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Microsoft: Game devs will be able to self-publish on Xbox One
Microsoft: Game devs will be able to self-publish on Xbox One
July 24, 2013 | By Kris Graft

July 24, 2013 | By Kris Graft
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    71 comments
More: Console/PC, Production, Business/Marketing



Microsoft has always said that it welcomes all game developers to its upcoming Xbox One, but now the company seems ready to put a policy in place that backs up that message.

Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten confirmed earlier reports today that the Xbox One will in fact allow developers to self-publish their games on the console.

This is a big shift from the current Xbox 360 policy (and what was going to be the Xbox One policy) that required developers to work through publishers to bring their games to the platform.

Not only that, but Whitten also dropped another game dev bombshell, saying that every Xbox One can be used for game development. Whitten's statement to press outlets including Gamasutra was short on other details, but reads:
"Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We'll have more details on the program and the timeline at gamescom in August."
[Whitten also told Polygon the self-publishing system won't be in place at Xbox One's launch later this year.]

Self-publishing has become an expectation from game developers working in the digital marketplace. Both Sony and Nintendo have had self-publishing programs in place in an effort to attract a critical mass of game developers for their storefronts.


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Comments


Yiannis Koumoutzelis
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AWESOME!!!

Jim Perry
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Still not enough information yet to say if this is a good thing for ALL indies. What tech? How much will it cost? Does "all" really mean "all" with regard to achievements and such? Will Joe Indie really be able to self-publish a game that offers achievements? XBLIG devs tried for years to get this.

Need more info!

Victor Reynolds
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Whitten says:

"My goal is for it to just show up in the marketplace," he told us. "Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what's trending, what's got a lot of engagement on the platform. And you'd be able to find that content in any of those. There wouldn't be any difference based on what type of game it was. Then of course there will be other type of pivots where you can go and look at whether its a genre of game or any other. But you shouldn't think of it as there's an indie area and a non-indie area."


http://kotaku.com/microsoft-every-xbox-one-can-be-used-to-make-ga
mes-up-898750954

Jimmy Albright
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I'm more curious as to if Microsoft will be doing another Dream Build Play, has anyone heard anything on that front?

Ron Dippold
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Thanks, Sony! This is why we need competition.

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
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True, but seeing how this is a much better option than Sony's let's see if Sony will follow!

Thank you Microsoft! ;)

Kujel s
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Exactly sony doesn't require a publisher but they decide whether or not you can get a dev kit and that isn't really self-publishing.

Roberto Dillon
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Then we should say thanks.... Ouya? ;-)

Kujel s
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Yeah I don't think MS is reacting to sony rather to Ouya.

Ron Dippold
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Darn right. Thank you MS too. I'm all for escalation.

Also, sadly, I don't think Ouya has been enough of a hit yet to even hit MS's radar. Obviously the Kickstart was a blowout, but not much recently. MS seems to have eyes only for Sony at this point.

Marvin Papin
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I hope sony will stay on their actual plans, controlled things, even really souple are far better than just "open the valves and let see"

Scott Lavigne
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@Kujel Except that's not right at all. MS will still curate who gets to publish; devs just don't have to have a middleman. That said, we still don't have any actual policies yet. This is pretty obviously just an announcement to get some good PR to redirect attention from recent events. We don't have any details at all, and we have no way of knowing what they'll actually stick to in the long-run (let alone release).

Amir Sharar
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This has nothing to do with Sony and everything to do with competing with Apple on the TV space.

Kujel s
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This is a much better self-publishing policy then sony's, everyone with an Xbox One can release games for it not just the people they let have a dev kit.

PS seeing the option to use the Kinect is really cool I've wanted to develop a Kinect based RTS for ages.

Matthew Mouras
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I'm hopeful, but I won't rush to judgement. This isn't a "policy" yet, this is public relations. Let's wait to hear some specifics.

Kyle Redd
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Now they just need to let us unplug the Kinect and put it in the closet when we're not using it, and they will have corrected all of the most egregious problems with the Xbox One.

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
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hahahaha the "closet" clan strikes back :) hilarious!

