Zeboyd: Microsoft should merge Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games

Robert Boyd believes Microsoft should look to Valve's Steam for inspiration

Robert Boyd, one half of Penny Arcade's On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness 3 developer Zeboyd Games, has told Edge that Microsoft should merge Xbox Live's Arcade and Indie Games categories.

"I'd like to see [XBLIG] kind of merge into XBLA," Boyd commented. "Keep Indie Games free to everyone but if you have a really good game, you could submit it to Microsoft for it to be upgraded to an XBLA title. Right now, becoming an XBLA developer is fairly difficult for a small team, so reducing the barrier of entry to XBLA could only help Microsoft, I think."

Boyd finds that Xbox Live Indie Games has serious discoverability issues because of the low barrier to entry. Some developers could use a route to Xbox Live Arcade, a route previously provided by Microsoft's Dream Build Play indie development contest.

"Early on, several winnders and nominees got on, but after Dust won, I can't think of anything else. Most of the winners ended up just being released on XBLIG," Boyd said.

"Far more indie games are released on Steam than XBLA, and yet Steam is tremendously successful. I think opening up XBLA a bit - but not completely - would only help."

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Latest comments (6)

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 5 years ago
Would make sense for them to do this especially if they plan to really grow their windows 8 phone/tablet portfolio.
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Brian Smith Artist 5 years ago
I'd like to see less restrictions on Xbox live indie games for the developers and MS taking less of a cut since the sales can be pretty low. MS can't be making much on them and it could seriously encourage developers to use the service along with others who have abandoned it. Finding the titles is an issue but I'm not sure it's the biggest problem on Xbox indie. Last year there were points when there could be several titles a day and I recall one day when 15+ appeared. The service has clearly chased away potential developers since the titles that appear now are neither as abundant or as ambitious as they have been in the past.
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Rey Samonte Sr. Technical Game Designer, Trion Worlds5 years ago
It would be interesting to see how this turns out. To take an example from the mobile world, the marketplace or app store that supports mobile devices can be just as valuable as the device itself. That seems to be the culture now and it would be limiting if they didn't try to adopt this idea. Especially when they are planning to release a new console. Both Sony and MS are no longer catering to the core gamer, so broadening the potential to reach all types of gamers with a wide range of content could only help.
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Fyzard Brown Sales Associate, VideoGameAdvantage5 years ago
Keep them separated. Other then 15 games the rest are copies, horrible platformers or just plain crap that would have never gotten any recognition on the PC.
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Well, I'm not sure I entirely agree, working on XBLIG titles is a great way to gain experience as a studio to be ready to make a worthy XBLA game, whilst I think they should make the entry process more sensible and slightly more relaxed for XBLA(atm it's yes or no, no feedback for rejection from what I understand which isnt very good), I do think the "standards" and rules for XBLIG need to be changed, it should not be for a publisher to police content in games, only to ensure they are properly labelled, the whole no sex and nudity thing is a censorship issue industry wise that should be addressed, its ridiculous given that even the 12 rated titanic of many years ago by this point included nudity but apparently games shouldn't include it, I believe this is a ridiculous disparity, however I dislike as a rule community decided actions, I use to in a personal capacity be a Transgaming Emerald Subscriber for their former Emulation Service(I didn't un-sub it shut down as they decided to try to make it a developer side initiative) (allowing windows games to run on Linux) which ran on community decided lines, it was a horrid experience, NVIDIA owners would down-rate ATI card driver support updates, so we never got any, any game that wasn't majorly main stream never saw a look in, and essentially all the problems inherent on letting the majority decide at the expense of minorities were included, I'm not a fan of Steam's Greenlight either, as I think it will be open to similar issues, even though at least down-rating doesn't reduce the approval rating on Greenlight, it will at least reduce the number of times the average gamer will see the title to vote which will cause similar issues.

I am however certain all the above problems aside that merging XBLIG and XBLA is not the solution to any of them, at least XBLA is something to work towards, without it everyone would be stuck with all of the over-abundance of titles issues of XBLIG and none of the benefits of nie guaranteed sales for at least a time of new titles in XBLA due to its relative exclusivity.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alexander McConnell on 7th September 2012 6:17pm

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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises5 years ago
XBLA is a sinking ship, why would you want XBLIG to merge with that? You'd be better off merging with any of the 900 other screens you have to click through to even get to the Games screen, which has both XBLA and XBLIG on it...
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