#1 Edited by StarFoxA (5137 posts) -

Saw this article on Reddit about Skulls of the Shogun and its bumpy release. Definitely an interesting read, and very telling about the way that Microsoft Studios treats indie developers. It helps to explain all the negative feelings that many devs harbor for them (e.g. Jonathan Blow, Phil Fish, Team Meat, the Skullgirls team). Certainly sounds like these guys had a rough time with just about every platform they released on.

Despite his painful experience of working with them, Borut refutes any assertion that Microsoft are actually malevolent. “When people call Microsoft ‘evil’, while I don’t want to defend them, it’s kind of an undeserved compliment. To be evil, you have to have vision, you have to have communication, execution… None of those are traits are things that I would ascribe to Microsoft Studios.”

#2 Posted by EXTomar (4451 posts) -

I don't believe Microsoft is purposely "being evil" either but they are focused on high end, large developers where indie and small scale are going to have much more difficult time. Microsoft put in place a lot of "rules" that are there to stop The Activisions and The EAs from abusing the vendor or each other that are just bewildering or impossible for the 4 person team.

#3 Edited by StarFoxA (5137 posts) -

@extomar: Precisely, their indifference is their failure on this front.

#4 Posted by AlisterCat (5470 posts) -

I spoke with them last year at Rezzed and they were showing off the Xbox and tablet versions of the game. He wouldn't speak about microsoft but his demeanor gave enough away. I also talked to some ex Rare guys there and they didn't want to speak about Microsoft but again they didn't actually have to say anything. Surprised they actually came out and said something negative for once.

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#5 Posted by BisonHero (6051 posts) -

Yeah, the article painted an interesting picture of Microsoft Studios being largely incompetent and sorta disorganized. Explains why so many indie devs have had problems with them.

I hope more of those devs realize that Steam is the new XBLA. Unfortunately, no matter how good your game is, it's never going to sell much on smartphones and tablets unless it costs free/99 cents and is braindead simple. XBLA, PSN, and PC are the main places frequented by gamers who actually want to play interesting, original game ideas. I'm willing to bet anything that the mobile/tablet versions of Skulls of the Shogun, Frozen Synapse, XCOM, etc., sell like garbage compared to the console/PC versions.

So sure, make that mobile/tablet version to complement your main version on PC/console, but realize that making mobile/tablet your lead platform is as crazy as making a Wii-exclusive game and then being surprised that 99% of Wii owners never know your game exists.

#6 Posted by Nethlem (377 posts) -

I hope more of those devs realize that Steam is the new XBLA.

Steam always has been the original place where it all started. But when this whole indie thing started to boom, Microsoft did put a lot of effort and money into buying up a ton of projects that looked promising, to make them XBLA exclusives. A thing that always annoyed the hell out of me, but luckily seems to be far less of an issue these days.

#7 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

I like how the little jab at Microsoft completely went over peoples heads.

#8 Edited by EXTomar (4451 posts) -

I believe people just need to recognize that there is no "one console future". There are some stellar game designs that will work great on console and be terribad on every other platform. It isn't necessarily a problem to have that happen either.

To that end, consoles have traditionally been the expensive but lucrative platform to do games on. The current trend is shifting such that they are getting more expensive and way less lucrative for many. Anything Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo can do to less cost and take out the risk the better and more diverse games get on their platforms.

#9 Posted by DeeGee (2113 posts) -

The thing I learned from this whole article: wait, there are people out there that actually call Microsoft evil? Let's save that for people like rapists and terrorists, thanks, not people who make video games and sometimes don't treat game developers as good as they should.

#10 Posted by Scampbell (486 posts) -

T

@deegee said:

The thing I learned from this whole article: wait, there are people out there that actually call Microsoft evil? Let's save that for people like rapists and terrorists, thanks, not people who make video games and sometimes don't treat game developers as good as they should.

Terrorist is a rather broad term, which also covers sabotage against Nazi-German occupation, also I think evil isn't something you can be, but rather something you do.

But then again the word just isn't very useful, and seems to be more of an excuse, for not actually examining the reasons behind the act, and as such prevent it from happening again.

Sorry for going off on a tangent.

