How Microsoft misses the mark with indie developers

Title How Microsoft misses the mark with indie developers
Author Nick Diamon
Posted in Features
When June 20, 2013

Now that Microsoft has announced the reversal of its DRM policies for the Xbox One, their next-gen console is in a more competitive position..

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Yeah, it's not all bad, if you are lucky enough to sell millions of copies of your game. Otherwise, get fucked.

Hopefully the internet and media (and internet media!) can pressure Microsoft into revising their archaic policies. No matter how far behind the 180 is in this console cycle, there's still going to be a considerable install base. That's a lot of money for indies to be forced to leave on the table just because Microsoft is run by a merry band of idiots.

The link from Phil Spencer's conversation with the journalist, not Polygon. But, at the very least, they are listening.

Woops, i meant polygon, not eurogamer.

Computers are weird because they have created a market where to run a PC most people think you NEED Microsoft Windows. Certainly for a majority of gamers thats basically true. If the OS market was different and more like the new car market where you truely feel there is choice Microsoft would be still there but hugely shrunken as a company.

As it is its almost like the undead dinosaur cant die......

And thats what we need more of in games, undead dinosaurs. Zombie dinosaurs would perhaps be too cheesy but what about Lich and Mummy dinosaurs? Not in a shooter (again, too cheesy) but a serious RPG?

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Microsoft doesn't want indie games. It wants SUCCESSFUL games.

Microsoft's definition of "success" is measured in hundreds of thousands in sales, or millions. If there is a successful indie game that pops up on Steam or PS4 you better believe the XBL Indie Team will be right on their doorstep with bags of money (see Minecraft. Fortunately, Steam and Sony don't do exclusivity deals!)

That awesome beloved indie game that get 10,000 sales? M$ says, "meh"

The exclusivity deals are what really cook my goose about Microsoft's policies. And I can't think they're good for the developers at all. Sure, they -might- get some publicity from Microsoft's involvement, and hell, maybe it might even be good. But generally speaking, in exchange for that you're launching and spending a significant period of time on a platform where discoverability is poor and indie sellthrough rates are generally relatively low while being forbidden to court more lucrative markets like PC (Steam especially) and iOS. It doesn't seem like a smart bargain to make, and it's certainly not good for gamers.

Thanks for the correction! Citing the correct source is important.

They basically use the existing process to try and force indie's into a timed exclusivity agreement. It is either that, give up a bunch of revenue to a publisher for nothing, or don't launch on the Xbox. Hopefully going forward a lot of people will just choose that last option.

It's not just developers. It's also small publishers. If you're not a big fish, Microsoft does not care about you.

There's also policies like not allowing free content updates, only fixes. Developers who want to release something for free cannot. Micosoft are literally stealing gifts from their user base while flipping off the people who offered them. That's insane.