Indie dev sticks up for Microsoft
Dishwasher: Dead Samurai creator James Silva says media narrative about Xbox One being bad for indies is hurting the devs more than Microsoft
Microsoft has taken a beating in the days after the Xbox One reveal by players and press alike for everything from its detail-free plan to support a used game ecosystem to its policy of not allowing independent developers to self-publish their games on the console. At least one indie developer is sticking up for Microsoft, as The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai creator James Silva came to the company's defense in a blog post updated this week on Gamasutra.
"You know that thing about no self-publishing on Xbox One," Silva asked. "The meaning of that quote was that the partner/publisher relationship is currently the same (i.e. what we, an indie studio, been doing for the last five years) but they're exploring ways to improve it. Basically 'everything's the same, stay tuned for improvements' mutated into 'no indies on Xbox One, ever' in a few hours."
Silva then copied an earlier blog post he had written, in which he stressed his experience working with the company had been "great."
"I have heard a few stories that contradict my experience, and I know quite a few people who are happier on platforms other than XBLA, and that's fine for them," Silva said. "XBLA is a closed, carefully curated platform with its own set of fairly rigid standards and protocols. For me, it was just a matter of 'do the work, release the game,' and that's exactly what we did."
Silva said the media perpetuates the idea that Microsoft is terrible for indies to work with because the opposite sentiment isn't deemed as being newsworthy. As a result, only those with bad experiences get a platform to express their opinions, and that becomes the only side of the story people hear.
While that sort of headline might sound bad for Microsoft, Silva stressed that it hurts developers much more.
"[T]elling thousands of readers that Microsoft is failing at indie gaming is telling thousands of potential customers that Microsoft is failing at indie gaming," Silva said. "And while everyone likes a sale, the ones who really, desperately need the money aren't the Microsoft people who greenlight the projects; they're the indie developers who are trying to quit their day jobs, trying to buy a house, trying to raise a baby. As a consumer, would you think twice about buying a game from a 'failed platform?' Would you hesitate at buying an indie game from a company that 'screws indies?' But that's the current narrative, and while it sucks for Microsoft, it sucks a lot more for indie developers who are publishing on XBLA."
Silva's latest game, Charlie Murder, is set for downloadable release on the Xbox 360 later this year.