Console publishing process¶
Regardless of the engine used to create the game, the process to publish a game to a console platform is as follows:
Register a developer account on the console manufacturer's website, then sign NDAs and publishing contracts. This requires you to have a registered legal entity.
Gain access to the publishing platform by passing the acceptance process. This can take up to several months. Note that this step is significantly easier if an established publisher is backing your game. Nintendo is generally known to be more accepting of smaller developers, but this is not guaranteed.
Get access to developer tools and order a console specially made for developers (devkit). The cost of those devkits is confidential.
Port the engine to the console platform or pay a company to do it.
To be published, your game needs to be rated in the regions you'd like to sell it in. For example, in North America, the ESRB handles game ratings. In Europe, this is done by PEGI. Indie developers can generally get a rating for cheaper compared to more established developers.
Due to the complexity of the process, the budget to publish a game by yourself on a single console often exceeds $1,000 (this is a rough figure).
Godot supports the Linux-based Steam Deck. The reason other consoles are not officially supported are:
To develop for consoles, one must be licensed as a company. As an open source project, Godot does not have such a legal figure.
Console SDKs are secret and covered by non-disclosure agreements. Even if we could get access to them, we could not publish the platform-specific code under an open source license.
Consoles require specialized hardware to develop for, so regular individuals can't create games for them anyway.
However, it is still possible to port your games to consoles thanks to services provided by third-party companies.
In practice, the process is quite similar to Unity and Unreal Engine, except that you need to contact a third-party developer to handle the porting process. In other words, there is no engine that is legally allowed to distribute console export templates without requiring the user to prove that they are a licensed console developer. Doing so would violate the console manufacturer's NDA.
Console ports of Godot are offered by third-party companies (which have ported Godot on their own). These companies also offer publishing of your games to various consoles.
Following is the list of providers:
Lone Wolf Technology offers Switch and PS4 porting and publishing of Godot games.
Pineapple Works offers Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S porting and publishing of Godot games.
If your company offers porting and/or publishing services for Godot games, feel free to open an issue or pull request to add your company to the list above.