The Xbox Live Creators Program enabled all game developers (not just professional game publishers) to publish games to Xbox One consoles.
I designed the end to end (E2E) flow in Microsoft's Dev Center that would allow all game developers to ship their games to console. I also designed the upgrade path that would increase sign-up rates for the ID@Xbox program.
PM, UX designer, developer. I was the UX designer. (3 different orgs involved on project)
3 month project.
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 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.
Publishing to Xbox One consoles was previously only available to managed partners (i.e. ID@Xbox developers or AAA game developers like EA, Bethesda, etc.).
Increase Xbox Live content available on Windows 10 and Xbox One in order to increase monthly active users and drive ID@Xbox signups. Additionally, limit developer confusion, keep support costs low, increase revenue, and subsequently make good on a previous year's GDC promise.
Publish and sell games on Xbox One consoles and get free Xbox Live functionality and exposure.
Key Technical requirements and considerations
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:
- Account type:
- Managed partner (AAA developers/large game studios and ID@Xbox developers)
- Non-managed partner (aka "breadth" developers)
- Sandbox status:
CIso (Content Isolation enabled for product config)
Non-CIso (Content Isolation not enabled for product config)
- Full Xbox Live tier access
- Open (Creators Program) tier access
- Configuration status:
- Enabled and configured a program
- Has not yet enabled and configured a program
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 due to the techincial constraints of removing sandbox functionality from a product once it has been assigned.
- Scenario 1:
- Breadth developer enables and configures Xbox Live Creators Program (Non CIso)
- 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)
- Scenario 3:
- Managed partner gets concept approval and enables full Xbox Live service (CIso)
- Scenario 4:
- Managed partner enables and configures Xbox Live Creators Program (Non CIso)
- 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 key design scenarios, I drafted the below flow to clearly identify the E2E (end to end) experience for the Xbox Live Creators Program and gain alignment between the Dev Center, Xbox and Publishing teams involved with building the experience.
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.
In working with the lead developer on delivering the experience, I created a shared excel spreadsheet to help track bugs.
Signups and initial 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
Over a dozen games have shipped so far (including one from our GDC developer friend on Twitter, and his game is doing extremely well!) with over a dozen more in the pipeline. Overall, developer feedback about the submission to store process has been positive. One area that was causing developers confusion, however, was in figuring that it was required that they implement Xbox Live Live sign in and test their game prior to publishing. As a result, I worked with a few key stakeholders to address the issue with a few design proposals that would ideally help reduce the confusion.
Additional analytics being collected to see actual click rates and interaction patterns. Coming soon.