Fristrom breaks down the costs in a blog post: Microsoft provides Xbox One dev kits to early adopters of the ID@Xbox program, so those were free, but Fristrom spent $63 shipping one to his partner. Hardware and video capture device costs hit $253, localization (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) cost $729, and maintaining the game's URL cost $19. And then the big-ticket items – errors and omissions insurance cost Fristrom $2,037, and securing ratings on foreign boards (PEGI, USK) cost $2,042.
Microsoft requires developers to have errors and omissions insurance, and Fristrom found the cheapest possible option that covers everything in his contract. "It's not just any E&O Insurance – it has to cover IP and copyright violations, so the cheap E&O Insurance you can easily find online doesn't qualify," he writes. Microsoft also requires games be rated in each region.
Not all of these costs are necessary for every game – localization and ratings are optional, but skipping ratings in particular means a game won't launch in other regions, such as Europe. And, of course, each developer will be in need of different hardware and extras.
Fristrom hasn't received his first Xbox One sales report yet, but he says joining ID@Xbox has been absolutely worth it. There are more than 10,000 entries on the leaderboards at last check, he says: "So we've certainly covered our costs and made a living wage to boot – which is kind of rare in the indie game development world, in my experience – so I'm really happy we jumped aboard the ID@Xbox wagon."