Choosing an Xbox Live developer program

To enable a game with Xbox Live, you first join the Xbox Live Creators Program or the ID@Xbox Program, which is part of the Managed Partners Program.

Summary of the programs

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

The Creators Program

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

  • You're interested in using only a subset of Xbox Live features, such as Identity, Presence, Clubs, or title-managed Leaderboards.

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

The ID@Xbox Program

Join the ID@Xbox 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, 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).

  • You must agree to abide by the regulations around Xbox Live.

See Features supported for each developer program.

The 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 (or later) consoles. For more details about running UWP games on Xbox One (or later), see UWP on Xbox One ⬀.

On Xbox One (or later), 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 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 below.

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 ⬀.

For details on Xbox Live integration with Unity games, see Unity targeting Windows 10.

Download and learn about the Microsoft-built Xbox Live Unity plugin ⬀.

Xbox Live Creators Program games 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 Xbox User Voice ⬀.

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

Support for 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 (or later) family of devices using hardware dev kits, the ID@Xbox Program is for you.

The ID@Xbox Program is part of the Managed Partners program. Documentation for Managed Partners applies to ID@Xbox Partners.

Feature comparison table

See Features supported for each developer program.