After complaints from indie game developers that the Indie Games section was moved to ‘Specialty Shops’ in the Xbox 360 marketplace, Microsoft quickly reversed the change. Being banished to the land of avatar top hats and Black Ops gear didn’t hold over well with the developers, which could be seen after the increased responses on indie game forums.
Microsoft initially came out with an official response claiming that the indie games channel would fit best under ‘Specialty Shops’ because it focuses on a specific type of content, and required unique ways of sorting through the 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.”
Although Microsoft claims the Avatar Marketplace is a popular channel, running through your friends list may lead one to think otherwise. The general consensus from indie developers is that their games are just that, games. One could make an argument for or against the issue but Microsoft responded quickly and reversed their decision, which coincides with an increase in positive responses from developers.
Microsoft’s Dave Mitchell directly updated the indie development community on App Hub to address why the change was reversed so quickly.
“We’ve definitely seen a lot of feedback here as well. The intent was to provide a special destination for Xbox LIVE Indie Game developers and not to “bury” it as some have suggested it,” said Mitchell. “We are constantly striving to make sure we are optimizing the experience for our users and developers across the entire marketplace – Indies included. Based on the strong feedback from all of you however, we are in the process of moving the channel back. You should already see this process underway being reflected on your consoles.”
Some other interesting news from Mitchell alludes to possible updates to the Xbox Live developers kit. Microsoft is currently looking into allowing indie games to place achievements in their games, introduce leaderboards, Kinect API support and various other support examples. In addition to this possible support in the future, Mitchell stated they were distracted by making Windows Phone 7 accessible to indie developers. “That meant a number of features the XNA team were considering for XNA overall were put briefly on hold,” said Mitchell.
While it’s only logical for Microsoft to focus on getting indie developers to start building on the new Windows Phone 7 platform, their neglect for the current indie community was apparent. With successful indie developers like Rovio building games for the iPhone and Droid OS, it makes sense that Microsoft would want to make a mobile gaming push. For now though, Microsoft has resolved the current situation and has made themselves available to the community to continue resolving any issues that may arise.
Although the Indie Games section is often overlooked on Xbox Live, would the addition of achievements or Kinect support spur your interest?
Source: App Hub