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'For how good [email protected] is, it's awful' - Vlambeer slams Microsoft's indie parity clause

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Indie Games, Luftrausers, Mercenary Kings, Microsoft, Vlambeer, Xbox One

'For how good ID@Xbox is, it's awful' - Vlambeer slams Microsoft's indie parity clause

'We want to reward Sony for having the best terms'

Vlambeer producer Rami Ismail is a veritable indie champion, originally responsible for bringing Microsoft's 'parity clause' into the public eye several months ago. Developers are forced to release simultaneously or first on Xbox platforms, which simply isn't possible for most smaller independent outfits due to the massive extra workload and potentially having to renege on existing agreements.

A few months on, and nothing much has changed - meaning that [email protected] still has a major thorn in its side and Vlambeer's excellent dogfighting shooter Luftrausers will never release on Xbox One. As you'd expect, Ismail has a few choice words for the company following months of negotiations, but hopes that things will improve.

"I think it's awful," Ismail told Dealspwn.com at EGX Rezzed during a Luftrausers interview. "For how good [email protected] is, for how well organised the programme is, it is awful that one of the default clauses is literally: "hey, you have to launch with us first or at the same time as other platforms," because we're a two man indie studio! We don't have the time to deal with, like, two different console launches with two different technical requirement lists at the same time."

"We're not going to launch on Microsoft first because they have that clause. We like Sony and want to reward them for having the best terms. We're not going to reward Microsoft with an early version because they have the worst terms, right?"

"I've been talking to Microsoft about that. We've been negotiating and I hope that they will drop it. It's my hope that they will drop it."

"We're at the point where we're not going to do Luftrausers on Xbox One," Ismail confirmed in no uncertain terms, after I asked whether their superb shooter could eventually make it onto Microsoft's console after a policy rethink. "We're done with that game, we need to move on to new things."

"New things," of course, meaning upcoming bullet hell roguelike RPG Nuclear Throne, formerly known as Wasteland Kings. Ismail is keen to release on Xbox One alongside the PC, PS4 and Vita - but this would rely on Microsoft playing ball.

"We definitely want Nuclear Throne to launch on Xbox One as well - and getting rid of that launch parity would be a good step to ensuring that any future Vlambeer games will also hit Xbox One."

It certainly would. Considering that XBLA was instrumental in securing indie games mainstream success, followed by the unsung and undersupported revolution that was Xbox Live Indie Games, it was heartbreaking to see Mattrick's Microsoft making things harder for independent developers - while Sony seized the opportunity with both hands. Apparently the parity clause is here to stay, judging by recent comments from Phil Harrison, but hopefully they'll start to become a lot more flexible over the coming months.

Our full video interview with Rami Ismail goes live tomorrow at 11:00. Stay tuned!

Add a comment9 comments
Late  Apr. 2, 2014 at 16:37

How do other developers work around this clause?
I'm sure there's been plenty of games on XBLIG and XBLA that were out on pc long before they hit the consoles. (Super Meat Boy, Penny Arcade, & Fez, immediately spring to mind - I'm sure there's hundreds of others.)

I wonder if it's just a case of giving it a slightly different name or skin, or adding a couple of different levels to ensure what you're releasing technically hasn't been on any other platform?...

imdurc  Apr. 2, 2014 at 16:58

How do other developers work around this clause?
I'm sure there's been plenty of games on XBLIG and XBLA that were out on pc long before they hit the consoles. (Super Meat Boy, Penny Arcade, & Fez, immediately spring to mind


But... Fez was an Xbox exclusive for a year (I think). And SMB was practically a simultaneous release (Xbox first).

JonLester  Apr. 2, 2014 at 17:10

@Late: Yeah, imdurc's right there - all of those games launched on XBLA first or at the very least simultaneously (in the case of Penny Arcade).

kmcroc  Apr. 2, 2014 at 19:39

* "We're done with that game, we need to move on to new things* THEN MOVE THE HELL ON .
Again with the whining, get over it. I have never been a SOB but enough I hope this Indie concept is a fad that disappears into obscurity and no one remember any game or people involved .

Last edited by kmcroc, Apr. 2, 2014 at 19:41
Late  Apr. 2, 2014 at 20:04

Really? I stand corrected.

JonLester  Apr. 2, 2014 at 20:23

@Late: In fairness, I actually had to check a couple of those. Was certain that Penny Arcade released on PC first, but far from it - took an age to get to Steam!

@kmcroc: "* "We're done with that game, we need to move on to new things* THEN MOVE THE HELL ON ."

... they HAVE MOVED ON. They won't be bringing Luftrausers to the platform and are concentrating on Nuclear Throne. Which they'd love to bring to Xbox One - if they can. It's all there.

Last edited by JonLester, Apr. 2, 2014 at 20:24
jnemesh  Apr. 2, 2014 at 20:27

In a few more months it wont matter. Sony is wiping the floor with Microsoft in sales...only in the US is the XBox even staying afloat! When the ratio hits 3:1, devs will stop worrying about Microsoft and their inferior console altogether!

kmcroc  Apr. 2, 2014 at 20:47

@Late: In fairness, I actually had to check a couple of those. Was certain that Penny Arcade released on PC first, but far from it - took an age to get to Steam!

@kmcroc: "* "We're done with that game, we need to move on to new things* THEN MOVE THE HELL ON ."

... they HAVE MOVED ON. They won't be bringing Luftrausers to the platform and are concentrating on Nuclear Throne. Which they'd love to bring to Xbox One - if they can. It's all there.



If they have moved on good for them.

Late  Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:42

In a few more months it wont matter. Sony is wiping the floor with Microsoft in sales...only in the US is the XBox even staying afloat! When the ratio hits 3:1, devs will stop worrying about Microsoft and their inferior console altogether!



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