Microsoft’s independent push this generation through the [email protected] program has proven successful, and we hope so as Microsoft has paid indie developers over $1.7 billion since 2013.

In an interview with Kotaku, [email protected] director Chris Charla has revealed the company’s independent push and its successes. Over the years, the program has grown substantially, going from a three-person team to a core Xbox group.

“When we first started, it was… two or three people in a three metre by three metre space,” Charla revealed. “We were packed in and just getting things going. We knew exactly where we wanted to get to, which was to have devs have it as easy as possible to have their games shipped on Xbox One. We had an enormous amount of work to do at the beginning.”

Since the program’s conception, the independent game initiative has allowed awesome titles to come first on Xbox One. Studio MDHR’s Cuphead was a particularly successful title, Ori and the Blind Forest was another.

Since it began, Microsoft’s program has published over 1000 titles on Xbox One.

“We’ve paid more than $US1.2 billion ($1.7 billion Australian) to independent developers this generation for games that have come through the ID program,” Charla told the outlet. “There’s great commercial opportunity. There’s great artist opportunity.”

Instead of being labelled as indie games, Charla is hoping the program allows that particular branding to be seen as more than it used to be. Instead of being a label for smaller “less important” titles, it’s now seen as a label of quality.

“We had a bunch of games from independent developers together on stage (in 2013),” he said. “In the last few years, we haven’t had a bunch of independent games together on stage. Instead, we’ve had a bunch of amazing games just standing on their own. They have really grown in stature and importance to the point where it’s easy for them to take their full place in the briefing.”