Microsoft officially unveiled the new Xbox One yesterday, and while there's still details we don't know, there is one we can shed some light on. Independent game developers are going to be unable to self-publish games on the Xbox One, and must get a publishing deal either through Microsoft or another company. It's the same way indie games are handled on the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade, but a stark contrast to what Sony, Nintendo, and Valve are currently doing.
In a recent interview, Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, responded with the following statement when asked if developers need a publisher on Xbox One: "as of right now, yes. We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have."
He did add a little later:
I would also expect that for this new generation, that we're going to continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content. But Microsoft Studios is a publisher that works with a wide range of partners, as do a lot of other people, to bring digital content to the box.
That "new business models" bit is decidedly open-ended, but it could be years down the road before any of us have an idea of what it entails. For now, it looks like indie devs are going to look towards Sony's PlayStation Store, Nintendo's eShop, and Valve's Steam service to get their games out to the masses. Sony and Nintendo both are even bringing the Unity engine to consoles (Sony with the PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and PS Mobile; Nintendo with Wii U), which is going to open the door for an impressive number of indie games on consoles. Just not Microsoft's Xbox One.