Jim Perry
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You know, you could just ignore it like most people could think to do. Put a towel over it or something. Good grief. :\

Kyle Redd
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I know, privacy has become such an outdated concept now - people who actually want it are seen as silly whiners.

Jim Perry
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conspiracy theorist, much? You really think someone at MS is going to be sitting around monitoring what you say and do?!? :\

It is silly whining when there's an obvious solution to the problem.

Salim Muhammad
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Everyone has a smartphone, that has a camera, mic and is connected 24/7.

Adam Bishop
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"Everyone has a smartphone, that has a camera, mic and is connected 24/7."

Yes, and based on comments made publically by Senator Wyden it seems highly likely that the U.S. government is using those to spy on people en masse, so I think being concerned about these kinds of things (including the surveillance capabilities of the new Kinect) is eminently sensible.

Kyle Redd
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@Jim

There is indeed an obvious solution - unplug the Kinect and set it aside. Unfortunately MS will not allow us to do that, for reasons they have not yet explained.

Chris Rabideau
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They have explained it. It's an integral part of their experience with the Xbox One and they are making it easier for developers to develop for a single system that includes all components. Not having to worry about catering to systems that may not include integral hardware is very handy. You know what devices your customers will have and can focus on developing great experiences that take advantage of those components without having to worry about customers who don't have it. If a gamer wants to turn it off, disable features in a game, or chooses not to buy games that require Kinect features to be turned on...that's their business. But it's been something developers like me appreciate.

Camilo R
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There are many solutions actually. Put tape over it, unplug it when not in use, break the lens, put the box facing backwards, etc... Most devices nowadays have cameras anyways, some of these devices we take with us everywhere we go..

Eric Salmon
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@Jim
Well, they're working pretty closely with the NSA to give them access to Skype, Outlook, Skydrive, etc. I don't see why Xbox stuff will be any different if the NSA asks for it.

Chris Rabideau
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You have that a little backwards, Eric. Microsoft and a lot of other companies work pretty hard to keep government agencies from forcing any of their data into other hands and towards getting more transparency on what is occurring in the first place. They aren't even legally allowed to talk about most of this stuff. Cooperating with authorities is slightly different than "working pretty closely" with them.

Kyle Redd
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@Chris

There is a stylus included with every single 3DS system. That doesn't mean I can't set it aside when I'm playing a game that doesn't use it. Similarly, the fact that the Kinect is included in the box with every Xbox is enough assurance for developers that they can create games for the Kinect because they know that every Xbox user will have one. Just as 3DS developers create games that require the stylus because they know every 3DS user has one. There will not be a single Xbox One owner that doesn't have a Kinect, as you worry may be the case.

That still does not explain why Microsoft absolutely refuses to simply allow us to unplug the device if we have no intention of ever using it, as will be the case for many (if not most) Xbox users.

Also, Microsoft's relationship with the NSA went far beyond mere cooperation. They implemented a circumvention for Outlook.com decryption before the service even launched. That doesn't exactly suggest a great deal of reluctance to comply on Microsoft's part, or any reluctance at all, actually. And the leaked documents regarding the alliance between the two organizations further dispels the idea that MS was ever hesitant to comply with any request the NSA had.

Andrew Syfret
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@Kyle "reluctance" doesn't play into it. If you don't comply with these orders your execs go to jail for a felony. They have no choice in this, neither does Google or Apple. You get a set of reporting requirements, and a deadline. If you "reluctantly" agree (what does that even mean?) and don't fulfill the requirements or the deadline, straight to secret court you go.

Regarding the Kinect: cover the sensor. Why is this so hard for you to do? You really sound like someone who is just grinding the axe for the hell of it.

Kyle Redd
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@Andrew

I'm not exactly the lone voice of concern regarding the Kinect. And it's not me I'm worried about - I won't be getting an Xbox One. That does not mean I cannot be concerned that Microsoft setting a bad precedent for privacy with this requirement. And considering that there is no technical reason why they would not allow owners to unplug the Kinect, it's not unreasonable to assume the real reason they won't allow it is because they intend to use it to collect very personal data on users, who will not be aware (because they will not read the privacy policy or EULA) of what Microsoft is actually doing.

