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Microsoft takes up to 60 per cent of Community Games revenue

Update: Microsoft withdraws marketing fees in search of alternate

Microsoft claims as much as 60 per cent of the revenue from Xbox Live Community Game sales, according to XNA developer, Mommy's Best Games.

The developer's president, Nathan Fouts, received the sales data for the company's XNA title, Weapon of Choice, describing the results as "sobering", with less than 10,000 units sold, stating "that hurts".

In his blog post, Fouts explained that Microsoft takes a baseline cut of 30 per cent and remittance rate, plus an additional 10-30 per cent cut for advertising. This put the developer under strain, he explained, as it also pays for membership, software licenses, hardware and marketing as well as royalties to contractors.

"What all that means to our bottom-line, we do not yet know, but it does not feel great," he wrote. "Maybe rational people hang up their keyboard and call it quits. But if you played Weapon of Choice, you realise we're far from rational."

Fouts concerns echo comments made by Andrew Oliver, chief technical officer of Blitz, who told that a developer could make more money by working with a publisher than acting alone through digital distribution.

Update: Microsoft told developers that it would no longer charge the additional 10-30 per cent fee for marketing and advertising costs.

"We're still determining how much it costs to feature a game and what effect it has on sales so we did not deduct a merchandising fee through this quarter," Microsoft told

"The bottom line is that Microsoft is headed into uncharted territory with Xbox Live Community Games. It isn't yet clear what effect our merchandising efforts will have on the sales of games and we don't want to make any premature decisions that could potentially be detrimental to creators.

"Our ultimate goal is to allow developers to benefit from their creations, so we will be monitoring sales figures through the remainder of the fiscal year."

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Latest comments (3)

Chris Hunter-Brown IT / Games specialist, BBFC12 years ago
My understanding was that the standard split is 70:30 in the developers favour for most community games though Microsoft can opt to "promote" your game for which they take a bigger cut. Guess that's what happened to the Dream Build Play winners given they have their own category on Marketplace.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D12 years ago
Not quite sure why this is news, when you bear in mind that they presumably knew, before they got their figures, what the cut would be?

Maybe the headline should read:

"'Where the hell is all my money?', says bloke who signed up to giving away all his money."

Sounds a bit like Gordon Brown, actually. Oh wait, that'd be our money:)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 30th March 2009 5:40pm

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Nick Holmes Software Engineer 12 years ago
I think this was the case, but is no longer true. Microsoft take a 30% cut, but appear to have waived any additional marketing rate:

"For the time being, we've decided to maintain the 70/30 split across the board whether your game was featured or not" ([link url=
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