XBLA, Steam and PSN Vital to Indie Developers

XBLA, Steam and PSN Vital to Indie Developers

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Without services like Steam, XBL and PSN the chances of indie success are "reduced from tiny to almost non-existent."

At least, according to Sean Murray, Managing Director of Hello Games, the developer responsible for the excellent downloadable title, Joe Danger. In a recent interview, Murray extolled the virtues of services such as Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStationNetwork and Apple's App store.

"I think without the support of at least one of those outlets, the chances of success [For an independent developer] are reduced from tiny to almost non-existent," he said.

Though I can think of at least one glaring exception to that rule (I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with "inecraft") Murray makes a good point. Digital distribution services provide an excellent market place for indie titles while providing an established infrastructure that helps insulate cash strapped developers from, well, crap like this.

Murray made it clear however that getting your game onto one of these networks is only half the battle. "Often people are 100 per cent relying on it. Not just their approval process, but with someone like Apple you are 100 per cent reliant on them promoting your game," he added.

He did mention the tight control that these services maintain over game content (but not, sadly, quality, as anyone who's browsed through XBLA's indie section can attest) makes them a "scary place", but he argued that we're lucky to have them regardless. "If you look at the last generation, you couldn't make a PS2 game unless you were with a publisher and had a pretty sizable team. There were no other options," he said.

Of course, Murray has good reason to dislike traditional publishers. Hello Games' first title, Joe Danger, a brightly colored, PSN-exclusive, racer cum platformer with shades of Excite Bike, sold over 50,000 units in its first week, a big success for a downloadable title. Yet, according to Murray, publishers were initially dismissive of his initial pitch. Among the responses he got these, sadly unnamed, publishers were two absolute gems; "Collecting giant coins feels unrealistic to me" and my personal favorite, "We want games that are less about fun right now."

That explains so much.

Source: Gameindustry.biz

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Grey Carter:
"We want games that are less about fun right now."

What, how, why, aaargl.

Damn such stupidity makes my brain hurt.

"Collecting giant coins feels unrealistic to me"........has this guy ever seen sonic??

Those two quotes kinda make me die a little inside.

So I guess it's a good thing that indie developers can go to those services since they don't have to deal with that nonsense.

Wieke:

Grey Carter:
"We want games that are less about fun right now."

What, how, why, aaargl.

Damn such stupidity makes my brain hurt.

Bingo! That's why we get all those brownish shit games and critics all rate them high.
Just... Wow... Videogames ARE about having fun - in various ways. If it's not about fun, it's probably something like Mindjack... Or GTA4...

Whoever said they wanted games that were less about fun clearly does not understand their target demographic, i.e., gamers.

I personally like to have my steam libery 60% pure fun games like AAAaAAAaaa and 40% games like deus ex and AI wars (shit gets serious in it)

Edit: This also proves the theory that most game publishers are evil and don't know how to make good decisions. I.E box art.

As long as he realizes Steam is by far the best of the three then I see nothing wrong with his statements.

I would also say the app store also had a huge effect on indie game devs, as the budgets for games released there are tiny and it's more about making games with fun, unique gameplay, than trying to compete with games released by larger publishers.

Why doesn't anyone ever mention Desura? D:

Errrm Minecraft hasnt used any of those channels. and that's done "all right"

Spoon E11:
Errrm Minecraft hasnt used any of those channels. and that's done "all right"

No disrespect intended, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say Minecraft is the exception to the rule. Am I wrong here, is there another example?

Spoon E11:
Errrm Minecraft hasnt used any of those channels. and that's done "all right"

he mentions minecraft being the exception in the article and as somebody working on a game for these exact outlets I have to say without them I really would have no clue where to sell my game

Taken out of context, that "We want games that are less about fun right now" would seem like a kind of silly statement. Maybe they were going for a more darker kind of game or something.

And I don't care, since that comment is just too hilarious without context.

Oh, and Joe Danger is fun-tacular. If you can, definitely pick it up, it gets challenging pretty quickly when you aim for those stars.

In a related story, Sean Murray finds most video games are sold and run on something called "consoles".

Grey Carter:
XBLA, Steam and PSN Vital to Indie Developers
Though I can think of at least one glaring exception to that rule (I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with "inecraft") Murray makes a good point.

I'm pretty sure it's not the only exception to the rule, but it's made a point.

Grey, keep up the good work on your articles, and your comic series.

Uplink, also a good example (yes you can find it on steam but it was doing fine before steam even existed) that said the man has a point and I don't think it's a coincidence that the indie market was largely non-existent before digital distribution.

Grey Carter:
Among the responses he got these, sadly unnamed, publishers were two absolute gems; "Collecting giant coins feels unrealistic to me" and my personal favorite, "We want games that are less about fun right now."

....*Stares at those quotes, jaw sagging and making weird noises as his brain oozes out of his ear*

......WHAAAAT? Ok, the game is CLEARLY not going for realism. So why say that grabbing giant coins is unrealistic? And games ARE about fun! I hate to say it, but Jim said it best. "Fun ISN'T enough! Fun is PARAMOUNT!". Games are about having fun! If you're not having fun in some way, shape or form, then the game has failed!

...........I don't want to blame the rise of grey-brown grimdark gritty modern shooters for this....But I'm really wanting to.

This comes out as I just read an article about Breath of Death VII where the developer states his a single week on steam sold more copies than over a year on XBLA.
And I recall another article where another indie company almost went out of business because of lack of help with XBLA buuuut the release on PC/steam saved them.

Also these things about unrealistic coin collecting and less fun confuses me. I get wanting some realism in some games but I generally thought the idea was to ESCAPE reality and have fun.

Capcha: i'm blushing

Well, better than a stupid commercial and a quote.

Girl With One Eye:
"Collecting giant coins feels unrealistic to me"........has this guy ever seen sonic??

Well Sonic collects giant gold rings, as any normal person does in their day-to-day activities.
Giant gold coins, on the other hand? Madness.

You also forgot League of Legends as an exception.

That bit about not wanting games with fun in them is classic. xD

I can agree with this, Minecraft is being used as an example against this, but a good surge of traffic did occur when Valve promoted the game in one of their blog posts on Steam. Make of that what you will.

It wouldn't be impossible, but it'd be pretty damn hard for them to get the amount of attention they do otherwise. Cthulu Saves the World probably wouldn't exist on the PC format had it not had some decent exposure via XBLA's indie section(would've done far better had it just been in the arcade section though), and now that it's made it to Steam it has sold even better because of the front page coverage it got.

Then there is a whole other territory with app stores for mobile gaming. Angry Birds speaks for itself at this point.

Gonna take a wild guess and say the "we want games that are less about fun" line came from EA.

I feel I should play Devil's Advocate for that last quote (not that I agree with it, but still). The publish didn't say they wanted a game that was less fun, just less about fun. As in they were looking for games to have high focus on things like artistic merit, solid storytelling, and stuff like that instead of simple, mindless fun.

"We want games that are less about fun right now"

....Murray, I respect that you don't want to name specific people, but cant you at least tell us the company that guy worked for? I will never buy a game from them again in protest of this stupidity.

Erm,sorry but how many games that nobody has heard of that are good actually APPEAR in XBLA,most of it gets dumped with the shit in the Indie Games section so it makes it harder to find good games there. Steam is definetly the most indie friendly with Sony far behind only having a handful of games that were made by an indie developer.

P.S. Seriously,XBLA just seems to hate you if you don't have enough money to afford a spot in the not indie games area,when the "New Xbox Experience" first came out,it was damn near impossible to find the indie games.

 

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