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Indie devs fear marginalisation by new Xbox dash

Overhaul labels XBLIG titles 'specialty shops', won't show them in searches

Independent developers are protesting changes to the Xbox Live Marketplace that, they claim, reduce the likelihood of console owners finding their games.

Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIGs) has been relocated from the games store section of the Marketplace to a new area known as 'Specialty Shops,' which also plays home to the likes of Avatar customisation items.

In addition, indie titles no longer show up in title name and genre searches on the Marketplace, and can only be found by specifically visiting the Specialty Shops.

In a long-running thread on the App Hub (formerly XNA) forums, many developers have expressed their discontent with the new system.

Said a member of Projector Games, "Steam Heroes was one of the first games to come out after the new dash change and I have to say that our sales have been beyond horrible - which is surprising, as I'd say it's one of the better games I've released on XBLIG."

"We [are] now beside the walking dead Game Room," claimed FuncWork's Michael C. Neel. "The list of Specialty Shops is almost a "VH1 Where are they now?" episode."

However, other developers were cautiously positive, claiming the reorganisation might help the better games float to the top, and that proximity to the likes of the Avatar and Rock Band stores may prove beneficial.

"My experience has been that when the beta launched my 2 year old game Drum Kit had a weird spike in sales for about a week or two," said 'BigDaddio.'

Many developers also lamented opaque game approval rules and an alleged lack of communication from Microsoft.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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