Oddworld Dev: Indies Not in Microsoft's Business Model

Oddworld Dev: Indies Not in Microsoft's Business Model

stranger's wrath screen

Oddworld-creator Lorne Lanning says that Microsoft "isn't acknowledging" smaller developers.

Microsoft doesn't have the best reputation with independent game developers. While the company's digital storefront helped to launch several prominent names in the indie scene to success, recent years have seen its relationship with many independent developers degrade to the point many are opting out of future Xbox releases. While some entities would insist that Microsoft does in fact value independent developers and their products, others have had a less rosy view of the company.

Among the disgruntled is Lorne Lanning, founder of Oddworld Inhabitants and creator of the Oddworld series. "At the business level, Microsoft isn't acknowledging people like us," said Lanning. "It's as if we don't matter." Lanning's opinions on Microsoft's handling of indies comes primarily from his own efforts to secure a release for his company's game Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD. Stranger's Wrath HD, intended to be a revival for the Oddworld series, wound up not releasing on Xbox 360. "We couldn't get clear answers for 15 months," said Lanning. "We don't have five biz dev guys and two attorneys and some PR people to send up there to roll out whatever carpets you have to roll out to get attention." According to Lanning, Microsoft failed to respond to inquiries until Stranger's Wrath HD landed on the competing PlayStation Network. "We release on PSN, and we get a mail the next day that says, 'Oh, you released on PSN at a lower price point, you didn't meet our margins, sorry you can't be on the system.' Boom. And that was it."

While Microsoft repairing its relationship with indie developers isn't outside of the realm of possibility, recent actions by the company have arguably demonstrated that it intends to continue with things as they are, and perhaps even make some things worse. In addition to maintaining unpopular rules requiring indie games to find a publisher before they can be ported to Xbox Marketplace, the company recently revealed it would be dissolving its indie game section altogether. "People like us are clearly not in Xbox One's business model," said Lanning. "And there's nothing we can do about that."

Source: VG247

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It seems to me MS WANTS to fail this next gen.

The vast majority of what they seem to be doing seems to be counter to what the CONSUMERS want.

Wait...Was Stranger's Wrath HD planned for a release on both PSN and X-Box Live as a multiformat title?

Diablo1099:
Wait...Was Stranger's Wrath HD planned for a release on both PSN and X-Box Live as a multiformat title?

Based on the article I'm assuming so.

However Microsoft completely ignored them so they went ahead and put their game on the PSN. Which was then that Microsoft decided that because of a lower price point they aren't allowed to put their game on the LIVE marketplace...which is a very stupid and quite frankly strange reason to not allow indie games on your storefront.

If I remember correctly, wasn't the original dispute with Stranger's Wrath something about file size?

Dragonbums:

Diablo1099:
Wait...Was Stranger's Wrath HD planned for a release on both PSN and X-Box Live as a multiformat title?

Based on the article I'm assuming so.

However Microsoft completely ignored them so they went ahead and put their game on the PSN. Which was then that Microsoft decided that because of a lower price point they aren't allowed to put their game on the LIVE marketplace...which is a very stupid and quite frankly strange reason to not allow indie games on your storefront.

So MS Drop the ball, delay the X-Box Live version game then throw a hissy fit when the PSN version is released because they couldn't get their act together?

image

Diablo1099:
Wait...Was Stranger's Wrath HD planned for a release on both PSN and X-Box Live as a multiformat title?

Yup, I remember that Just Add Water (the guys responsible for the port) wanted to release the game for XBLA, but they couldn't, because it was pushing the limits of a downloadable title, it was pushing past the 2 gb limit (judging by the PC version, it weighs 3.4 gb).

They were basically pledging to Miscrosoft for over a year to increase their space limit, but they didn't get a response, hence they said "fuck it" and released it for PSN and PC.

Though the original release of the PC version was the vanilla Stranger's Wrath, without the bells and whistles of the HD version and it was basically broken, I admire their dedication for eventually fixing it and giving us the even better optimized and better looking HD version for free.

Serious kudos to JAW and Oddworld Inhabitants.

What's that? The anti-consumer consol is not for Indies?

Honestly, Microsoft has been squandering what little lead they add with indies in the form of Live Arcade for years now. That they still haven't caught onto the fact that people don't like releasing on their system and have dozens of other options isn't that surprising. It should be, but it isn't.

SupahGamuh:
Yup, I remember that Just Add Water (the guys responsible for the port) wanted to release the game for XBLA, but they couldn't, because it was pushing the limits of a downloadable title, it was pushing past the 2 gb limit (judging by the PC version, it weighs 3.4 gb).

