Microsoft announced at GDC 2017 that anyone can release games for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs via the new Xbox Live Creators Program. The company also highlighted several other features, such as the Beam streaming tool and the performance-boosting Game Mode, that should debut soon.
Xbox Live Creators Program
The new program opens up Xbox One and Windows 10 game development and distribution to basically anyone with a hankering to make something. The Xbox Live Creators Program will allow development on retail Xbox One consoles instead of requiring a dev kit, for example, and developers will be able to publish to a dedicated Creators section of the Xbox Games Store. (Games will also be made available for Windows 10 PCs via the Windows Store.)
One notable omission from the Xbox Live Creators Program is support for multiplayer gameplay and achievements; those features will be limited to members of the more exclusive ID@Xbox program. More information about the Xbox Live Creators Program can be found on Microsoft’s website. The company said that sign-ups will be limited at first so it can fine-tune the program, but it plans to open up the program to everyone later on.
Microsoft’s decision to open up Xbox and Windows 10 game development comes at an interesting time: Valve recently changed the rules for its Steam marketplace to be more restrictive. The Xbox Live Creators Program is likely meant to capitalize on those new limitations and encourage devs to create Universal Windows Platform (UWP) games. Time will tell if opening the floodgates will cause the same problems for Microsoft that it did for Valve.
Beam, Game Mode, And More
The rest of Microsoft’s announcement focused on small updates to features and services we already knew about. The Xbox Game Pass–which offers unlimited access to Xbox One and “backwards compatible” Xbox 360 titles for $10 per month– servicerevealed earlier this week got a shout-out. So did Beam, which was announced in October 2016 and will offer “fast, low-latency, interactive game broadcasting.”