When we started with the [email protected] program (almost nine years ago!), we didn’t really know much. We knew that independent developers were accelerating the pace of video game innovation faster than we’d ever seen before, and we knew the work they were doing was incredibly progressive and important. We also knew that our players on Xbox loved the artistry and diversity delivered by these developers, and that we had to do everything we could to help developers succeed on the Xbox ecosystem.
So we listened a lot: we learned directly from developers what they wanted and what they needed. They were never shy about telling us what worked and what didn’t. For example, innovations like cross-play on other consoles came directly from [email protected] partner. Based on their feedback and requests, we made many changes to our back-end publishing systems and even to our app framework. These changes may seem mundane, but are very important as we strive to enable independent developers to easily ship their game across Xbox and PC.
The results have exceeded our wildest dreams. Since the inception of the program, independent developers have earned more than $2.5 billion in royalties and aggregate revenue from: [email protected] partners on Xbox nearly doubled in the past three years. These are staggering numbers and it speaks to the power of independent developers.
We’ve also paid developers and publishers on Xbox hundreds of millions of dollars in Game Pass licensing fees. There are great games on Xbox (and other platforms!) today that would never have existed without the support of Game Pass members, and that’s been an incredible phenomenon. Enabling millions of Game Pass members to experience some of the best independent games ever made has been a transformation for Xbox players and developers.
We know talent is universal, and supporting developers of all sizes, from single person startup studios to experienced indie with multiple successful games on the market, is crucial. We’re proud that more than 4,600 developers from 94 countries around the world are committed to delivering experiences to players through Xbox, including more than 1,000 creators who have signed up for the [email protected] program of the past two years.
Even with over 3,000 games from independent developers on Xbox, we still have a long way to go. One area we talk about a lot with developers and players is findability. Microsoft teams work every day to solve discovery challenges so players can find games they love, and in turn help developers find audiences for their games. Whether it helps announce games like WrestleQuest or Escape Academy to millions of viewers in a /[email protected] Showcase with /twitchgaming, which gives creators the opportunity to showcase their games on Xbox channels or include their titles in thematic sales and promotion, we’re always looking for ways to connect creators with a new public.
Game Pass is another way to encourage Xbox players to discover new genres and games. After being a member, the average member plays 30% more genres and 40% more games, with most of those games falling outside of Game Pass.
In addition, we continuously invest heavily in marketing and merchandising programs to ensure Xbox players everywhere can discover the more than 3,000 independent titles available on Xbox.
This GDC also introduced Microsoft a new program that grew out of developer feedback – [email protected] It is headed by Nick Ferguson, director of [email protected](which was an original) [email protected] team member in 2013, when we were just a virtual team with an idea), and it’s for developers on every platform, from iOS and Android to Switch, PlayStation and PC (and Xbox of course!) cloud gaming services in their games. If you are a developer, check it out http://www.azure.com/id
Nine years ago, we promised independent developers that we would work as hard as we could on their behalf because we knew Xbox players would be excited to support their work. We don’t consider that promise fulfilled by any means because we see our work as Xbox’s ongoing commitment to independent developers. but by [email protected]† the launch of [email protected]our work with Game Pass and more to help developers bring their games to Xbox, and with the community’s response to the great games we’re seeing coming to the platform, we feel like we’re making progress in the right direction.