The program was originally revealed by Phil Harrison at Gamescom in 2013. Today marks the program crossing over 1000 titles that have been independently-published across both Xbox One and Windows.
At one point, Microsoft was accused of not supporting independent developers, an accusation made famous by Braid developer Jonathan Blow. After that, Microsoft listened to many developers discussing ideas and programs to allow smaller companies to self-publish on their platform. With Phil Spencer and Satya Nadella at the helm, things turned around and helped developers looking to publish.
In 2018, 67 countries and over four billion hours played by the community and more than a billion dollars in revenue, this is the result of allowing those small studios the ability to sell their games without the hassle of getting their games on the market.
Joining some of the memorable releases like Studio MDHR’s Cuphead, Fullbright’s Tacoma, playdead’s INSIDE, Chucklefish’s Stardew Valley, Matt Makes Games’ Celeste and The Behemoth’s Pit People, games including Team17’s Overcooked 2, Dark Star’s Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption and Pixel Trip Studios’ The Videokid launched this year helping push us to this new milestone.
I wonder what the gaming space would have ended up being without the program, but I’m thankful Xbox decided to give indie developers the tools to make a livelihood.