If people continue to become more and more lax regarding their own privacy, that will lead to more abuses by companies and the government against *everyone's* privacy, including mine. Apathy and Ignorance of privacy abuses is how we got to where we are now in the first place. So I am going to continue to speak out against these practices.

Eric Salmon
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@Chris
I didn't particularly mean to imply that they were happy about it. I just meant it's pretty foolish to take always-on recording equipment from a company known to comply and hand over private data regardless of the circumstance, if you value your privacy. If you don't, that's cool--but many potential customers do. Telling us we can spend $100 on a spare towel rack is ludicrous.

Scott Lavigne
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@Jim
You really shouldn't complain about people voicing their opinions in the first place, but if you want to go down this road, then we can. Regardless of what it can or can't do out of the box, it enables a lot of scary things if they wanted to. Whether they do or not is irrelevant to the people who care.

That said, there were patents from a couple of years back (2010?) that people dug up for Kinect detecting how many people are in the room to automatically shut down if too many people were watching a movie or something. There have been a lot of concerns between this and the fact you can't disable the Kinect because it says that Microsoft wants to make sure you're doing things their way. If you can't unplug the Kinect, why would they let you cover it up? They obviously won't, so I guess your complaints to Kyle are just silly whining.

Oh, and there was that bit with the NSA too. Guess that shouldn't be a concern though. Let's try to be civil, shall we? There's no need to call people's opinions whining or to attack them as a conspiracy theorist. Critique arguments all you want, but don't be a jerk.

Matthew Mouras
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@Andrew

Do you actually believe that tech executives from fortune 500 companies would be thrown in jail for non-compliance? Give the government some credit. They have much more subtle and effective ways of motivating business. Maybe the technology sector is left out of closed room discussions on a bill that will greatly affect them (see the recent Facebook backed bill to make it easier to hire and retain developers from overseas), maybe there are complications with a specific business' tax exempt status, maybe a patent takes an exceptionally long time to be approved. Technology leaders know why they have to play ball... it isn't out of fear of jail time.

Tom Hughes
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"Ew, gross. This banana has a maggot in it."

"What's the matter? You don't like fruit? Why don't you just eat around it? Good grief."

"Can't I just pull it out?"

"Nope, that's part of the new banana experience. Thank you, Monsanto"

Marvin Papin
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Self publishing is important but it seems to be uncontrolled again like xblig. Should we expect flooding ? The problem with MS is that there's always an issue. They can put a section in abysses of the xbox and forget it just to be able to counteract PS4 com'.

But there's another Next-Gen problem for us, poor Europeans. Here games are announced at 70, and at 60$ in US. Ok, i know about the taxes but 60$ = 45.66... NEXT GEN COULD BE A BIIIG MESS.

Christian Nutt
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Aren't current gen games already going up to 70? I've seen prices like that in Italy, or at least close.

Marvin Papin
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Yes but next gen title (at least 1st party) are 70 in EU vs 60$ in US. i m not speaking about how much but about the difference of 25 (33$) with US prices. We are bored to be treated as whales

Matthew Mouras
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What's the minimum wage in EU countries charging 70 ? What's the median income?

Marvin Papin
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1 121,93 net / month 13 463.16 / y (minimum wage (SMIC))
2 094.9 net / month 25 139 / y (median)

Marvin Papin
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per hour 7.39, 35h based

Marvin Papin
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Oops forgot to say in France

Matthew Mouras
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Is that in Italy? Ouch.

The US minimum wage is about the same.

EDIT: I see you posted some more details in the time it took me to post. So the the minimum wage in France is a bit higher than the US. I was just looking for something that would account for the difference in pricing.

Bob Charone
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@Matthew Mouras

Income doesn't matter, an iPhone in China cost twice as much than in the US despite lower income, cost of living, and even being assebled in China.

