Microsoft says Xbox One will empower self-publishing indie game creators

About a month after dropping the always-on Internet requirement for its Xbox One console, Microsoft will reportedly embrace another change: allowing independent studios to distribute games without a publishing partner.

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment, but Redmond confirmed the move in a statement to Game Informer. "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," said Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten.

That, the company told Game Informer, includes self-publishing. Whitten promised more details at gamescom next month.

The move means indie game developers can bypass a publisher, which has the final say on titles and scoops up a share of the game's profit.

As noted by Game Informer, several of Redmond's former partners recently promised never to work for the tech giant again, due to its indie-game publishing policy. It turns out Redmond was listening, and will allow developers to set their own release dates and pricing, which should, the blog said, make Xbox Live releases easier for creators to market.

Game Informer also said Redmond is "drastically overhauling" its certification process, targeting a 14-day turnaround for approvals — similar to Apple's iTunes store.

The news comes several months after former Xbox chief Don Mattrick (now CEO at Zynga) told Kotaku that the Xbox One would have an "independent creator program," but declined to elaborate on self-publishing.

This issue has not been the only controversy surrounding the Xbox One. Last month, amidst fan backlash, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will not have a daily online requirement when playing single-player games — a 180-degree turn away from an initial ruled that required an online check-in every 24 hours.

Meanwhile, there were reports this week that Microsoft would offer a non-Kinect version of the Xbox One, but Redmond shot that down.

"We have no plans to introduce an Xbox One without Kinect," Redmond told Game Front. "We believe in Kinect and the value it brings to both games and entertainment, and believe $499 is a great value for what consumers receive with their Xbox One."

Microsoft unveiled its next-gen console in May, showing off a revamped controller and the Kinect sensor, which the company said "is now an essential and integrated part of the platform." Expected for release later this year, pre-orders for the new machine have already topped those for its predecessor, the Xbox 360.

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