“Shoestring” Indie Dev Had to Spend Thousands to Publish on Xbox One

Microsoft’s requirements for indie developers publishing on the Xbox One can be the most expensive part of the process.

That, at least, is what was indicated in a blog post by indie developer Jamie Fristrom. The founder of Happion Laboratories, he recently wrote about the costs of publishing on Microsoft’s console through the ID@Xbox program. According to Fristrom, publishing his game Sixty Second Shooter Prime on the Xbox One wound up being a process that cost him thousands of dollars thanks to the company requiring its developers purchase expensive insurance options and pay for rating board submissions.

“Microsoft requires [Errors & Omissions Insurance],” said Fristrom. “And it’s not just any E&O Insurance – it has to cover IP and copyright violations, so the cheap E&O Insurance you can easily find online doesn’t qualify.”

Fristrom would go on to describe how the cost of foreign ratings boards would add a similarly expensive burden to his Shooter Prime’s Xbox One debut.

“Getting your game rated in some territories can be a lot more expensive than simply translating your game to that territory’s language,” he said. “I spent about $700 on localization, all told, and spent nearly $2000 on getting my game rated by PEGI and USK.” He would go on to say that the ratings boards costs in Australia and New Zealand were so expensive that he wound up skipping those territories altogether.

The costs associated with Microsoft’s publication requirements actually wound up being the most expensive part of bringing Fristrom’s game to Xbox One, costing him more than $4000. That being the case, he would affirm that while these costs were high for a “shoestring” operation like his, they wound being “absolutely worth it.”

“Although we haven’t gotten our first sales report yet, there were at least ten thousand entries on the leaderboards last we checked, so we’ve certainly covered our costs and made a living wage to boot – which is kind of rare in the indie game development world.”

Out of curiosity, we’ve reached out to Sony to see if it has similar requirements for its indie partners as Microsoft. We’ll update this article when we learn more.

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