This past week, Microsoft announced an important milestone for independent game developers and fans alike: There are now over 500 games in the [email protected] program.
“Thanks to the efforts of independent developers from around the world and the fans who support them, we’re proud to reveal that we’ve surpassed 500 games released through the [email protected] program,” Microsoft’s Chris Charla writes in a post to the Xbox Wire blog. “Today’s news is a cool milestone not just for us at [email protected] and the independent game developer community; it’s a milestone for everyone who loves great games.”
[email protected] allows independent developers to self-publish Xbox games for both Xbox One and Windows 10 using a process that is simpler, less exclusive, and much less expensive than was the case in the past. Microsoft started the program in 2014 in order to dramatically increase the selection of games available to Xbox fans, and by any measure, it’s been a huge success.
I reviewed a few [email protected] games last year, in fact, and they are perhaps emblematic of the quality one can expect from these titles. Inside, for example, is a terrifying puzzle platformer that combines heart-pounding scares with easy to master play mechanics. And Firewatch is a lush, interactive story that unfolds in the Wyoming wilderness.
But Microsoft highlights several other titles I really should look at as well, including Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime by Asteroid Base, Superhot team’s Superhot, Night School Studio’s Oxenfree(which I own and have recommended), Hi-Rez Studios’ Smite, Pit People from The Behemoth, Studio Wildcard’s Ark: Survival Evolved, Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Duels: Origins, Roblox Corporation’sRoblox, The Molasses Flood’s Flame in the Flood, Spotlightor Interactive’s Candleman, ToyLogic’sHappy Wars, and Other Ocean’s #IDARB.
“With more than 2000 studios having dev kits in hand, more than 1000 games currently in development, and Project Scorpio coming later this year, the future is bright for both the gaming community and [email protected] program,” Charla notes. “We’ve got an incredible slate of hotly anticipated [email protected] games on the horizon including the hotly-anticipated Xbox One exclusive Cuphead from StudioMDHR, and console launch exclusives like Capybara’s Below, AURORA44’s Ashen, and Fullbright’s Tacoma. We can’t wait to share more [email protected] goodness with you soon.”