"It's Not A Good Portent For Gaming Goodness To Come"
Dealspwn.com has heard from several high-profile independent developers (including Cthulhu Saves The World creator Robert Boyd and ex-Insomniac weapon designer Nathan Fouts) who are worried about Microsoft's perceived focus on entertainment and lack of support for self-publishing indie developers following the Xbox One reveal event.
That said, they all also suggest that we won't know the whole story until June 10th.
"For me, leading the Xbox One reveal with a vastly heavier emphasis on non-game entertainment makes me think Microsoft will end up caring more about non-game entertainment during the lifecycle of the console," said Nathan Fouts, who left Insomniac Games to create Xbox Live Indie Games several years ago and recently released Serious Sam: Double D XXL on Xbox Live Arcade. "It's not a good portent for gaming goodness to come. As a gamer and a developer, it makes me starting to drift and pay more attention to Nintendo, Sony... even Ouya and Gamestick.
"I love console games. I love something fun to play on my big-not-mobile-sized TV, resting on my comfy couch. I already have shows and sports if I want.. but I want shiny, new amazing games for my TV. Speaking of TV references, let's just say MS has got "some 'splainin' to do" at E3."
Fouts and Mommy's Best Games are currently working on zany OUYA title Pig Eat Ball, which may also make its way to PC and tablets later this year.
Zeboyd Games' Robert Boyd, who found his fame with Xbox Live Indie Games like Breath Of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World before being developing the excellent Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 3, explains that he's not thrilled about the Xbox One reveal from either a gaming or developmental perspective. However, the Kinect demonstration could well lead to some exciting new opportunities if Microsoft opens the platform.
"I was unimpressed with the official reveal, both as a gamer (I don't care about TV, sports, or CoD and the game footage they did show looked rather unfinished compared to the footage shown for the PS4 reveal) and as a developer (no indication that Microsoft is going to be more accommodating of indie development)," Boyd told us.
"However, I did think the new Kinect demonstration showed a lot of promise and am curious to see if any developers do something interesting there."
Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 4 has been confirmed for a June 7th PC release.
A Virus Named TOM creator Tim Keenan, who's currently working on bringing his masterful PC puzzler to the PlayStation Vita thanks to Sony's PlayStation Mobile platform, didn't manage to watch the reveal live, but suggests that the "negative" reaction makes Sony look like a much more supportive and open publisher.
"Does seem like the general reaction is rather negative, but that may be because Sony focused more on games and Microsoft more on the entertainment center aspect. E3 should be interesting as we hear more about each.
"As you probably know, from an indie perspective Sony has really been reaching out and Microsoft seems as distant as ever."
Microsoft recently promised that the Xbox One reveal event will be "all about the games," but also suggests that independent developers won't be able to self-publish on the platform. With AAA development costs reaching insane levels and boutique/indie development exponentially expanding, it will be interesting to see whether Microsoft can redress the balance with a new indie toolkit to replace the now-defunct XNA.
We'll update this article if and when we receive more responses.