Developers Gather for ID@Seattle

Last Friday the ID@Xbox team hosted our first event, ID@Seattle, a one day development conference for developers interested in the ID@Xbox program. We had more than 100 developers from around the world. It was great to meet so many new people as well as hang out with old friends. The creativity and energy in the room was outstanding!

At gamescom this year we talked about hosting global events to foster the most creative community on the console, but I’ll be honest, I had no idea we’d have such heavy hitters on the Microsoft side clamoring to be part of the conference! I think that speaks to just how excited people at Xbox are about the innovative games that are coming to Xbox One from independent developers.

We had some of the key architects of Xbox One presenting, including Boyd Multerer, General Manager of Development for Xbox. Boyd is incredibly passionate about independent development – before leading the Xbox One software program, he headed up XNA, the core building block of Xbox Live Indie Games on Xbox 360. (Oh and before that, he led the development of Xbox Live – he’s a hardcore guy!) Boyd talked about the philosophies and successes of that program, as well as learnings that came out of it, and how they directly informed his architectural design for Xbox One.

On Xbox One, independent developers will be able to access the full power of the console, from Xbox Live Compute (our cloud service) to Kinect, SmartGlass, Achievements, Challenges and Gamerscore, and the full complement of Xbox Live multiplayer features. Boyd made sure of that, and it was great to see him explaining this part of the Xbox One story to developers, many of whom grew up in the XNA / XBLIG program.

In addition to Boyd, Frank Savage, Brian Tyler, and Chuck Walbourn presented detailed info on Xbox Live, Xbox One’s cloud capabilities, as well as some stunning Kinect demos. There was also lots of stuff on fast app switching and… well, it was eight straight hours of info, much of which was pretty technical (and confidential) so I can’t give a full run down on everything discussed.

Mark Winters from the Xbox Game Store team shared some amazing data and best practices on digital game sales, and outlined more details about how the Xbox Game Store works on Xbox One. On Xbox One, “a game is a game is a game,” and he showed how independently published games will co-exist and succeed with all other games in our marketplace.

Before a fun night of dinner, drinks and “Killer Instinct,” Microsoft Studios’ Creative Director Ken Lobb closed out the day with some amazing inspirational dialog about where he sees games going in the next few years, and how independent developers will help us realize the full potential of the new generation of consoles.

Bottom line, it was a great day, and we expect to see similar results at ID@London early in December. We’re already planning additional ID@Xbox events for next year so more independent developers have access to the same development content.

It’s hard work putting on an event like this, and we really appreciate the effort it takes developers to attend. We want all games and developers to have an equal shot at success, and we want to make sure that gamers have access to the deepest and most diverse games line-up on the planet. Whether it’s delivering pioneering discovery methods, or opening up our platform to the broadest range of developers, at the end of the day it’s all about making sure we all have great games to play on Xbox One.