[Update] Microsoft has clarified to IGN what its policies will be for independent developers, confirming that indies will be able to self-publish games on Xbox One. In addition, any console will be able to be used as a dev kit. However, it is important to note that such features may not necessarily be ready to go at launch.
Microsoft's Marc Whitten explained:
This has actually been a key pillar for how we thought about Xbox One. It's why we did a bunch of the work around not just the console, but how we architect Xbox Live. There's so much that was, from my perspective, missing from the 360 gen. The fact that indie devs couldn't get access to the Live services was because of the fact that it was PartnerNet, it was dev kits. We had to go back and re-architect those systems to be in a position where we thought we could do this right.
Xbox exec Phil Spencer also discussed the future of indies on Microsoft's next-gen platform, highlighting the fact that such titles won't be shoved aside in some specified corner of the Xbox Live Marketplace.
We want people to find the best games on the platform, whether that's a [AAA game], a game from three guys in a garage or a game from Twisted Pixel. Today I think people think of that indie section of the Marketplace as something that's restrictive, like you're segregated out. In the future think of it as there's one store, and maybe there's an indie pivot, but that's additive to the experience.
[Original] While Xbox One has already reversed its always-online and used game restrictions due to consumer demand (or lack thereof), it appears the system will also make some changes to allow independant developers to self-publish.
A new report suggests that Microsoft will allow indies to determine release dates and pricing, in addition to implementing a new streamlined approval process more like iTunes and less like whatever Xbox 360 had in place.
Sources say that the target is a 14-day window from submission to approval, moving to a lighter examination of game code that primarily seeks out violations of Xbox One terms of service or major bugs.
What's more, debug Xbox One units will essentially be the same as retail Xbox One units in that all Microsoft will have to do to allow a console to play pre-release code is add that unit to a special list. This certainly seems to address one of the five things we want announced for Xbox One at Gamescom, but we'll bring you confirmation when it lands.