Microsoft used to have a shaky relationship with indies, but the platform’s indie offerings have improved greatly over the last generation, as proven in the company’s look back at the debut of the [email protected] program nine years ago today. The program took over for Xbox Live Arcade, providing marketing and support for smaller developers that wouldn’t have the budget to do so otherwise. And along with celebrating this nine-year anniversary, Microsoft introduced a new cloud-based initiative to further help smaller teams.
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There’s a lot to celebrate in nine years!
Thank you to all the wonderful independent developers for joining us.
Here’s to many, many more years & incredible games! 🎮 https://t.co/3XpfjOh3ru
— [email protected] (@ID_Xbox) March 24, 2022
Microsoft said that [email protected] has been a successful initiative, as it has provided over $2.5 billion in royalties and other payments to game makers through the program. [email protected] is the force behind getting indie games included in special headline-generating showcases and placements on Xbox Game Pass. The “Netflix for games” subscription has been one of the highlights of Xbox ownership for a while now, and it wouldn’t be complete without the variety that only comes from games outside of the AAA system. Microsoft even stated that subscribers are finding more types of games with Game Pass, as the average player plays 30% more genres and 40% more games overall.
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Microsoft also admitted that its job is far from over on its own platforms and labeled discoverability as a problem it is looking into. The platform holder said it is investing in marketing and merchandising so users can discover more games.
However, the company also wants to extend beyond its own ecosystem and help the gaming world at large. The [email protected] program will bring the same level of care and attention to games that want to make use of Microsoft’s much-discussed cloud technology. It will support everything from mobile platforms to PC to PlayStation and Switch in addition to Xbox consoles. In that way, it’s just another small part of how gaming can be less focused on the hardware and more focused on the ever-growing deluge of software coming out every week.