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XBLA publishing "massively" harder now - Brown

Wed 15 Jul 2009 7:00am GMT / 3:00am EDT / 12:00am PDT
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Team 17 boss believes that doors of opportunity for new market entrants are already closing

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Team 17 studio director Martyn Brown has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes the opportunities for new companies looking to self-publish on Micrisoft's Xbox Live Arcade platform are diminishing, and that it's those teams which already have the relationships and experience that have the best chance for success.

Team 17, which currently has two Worms titles in the XBLA top ten - with a much-anticipated re-imagining of classic Amiga game Alien Breed slated for around October - has enjoyed enough success on the platform to ignore retail completely. But while traditional publishing has closed its doors due to the high cost of entry, Brown warned that the same thing was happening with XBLA.

"I think to a great extent it's already happened," he told GamesIndustry.biz in the first part of a two-part available now. "It's difficult for any third party, start-up, whatever, to get titles onto Live because there are only so many titles appearing.

"Obviously I can't speak for Microsoft or Sony in particular, but they're kind of guided by their portfolio of content, so for anything to come out they've got to like it, got to like its appeal.

"So if people want to put stuff on those platforms they've got to put a lot of thought into the kind of titles they're preparing - you've got to give yourself the best chance. Sony tends to like the new stuff, but that's quite often not the most mass market stuff.

"If you've got something that's really techy and quirky then you're best bet to get a listen is probably Sony, whereas with Microsoft you're really going for the commercial mass market audience - which they're had a lot of success with.

"But it's very, very tricky - I know the amount of applications that get sent for Live Arcade is huge, and there's a finite door there," he added.

And he went on to explain that as a self-publisher that's worked with the platform for several years, he felt that getting content onto XBLA was "massively" harder now than it was back then.

"There just aren't that many gaps in the portfolio - if you look at the sales charts over the last 18 months, most of it's been established IP," he said. "There are a few new IPs in there, but only a few. I think that's going to be the case, really - people will see brand extensions going on there, and all the rest of it, but it's very, very tricky."

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