Microsoft might let future developers offer consumers early beta access to their games on Microsoft consoles, according to Chris Hecker, the developer behind the indie game SpyParty.

“The nice thing is [console companies] are all starting to flirt with early access beta stuff on consoles,” Hecker said in a recent interview with OnlySP. “Microsoft’s talked about that with me.”

Support for independent game development has been a recurring talking point in this year’s console war. Microsoft’s recent reveal of the ID@Xbox program was the company’s first big show of support for the indie dev community. Earlier this year, Sony’s Adam Boyes said the company is open to letting developers open paid alpha access to their games. Allowing indie devs to open early access would help any game designer promote their game while crowd-sourcing its testing, providing for a cleaner game at launch.

“There’s a huge difference between getting the game running versus getting a fully finished, [certified] game running on a console,” said Hecker, whose game is now in beta on PC with eventual plans for a console launch and a single-player mode. “If I can get on the early access stuff, it would allow me to get on consoles earlier and do testing and make sure everything is balanced for a competitive multiplayer game like SpyParty.”

Would you pay for beta access to console games? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Connor Sears
I'm a journalism student at Northwestern University with a love of good writing and a passion for games. Tell me what I'm doing wrong at or check out my infrequent opinions on things @connordsears

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    1. I would certainly take advantage of that if it becomes availible.

    2. “ID@Xbox program was the company’s first big show of support for the indie dev community”

      …. Um you know except for all the years the MS has had their Indie Games Marketplace going on the 360… You know while Sony has had anything to do with Indie games. That apparently is somehow LESS of a show of support than Sony ignoring indie development completely on the PS3 then all of a sudden saying PS4 is good to go?

      1. Yeah, I should have clarified. ID@Xbox is the first big show of support in this upcoming console generation. Up until that point, MS’s Xbox One marketing had largely glazed over the indie market, whereas Sony has been going at it from the get-go.

        Also, though the 360 did have the Indie Games Marketplace, it’s been notoriously hard to get onto, and only a top few hand-picked indie games have really hit their stride there. ID@Xbox is really one of the first signs of across-the-board support for a large portion of the community, not just a select few.

        1. That’s some very revisionist memory you have there.

          The big fuss wasn’t that MS “largely glazed over” anything. It was that they just didn’t say anything about it – YET at that point in time. Sony made a big fuss about how Sony indies… MS didn’t show a logo saying the same, so the hivemind just assumed Sony was so much more favorable and MS therefore hates indies. (Logical right!?)

          Ok, I’m not seeing how MS’s indie marketplace being difficult in any way could even remotely be considered as worse than what Sony offered for the PS3 (nothing).

          There was never an indie-derogatory statement on MS’s behalf. There was never a weak offering to indies. There was nothing – until they were ready to speak about it. After they did, oh, it turns out that not only is MS indie friendly but they indies MORE than Sony, no opportunistic logo needed. By no patch fees, full access to Kinect/Cloud/SmartGlass/Apps/SDKs, and every Xbox retail unit can be a dev unit for free, MS not only met be excelled past Sony.

          Past that, the development app Project Spark is by far more inclusive toward game development for limited or new coders, even non-coders. Remind me which Sony offering toward indie or amateur developers allows in-home motion capture, voice recording, and the amount of flexibility offered there?

          So, no. I stick by that not only is ID@Xbox the only thing they’ve ever done. MS was more friendly last gen. They are more friendly this gen. And they are the only group offering a free development environment towards the people that will be developing games tomorrow.

          But… Sony does have a logo that says they love indies… technically I think the logo is Sony Indies, but whatever. MS doesn’t have a logo, so I guess Sony wins?

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