The main reasons EVERYTHING is cheaper in the US than EU/JP even Canada are lower or fewer taxes/tariffs, superior shipping infrastructre(truck/train/plane) which is helped by lower fuel costs.

Marvin Papin
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If I remember, MS games sold in europe are manufactured in Germany, just near france. So for most french people, it takes less than 1000kms to deliver in France. Truck shipping is less expansive than US Airliners i suppose. Taxes are 19,6 %, and i don't know inside us. But it seems nothing justify the 50% more. (70 = 91.98$)


Edit : @Matthew Mouras
You are speaking about minimum wage but if you give a look at the distribution of annual incomes (raw (not net)) :
France :
(per worker)
http://france-inflation.com/img/salaires_repartition.gif
US :
(per house)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Distribution_o f_Annual_Household_Income_in_the_United_States.png

Even by taking in count the parameter, there's a pretty big difference.

Duong Nguyen
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Ahh the power of competition.. This is actually very similar to the XNA model on the 360, u could also use any 360 to develop for in XNA.

Luke Quinn
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The best part of XBLIG

Marvin Papin
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But it's not self publishing, since you have to pass a certification.

Katy Smith
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Yes, but Apple also requires certification, and it's a fairly harmless process. I don't see the negative in having a set of standards to follow. The only down-side I see to certification is if it has an unreasonable cost. I'll wait to see what Microsoft has to say about that, but right now this is pretty cool news.

Luke Quinn
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If Microsoft have given indies a shot at working with the Kinect when it released like they said then maybe the Kinect wouldn't be living in my cupboard right now.
M$ has a lot of work to do if they think they can compete for the upper crust indie market.
They have to improve discover-ability big time, get on the Unity train, and ditch silly restrictions like time limited demos and no DLC.

Matthew Mouras
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And make sure that the fee to come back through certification for a patch stays gone on the Xbox One.

Jorge Ramos
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So any Given X1 can be used as a dev kit, and moreover developers can now publish direct to microsoft for the X1...

This is indeed a welcome change, and significantly improves the proverbial "barrier to entry" issue normally inherent with developing for a console. I'm sure there will be some caveat (like subscribership for a program like the XNA Creators' Club), but even at $99/year for the privilege is peanuts compared to the thousands that are usually asked for dev kits from even past-gen console systems.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Develop on Windows, play on Windows. Develop on Windows, play on Windows Phone. Develop on Windows, play on X-BoX.

Develop on X-BoX, oh wait...

Tucson Bagley
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Great! Some actual competition being brought forward.
Now to see if Sony will come to the table on the console-doubling-as-a-dev-kit front, as they've been on the offensive so far, with Microsoft hastily defending. Microsoft is quickly catching up, though, and now Sony need to do more than make witty comments at Microsoft's expense to keep up.

Chris Rabideau
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While you may purchase development kits from Sony, you can also get loaners as long as they don't run out of them. Which is nice because of the larger amounts of memory for debugging and what-not. But I still think I prefer being able to develop using my own personal system, like on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Save a lot of money going that route!

Daniel Martinez
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PS4's are already pre-ordered. Sony will outsell out of the gate but Microsoft can regain market share with good titles.

Kujel s
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That is something they [MS] are actually really good at.

Camilo R
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I hope people make use of the projection ability Microsoft Research team demonstrated with Kinect, easily one of the best uses of the device. I'm surprised MS has ignored it, but then they do with most of what comes from their Research division.

Sergio Rosa
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My only question would be "how about those developing for the PC with 'off the shelf' technologies like Unity or UDK?" After all, at least with UE you need to be "certified" to get the full source that allows for console publishing.

scott anderson
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If what MS is saying is true, this would open up Xbox One to UDK and Unity in the same way they support mobile development. You'd be able to deploy pre-built binaries that can run interpreted scripts (Unreal script) or AOT compiled .NET assemblies (mono).

Mike Domingues
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Wow now that's shocking news. Props to Microsoft to at least try to invert their early PR/marketing disasters. However it seems there's some strings attached, I've read somewhere else that this will be essentially a slightly improved XBLIG, not exactly a 100% open platform like the PC or the Ouya.
Still that's good news, I'm definitely looking forward for more details.

