Developer: Xbox Live Indie Games is not "a viable platform"

Microsoft has promoted the Xbox Live Indie Games section of its Xbox 360 business as a way for the independent game developer to get noticed by a wide audience. However, the reality is that the platform is not a good way for indie game developers to make money. That point was proven earlier this month when developer Zeboyd Games revealed that its two RPG titles, Cthulhu Saves The World and Breath Of Death VII, had made more money in its first week as a PC game via Steam than the game's first 18 months as Xbox Live Indie Games.

In an interview at the Edge web site, Zeboyd Games's founder Robert Boyd actually praised Xbox Live Indie Games in terms of a game development tool for new developers. He states, "It's cheap, easy to learn, and has a great community of people that are willing to help each other." On the other hand, as he found out himself, developers who release games on the platform should not expect to rake in the money. He states, "  ... from a perspective of actually making good money, I do not believe it is a viable platform. The greatest strength and greatest weakness of the service is that it's the most open platform we've ever seen on any home console. Just about anyone can release an XBLIG title, and just about anyone does. As a result, the service has got a reputation for being full of garbage."

As a result, Boyd believes that instead of moving from Xbox Live Indie Games to the much more visible Xbox Live Arcade platform, game developers may decide to make their next project outside the Xbox 360 console on other platforms such as mobile devices and the PC. Boyd states, "Microsoft should be doing more towards making Indie Games a scouting ground for future talent." So far Microsoft has yet to respond to Boyd's statements.

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It's the exact same problem with the Android Marketplace, as anybody can submit a game into the market, however, there are so many other items in there, that unless somebody else has found it, it was well advertised, or you randomly stumbled upon it, you're lucky if you will ever find the title. I suppose that one option is that there could be a group of people who have a dedicated job to test each game that gets submitted, and then collectively, they decide on the placement in the system. If that was done, and the system's structure was reorganized a bit, it could be easier to find more polished titles from the "look, I just made my first video game, woo" titles.

It is a viable platform... To make money, it is not a via platform...

The article title makes the developer's quote sound like it is knocking the technology, when it is really about leveraging more advanced developer knowledge to make more money in a less crowded market space.

Basically he is saying that the platform is TOO OPEN, and this creates a lot of competiition and makes it hard to make money.

Shouldn't all the OSS and Linux geeks love this quote then? It should also make them re-questions how 'open' Microsoft's development platforms really are. It takes a bit of shift in thinking, but the concept of 'open' seeing the code is not as great as it sounds when companies like Google or Apple with Darwin let you see the code, but have NO input on the 'standard' they create by implementing the code and features they want.

A large portion of the indie game titles on XBOX Live are just cheap knockoffs of more poplular games. Have you SEEN the minecraft clones and angry birds clones! Its full of opportunistic vultures waiting to make cheap knockoff copies of already pre-existing popular titles in the hopes of making a buck. So yeah, if you DO make an indie title that is unique and its an exclusive to XBOX live, dont expect to get many sales through people just wading throught all the ****.

what an idiot attitude. people know about xbox indie but noone promote their own games! he says "It's cheap, easy to learn, and has a great community of people that are willing to help each other." so why no at least try to market and promote their games?

although you can see alot of people like "stupid kinect games we want hardcore games!!!!" or "im glad farmville wont be in xbox, i really dont want farmville in xbox", showing xbox players want *amazing* games with amazing graphics. if these develpers just want to complain instead promoting their games, it will be even harder.

Marketing... marketing... marketing... marketing... Try to promote your indie game everywhere yourself, don't just wait Microsoft or somebody else for you to do it!

andrewbares said,
So this is all based on one developer's experience? Isn't that a really crappy sample size?

While this is true, I'd still like MS to do more to promote the indie games

andrewbares said,
So this is all based on one developer's experience? Isn't that a really crappy sample size?

Have you not seen the sort of titles in the Indie section? He's right, most of them are trash.

andrewbares said,
So this is all based on one developer's experience? Isn't that a really crappy sample size?

I've read in many other places that a good part of indie game developers don't like XBLIG, not just this one, for basically the same reasons.

AFineFrenzy said,

Have you not seen the sort of titles in the Indie section? He's right, most of them are trash.

Yes, they're mostly crap because there's no *subjective* quality control. You basically just have to make sure you don't use profanity, have a way to exit the game, use a proper resolution etc. to get something published.
The Indie games area is also hidden away, so it's not something that users will stumble upon in a weekly basis.