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Schafer: Microsoft platforms facing talent exodus

Industry veteran shares concerns over future relations between platform holders and indie devs

Double Fine's Tim Schafer has joined those calling for Microsoft to change its Xbox Live policies towards developers, or face a mass migration of talent.

"I like Sony and Microsoft, but those systems are closed and curated very closely and it costs a lot more money to go through that system, to patch a game," he told IndustryGamers, explaining the attraction of the App Store and Steam for indie developers.

"It makes me stressed out that if I put a game up there, I might not be able to patch it because it might cost too much money, whereas these more open platforms will let us manage our own price and our own updates. It's just a lot more appealing right now."

Schafer also referenced the infamous "Is XBLA Past Its Prime?" article by Ron Carmel, which saw the indie developer showed the Xbox Live was losing the support of independent developers while the PSN was gaining it.

"I was hoping that would be a really, really eye-opening article for the console manufacturers... and I feel like it's been totally dismissed," he said.

"I really think it's something they can't dismiss and they should really pay a lot more attention to because he's calling attention to a migration, an exodus of real creative talent away from those platforms to more open platforms, and I think they should do something quick to reverse that."

The industry veteran stressed his love for the console platforms that had brought us Geometry Was and Limbo, but clearly feared for them too.

"Things change every generation and just because you're on top and the 900lb gorilla in one generation, as you've seen, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't mean it'll be that way forever. I think that these threats that are possibly being ignored are going to hurt those guys."

Schafer has recently made headlines by using the Kickstarter crowdfunding service to back his next title. The point and click adventure is now nearing $2 million in contributions from the gaming community.

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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