During the Xbox 360 period, independent game developers said that Microsoft made it increasingly difficult to publish games on the platform. Many developers either had to find a publisher or sign with Microsoft. With the advent of the Xbox One, that changed but the program was still not easy to work with. Companies like Sony capitalized on this and attracted hundreds of smaller developers to PlayStation 4. Microsoft responded by launching the [email protected] program which developers now state is the easiest digital publishing avenue to work on across all platforms.
MCV spoke with many developers at this week’s [email protected] event and all of them praised the publishing method. For example, Sumo Digital’s designer David Dino said that obtaining a free Xbox One development kit was vital for getting their ideas out there. He even went on to say that [email protected] was instrumental in giving their game, Snake Pass, visibility which has transformed it into one of the most popular titles coming out this month.
Speaking about visibility, Tequila Works’ Miguel Paniagua also said that [email protected] is a great opportunity for smaller developers to get the same kind of visibility as big studios. Tequila Works is currently developing the fantastic Rime for Xbox One and other platforms after their troublesome relationship with Sony. The studio is also publishing The Sexy Brutale.
The developers added that the [email protected] technical team is very fast. One of the programmers “sent an email and received an answer in 3 minutes.” They’re submitting their game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam, “and [email protected] is the most helpful one.”
Lastly, Mad Fellows, the studio behind the rhythm-based runner Aaero, also applauded Microsoft’s efforts. Director Dan Horbury said, “They were just there when you need them, so if you hit a problem, you can get in touch with them and they’ll sort it out, or guide you in the right direction…With Steam, we found it less personal.”
It seems like Microsoft has finally perfected their approach towards smaller developers. Hopefully this will translate to more games coming to the platform because right now Sony has a considerable lead when it comes to indie titles. Microsoft should continuously improve their program so that issues like these don’t arise in the future. Xbox One—and future consoles—should always be attractive to indie developers.