Rami Ismail of hot indie developer Vlambeer has shared his concerns over the controversial parity clause in Microsoft's new ID@Xbox scheme for indie developers, which requires participants to launch any title releasing on Xbox One simultaneously with other formats.
"It's problematic for the indie scene at large," Ismail told VG247.
"Having this tilted contract where Sony allows you to launch wherever, and Microsoft only allows you to launch at the same time is problematic for indies who say, 'well Sony has the better deal but I want to launch on both platforms. So we're going to go with the Microsoft deal.' That's problematic because it will essentially force Sony to do the same in return. Well, as indies we should be fighting to get everybody the best deal."
"As indies we should be fighting to get everybody the best deal"
The problem is that small indie outfits don't have the resources to launch on a number of platforms all at once, a process which requires time and money. He said he was otherwise impressed with the programme, and clearly had a lot of its respect for the initiatives lead, Chris Charla.
"Chris has been super-helpful, he's been proactive, he's been calling us every now and then. That's been wonderful, it's just that launch parity thing is problematic enough that we should probably speak up against it. I think technically we've broken some NDAs, but you know, things happen."
Microsoft first announced the ID@Xbox scheme in August, just as Sony announced during its Gamescom conference that it had signed up a number of indie developers, including Vlambeer, to publish on PlayStation 4.
Ismail admitted that Vlambeer avoided the parity clause thanks to a loophole open to developers if they already had an exclusivity deal in place before ID@Xbox was announced. On hearing rumours of the parity clause, Ismail emailed Sony to secure a month of exclusivity with PlayStation.
"With Nuclear Throne, we're launching on PC first, then focusing on other computer, platforms, then focusing on PS4 and Vita. Then after that, Xbox One after we dodged the parity clause by being jerks [laughs]. That was funny by the way, I had so much fun doing that. When I figured out I could play around with the contract that way, I had a good time."