Ryan Christensen
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Thank you Microsoft, welcome to the new way. With this and Windows Phone 8 Free for Unity, Microsoft is back in this for indies, small companies, medium companies for game dev. They will also sell more hardware this way, smart to change course.

Nicholas Stringham
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Really interesting, would love to bring forth some titles on the new xbox, but before decision is made I would like to hear a little more information such as cost and etc to develop for like someone mentioned above. I just hope that this might be something that Microsoft really invest in for other developers out their, instead of trying to win people back because of all the bad business decisions they made in the beginning. Another thing if they are serious and sticking to their guns instead of turning around and put restrictions back on the Xbox, then it will be will worth it for indie developers like myself. Just have to see how this pans out.

edwin zeng
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They can say self-publishing for XB1, but they did not say it would be also for XB360. And they did not say how they would decide on handling certification requirements for XB1. Neither how open it would be for XB1 was also not mentioned.

Jarod Smiley
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Can't say I have an Idea of where this company is even going with the game division anymore. We'll revisit you in a few years MS, still burned a bit too much by the terrible PR and out-of-touch marketing to your consumers. These 180's all sound good, but it'll be wait-n-see from a consumer's perspective for a while regarding anything Xbox.

Still the idea of your console transforming as a dev kit is a good one, and something Sony should emulate. I believe the vita is like this correct?

Matt Ponton
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Eh, this just sounds like the beginning of the new console life cycle. Trying to entice any and all possible developers onto a platform so that your library fills up faster than the competition and hopefully you get a couple "system sellers".

I remember when Xbox LIVE Arcade was being pushed as an indie platform. Two years later it was locked out to being only for publisher driven games.

Jarod Smiley
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^Exactly what I was thinking...It seems different in the approach of Sony where they have Indy titles on display at E3. They seem to be effectively trying to market Playstation as the first choice for Indy, and I can only assume they are striking a chord somehow.

We'll see how everything pans out in time though...

Nick Harris
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Kinect 2.0 supports the creation of user reviews. Some reviewers will look at the reviews of others that they trust the taste of and present their personal opinion of a selected set of games in an amusing way each week. The community will gravitate to trust accurate, unbiased, entertaining recommendations from "quasi-famous" amateur game reviewers. This whole interconnected social hierarchy will act to filter out the overwhelming tide of dross and promote those "clams containing hidden pearls". Star ratings and trending sales are ineffective, but gamers could just friend several popular unaffiliated reviewers and commit to purchases that chimed with their taste when these reviewers were in majority agreement. Reviewers would specialise in genres that they liked to play and had a history of experiences that they could draw upon for their analysis. The PS4's SHARE button is also a way to do similar things, although I think ONE has better editing and the ability to narrate over a video as well as record yourself wearing a funny hat like Major Nelson in the hopes it will endear you to your viewers.

Christian Philippe Guay
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I always liked the concept that Microsoft takes a certain % on your game, pay for this adn that and at the top of that you also have to pay for the dev kits. And gamers have to pay for a Gold Membership, basically just to fill even more their pockets. [sarcasm]

Dave Hoskins
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These u-turns are the work of an insane company. It's almost as if every decision has been made by an idiot! How can such a large and successful company be so naive in the first place? Can they really be THAT out of touch? They've had years to decide the direction of the gaming arm of MS, and yet they are so arrogant as to believe that people won't react to their corporate, robotic decisions.

Christian Philippe Guay
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I doubt they have the best interests of both gamers and game developers at heart or in mind either. Right now, all those u-turns are marketing. The world keeps talking about Xbox One and how it becomes less worse every month to then give the impression that they actually care about something else than money.

A lot can change between E3 and the release of the console. That's exactly what they are doing, changing everything and that's at their advantage as nobody talks about PS4 at all.

Dave Hoskins
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I hope you're right for their sake, I'm just having trouble believing MS have made any correct decisions for years now. Everything they've recently done seems hopelessly out of touch with everyday folk.


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