"We Really Need More Details"
Robert Boyd (Cthulhu Saves The World, Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3 & 4) and Nathan Fouts (Explosionade, Serious Sam: Double D) have spoken out about the Xbox One's potential for self-publishing, having been heavily involved with Xbox Live Indie Games over the past few years.
The gist? Great idea, but go big or don't bother showing up to Gamescom.
Robert Boyd, who found fame thanks to Zeboyd Games' range of Xbox Live Indie RPGs, feels that it's a positive step, but following the App Store's model might lead to great games getting lost in the crowd.
"It's definitely an improvement over their previous stance on indie development on the Xbox One, but we still don't have enough details," he told Dealspwn.com. "From what I'm reading, it sounds like Microsoft is trying to copy the iOS App Store's success which is somewhat worrisome. The iOS App Store approach is great for a few groups. It's great for hobbyist developers because there's a low barrier to entry and they don't have to worry about selling X number of units to stay in business. It's great for large companies who can outspend the competition on marketing to make their games have visibility above all of the noise. It CAN be great for developers who get in early on and make their make their mark before the marketplace becomes too crowded. And it's great for the platform holder because they have more developers to take a percentage from.
"It's not necessarily great for gamers since even when there are good games, the discoverability problem makes it hard to find them. And it's not necessarily great for small-to-medium-sized developers who can easily get lost in the crowd."
"There is the hope that since Microsoft said that indies will be able to include achievement points in their games, that there will be some level of curation since I would assume that Microsoft doesn't want a glut of "Buy this game to improve your gamerscore!" games, but in any case, we really need more details. Hopefully those will be forthcoming at Gamescom."
Nathan Fouts, the ex-Insomniac developer behind Weapon Of Choice and Explosionade (and more recently, Serious Sam: Double D), was also keen to share his views about the revelation. Again, he welcomes the move in theory, but reckons that it's a little embarrassing to see Microsoft go from indie champion to Jonny-come-lately in half a decade.
"It's certainly excellent for indies to have another option for publishing games," he told us. "I'd been aiming for PSN since E3's reveals, and while I'm not less excited about Sony, I'm certainly willing to listen to what Microsoft has to say. Sounds like we won't have to wait too long to hear more if they do tell us more at Gamescom. Feels awkward for them to have pioneered self-publishing on a console, on a broad scale, and now to see them playing catch-up.
"I really hope they don't forget all they learned about what worked and what didn't with Xbox Live Indie Games."
GamesCom 2013 could be something of a clean slate for Microsoft if they play their cards right. We'll learn more next month.