Gamescom marks three years since we announced the [email protected] program which enables independent developers to self-publish games on Xbox One, and later Windows 10 with Xbox Live. (Spoiler alert: It’s been a rad three years.)
The program started with a simple goal: make sure Xbox players have access to the broadest, most diverse array of games in the world. Independent developers are making some of the most innovative and exciting games out there, so if we make it as easy as possible for developers to ship their games on Xbox, good things are going to happen! We also wanted to give developers a sustainable, rational marketplace so they can make a good living and keep working on their art—after all, that’s how we get new games!
The team had a ton of work to do—beginning with listening to tons of developers about what they wanted in a program, and continually improving our processes and policies to make creating games for Xbox (and now Windows 10 with Xbox Live) as easy as possible. Free dev kits. Free access to Unity middleware. Game-creation ability on retail Xboxes for app creators and hobbyists.
So how have we done? Well, I’m pleased to report that it’s working! More than 300 games have shipped on Xbox One via the [email protected] program since Strike Suit Zero debuted in April 2014, and there are more than 1,000 (way more than 1,000!) games in development today for Xbox One and Windows 10. We’ve seen multiple million-sellers, and independent developers working through [email protected] have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales revenue in the Xbox Store.
There are so many noteworthy games I could call out, big and small—Ark: Survival Evolved, Three Fourths Home, Lifeless Planet, SMITE, #IDARB, Far, INSIDE, Cuphead—and that wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the incredible diversity developers are bringing to Xbox. There has never been a better time to be playing games, and I’m stoked that [email protected] can be a small part of that!
Along the way, of course, we continue to listen and work to improve things for developers every day—from reviewing and updating policies to take into account the needs of independent developers; to process improvements that free up developers’ time, enabling them to devote more time to polishing games; to whole new programs, like Game Preview, which enables players to buy and play games while they’re still in development and offer feedback directly to the dev team when it counts. We work really hard every day to never lose sight of our foremost goal: make sure Xbox players have tons of sweet games by making sure Xbox developers have the best development environment we can give them.
And we’re not slowing down. Right now we’re working with independent developers to take advantage of great new platform features like Xbox Play Anywhere, Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live, as well as new members of the Xbox One hardware family, like Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.
We’re working hard on the Windows 10 side too – We’ve got some amazing [email protected] games coming to Windows 10 this year and tons more in the future. And I’m excited to announce that Game Preview will be coming to Windows 10 later this year with Everspace from our friends at Rockfish as the debut title. I’m super happy that we’re enabling PC gamers to preview and purchase work-in-progress digital titles, participate in the development process and help developers make Windows 10 games the best they can be. We’ll have lots more games to talk about in Game Preview for Windows 10 soon.
I know I speak for the entire [email protected] team when I say getting to work with the independent developers in our program is a huge privilege. Being in contact with so many great creators on a daily basis is both energizing and hugely inspirational. We always know we have more to do, but we are super motivated to keep helping developers deliver great games!