Over on OXM, Lionhead Studios’ Gary Carr talked a bit about Microsoft, and the possibility that it’ll soon unveil a new plan regarding its relationship with independent developers. Microsoft’s taken a bit some flak in recent months since the unveiling of the Xbox One, as well as the policy that it wouldn’t allow independent developers to self-publish games, basically ensuring a barrier between gamers and games that won’t be on other platforms like the PlayStation 4 or PC.
Said Carr regarding Microsoft and indies:
“I certainly know that Microsoft want to talk at future press events about their relationships with indies. I can’t really talk about that, but they’re very passionate about building a strong relationship with indie development—indie development is the future.
I’ve been an indie developer for 23 of my 28 year career, so I completely—there is no future to the games business without independent developers, they always will shape the industry, and the big corporations will follow. So that relationship is important.
I don’t mind having the big players like the Sonys, the Microsofts, the Amazons. I think you need these big giants out there, they kind of hold it all together in some way, but the real driving force of the industry has always been independent development. That’s what shapes and changes and creates innovation. I think they can coexist.”
So does that mean that Microsoft will reverse its ban on self-publishing indies? Probably not. But it may have some kind of plan that will allow indies to more easily apply for Microsoft Studios to publish games. Don’t forget—after the fan outrage over the 24-hour check-ins for the Xbox One, Microsoft did an about-face and did away with the feature. Who’s to say that the company won’t figure out a way to maintain its policy, but open the door up to more independent developers?
I’m curious to see what, if anything, Microsoft will do to prove Carr right.