ID@Xbox announces new program to bring even more great indies to Xbox

Promotional image for ID@Xbox.
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • ID@Xbox is a program at Xbox that helps developers create and publish their games on Xbox platforms.
  • This year marks the 10-year anniversary of ID@Xbox, with the program announcing some major milestones.
  • Since its inception, ID@Xbox has helped publish over 3,000 games, and works with more than 5,000 developers in over 100 countries.
  • On Tuesday, ID@Xbox announced the Developer Acceleration Program to help devs get noticed by the ID@Xbox teams.

AAA games may steal headlines, but it's indie games that are the true backbone of the video games industry, with countless developers showering players with boundless creativity. ID@Xbox has helped publish many of these games for the Xbox ecosystem, and the program is now celebrating 10 long years of life in the world — It's also announcing a brand-new program to help indie developers shine even more.

Announced as part of GDC, ID@Xbox is debuting the Developer Acceleration Program. The newfound program gives developers a template with all the info they need to get started at ID@Xbox and submit their game concepts for review by all the key teams at Xbox, including at Xbox Game Pass. Hopefully, developers will more easily be able to form deals with Xbox and get the ball rolling on their creative visions.

Hundreds of great indie games may fall through the cracks every year solely because the ID@Xbox teams don't have enough time to meet with everyone, and the Developer Acceleration Program aims to streamline the process and get developers through the door faster, even if they don't know anyone at Xbox. Put shortly, Microsoft decided that there aren't enough amazing indie games on Xbox, and is empowering ID@Xbox to work with even more developers.

Xbox Sign

(Image credit: Windows Central)

That's no small feat, considering ID@Xbox's mighty track record. The seeds for its inception were planted during GDC 2013, when many developers communicated their frustration with Xbox's archaic process for self-published games. After a lot of thought, ID@Xbox was born! Since then, many of the best Xbox games have come from the program.

10 years later, the program has helped developers publish over 3,000 games (with 3,000 more in the works) and paid out over $4 billion to those creators. Currently, ID@Xbox is working with over 5,000 developers in over 100 countries, an already sizeable increase over the numbers reported when I was able to preview four upcoming Xbox Game Pass titles from ID@Xbox.

ID@Xbox is evolving in other ways, too. Microsoft is working with a handful of developers to allow them to publish physical retail copies of their indie games through ID@Xbox, a previously digital-only program, with no minimum purchase order. If all goes well, the ability to print physical copies will roll out to all indie developers under at ID@Xbox, making their games more accessible (and appealing to collectors).

Windows Central's take

Indie games have given me some of my favorite memories in gaming, and I'm always on the lookout for new creative endeavors to occupy my time with Xbox. It's great to see ID@Xbox go from success to success, and it's even better to witness it grow with the support of Microsoft, developers, and the players. I'm excited for the future of ID@Xbox and the countless games that will be published with its help.

I'm not certain just how much of a difference the Developer Acceleration Program will make, but it does seem like it'll help developers who aren't certain how to take their next step when they don't know anyone at Xbox. It'll also be interesting to see more indie games get the physical copies they deserve, as many fantastic titles are often relegated to the digital-only pile of games.

Either way, it's hard to argue that ID@Xbox isn't a major part of the Xbox ecosystem and a huge success. Over 3,000 published titles, apparently, more than the combined libraries of both the original Xbox and Xbox 360, is a monumental milestone. My backlog doesn't seem like it could get much longer and insurmountable, but ID@Xbox is apparently out to prove me wrong. Still can't way to play The Last Case of Benedict Fox.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.