Developer program overview

To enable a game with Xbox Live, you join the Creators program, or join the Managed Partners program as an ID@Xbox Partner.

Join the Xbox Live Creators Program if both of the following are true:

  • You're interested in using only the Social features of Xbox Live, such as Identity, Presence, Clubs, or Leaderboards.

  • You only plan to ship via Microsoft storefronts on Microsoft devices, such as Xbox, Windows 10 PC, and Hololens.

Join the ID@Xbox Managed Partners Program if at least one of the following are true:

  • You’re interested in using the full suite of Xbox Live services, including multiplayer features and Achievements and Gamerscore on Microsoft devices, such as Xbox, Windows 10 PC, or Hololens.

  • You plan to use Xbox Live components in a game which is shipping via a non-Microsoft store or on a non-Microsoft device (such as mobile).

To join the ID@Xbox Program, you must agree to abide by the regulations around Xbox Live.

Each program offers different levels of time investment, features available, and support options.

Xbox Live Creators Program

The Xbox Live Creators Program is a good starting point for Xbox Live if you are looking to familiarize yourself with Xbox Live development. No approval process from Microsoft is required to join this program, and there are minimal certification and publishing requirements.

The Xbox Live Creators Program only supports the creation of titles (games) for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). These titles created as UWP games run on Windows 10 PCs and on Xbox One consoles. For more details about running UWP games on Xbox One, see UWP on Xbox One.

On Xbox One, which offers gamers a curated store experience, games published through the Xbox Live Creators Program will be sold in the new Creators Collection section of the Microsoft Store on Xbox. This offers a balance between ensuring an open platform where anyone can develop and ship a game, and a curated store experience console gamers have come to know and expect. On Windows 10, your title will be published among all of the other Xbox Live games in the Microsoft Store.

Publishing and certification, for Creators

To release a game as part of the Xbox Live Creators Program, you must be enrolled in the Partner Center developer program.

There are two sets of requirements that your game must follow:

  1. Integrate Xbox Live Sign-In and display the user identity (Gamertag, Gamerpic, etc.). All other Xbox Live services are optional.

  2. Follow to the standard Microsoft Store Policies.

Supported Xbox Live services, for Creators

Titles enabled under the Xbox Live Creators Program can use Leaderboards, Featured Stats, Title Storage, Connected Storage, and a restricted set of social features. Achievements, online multiplayer, and many social features are not supported for titles in the Xbox Live Creators Program.

For a full list of supported services, see the Feature Table.

Supported third party game development engines

Xbox Live Creators Program titles are UWP games which can be built with a number of popular game engines. Microsoft provides documentation for integrating Xbox Live services into UWP games built with the Unity game engine.

You can find documentation detailing Xbox Live integration with Unity games here on this site, as well as download and learn about the Microsoft-built Xbox Live Unity plugin.

Xbox Live Creators Program titles can also be built with the game engines Construct (2 & 3), and GameMaker Studio 2. Both game engines have added Xbox Live support, however, that support is handled by the game engines creators and not Microsoft. For details and support for adding Xbox Live to your Construct or GameMaker Studio 2 project, you will have to consult each game engine's documentation respectively.

Learn to integrate Xbox Live into your Construct project.

Learn to integrate Xbox Live into your GameMaker Studio 2 project.

For other game development engines, like MonoGame or Xenko, that do not have baked in Xbox Live functionality or a plug-in, you can still use the Xbox Live APIs to add Xbox Live to your title. To use the Xbox Live API from your project, you can either add references to the binaries with NuGet packages or add the API source. Adding NuGet packages makes compilation quicker while adding the source makes debugging easier.

Support and feedback

Your questions can be answered on the MSDN Forums.

You can also ask programming-related questions at Stack Overflow, using the "xbox-live" tag.

The Xbox Live team will be engaged with the community and be continually improving our APIs, tools, and documentation based on the feedback received at these forums.

Support for Creators

For developers in the Xbox Live Creators Program, you can submit a new idea or vote on an existing idea at our Xbox User Voice.

The Xbox Live Creators Program is great for many games and developers.

