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Question Has Microsoft ended the Xbox Creators Program?

Discussion in 'Windows' started by Kevin1970, Nov 20, 2023.

  1. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Last week I became aware that it is now impossible to submit a UWP Game to the Xbox via the Xbox Creators Program.

    If you click the Xbox Creators Program link in the Partner Center Dashboard you'll be told that:

    (see attached XboxLiveNotEnabled.png).

    This means that any UWP Game that targets Windows 10/11 Xbox can no longer be submitted due to the validation in the Dashboard Page that insists that Xbox Creators Program be enabled if the Package targets the Xbox.
    (see attached BecauseGamesMustEnableXboxLiveCreatorsProgram2.png)

    So does this mean that Microsoft has, out of the blue and without a word of warning, shut down the Xbox Creators Program?

    I've previously asked this question here:

    https://community.monogame.net/t/has-microsoft-ended-the-xbox-creators-program/19811

    but so far the discourse has not been productive so I ask again here, does anyone know anything about this or are able to help solve the problem of UWP Game Submissions to Xbox via the Xbox Creators Program?
     

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  2. alexandrum

    alexandrum

    Unity Technologies

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    Hello!

    Creators Program titles must abide by the Microsoft Store Policy: Microsoft Store Policies - Windows apps | Microsoft Learn. The relevant section to consult is (10.13.1), which states that Creators Program titles do not require Xbox Live (Xbox Network) integration. You should be able to still submit your game for Xbox, but without Xbox Live functionality included.

    If you want to use Xbox Live functionality, you should contact Microsoft to figure out the best way to publish your game for Xbox, as the Creators Program might not be best suited for your game's feature requirements.
     
  3. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Hi Alex, thanks for responding.

    I see what you're saying but the trouble is that the Dashboard insists that if you're submitting a Game project then it MUST enable Xbox Live for the project (see attached image: BecauseGamesMustEnableXboxLiveCreatorsProgram.PNG).

    The validation message states that, "Because you've selected the Games category, you must enable the Xbox Live Creators Program or complete the concept approval process before publishing a submission targeting the Xbox device family."

    Being now unable to enable the Xbox Live Creators Program means the validation prevents the Game submission.

    If this is a bug in the dashboard, how would I go about getting them to fix it (I've already tried MS Support, Xbox Support and reportapp@microsoft.com and they all said it was out of scope for them).
     

    Attached Files:

  4. alexandrum

    alexandrum

    Unity Technologies

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    You should be able to join the Creators Program, which is a requirement for publishing your game to Xbox. Looking at the screenshot you posted, it seems you have not enrolled into the Creators Program (see attached edit of your screenshot). Is this right?

    upload_2023-11-22_23-34-32.png

    More details on how to do that can be found here and here.

    There's a difference between Xbox Live (a set of online services that Microsoft offers across their platforms, for login, online leaderboards, presence, etc.), and the Xbox Live Creators Program (a program designed to allow creators to publish UWP games for Windows 10/11 PC and Xbox consoles).
     
  5. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Hello Alex,

    Once again thank you for your reply.

    You're quite right in that the "Xbox Creators Program" section of the game submission has not been filled in but that is because if I click that link then the error screen (attached "XboxLiveNotEnabled.PNG") is what is seen.
    XboxLiveNotEnabled.PNG
    It says, "This product is not currently allowed to use Xbox Live. If you would like to use Xbox Live, please contact your Xbox Account Manager". I don't have an account manager, I'm not an "approved developer partner" (eg AAA studio) and I'm not submitting a prior approved game via ID@Xbox, I'm simply trying to use the Xbox Creators Program as I have done for a number of years now and do not have an account manager.

    As seen in my previous posts, when I upload a package that targets the Xbox the validation insists that:

    you must enable the Xbox Live Creators Program

    But it stops me from doing that and says it is "not allowed for this product".

    My understanding of who has joined/is eligible to use the Xbox Creators Program is anyone who has signed up for a Windows Developer Account (your second link: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-store/register/) and has paid the $19 USD. AFAIK there are no other requirements other than to submit a UWP game that adheres to Microsoft policies.

    To be super clear, since at least 2020, when targeting Xbox it was always a requirement to "enable Xbox Live Creators Program" even though you were not required to make any use of it (presence, chat, leader boards etc were all optional). I have many games published since 2020 using the Xbox Live Creators Program so I'm not new to this process.

    There is a link exposed by the last Question on that page about support that links to
    https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/support/?tabs=keytopics

    Which is one of the support options I used previously for this issue. They said it was out of scope for them and advised I contact my account manager (again, I don't have one).

    I also know I'm not alone as on the Monogame forum another user, "squarebanana" was kind enough to test his account and saw the same thing I did.

    I'm completely at a loss to understand what is going on or how to get any support, I don't even know what the problem really is, I can only say what I see.

