GDC 2019: Evolving the ID@Xbox Program for Developers with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live

ID GDC 2019 Hero Image

The Game Developers Conference is here again and I’m hecka stoked to join the ID@Xbox team in our annual trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. GDC is an amazing time to highlight new games, catch-up with other developers and friends in the industry and listen to their feedback to continue driving innovation forward for Xbox.

2018 was a fantastic year for developers in the ID@Xbox program and we can’t be more excited to share what we have planned for 2019 with our fans in the coming days and months. Nearly 400 titles were released through the program last year, helping us reach a milestone of over 1,000 titles launched via ID@Xbox. We sent out developer kits to nearly 500 new studios in 2018, which means that over 3,000 studios across 67 countries now have Xbox One developer kits. With over 1,600 games in active development, we’re excited to see the variety of new experiences that teams are bringing to fans. Finally, games coming through the program have generated more than $1.2 billion in revenue since the program’s inception.

Xbox Game Pass has been and continues to be a great way for independent developers to get their games discovered while also enabling members to find their next favorite game. To date, we’ve worked with over 125 developers who have brought their games to Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass has also helped give independent developers more exposure with audiences that they wouldn’t have normally been able to reach. For example, of all the Xbox Game Pass members who played “Human: Fall Flat,” more than 40% had never played a puzzle game on Xbox before.

Looking ahead, 2019 will be another great year with a stellar lineup of games slated to release through the ID@Xbox program. Folks can once again try out a number of these titles at the Microsoft Booth in the Moscone Center or at our Developer Showcase Event for press. Among these games, titles from acclaimed creators like Night School Studios, Blue Manchu Games and Zen Studios will launch Afterparty, Void Bastards and Operencia: The Stolen Sun day-and-date into Xbox Game Pass, bringing their games to millions of members upon release. We’re also excited to see games like The Artful Escape, Sable and Tunic from our friends at Beethoven & Dinosaur, Shedworks and Dicey respectively continue their development path through the program.

While Xbox Game Pass has created amazing opportunities for developers to have their games discovered by an established player base, Xbox Live continues to be an amazing social tool for players and developers alike. Whether it’s Gamerscore, achievements, cloud saves, multiplayer, leaderboards or just seeing if your friends are online (and what they’re playing), Xbox Live makes playing games better for fans, and implementation of key social features easier for devs.

We’re super excited this week to start talking to developers about how they can use Xbox Live on platforms other than Xbox and Windows 10 PCs, starting with iOS and Android! This has been a big request from players and developers over the years and while we’ve done a lot of work to implement Xbox Live in some of our Xbox Game Studios games on other platforms (such as Microsoft Solitaire and Wordament), and as part of the foundational technology for the Bedrock Edition of Minecraft, we’re excited to open up this functionality to more developers soon via easy-to-use SDKs! You can learn a lot more in Kareem Choudhry’s blog posts. If you’re a developer interested in implementing Xbox Live in your iOS and Android titles, please reach out to us at www.xbox.com/id and we’d be happy to help get you started!

Cuphead

As with most new technologies, we love to work with partners to help us explore new innovations we’re bringing to developers. That brings us to Cuphead! Our friends at StudioMDHR already have experience with Xbox Live beyond the console – Cuphead is available on Windows 10 with Xbox Live as well. We’ve had some good conversations with them about Xbox Live and the gaming community, especially after we saw what Mojang had done with Minecraft and the Bedrock Edition.

Growing out of these recent discussions, we are partnering with StudioMDHR to investigate bringing Xbox Live features beyond Xbox and PC to Nintendo Switch. Yes, this means that fans will now have the opportunity to experience StudioMDHR’s award-winning debut game on Nintendo Switch with Xbox Live! We’ll be working with StudioMDHR to implement Xbox Live features into Cuphead on the Nintendo Switch in the coming months. Given the early stage of our work with StudioMDHR, the Xbox Live features will appear in a post-launch update to Cuphead on Nintendo Switch. We’d like to thank Studio MDHR and Nintendo for their help in this investigation!

To both players and developers – thanks again for playing and supporting the amazing work showcased through ID@Xbox! We can’t wait for what’s to come this week at GDC!