Xbox Live Creators Program will help developers get their Xbox Live-enabled games published

There's already been some pretty interesting news coming out of Xbox at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, but Microsoft's latest initiative, called the Xbox Live Creators Program, should make independent UWP developers pretty happy. At its core, the program is a streamlined certification process meant to help developers quickly publish Xbox Live-enabled games on both Xbox One and Windows 10.

While Xbox Live integration may not sound like much on the surface, it comes with some pretty clear and substantial benefits. From Microsoft (opens in new tab):

With the Creators Program, anyone can integrate Xbox Live sign-in, presence, and social features into their UWP games, then publish their game to Xbox One and Windows 10. This means their title can see exposure to every Xbox One owner across the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio this holiday, as well as hundreds of millions of Windows 10 PCs, and millions of folks using the Xbox app on mobile platforms.

It should be pointed out that this new program won't mean a sudden influx of mobile games and the like from the Windows 10 Store suddenly appearing on Xbox, as there's a certain level of Xbox integration required. And while the Creators Program supports things like Xbox sign-in and social features, it leaves out things like achievements and multiplayer that are supported through ID@Xbox. You can see a side-by-side comparison of the two in the chart below:

ID@Xbox vs Xbox Live

Ultimately, Microsoft says, the Creators Program will let UWP developers keep using the same tools they've been using to access a much larger audience across Windows and Xbox One. Crucially, that means they won't require an Xbox de kit to get started developing for the console. Should developers want more support and development resources from Microsoft, it sounds like developers will be able to upgrade to the ID@Xbox program if they wish. Still, the simplified certification of the program should mean a much easier path to publishing.

The program is currently in preview, but for more, you can read about the Xbox Live Creators program and learn how to sign up at Microsoft{.nofollow}.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Achievements not supported... all my excitment went away in an instant. I really don't care about everything else that is supported in that program. I guess getting $1-3 games on Xbox One and Scorpio will be interesting, and will certainly help UWP in general but without achievements they aren't truly Xbox games.
  • Totally agree, man. Who plays games for fun anymore? Halo 2 on the original Xbox was such an awful game, all because there were no cheevos.
  • What if I told you gathering achievements and gamer points is fun to me? Just like we've spent every day after school with friends playing Super Mario 64 looking for all stars. It's an old concept in general.
  • Interesting point. Though I felt compelled to reach 120 stars I have never felt the need to get all achievments in any Xbox game.
  • I try to find a balance. I am a total achievement *****. I don't get to play as much anymore (you know, adulting and whatnot) but I am proud of my 58K and working hard to break 60. But... There are some games that are just straight up fun and I won't let the lack of achievements stop me. Though, if I would have I would probably be over 60K now. haha. In other words... I agree with both of you.
  • I would imagine that someone in your position would be glad that this program doesn't have achievements. With a total lack of curation, you'd see games that are sold purely as Gamerscore boosters. There would be nothing to stop someone from awarding a ton of achievements for pressing A.  Wouldn't that spoil achievements for you? So while games in this program might  it immediately for you, it does provide an avenue for developers to make and ship games without jumping through many hoops, which is a net positive for any gamer. And who knowS? Maybe one finds enough success in this program to warrant upgrading to a full release, placing it on your radar.    
  • Wouldn't that spoil achievements for you?
    So while games in this program might  it immediately for you, it does provide an avenue for developers to make and ship games without jumping through many hoops, which is a net positive for any gamer.
    I don't think hoops are so hard to jump through right now considering there are supposedly 1000 of games in the ID@Xbox pipeline. The games that will come from Creators Program are likely to be of low quality.
  • I hadn't thought about it before, but it makes total sense for achievements to be left out of the functionality for games that will be effectively not curated (some curation will still happen).   I don't think most gamers understand how much scrutiny games must go through to be published on Xbox, either as ID@Xbox releases or regular releases.   This new program means that developers without the resources to prepare a full release can get onto a console. It's only a matter of time before one of these UWP games is successful enough to propel an amateur developer to success. I'm planning on releasing my current game using this program!   I don't think anyone has pointed this out yet, but games published in this way can have achievements, just not Xbox Live achievements. I know it's not the same, but it's something.   @grogansoft
  • I think achievements are a natural evolution of the other scores and items you tried to get in older games.