    I have a few possible scenarios floating round my head:

    1) It could be a bug on their game submission process, insisting that I enable Xbox Live when in fact I should no longer have to and they should have removed the section for it because they have withdrawn the ability to enable Xbox Live for $19 windows developers. However none of this has been communicated with developers (ie me) that it was going to happen or that any changes were being made.

    2) This is simply a permissions bug, that I should have access to enable the Xbox Creators Program for a Game Product but for some reason I currently don't. There are other such bugs I've encountered with their dashboard, for example currently I'm unable to even access the Earnings page as it claims I have no permission, when last week I did have. (see "EarningsNoAccess.PNG"). So yeah, possibly an access bug?
    EarningsNoAccess.PNG

    3) That this is something to do with Microsoft Entra ID. On the portal, when I try to see what I have access to it says things like I need to log in with my Microsoft Entra ID. I don't have one, I don't know what it is, it seems to be something to do with MS Azure. I've never needed one before why would I need one now? Perhaps they expect me to somehow make an account and use it to give MYSELF Azure permissions to enable Xbox Live, somehow?

    4) That Microsoft have silently and suddenly ended the Xbox Creators Program but have done so not by closing everything down, just snookering the submission process to make new submissions impossible.

    Sorry to be so long winded, I just wanted to put everything down so it's as clear as I can make it and I would really appreciate any assistance or input you can give.
     

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  6. alexandrum

    alexandrum

    Unity Technologies

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  7. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Hi Alex,

    For the link you provided: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/dashboard/registration/AccountInfo

    I get a page not found error:

    AccountNotFound.PNG

    However I do have access to these URLS:

    https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/dashboard/account/v3/overview

    https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/dashboard/account/v3/myaccess

    On the MyAccess page I see this info:
    MyAccess.PNG

    I note that initially it says I have access to "Apps and games", "Insights" and "Earnings" but when I expand the last 2 it says I don't have permission to perform these tasks.

    I also have a link to https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/dashboard/account/v3/usermanagement#users

    Where I see this:
    UserManagementEntraID.png

    So like I say, I do think there are some permission issues with the portal and I don't know how a Microsoft Entra ID relates to any of this.
     
  8. alexandrum

    alexandrum

    Unity Technologies

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    Thanks for sharing all this. I'll see if I can get any info on might be going here and come back to you.
     
  9. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Thanks Alex I'll look forward to any info you can find.
     
  10. Bigsork

    Bigsork

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    Hello , i have the same problem! what should we do?
     
  11. EdMagnin

    EdMagnin

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    We are having the exact same problem. We were members of the Xbox Live Creators Series and published a bunch of games under it that play on Windows PC and Xbox. Then we tried to submit a new game and got stuck. Can't click to complete forms as button is grayed out. It is missing Xbox page that is part of the submission. In the meantime we had upgraded a bunch of our earlier games recently, and it includes the missing page and allows us to submit upgrades but not a new title.

    Thanks to previous posters. Maybe Microsoft will realize there is a problem.
     
    Bigsork likes this.
  12. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    I'm sorry to hear this, as of now there seems to be no solution. I'm hoping Alex may return with some useful info.

    Is the Xbox Creators Program link in the Game submission missing entirely for you? Could you post a screenshot of that just to confirm as you'll see from my screenshot of a few days ago that the link was recently there, it just showed a message of, "This product is not currently allowed to use Xbox Live..."

    What grinds my gears the most on this is that Microsoft are quick to notify us of a tax change in Argentina or a change on their Terms and Conditions (that we MUST adhere to or else) but here we are in the run up to xmas and without a single word of warning to any developers (AFAIK) Microsoft have either shut this down or have made such a mess of making major changes that they have broken the submission process to the one group who have no representation or "Account Management".
     
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  13. EdMagnin

    EdMagnin

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    We get the same dead end page that you do.
     
  14. EdMagnin

    EdMagnin

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    BTW, we conducted a work-around experiment:

    We UNCHECKED the Xbox column on the PACKAGES page of the submission pages. The Submit button was no longer grayed out and we submitted it. What we got was a published version that runs on Windows but not the Xbox. You can't search for the title in the Xbox store, but if you have a link to it, you can bring up the description but when you try to BUY it says "Not Currently Available". This allows the game to be sold while we figure out who we can talk to about we are now blocked from releasing Xbox Live Creators Series titles.

    We can build and test new Windows PC & Xbox titles, but can't submit them. We joined the program years ago, and have dozens of published titles. We can update the published titles, but can't submit new titles, probably due to the missing old version of the Xbox page in the submission package.
     
  15. alexandrum

    alexandrum

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    We were informed by a Microsoft representative that the issue is now resolved. Could you test and let us know?
     
  16. Bigsork

    Bigsork

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    Hello, Yes the problem is solved, thanks
     
  17. EdMagnin

    EdMagnin

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    After some Microsoft intervention we finally had the missing Xbox page in the Submission Package and were able to build, test and submit the game. Unfortunately the published Xbox version halts on the Splash screen. You can try downloading Warp Tunnel Challenge and see the PC version works, the Xbox version halts at startup. I would have thought something like that would have been caught during submission. Did it work for them? or did they not test it on an Xbox? BTW, if you check http://MagninGames.com/windows you'll see this is not our first UWP title.
     
