can be used for development.” It also promised to announce more about the change at Gamescom in August.

However, all is not perfect in the indie-game development on the Xbox One world. As Engadget reports, Brian Provinciano, the developer of Retro City Rampage, believes that Microsoft's policies still don't allow the freedom that Sony's consoles do.

“Cumon Doc, we're going back to 2005, when Microsoft stuck to its policies.”

While he said that the change was good, it just doesn't go far enough in his eyes. “On PS4, for example, developers can tap right into the system; use every bit of RAM and all of its power,” he said. “Indies have access to everything that the AAA studios do, from platform support to development and release. The indication on Xbox One is that it's essentially XBLIG 2.0. Instead of XNA, it's Windows 8. Windows 8, which is already struggling to gain developer interest, will gain a boost from developers wishing to target the console. However, it won't be as full-fledged as published games on the system.”

Of course the Windows 8 move is something that is designed to help Microsoft's ailing PC game support on the new OS, by piggybacking the Xbox One development – but it may put a fair few developers off in the first place.

Provinciano is one of them. Despite Microsoft's about face on this policy, he's still not interested in developing for the One; and really, it's more to do with the 360 than anything else. “After my experience working with them to release on Xbox 360, I have no interest in even buying an Xbox One, let alone developing for it,” he said. “The policy changes are great, but they don't undo the experience I had. I'm not ready to forget what I went through. Working with Microsoft was the unhappiest point of my career. Policies are one thing, but developer relations are another.”

Kitguru Says: While I did complain about the policy changes in the opening to this piece, perhaps we could use it to get something really different like, have Steam support on the system… somehow. What would you guys lobby for if you knew it could be implemented?

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