Since [email protected] launched in 2014, Microsoft has become a hub for indie games, with developers able to register and self-publish their titles across both Windows PC and Xbox One. Promoting indie developers has been a core value at Xbox for a number of years now, most notably during the company’s annual E3 presentations where they’re often given the spotlight to shine.
Kotaku Australia recently spoke with [email protected] Director Chris Charla about the program and the importance of indie games development. One of the questions raised addresses concerns over the tangible benefits for developers joining the program in regards to finances and support from Xbox. Charla reveals that Microsoft has paid “more than $1.2 billion to independent developers this generation for games that have come through the ID program.”
That number is sure to be significantly higher during the next generation of consoles–which will include Microsoft’s Project Scarlett–as indie games become bigger and more ambitious than ever. “We’ve also seen some independent studios who are now approaching the 30 person level and doing bigger games,” Charla explains. “They’re exploring more multiplayer games, and areas that traditional games have done. That’s what’s so exciting about the independent games scene–it’s not just, ‘oh, now everyone’s making Goose Game’, there’s a lot of things simultaneously, and it’s really, really exciting.”
With the [email protected] program, Microsoft is prepared for the future of indie games in a way it wasn’t when the Xbox One first launched. “When we first started, it was… two or three people in a three-metre by three-metre space,” Charla reminisces. “We were packed in and just getting things going. We knew exactly where we wanted to get to, which was to have devs have it as easy as possible to have their games shipped on Xbox One. We had an enormous amount of work to do at the beginning. In the ensuing five, six years–I think we’ve done that.”