FEZ developer Phil Fish has claimed indie developers ‘already don’t want to publish on an Xbox console’, as even Nintendo joins the fray.
Another subject left unmentioned during yesterday’s Xbox One unveiling is the question of Xbox Live Arcade and indie games. Microsoft has seemed to increasingly loose interest in both concepts over the last few years, and this has now culminated in the scrapping of Xbox Live Arcade and the refusal to allow indie developers to self-publish.
Instead all downloadable games will be lumped together in the new version of Xbox Marketplace and if an indie developer wants their game to appear there they’ll have to get a traditional publishing deal.
This stands in stark contrast to Sony’s attitude to indie gaming, where Braid creator Jonathan Blow, and his new game The Witness, were featured prominently at the unveiling of the PlayStation 4.
As you might imagine indie developers, never known for being slow to speak their minds, are not impressed with Microsoft’s attitude.
‘Let me tell you something: most indies I know already don’t want to publish on a Xbox console. publisher or no publisher’, tweeted FEZ creator Phil Fish. ‘Microsoft doesn’t care about indie developer’.
‘One thing MSFT doesn’t seem to understand is that indie developers are the regular developers of tomorrow’, he added.
‘So as someone who doesn’t play Forza or any EA Sports game and already has a computer hooked to my TV, what does Xbox One offer me?’ tweeted Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes.
‘I tried to get excited about the xbox one, but failed’, chimed in Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson.
Even Nintendo of America’s manager of business development waded in, with this surprisingly diplomatic tweet:
One might think I'd be glad Xbox won't allow indies to self-publish. It's actually a big negative, as indies need more exposure. #growthepie—
Dan Adelman (@Dan_Adelman) May 22, 2013
Pithy Twitter comments aren’t the best way to judge anything, but industry website Gamasutra polled a large cross section of indie developers after the Xbox One announcement and found that far less were planning to support it compared to similar surveys after the announcement of the PlayStation 4 and Wii U.
Most developers that responded said that they didn’t have any plans to work on the Xbox One, with more than one saying that although they had been in preliminary talks Microsoft had failed to get back to them.
Alex Neuse of Bit.Trip developer Gaijin Games said that his studio ‘haven’t seen the kind of effort to reach out to smaller developers the way that Sony and Nintendo have – but of course, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a plan for developers like ourselves.’
This doesn’t mean that the Xbox One won’t have any indie games – you can see Nathan Vella, president of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP developer Capybara Games, just before Steven Spielberg in the video below – but it does suggest there’ll be far less of them than on any other console, including the Xbox 360.
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