Porting OSS games to Xbox One via Xbox Live Creators Program

Porting OSS games to Xbox One via Xbox Live Creators Program

Postby Worldblender » 09 Oct 2020, 21:48

The program: https://www.xbox.com/en-US/developers/creators-program/ -> Xbox Live Creators Program
A different program: https://www.xbox.com/en-US/Developers/id -> Independent Developers Program for Xbox One

Following on my previous topic of why there aren't too many FOSS games appearing on consoles, I have stumbled upon the recent efforts (since 2013) from Microsoft to get enable more people to develop for their platforms, Xbox One and Windows 10. There are two programs I can join which could open up the possibility of getting FOSS games to appear on consoles (Xbox One and the Xbox Series X and S): Xbox Live Creators Program, and the Independent Developers Program for Xbox One. Of these two, the former is easier for me to join, as I only have to the pay a one-time $19 membership fee. No need to deal with a complicated development and certification process, unlike with the Nintendo Switch and Sony's Playstation 4 (and upcoming Playstation 5).

The main caveat here is that any FOSS games I port will have to be adapted to UWP (Universal Windows Platform) in part or in whole, depending on how much code has to be rewritten for each game. It is not possible to submit ordinary x86 programs anymore to the Microsoft Store, although the Xbox One and later are both x86-based. While UWP officially targets only Windows 10 and Xbox One (and soon the Xbox Series X and S), the Uno Platform (http://platform.uno/) enables running UWP programs on other platforms, GNU/Linux distros included.

Why do I even think about getting ports of FOSS games onto consoles? Some people don't want to deal with all the setup that an regular desktop or laptop PC entails, and would rather want something to plug-and-play for their gaming needs. While I fully understand such people (and I value the freedoms granted by sticking with PC gaming), I worry that most will never get exposed to FOSS games of any kind (though they will start at the indie level, since there already exist many more indie games for all major consoles), and thus will get little to no exposure to FOSS in general (excluding any Linux kernel-based OSes such as Android or ChromeOS). I already know about how much DRM and restrictions the ported FOSS games could go through, but most people using consoles don't care about such restrictions.

By porting at least the best FOSS games to a console platform, they could get more exposure from other people. As a side effect, the Xbox family will become the first and only console family where FOSS games can officially be played on a console. Once released, each game will be treated at the indie level, not AAA level. Note that I don't own an Xbox One or later yet, but if enough people are interested, I can consider getting one (or waiting until at least Xbox Series X and S are released, though I'm likely to get the Series S).

I have more details I can give out about my console porting plans, but I need enough interest from other people before I decide to go ahead with any porting efforts. If there is not enough interest however, the FOSS games situation as-is, where they serve a niche audience, not the wider casual gamer audience.
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Re: Porting OSS games to Xbox One via Xbox Live Creators Pro

Postby Julius » 09 Oct 2020, 22:50

You do you, but I think it is a wasted effort.

99% of the console gamers will perceive a free software games as just another (likely bad in comparison because graphics might be outdated) indie title and not waste a second though. They will likely even just skip though it, see the screenshots and decide to never even install it as there is so much "better" choice.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
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