Developer program overview

If you would like to develop Xbox Live enabled titles, there are several options available to you. Each offers varying levels of time investment on your part, features available to you, 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 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

You must be enrolled in the Dev Center developer program to release a game as part of the Xbox Live Creators 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

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.

Support and Feedback

Any questions you might have can be answered on the MSDN Forums. You can also ask programming related questions to 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 there.

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.

ID@Xbox

The Xbox Live Creators Program is great for lots of games and developers. But 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 allow for 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 if you like.

Microsoft Partners

Developers working with a game publisher that is a Microsoft Partner have access to the full set of Xbox Live features and dedicated Microsoft representatives to assist in your 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 ID@Xbox Xbox Live Creators Program
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 Utilize Xbox Live identity by displaying the Gamertag, Gamerpic, etc Required Required
Social Basic Presence Display basic presence strings showing user activity within a title. Eg: "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
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" Required Not Supported
Friends Retrieve the sign-in user's friends list to enable social gameplay scenarios in your title. Required Optional / Limited (only friends who have played your title are exposed)
Privacy Allow players to mute or block or other players Optional Optional
Reputation Players gain or lose reputation through their behavior. Behavior is used in Matchmaking and can be used by your title in custom ways. Optional Not Supported
Social Manager Efficiently retrieve information about a player's social graph Optional Optional / Limited (only friends who have played your title are exposed)
Data Platform Player Stats Upload statistics about players which can be used in Leaderboards. Optional Optional (Data Platform 2017 only)
Featured Stats Designate certain stats as "Featured Stats" that will show up in the Game Hub. Required Optional (Data Platform 2017 only)
Leaderboards Retrieve and display player stats in a sorted way to encourage competition. Optional Optional (Data Platform 2017 only)
Achievements with Gamerscore Designate certain stats as "Featured Stats" that will show up in the Game Hub. Required Not Supported
Media Contextual Search Annotate GameDVR clips with keywords to make it easier for players to find clips corresponding to what they want to watch. Optional Not Supported
Storage Connected Storage Roaming game saves across Xbox One Consoles and PCs Required Optional
Title Storage Cloud storage for large amounts of per-user or per-title data. Optional Optional
Online Multiplayer Multiplayer Session Directory (MPSD) Stores information about a multiplayer session, such as list of players, state, etc. Required Not Supported
Matchmaking Xbox Live can match different players together for a multiplayer session. Optional Not Supported
Arena Players can compete against each other tournament style. Optional Not Supported
Game Chat Voice chat for players in a multiplayer game Optional Not Supported
Xbox Live Compute Deploy executables and assets which your title can communicate with, to offload computation from the client. Optional Not Supported