Today, Microsoft announced changes to its certification process for the Xbox One. In a nutshell, indie developers will be allowed to self publish and set their own release date and pricing. Games will not have thorough code checks done during the submission process, but instead will have obvious codes of conduct violations checked for, and other blatant bugs. The goal is a two week turnaround time.
With reports that Microsoft was facing competition from not only Sony, but Nintendo as well, they really had no choice to but to reverse this controversial policy of the Xbox One. The fact of the matter is while AAA games are not going anywhere, indie games are driving ever larger market share as development costs rise. If these games don’t appear on the Xbox One, it would be seen by many as a weakness.
There have been no direct comments from indie developers, nor any commitments to bring any indie titles to the Xbox One, but my sources say that when Phil Fish, the developer of Fez, was approached with the news, he looked up from the filet mignon steak he was eating, and simple asked, “Is Redmond burning?” When the reply came in the negative, his eyes fell to his food; he said nothing, but the way he breathed communicated everything. It was not yet time. He sliced another piece off of the steak and began to chew.