'Microsoft has been focused elsewhere up until now,' says Double Fine boss

Schafer: Xbox One indie support is critical

It’s critical for Microsoft to reach out more to indies to convince them to develop games for the Xbox One, says Tim Schafer.

Speaking to Edge, the Double Fine boss said that up until now, Microsoft had focused its attentions elsewhere, and explained that it was critical for the computing giant to begin talking to indies given the plethora of other avenues and platforms open to developers.

Schafer cited the likes of Steam and mobile as platforms that had proven profitable for indies, and that, as far as Double Fine goes, it doesn’t need to go through the “arduous” process of finding a publisher just to release a title on a certain platform.

He added that while Microsoft had seemingly yet to make a big move in the space, Sony had already reached out to Double and asked for its opinions on the PS4 and what developers would like to see on the console.

“Sony has reached out to us and asked us our opinions about what we’d like to see with new platforms and they’ve been really good with indies – allowing them self-publish and entering into partnerships and stuff like that,” said Schafer.

“Microsoft has been focused elsewhere up until now, I’ve kind of had my fingers crossed that hopefully they’ll change their minds about that because I think it’s really critical.

“There are just too many options right now for indies as far as publishing goes. Steam is huge, mobile and all of those things are really profitable for indies so there’s too many reasonable and successful alternatives for indies to look towards – we don’t really need to go through the arduous process of acquiring a publisher that we don’t need just to be on a certain platform. I hope [Microsoft] figure it out.”

Microsoft’s Phil Harrison recently said that the company is set to abolish the Xbox Live Arcade and Indie game sections on Xbox Live on its new console, in favour of a larger, all-inclusive marketplace more akin to the App Store.

Redmond Game Studios and Platforms general manager Matt Booty meanwhile has also said that, at least for now, indie developers will not be able to publish content themselves.

Since the comments, interactive entertainment chief Don Mattrick has stated that there will be an independent creator program for developers that the firm will sponsor, as well as offering indies tools. He added: “there’s no way we’re going to build a box that doesn’t support that”.

The console giant has yet to explicitly detail how it will support indies however, although more is expected to be revealed about the game development aspects of the Xbox One at E3.

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