THE Challenge

Launching the the Xbox Live Creators Program enabled all game developers (not just professional game publishers) to publish games to Xbox One consoles. This made Xbox One the first mainstream video game console to be an open platform.

I designed the end to end (E2E) flow in Microsoft's Dev Center to integrate this feature, allowing all developers to configure and publish their games to console. This entailed designing the discovery experience, the experience of actually enabling the program, the experience of configuring their game with features like Featured Stats and Leaderboards, and the experience of publishing their Xbox Live Creators Program game.

    TEAM

    PM, UX designer, developer. I was the UX designer.

    DURATION

    3 month project.


    DESIGN PROCESS

    My design process below shows the path I took over the 3-month design stage.


    Discover

    Intake and Definition

    To kick the project off, the program manager shared the project's documentation and set up a couple kick off meetings with the appropriate stakeholders. Reading through the project specs and requirements and gathering information from the various stakeholders then provided me with enough information to dive in and start defining what success for this project would look like. 

     

    DEFINE

    Outcome driven DESIGN GOALS

    Current Situation

    Xbox Live and publishing to Xbox One consoles were previously only available to managed partners.

    Business Goal

    Increase Xbox Live users and quality ID@Xbox signups & games while limiting developer confusion, keeping support costs low, and increasing revenue. And make good on a previous GDC promise.

    User Goal

    Publish and sell games on Xbox One consoles and get free Xbox Live functionality and exposure.

    Insights

    • Developers want to publish to console.
    • Developers want the functionality and exposure that Xbox Live offers

    Hypothesis

    • If we create a clear value proposition communicating how Xbox Live benefits games and developers, more developers will add Xbox Live to their games.
    • Introducing the Xbox Live Creators Program will increase Xbox users and interest in publishing to Microsoft platforms.
    • Exposing an upgrade path will lead to more ID@Xbox signups.

    OUTCOMES

    • The Xbox Live Creators Program will increase Xbox Live users, content available on Windows 10 and Xbox One, and drive ID@Xbox signups.

    Key Technical requirements and considerations

    Impacting variables:

    While the actual page design output of this project was relatively small, the technical considerations and how this program fit into the larger Xbox Live ecosystem was the most interesting UX challenge that needed to be solved. As one of the goals of this initiative was to promote ID@Xbox sign-ups, the Creators Program needed to integrate with the existing full Xbox Live experience that managed partners experience today. Given this requirement and the goal of creating a seamless and consistent experience for all developers , I identified that the overall flow and designs would need to account for 4 different types of states the product or account could be in:

    1. Account type:
      • Managed partner (AAA developers/large game studios and ID@Xbox developers)
      • Non-managed partner (aka "breadth" developers)
    2. Sandbox status:
      • CIso (Content Isolation enabled for product config)

      • Non-CIso (Content Isolation not enabled for product config)

    3. Tier:
      1. Full Xbox Live tier access
      2. Open (Creators Program) tier access
    4. Configuration status:
      • Enabled and configured a program
      • Has not yet enabled and configured a program

    Key scenarios:

    From the given impacting variables I proceeded to identify the primary scenarios that would require unique design considerations. Being that our user could be a managed partner or a breadth developer (i.e. unmanaged partner), there were different UI considerations to be made. Breadth developers could enable the Creators Program only and could upgrade to the full Xbox Live feature set by becoming a manager partner and joining the ID@Xbox program. If already a managed partner, a user could chose whether they wanted to use the full XBL program which requires their product support content isolation/sandboxes; or they could choose the Creators Program (Non CIso/no sandboxes). If they choose the Creators Program path, they can still upgrade their product to the full XBL experience. However, if or once they enable the full XBL path, they cannot change back to having Open tier access or access to the Creators Program after the fact.

    1. Scenario 1: 
      • Breadth developer enables and configures Xbox Live Creators Program (Non CIso)
    2. Scenario 2: 
      • Breadth developer gains concept approval and joins ID@Xbox to enable the full Xbox Live service for a previously XBLCP product (product retroactively CIso enabled)
    3. Scenario 3: 
      • Managed partner gets concept approval and enables full Xbox Live service (CIso)
    4. Scenario 4: 
      • Managed partner enables and configures Xbox Live Creators Program (Non CIso)
    5. Scenario 5: 
      • Managed partner upgrades to full Xbox Live service with concept approval (product retroactively CIso enabled)

    Resulting User Flow

    As a result of identifying these impacting variables and subsequent key scenarios, I drafted the below flow to clearly identify the E2E (end to end) experience for the Xbox Live Creators Program.


    DESIGN

    Designs and prototyping

    With a clear picture of our goals and objectives, I got to ideating, sketching and compiling design ideas. The results were the following designs.


    Develop

    In working with the lead developer on delivering the experience, I created a shared excel spreadsheet to help track bugs.

     

    Measure

    The Results So far

    Signups and inital interest

    The max allotted beta spots for the program were all assigned to breadth developers within less than a week of the program being announced. Demand for the program has so far proven to be high, surprisingly even among already managed partners who have access to the full Xbox Live experience but can use the Creators Program to test smaller games.

     
     

    Positive social media and blogging world response

    This program is really appreciated! I'm a tiny amateur with no hope of getting my games published on a console...until now! 

    // A developer on Twitter, in response to the Xbox Live Creators Program announcement at GDC ‘17

    Microsoft is giving game developers a new way to bring their games to Xbox One and Windows 10.

    // Polygon