The recent Xbox 360 dashboard update has drawn the ire of indie game developers and fans. Moving 'Indie Games' into 'Specialty Shops' and away from the 'Games & Demos' section, where other games reside, was an interesting decision by Microsoft. A decision that the company is attempting to explain to those who may have been angry about the move.
The intent of the Specialty Shops section was to provide access to marketplaces that focus on a specific type of content, with unique ways of sorting through that content. We wanted to give Xbox Live Indie Games that full marketplace experience and felt this was the best place to do it, alongside other popular channels like the Avatar Marketplace.
The Specialty Shops section includes the Avatar Marketplace, Indie Games, and the Game Room. Visibility of the Indie Games, according to Microsoft, will increase due to the fact that gamers often utilize the Avatar Marketplace. Indie Games now has its own niche on Xbox Live which will hopefully pay off in more business. The section was never a big moneymaker for Microsoft so the move may be an attempt to improve sales and exposure. However, some developers fear the separation of Indie Games from the main game section will result in less exposure, which will result in lower sales and less success.
Microsoft has improved the functionality of the section. Gamers can search top-rated, top-selling, and genre, with the search results being expanded from 20 to 50 titles. So, the section itself has been enhanced but the location is a point of contention among some developers and fans of indie titles. On the one hand, the section has its own focus and niche. On the flip side, the separation of independent games and mainstream games & demos has some wondering if gamers will be less likely to seek out independently developed games. In the 'Games & Demos' section, gamers, who may not normally be searching for indie games, may have their interest piqued easier. People check for new games & demos to download with more frequency that they change their avatar's clothing.
Only time will tell how this reorganization will work for lovers of indie games on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
Source: Game Informer