#11 Posted by Tackchevy (261 posts) -

The description is fair. However, the reality of the MS situation is lost in all of the common negativity and hate: they just don't care about Indie. It's not a big thing for them, and they don't want to invest any resources in it.

It's a market. I mean, if you're looking for a mortgage, you compare different banks or whatever. Some are 4% and close in 15 days, but another may be 5% and close in three months. You're welcome to get a loan at the second one, but you have to pay more for it. The rate is reflective of the bank's interest in your business, not because they hate you or want to fuck with your head.

I love Indie. SMB, Braid, Bastion, etc have been some of my favorites of the last few years. But it's illogical for anyone to rage on a company because their platform isn't tripping over itself to get those titles on board. I'm a personal fan of Team Meat, Blow, Phil Fish, etc, and follow their work. Sometimes they can get a little self-important though, especially Fish. I can't blame them either; it's tough to stay level 100% of the time with the kind of celebrity status they have within the community.

#12 Posted by BonOrbitz (2138 posts) -

@starfoxa said:

“When people call Microsoft ‘evil’, while I don’t want to defend them, it’s kind of an undeserved compliment. To be evil, you have to have vision, you have to have communication, execution… None of those are traits are things that I would ascribe to Microsoft Studios.

"Well played, Trebek."

#13 Edited by GaspoweR (2753 posts) -

@bisonhero:

Here's the ironic thing too though ever since Steam put up the Greenlight campaign. As far as I know, if you are an indie dev and want to publish on Steam you need to go through Greenlight and I've spoken to a dev as well in regards to how it works with the Greenlight campaign but more or less those games need to keep getting votes in order to go up a queue (which us as regular users can't see, only the devs publishing on Greenlight can) and once your close to the top of that queue, that's when Steam will actually consider adding you on to their catalog.

According to the person I spoke with, it is actually quite frustrating especially more so if it is a game made by just one developer or a few people and they can only do so much in order to market the game they have and they don't get a lot of press like a fortunate few have (like Miasmata for example), it is an uphill better of getting more "like" votes from people. Also even if you do got A LOT of positive press, it doesn't necessarily translate to a significant number of votes before Steam will consider your game to be added to their service. There are also other factors as well that influences your games viability in being published on Steam (but I am not 100% sure since the person I spoke with couldn't really speak of it from that angle but did share some thoughts on it) that could bypass Greenlight such as being available on a different platform for some time and also being a critically acclaimed game, etc.

I can't really compare it to MS cert system but Greenlight isn't necessarily as great as some make it out to be. It's still "an in" of sorts if you want to self-publish but not all devs who go through Greenlight can expect to get results immediately or rather quickly. More often than not it is a long waiting game of getting more votes especially if this is your first game to be published on Steam or anywhere. There are exceptions but they are just a few compared to many others who are stuck in a waiting queue in Greenlight. One game in particular might surprise you considering how much positive feedback and press it has gained for some time now but even until now they are stuck in Greenlight. Just not gonna mention it because I don't want to also reveal who was the person I spoke with out of respect to that person but as a super vague hint, it's a game that's being developed in the same state that I live in and it's coming out during summer outside of Steam.

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#14 Posted by JasonR86 (9587 posts) -

It's been a rough year for Microsoft so far.

#15 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

It's been a rough year for Microsoft so far.

On the positive side, neither Windows 8 nor the new Xbox have been as big of a disaster as Windows Phone 8.

#16 Edited by BisonHero (6051 posts) -

@gaspower: I know that Divekick is having a bit of a rough time climbing much higher than like #38 on the Greenlight list, because Dave Lang mentions it on a weekly basis on their Divekick livestream on Twitch. So yeah, I hear what you're saying about games getting stuck in a Greenlight limbo, sometimes even from fairly accomplished small developers.

#17 Edited by GaspoweR (2753 posts) -

@bisonhero: Yeah, that's the unfortunate side to it. I don't know if a lot of people are also aware in regards to the MS slot system as well (the reason why devs have to go with a third party publisher) or if people can openly talk about it. It just seems that working with MS on the publishing side is actually pretty frustrating and thus it's somewhat better if you are working with a third party in certain cases. It may not be out right self-publishing but that's just how their system works right?

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