    Back then, you would try to be in the score leaderboard in the arcades near your school so your schoolmates would see your achivement. You would try to get all stars in mario and talk about it the next day with them, maybe inviting them over to proove you really did. ​Nowadays, the Internet took over the social networks by storm, and achievements linked to your gamertag are simply the online version of the arcade scores or come-over-and-check of back then. Technology changed, video games achievements didn't.
  • I get the impression you misunderstood the message behind the sarcasm. I'm not attacking the idea of achievements in general (I collect them too, you know). I'm merely pointing out that it's slightly irrational to shun a game, no matter how good, purely on the basis of lack of achievements.
  • I mean if that's the only thing you read, you missed the rest of the article. I can tell you just about any developer would rather spend their time getting the game into the hands of people instead of worrying about achievements so their hard work can be recognized. After that, adding achievements can be done if it becomes a requested feature by upgrading it to the ID@Xbox system and going from there. No one wants to pour their heart and soul into a game and wait forever to get it published, and they want even less for someone to cry about achievments that a fraction of the audience cares about.
  • No, I've read the whole article. The only benefit is that UWP game can be put on Xbox One and Scorpio. Leaderboards are ok but it's no problem to use many free services that offer the same like Facebook. I, and many more, would not buy "Xbox" game without achievements. Launching without them means I'll likely ignore your game in launch period and even if it add them later there is no mechanism to let me know. In short, to me it's foolish to launch on Xbox without core feature of the platform that's been available and is expected by users on all titles. On the other hand though I understand why Microsoft needs to limit it as brand could be diluted.
  • uservoice:
  • All games to Live have a strict sertification prosess, including checking the implementation of Achievements. Live games have a minimum quality level. The Creator's Program is a fast track sertification, but MS don't want to water out the quality stamp of the Live label. ​Imagine a UWP developer making lots of cheap games where users easely can collect all Achevements and collect points. Lots of people would happely buy those titles to collect points. The values of Achievements and points would be gone.    
  • I've already written that in another comment:
    On the other hand though I understand why Microsoft needs to limit it as brand could be diluted.
    I understand why Microsoft is doing it. I just won't buy those games and therefore don't see the program as a net positive. 
  • I wonder how long it will take until someone tries to push an emulator through that program.
  • I'm crying full of happiness! That's awesome!
  • Am I right in thinking that this is therefore aimed a people looking to dip their toes into the world of game development and receive feedback? In general though, this sounds like a great program.
  • I think the aim is to simply lower the 'barrier of entry', which does encompass a wider range of developers. This program is perfect for me. I'm an amateur developer currently working on my 3rd game. With no budget to ensure marketing or high production values, I had no chance of publishing to a console before. With this program, my upcoming game (which was designed primarily to be played with a gamepad) can be published on the Xbox One.   Even if it just means my friends and family can play my game on their TVs, it's a great bonus. There is of course also the potential to get my game in front of lots of potential players in a way that is more direct than being buried in an app store with millions of titles and dozens of categories.   @grogansoft
  • I'm so fed up with achievement nonsense!  if you want to play a game with achievements, go f$%$ing buy a game with achievements like solitair, age of empire bs! THis is why i despise xbox gamers compared to other gamers. The lack of variety and shooting/action centric focused in xbox library makes their gamers too focus on competitoin, reward and punishment! Can't we enjoy a game like good old days for its design, mechanics or even story?! what has achievements turned us into? some achievement *****? no one looks at your achievement list to reward you with a cookie and i can careless about how much you earned! stop trying to show off and get a life and get out the couch! in case you didnt know, the creators program was geared towards developers! So small and cheap teams can express their creativity for low cost!  unlike the fat idiot white guy above, I don't care if you don't buy my games because there's no achievement. One less idiot who i don't need playing my product!