While the triple-A battle between the PS4 and Xbox One has already begun, the indie battle has yet to fully take shape. Yes, Sony has got off to a great start with a few independent releases like Resogun and Contrast, but Microsoft has yet to officially rollout their program.
But whenever they do, Microsoft might be at a significant disadvantage, especially if they make the PS4 a more attractive option. And that's exactly what Microsoft could be doing, at least according to The Fullbright Company's Steve Gaynor.
As Gaynor explains, developing games for a multiplatform, simultaneous release can be a huge undertaking for a small (read: indie) developer. As problems inevitably arise, it's easier to approach them with one specific platform in mind, rather than having to juggle several. He doesn't outright say it, but Gaynor suggests that a staggered release is more beneficial to indie developers, as it gives them the ability to release quality products on every platform.
However, if that indie developer wants to release on the Xbox One through the ID@Xbox Program they have to agree to a parity clause. This clause states that the Xbox One version of a game must release at the same time as any other platforms, not afterwards. The other platforms can come later, mind you, but Xbox One must be part of the first group.
It is this clause that has drawn some criticism from indie developers who, like Gaynor says, will have a hard time developing for multiple platforms simultaneously. In some cases, that means the developer chooses to release for Microsoft first, but in other that means they cut the Xbox One out of the picture.
"If you’re talking to Sony and Microsoft, and Microsoft is like, 'well you can’t be on Xbox if you’re on PlayStation first', but it’s easier to be on PS4 because they have better terms, then you’ll be like, 'okay lets just be on PlayStation.'"
Gaynor sees this scenario as being significantly detrimental to Microsoft's image, as it paints the Ps4 in a more attractive light. The last thing Microsoft wants to do is give an edge to the competition, but their parity clause might be doing just that.
Although there is still time for Microsoft to change their mind regarding the parity clause (hey, it wouldn't be the first time they had a change of heart), nothing suggests they will at this point. The ID@Xbox program is, according to Microsoft executives, gaining favor among developers around the globe, so clearly the parity clause isn't too much of an issue.
Which platform are you more interested in playing indie games on? Do you think Microsoft's parity clause will hurt their indie appeal?
Source: Now Gamer