Microsoft to allow developers to self-publish Xbox One games

Company will let developers use retail hardware for development, and it relents on a policy that required game makers to have a publisher to get onto the Xbox One.

Microsoft's Xbox One.
Microsoft's Xbox One James Martin/CNET

Microsoft will let developers publish their own titles to its Xbox One console, a move that could spur more development on the upcoming gaming platform.

The company on Wednesday announced plans to let Xbox One buyers use the off-the-shelf hardware as a development unit, allowing people to create their own games that can be published to the Xbox Live storefront.

Per a just released statement from Microsoft's Marc Whitten, the corporate vice president of Xbox, all this will start with the hardware:

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.

Game Informer reported Microsoft's plans earlier on Wednesday.

The changes are the latest about-face from Microsoft and its Xbox One console, which goes on sale in November in the U.S. for $500. Last month the company relented on a digital rights management program that required a daily check-in to its servers in order for games to continue working, as well as a reselling program that placed restrictions on how many times a game could be resold.

Independent developers were concerned with Microsoft's publishing plans for the Xbox One, which required a publisher in order to make it into the Xbox Live store. That's opposed to rival systems, including Sony and its upcoming Playstation 4, which allows developers to both create and publish games on its platform. The big difference in this case is that developers won't need to buy a special development kit from Microsoft, they'll be able to use the same hardware consumers are buying.

Gamescom takes place in Cologne, Germany, August 21-25.

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