Next-Gen Consoles Are Indie Jones-ing

Console makers are fighting over the Indie scene
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Independent Developers

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It seems as of late there has been an enormous surge of attention given to studios that are not affiliated with a publisher. These studios are fondly titled ‘Independent Developers’. You may have played some of the games made by these studios recently such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Retro City Rampage, Fez, or Journey.

Success Brings Attention

When a game succeeds at selling a massive amount of units it tends to get studied by other developers in an effort to find out why it was so popular among gamers. This includes garnishing the attention of the big boys — Sony and Microsoft. These two industry giants are at war with each other to gather up as many Indie titles as they can. Nintendo has made what seems like every attempt to play by its own rules and stay on the sideline.

Big Boy Costs

If you want to make a game for a console, it normally is not free. There are fees for placing your game on their markets, a fee for updating your game, and the fees dealing with development itself. One of the development fees is normally the cost to purchase a dev kit from the manufacturer. However, with this indie war raging on Sony and Microsoft have unsheathed their weapons.

Free Dev Kits

Sony is currently not selling any of their dev kits. Instead they are handing them out as loaner units for a year at no cost to the studios they hope will create games for their system. This is a great incentive because the normal cost for the kit is $2,500.

Not Free

On the other side, Microsoft is indeed selling their dev kits for $500. It has also been confirmed that every Xbox One has the ability to be converted to a debug console via console ID. This is quite unique, and at the current price of $499 it seems apparent that every single pre-order for the Xbox One is a pre-order for a dev kit. A unit designated as a debug console is permitted to run pre-release code.

My Thoughts

It seems obvious to me that modders will be attempting to hack the Xbox One as soon as they get their hands on it. If they succeed they will be allowed to download and play ROMs for free instead of purchasing games. Now, I am not saying that there are no security measures in place, I am simply saying that Microsoft seems a bit confident they have the situation handled. This brings me to my next thought. How exactly is Microsoft tracking which consoles are allowed to run these bits of code and which ones are not? How easily can a console ID be spoofed or edited? How are they determining which pieces of software are final versions and which are pre-release? I hope it is not by something similar to a hash comparison of final versions registered into a database. If that is the case, one extra space in a final game version would deem it to be pre-release code and playable by all debug units.

What do you think about the Xbox One debug consoles?


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oosah
I am a self-described MMORPG addict. Not in the sense that my real life suffers, but rather my real life is enhanced.