Support for ID@Xbox Managed Partners

If you’d like to access the full Xbox Live stack, including online multiplayer, achievements and Gamerscore, or you want to access the full power of the Xbox One family of devices using hardware dev kits, the ID@Xbox program is for you.

Games in the ID@Xbox program must be concept-approved and go through full certification on Xbox One and Windows 10, which is a greater time commitment on your part. ID@Xbox titles get placement in the primary section of the Store (versus the Creators Collection), which may provide greater exposure to customers.

Developers in the ID@Xbox program also gain access to developer support and promotional assistance from Microsoft, as well as the full complement of private whitepapers and developer technical forums. You can continue to use MSDN Forums or ask programming related questions on Stack Overflow using the "xbox-live" tag.

Developers working with a game publisher that is a Managed Partner (such as the ID@Xbox program) have access to the full set of Xbox Live features and dedicated Microsoft representatives to assist in the development, certification, and release process.

Feature table

The below table illustrates the features available to the Xbox Live Creators Program, and ID@Xbox programs.

Feature Area Feature Description Creators Program ID@Xbox Program
Social features Social Manager Efficiently retrieve information about a player's social graph. Optional / Limited (only friends who have played your title are exposed) Optional
Friends Retrieve the sign-in user's friends list to enable social gameplay scenarios in your title. Optional / Limited (only friends who have played your title are exposed) Required
Rich Presence Shows more detailed information about players in your title. Whereas Basic Presence might show "User is in Car Racing Game", Rich Presence lets you specify a more detailed string like "User is driving SuperCar in RainyForest" Not Supported Required
Reputation Players gain or lose reputation through their behavior. Behavior is used in Matchmaking and can be used by your title in custom ways. Not Supported Optional
Basic Presence Display basic presence strings showing user activity within a title, such as "Steve is playing Minecraft." Automatic Automatic
Recently Played Appear in recently played titles in the Xbox App or Xbox One. Automatic Automatic
Activity Feed Appear in the activity feed in the Xbox App or Xbox One. Automatic Automatic
Games Hub Have a Game Hub associated with your title displaying stats, videos, and other content in a feed specific to your title. Automatic Automatic
Clubs Players can use the Xbox App or Xbox One to create clubs that can be optionally associated with your title. Automatic Automatic
Looking For Group (LFG) LFG allows players to find others out-of-game to schedule a multiplayer game. Automatic Automatic
GameDVR Players can capture video of their gameplay sessions and share these on the activity feed. Automatic Automatic
Broadcast Players can live broadcast their gameplay via streaming services like Mixer and Twitch. Automatic Automatic
Privacy Allow players to mute or block or other players. Optional Optional
Player Data Achievements Gamerscore and other rewards such as digital artwork, new maps, characters, and stat boosts. Not Supported Required
Player Stats Upload statistics about players which can be used in Leaderboards. Optional (Player Data 2017 only) Optional
Leaderboards Retrieve and display player stats in a sorted way to encourage competition. Optional (Player Data 2017 only) Optional
Featured Stats Designate certain stats as "Featured Stats" that will show up in the Game Hub. Optional (Player Data 2017 only) Required
Cloud Storage Connected Storage Roaming game saves across Xbox One Consoles and PCs. Optional Required
Title Storage Cloud storage for large amounts of per-user or per-title data. Optional Optional
Multiplayer features Multiplayer Session Directory (MPSD) Stores information about a multiplayer session, such as list of players and their state. Not Supported Required
SmartMatch matchmaking Xbox Live can match different players together for a multiplayer session. Not Supported Optional
Game Chat Voice chat for players in a multiplayer game. Not Supported Optional
Arena Players can compete against each other tournament style. Not Supported Optional
Xbox Live Compute Deploy executables and assets which your title can communicate with, to offload computation from the client. Not Supported Optional
Identity Sign-in / Sign-up Allow players to sign-in to Xbox Live within your title, or create a new Xbox Live account if necessary. Required Required
User Identity Use Xbox Live Identity by displaying information such as Gamertag and Gamerpic. Required Required
Media Contextual Search Annotate GameDVR clips with keywords to make it easier for players to find clips corresponding to what they want to watch. Not Supported Optional

See also

Welcome to ID@Xbox (at Xbox.com)