Microsoft announced their Xbox One indie publishing initiatives around four weeks ago, which is rather startling considering Sony started advertising their PlayStation 4 indie support at their console announcement. While it's a good sign that Microsoft is making efforts to regain ground in indie publishing, the effects of their procrastination will have consequences. As in, don't expect any indie-published games on Xbox One this year.
Games Industry spoke with Microsoft's Phil Harrison in London recently to speak about Microsoft's indie initiatives:
"We've had an avalanche of interest from all corners of the globe. It's what we expected but it's great to see. Now we're working through applications and creating that dialogue with developers. As we said at the time, we have phase one where we give away development kits and loan them to the teams that inevitably will have to pass some kind of a qualification to justify a limited number of dev kits being given to them. That process is ongoing. Eventually our goal is that every retail Xbox One console becomes a dev kit. And then we open up to the widest possible audience."
Unfortunately, the timeframe just isn't right to get those indie games out to the public quickly. After all, Microsoft's still figuring out how the public:
"I don't think we're going to see things at launch. I don't think it's realistic to see a developer get the programme and build a game and get it into the market on November 22. It's reasonable to expect in early 2014 we'll start seeing the first games come through."
Keep in mind that this is related to games published through Microsoft's indie program and not what we'd describe as "indie games" who have found a publisher (like Microsoft). That means no games are being delayed for the Xbox One or anything, but that this indie publishing initiative for the Xbox One won't be bearing any fruit until 2014.
Until that point it will be difficult to say whether or not Microsoft's initial indie-antagonistic policies and late start will have any longstanding effects on what games come to the platform. There's already several well-known indie developers who say they won't be going to another Microsoft platform, but indie's need all the money they can and porting from PC to PS4 to Xbox One will likely be extremely cost-effective.