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.

Related stories

Smite esports leagues will be exclusive to Microsoft's Mixer

Xbox streaming service to showcase both the Pro and Console series for Hi-Rez's fantasy MOBA

By James Batchelor

Twitch delays enforcement of new community guidelines over clarity concerns

Video platform criticised for new guidelines being vague

By Haydn Taylor

Latest comments (6)

gi biz ;, 4 years ago
I really wonder what Boxxy and Lonelygirl16 would say about this issue. I'm also wondering what the butcher down the road thinks, and my old teacher. I would also love to see more articles about Apple stores that are about to open please!
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago
Oh, this exact story again:

Can we expect to see it being wheeled out every time MS's relationships with indies is portrayed in a bad light?
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Adam Coate CEO & Founder, Coate Games4 years ago
He lives in a Microsoft indie bubble that maybe only The Behemoth shares. What he forgets is that he only got an XBLA publishing deal because of Dream Build Play. However, Microsoft changed that contest years ago to stop giving out publishing contracts. Now Xbox Live Indie Games is gone on top of that. Microsoft keeps taking steps in the wrong direction with indies, yet Ska Studios was grandfathered in as it were so he keeps defending them. Apparently Microsoft forgets that the whole reason they even exist today is because Windows is/was an open platform (which they're trying to close off to a degree in Windows 8). I really hope indies somehow overtake this terrible, terrible "AAA" games industry and show how horribly broken the model is.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (6)
Pascal Pimpare Writer/Blogger 4 years ago
How much did Microsoft pay him to say that ?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
I think the true numbers/stories will come out when Sony and MS actually release the next gen consoles. What i cannot get is the divergent messages from the MS PR front. Whats their game plan, really?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital4 years ago
Our studio is dealing with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and Valve and I can confirm that Microsoft is definitely the worst of them all. It is the only platform where you cannot self-publish and it's the only platform where the approval process is "somewhere out there", without you even knowing why you were rejected (or even getting the information that you were rejected).

I am not saying that Microsoft should bring down the walls. They shouldn't. But they should clearly say that "This is the door. If you game meets this criteria, you can get in". Like Sony, Nintendo and Valve do.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.