Train2Game News: Microsoft allowing self publishing on Xbox One

Xbox OneMicrosoft have announced they will allow self publishing for indie titles on the Xbox One. This is excellent news for Train2Game students.

Microsoft have also announced that each console can be used as a development kit, much like the way that Apple devices can be used as such.

Here’s the official statement from Xbox corporate VP, Marc Whitten:

“Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.”

Whitten also told Kotaku that dev kit functionality will not be available at launch, but will be added ‘at a later date’.

This dispells all concerns of the accessibility and exposure of indie game on Xbox One, Whitten promises they will live on the Xbox Live Marketplace with the major titles.

Whitten explains “Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what’s trending, what’s got a lot of engagement on the platform. But you shouldn’t think of it as there’s an indie area and a non-indie area.”

With this announcement it opens up an entirely new indie market for Train2Game students and Student Studios with all the features of the Xbox One, allowing you to get creative with features such as Kinect and the Cloud.

Minecraft developer Mojang open to publishing games by other indie studios

Minecraft is hugely popular on the Train2Game forum, with at the time of writing, the dedicated Minecraft thread almost on its 70th page.  The success of the title thrust indie developer Mojang into the limelight to such an extent they had to hire various extra staff.

This includes business development director Daniel Kaplan who recently spoke exclusively to and revealed a little about what life is like behind the scenes at Mojang.

“We are in a great spot right now, we can basically do whatever we want to. The hardest thing for us right now is to say “no” to all the deals we’re being offered.” Said Kaplan. “There are tonnes of opportunities out there for us right now. But we have to wait it out and figure out what’s the best thing for us to do.

“We get requests every week, it’s quite hard to sort them out, to figure out, okay, this is what we’re going to do. If you take one path then you can’t take the other, you know?”

Kaplan said that Monjang is interested in publishing games by other indie developers – it’s something that many Train2Game students would surely jump at the chance to be a part of if the opportunity ever came up.

“We hope to help people, to keep them involved in the process and create a successful game, to make sure people know about their games so they can create better games later on by themselves. So we’ll see how well we can work that position.”

The idea of helping up and coming games industry talent echoes calls from Peter Molyneux for the industry to offer more support to newcomers, as reported by the Train2Game blog. Molyneux also said that Minecraft is his favourite game of the decade.

Even with the increased in size of Mojang, the developers still feel that working in small teams is the best way to go about creating games. According to Kaplan, just three people are working on new Mojang title Scrolls.

“The biggest team is the Scrolls team, but that’s just three people, it’s still very small. We like to work in small teams, because we believe we can make decisions faster, or have shorter meetings, more creative freedom for the teams. So they’re small but very multitalented.”

And despite finding himself as an icon amongst the gaming community – including with Train2Game students – Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson  – is still involved with programming on a full-time basis.

“He’s working full time, he wants a 100 per cent focus on coding. As far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t want to be going to any meetings at all so he can just sit down and code. He’s working 40 hours a week, just like we do, so he’s very active in the company.”

Kaplan added that Mojang are also open to the idea of producing games for consoles.

“We’re always looking for new platforms, and consoles are very interesting for us, obviously. There are huge possibilities for us there. But I try to believe that Minecraft will be looked at just like Doom was. That created the first FPS game, if Minecraft is the first game to start a genre of voxel engine, sand box games, whatever you want to call them, we’ll be really proud of it.”

Minecraft has been downloaded over two million times, and last month the Train2Game blog reported that the full-game will be released in November.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the possibily of Mojang publishing games by other studios? Do you think it’d provide a massive boost for indie developers? And are you pleased to see that despite his success, Notch is still focused on coding?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.