That's why? Huh...

They have that limit for Indies only or is it a universal limit for all Store File Sizes?

They were basically pledging to Miscrosoft for over a year to increase their space limit, but they didn't get a response, hence they said "fuck it" and released it for PSN and PC.

Noted, Cheers

Though the original release of the PC version was the vanilla Stranger's Wrath, without the bells and whistles of the HD version and it was basically broken, I admire their dedication for eventually fixing it and giving us the even better optimized and better looking HD version for free.

Serious kudos to JAW and Oddworld Inhabitants.

What do you mean "For Free"? As in they released the HD Version as a Free Download?
/Not a major PC Gamer

Diablo1099:

What do you mean "For Free"? As in they released the HD Version as a Free Download?
/Not a major PC Gamer

As in "hey!, you already bought our game, we could've easily sold you this as a DLC or a separate product (a la Doom 3 BFG), but you know what?, we're giving you this upgrade free of charge!".

These guys are awesome :)

SupahGamuh:
As in "hey!, you already bought our game, we could've easily sold you this as a DLC or a separate product (a la Doom 3 BFG), but you know what?, we're giving you this upgrade free of charge!".

These guys are awesome :)

Oh wow! That is pretty Awesome of them! :D

Diablo1099:

image

This pic perfectly encapsulates anything needing to be said about what MS has been doing lately, and normally, watching a company implode like this would be funny as hell, but its just getting sad at this point.

Lunar Templar:
This pic perfectly encapsulates anything needing to be said about what MS has been doing lately, and normally, watching a company implode like this would be funny as hell, but its just getting sad at this point.

I dunno, it's still Funny to me :P

StewShearer:
Microsoft does have the best reputation with independent game developers.

Either this is badly-written sarcasm, or you missed a word.

OT: And the sun rises in the morning. We've known that Microsoft hates indies for a while now.

I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft is attempting some kind of reverse psychology tactic. I don't know what the goal of said tactic is, but it must be something big.

lacktheknack:

StewShearer:
Microsoft does have the best reputation with independent game developers.

Either this is badly-written sarcasm, or you missed a word.

OT: And the sun rises in the morning. We've known that Microsoft hates indies for a while now.

Typos how I loathe thee....

Geez, even the man behind Oddworld is pissed at Microsoft.

Now I can't help but imagine Microsoft being a bunch of Glukkons deciding who they're going to put on the chopping block in response to lost profits.

Colt47:
I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft is attempting some kind of reverse psychology tactic. I don't know what the goal of said tactic is, but it must be something big.

I'm sure what they have might be a brilliant strategy on some planets, but they forgot one teeny, tiny detail - this is Earth.

"People like us are clearly not in Xbox One's business model," said Lanning. "And there's nothing we can do about that."

People like me are clearly not in Xbox One's target customer base and there's nothing I can do about that.

FoolKiller:
"People like us are clearly not in Xbox One's business model," said Lanning. "And there's nothing we can do about that."

People like me are clearly not in Xbox One's target customer base and there's nothing I can do about that.

*sigh* I guess I will just have to invest that $500 into games elsewhere. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

I think the one thing that solidified in my mind how backwards Microsoft is towards indies is when Bastion released the Stranger's Dream DLC/Update as a thanks for so much success. PC players just got it for free which was awesome, but if you were on Xbox you had to pay $1 because Microsoft only allows so many free updates for digital titles (in fact I believe it's only one, could be wrong). Sure that's cheap and all, but seriously? Somehow that just feels like being fleeced.

Then there's the whole issue of Fez being rendered nigh unplayable for some people due to bugs and the creator not being able to afford to patch it for a long time.

Also we have the case that almost every indie title outsells what it does on Xbox in like 2 days on Steam.

Oh, and the notion that MS was trying to bully independent studios into joining with a publisher in order to be able to launch on Xbox One.

Jeez, this list could just go on and on.

Diablo1099:

SupahGamuh:
Yup, I remember that Just Add Water (the guys responsible for the port) wanted to release the game for XBLA, but they couldn't, because it was pushing the limits of a downloadable title, it was pushing past the 2 gb limit (judging by the PC version, it weighs 3.4 gb).

That's why? Huh...

They have that limit for Indies only or is it a universal limit for all Store File Sizes?

From what I recall, it was indies only. You could release games above the 2gig limit, but it had to go in the main market place. You were only allowed to publish in the main market place if you were an established publisher, which Microsoft defines as having already sold 500k/1m (I forget which) boxed copies of a title.

This whole thing happened a good year ago, so I may be remembering it wrong though.

 

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