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 Partner 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:
- Integrate Xbox Live Sign-In and display the user identity (Gamertag, Gamerpic, etc.). All other Xbox Live services are optional.
- 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.
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 engines documentation respectively.
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
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.
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.
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.
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|