Microsoft must improve indie promotion says developer

Robert Boyd says service at risk of losing talent to rival services

Xbox Live Indie Games Developer Robert Boyd has said that Microsoft must do more to promote games on the service, or risk seeing talented developers alienated and moving to rival services.

The head of Zeboyd's comments come after two of his games, Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII, made more money in a week on Steam than they had in 18 months combined presence on Microsoft's service.

Speaking to this week, Boyd expressed his feelings about the reputation of the service, which he feels is unduly negative. What's on offer there, Boyd argues, is much more than the massage 'apps' and poorly implemented knock-offs which are seen by some as the service's mainstay.

"XBLIG is a great solution for new developers," Boyd told Edge. "It's cheap, easy to learn, and has a great community of people that are willing to help each other.

"However, from a perspective of actually making good money, I do not believe it is a viable platform. The greatest strength and greatest weakness of the service is that it's the most open platform we've ever seen on any home console. Just about anyone can release an XBLIG title, and just about anyone does. As a result, the service has got a reputation for being full of garbage."

The issue, says Boyd, is an amalgamation of the problems faced by many similar services with a low barrier to entry.

"XBLIG basically has the low price expectations and flood of product that the Apple App Store has, combined with the low visibility of Nintendo's digital stores - it's no wonder most titles sell poorly. Greater visibility for the high-quality titles on the service would be a great help."

However, Boyd does acknowledge that the experience he gained from XBLIG was an important step in the continuing journey to success, seeing it as a stepping stone to Steam validation.

"I believe that starting out with XBLIG was the correct choice for us," Boyd continued. "Without the experience and positive reputation that we gained from making XBLIG titles I believe it would have been much more difficult to get approved for Steam."

Latest comments (6)

I believe Xblig must have something that the devs can use to negate or approve the release of a product. If "80%" approves, in a votation of 100 (at least) in a period of 1 month, it will be released. If not, the dev must work to release another (and better) build of a game.
Would it work? I dont know, but the crap rain will stop suddenly. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Leandro Rodrigues Rocha on 26th July 2011 2:19pm

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Gary Lucero QA Analyst, Advanced 7 years ago
Would Boyd have made any money on Steam without XNA, or did it get his foot in the door and help him to learn his craft and get a start in the world of video games?
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Xblig games already undergo Peer Reviews, but they typically allow anything through providing it doesn't have serious crashes, offensive images etc.

I think the Indie Games section of the market is just not looked at by most people. I know I rarely look at it. What I think would help good titles is a process to have the game promoted to the main XBLA list, with sufficiently demanding quality requirements to keep the junk out.
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It would be a a dream. Some people would do much more to be promoted and the crap games will start to disappear.
Well. Thats really a good idea. Could be made reality by Microsoft someday? Hardly. =\
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Stefano Ronchi Indie Game Developer 7 years ago
I'm afraid Mr Boyd wants Microsoft to give him everything on a platter: Gary is right, XBLIG gave him the start he needed, and it is doubtful he would of managed to put it on Steam without it.
What he should of done is market his products better without relying solely on Microsoft.
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I agree with what you're saying, but one of the best boosts for marketing XBLIG games would be by having them featured on the Xbox Home bar, or having the game in the Arcade. It also shouldn't be a difficult thing for Microsoft to do, which I think is what Boyd is getting at.
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