During its Gamescom press conference in Cologne, Germany today Microsoft finally detailed how self publishing will work on Xbox One for indie developers who do not want to sign a first-party publishing deal with Microsoft or with some other third-party publisher. Earlier in the year the company said that those would be the only options for indie developers to get their games on Xbox One, but Microsoft later reversed its stance.
According to Microsoft, developers that are "accepted" to join the publishing program will receive two Xbox One development kits free of charge, as well as access to services needed by developers such as cloud services, and Kinect and Xbox One toolsets – Smartglass, multiplayer, Achievements and Gamerscores.
To avoid the issue of discoverability that made the Xbox Indie Games part of the Marketplace such a pain, Microsoft will feature all games in the regular Xbox One store, which will be searchable using the system's voice search feature. The store will also highlight games that are trending in popularity amongst the community, will show consumer recommendations, and support the Xbox One's Game DVR and Upload services. Microsoft will no longer charge for title updates.
Speaking to GamesIndustry International in an interview published today, Microsoft's corporate vice president at Microsoft Europe's interactive entertainment business Phil Harrison said that Microsoft will set the price of self-published games after developers have established their wholesale price. He also said that Microsoft would use the industry standard royalty split of 70 percent for the developer and 30 percent for Microsoft.
"The developer can set their own wholesale price and we act as the retailer, Harrison told GII. "So Xbox Live acts as a reseller, and Xbox Live Store will be setting the ultimate retail price to the consumer. That's the way in which our store has always been structured."
Microsoft is accepting applications for the self-publishing service (ID@Xbox) beginning today, with developers who have a proven track record in shipping games getting priority.
You can check out the full interview here.