That Parity clause isn't doing Microsoft any good, says Vlambeer's Rami Ismail.
Steam showed the way, and now the Xbox One and the PS4 both want to capitalize on the independent game market. Both console manufacturers have had a bad history with independents; neither Sony nor Microsoft really did much to attract independent games back in the day, says Vlambeer's Rami Ismail . Microsoft "at least responded to your emails," says Ismail, while Sony assumed indies - often a one-man-band studio - were capable of dealing with its ludicrously complicated certification process. Things have changed, and now Sony's top dog, while Microsoft's parity clause is crippling it.
Microsoft insists on launch parity, a system whereby independent games that want to launch on Xbox One as well as other systems have to have a simultaneous launch. Working on a PC port? Then you don't release the Xbox One version until the PC port is also ready to go. Want to launch on PS4 as well as Xbox One? Better have both versions ready, or you don't launch at all.
"You can't just launch on all platforms at once, because no, we can't," says Ismail. "It's hell getting a game to work on PC, it's awful getting it to work on PC, Mac, PS4 and Vita. Adding another format on top of that is insane." Sony's deal is better, and if Vlambeer has to make a choice between releasing just on the PS4, or somehow rigging it so it can make a simultaneous launch on both consoles plus whatever other formats it might have in mind, Vlambeer will go for the PS4 alone. So will most indies, Ismail thinks.
"It ought to be level, and I understand that [email protected] is a pilot, I understand they're still working on it, and I am really, really impressed with the program," says Ismail. "If they could just get rid of that launch parity, if that one thing could get dropped, then I would we 100% behind the program."