  18. EdMagnin

    EdMagnin

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    We were able to resolve our UWP game halting after splash screen on Xbox. We switched Unity versions from 2022.3.10f1 back to 2022.1.22f1 which we had used on some previous projects. We resubmitted to the Store and downloaded once it was approved and it now loads and runs properly on both Xbox as well as the PC. By the way the previous version tested properly on our Xbox in Developerment Mode, passed validation, and was approved for the Store but didn’t work on the Xbox.

    So in answer to the original question it appears the Xbox Creators Program is still available.
     
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  19. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Thanks Ed, and Alex and everyone who has chipped in, the issue at hand does indeed seem to be fixed currently.

    I am a bit horrified at your story with the hanging at splash screen and how bumping back a few Unity versions seemed to fix it. If I understand correctly, you did test on your own Xbox console (in DEV mode) and all was fine, it was just the version downloaded from the store that had the problem?

    Good on you for even checking because I have rarely if never done that. I do check Game Reviews and have definitely seen a 1 Star "Doesn't even start" review next to a 5 star "Best Game ever" type. Honestly, I put it down to people purchasing Games from the Argentina & Turkey storefronts (for literal pennies) and then supposed that the game would refuse to start since they were using the game in a territory other than the one they purchased from, which they didn't have permission/ownership to do.

    But maybe that's not right and there can be startup issues...if so I wonder what the real cause is?
     
  20. alexandrum

    alexandrum

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    Please refer to this thread, as this is a known issue which is being fixed by us, and will be resolved in one of the next releases.

    However I wanted to note that It's possible that the crashes you're referring to might be something else, as the thread I linked above is an issue that triggered consistent crashes in the retail environment. On the other hand, you mention that for some of you, you see lower reproduction rates for some of your start-up issues. So I've shared the above link more of a heads-up, rather than a guaranteed solution.

    If you think your start-up issues are something different, please report a bug. If you have any crash dumps, or any other info from Partner Center, please include that in the report, as it could help us pin-point the cause faster.
     
  21. Kevin1970

    Kevin1970

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    Thanks for the link, it does seem a very specific thing that ought to have been caught when testing on Xbox in DEV mode.
     
  22. Hazzius

    Hazzius

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    Hello everyone!
    Could you confirm that the Creator Program is working today?
    Faced the following problems when trying to upload the game to the Microsoft Store:
    When selecting the MSIX app category, we cannot select the game category.

    We have an old corporate account, but we would like to release games thru the Creator Program in the Microsoft Store.

    Our manager just informs us that the Game category has been removed from MSIX apps and it is unknown when it will be returned.

    Another time, we were told to register a new account for these tasks.

    And each time the support contradicts each other.

    On the one hand, you write that the problem has been fixed, and on the other, we cannot choose a category of games, it is completely absent from us.

    Please tell me, what steps do we need to take in order for Game category to open?
    Is the Creator Program still active?
    Will registering a new account help?

     
  23. ClintW_xbox

    ClintW_xbox

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    Hello @Hazzius - There should be only one special case in which the Game category disappears from the MSIX/PWA submission path: your Publisher account is also a member of a managed Xbox developer program, such as ID@Xbox. If this is the case, you can submit your UWP title by choosing "Game" when you create a New Product OR you can opt-in to creating a Win32 game with the Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK) instead, which is our currently fully supported app model for the Microsoft Store on Windows (MSOW), Game Pass, and Xbox Series X | S console development.

    Important Note: If you submit a UWP (vs. a GDK) game via this path, there will be one manual approval step that we can help you with that again, should only be impacting partners submitting games to both the Xbox Live Creators Program and ID@Xbox from the same Publisher account.

    The remedy to fix this involves some NDA information, so I sent you a private conversation on this board and sent you my Discord information. Anyone else who encounters this same issue can tag me in a reply here so we can identify other impacted studios (this is considered a corner case, but I am collecting data around the community to assess this hypothesis).

    Clint Woon
    Principal Program Manager, Team Xbox
    https://discord.gg/msftgamedev
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2024
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  24. ClintW_xbox

    ClintW_xbox

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    @alexandrum I thought I had cross-posted this from the Microsoft Discord to the Unity forums and apologies either for a) double posting it today or b) not posting it back in DECEMBER when I had originally reviewed it.

    Xbox Live Creators Program Outage Resolved
    https://discord.com/channels/684463257276121192/956289102649655296/1180210133444341880

    Posting here for posterity and to let folks know that there ARE people paying attention to what is happening in this space.

    Clint Woon
    Principal Program Manager, Team Xbox
    https://discord.gg/msftgamedev | Clint W. (Xbox) / Fly1ngsqu1rr3l