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Lanning: Why do we need publishers for Xbox One?

Oddworld Inhabitants boss calls out Microsoft's restrictive publishing policies

Oddworld Inhabitants' Lorne Lanning has spoken out against Microsoft's policy of demanding publisher relationships for the Xbox One.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Lanning explained that while Oddworld Inhabitants has been given a license for its current game, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, Microsoft will not allow it on the console without a publisher deal.

"We don't have a publisher so we're not officially on the platform, even though we're compatible, even though we'll be ready to do it. Period," Lanning said.

"Why do we need a publisher when we self-finance our games, we build our own IP, we manage our own IP and we've turned nearly two million units online as indie publishers sold - not free downloads? Why? What's wrong with us?"

Lanning pointed to Sony's more open approach to self-publishing as a manifestation of the number of "seasoned, long-term game builders" involved in the creation of the PlayStation 4. Lanning stopped short of direct criticism of Microsoft, though he did reference "public companies' stock values" as evidence of which platform-holder had adopted the best strategy - since the start of E3, Sony's share price has climbed while Microsoft's has fallen.

"There are those who are looking at next quarter's profits, and maybe one of these big guys looks like that's all they're doing right now," Lanning continued.

"If they're looking at the world that way, you've got the obvious, enormous titles. They're going to be the big revenue generators. If the company's purely about profit, profit and profit, they're looking at those, and then they're looking at the little guys saying, 'oh, they only make this much.' They're not interested.

"There's one party that's making it very clear they're not interested."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.