Microsoft is Opening Up the Xbox Platform to All Game Developers

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 10, Xbox, Xbox One with 10 Comments

Microsoft is Opening Up the Xbox Platform to All Game Developers

Today, Microsoft announced the Xbox Live Creators Program, which will allow any developer to publish Xbox Live-enabled games on Xbox One and Windows 10.

“The Xbox Live Creators Program empowers anyone to rapidly publish Xbox Live-enabled games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, in a totally open way,” Microsoft Director Chris Charla explains. “With the Creators Program, anyone can integrate Xbox Live sign-in, presence, and social features into their UWP games, then publish their game to Xbox One and Windows 10. This means their title can see exposure to every Xbox One owner across the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio this holiday, as well as hundreds of millions of Windows 10 PCs, and millions of folks using the Xbox app on mobile platforms.”

To date, Xbox has not been an open platform, but Microsoft has been moving it in that direction. Microsoft previously opened up the Xbox Store to app developers, example. But those wishing to integrate with Xbox Live services and publish their games on the Xbox or Windows Store needed approval from Microsoft first, and these titles typically underwent a lengthy certification process through a program called [email protected].

According to Microsoft, all game developers can now publish Xbox Live games to its digital stores, though games published through the Creators Program won’t quite be on equal footing with the latest AAA shooter from a big publisher: On Xbox One, games published through the Xbox Live Creators Program will be available in a new “Creator games section” within the store.

(On Windows 10, where the game selection is much smaller and of lower quality, however, Xbox Live Creators Program games will be shown alongside the other games in the Windows Store.)

If you are interested in publishing games to Xbox One—or Xbox Live games generally, across Xbox One and/or Windows 10—you should head over to the Windows Dev Center and check out the Xbox Live Creators SDK, which is currently in preview. As such, sign-ups are initially limited, but Microsoft says it will periodically make more spaces available.

While you wait, you can also look over the Xbox Live Programming Guide, which is the online documentation.

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