With the recent announcement that Xbox one will allow self publishing, you’d think MS were in the clear with indie developers and they’d have a reason to maybe consider Microsoft again. The problem is as always actions speak louder than words and while MS might want people to forget its rather horrible past actions of false promises, missed payments and of course insane requirements and gauntlet for developers to navigate. MS have been screwed over again by timing, because Ms and timing just don’t get on, however this time it’s not news stories of the NSA privacy breaches that are causing problems but MS themselves and their latest screw up of their pre-existing self publishing system the XNA creators club.
Now to fill those of you who don’t know in the XNA creators club is for developers using the XNA system to be allowed to self Publish on the XBLIG section. There are XNA based games that didn’t go into XBLIG and were released sometimes as full arcade games. Bastion being on of many examples on an XNA developed game. Now while people will sneer and XBLIG or claim that there’s no money in it (Jonathan Holmes even did this in the most recent podtoid) it’s actually not true as at present the former 6th best selling (now 3rd best selling) best selling XBLIG game of all time has made $3 million and that was over a year ago when it was the 6th best selling. Now everyones going to no doubt say that’s nothing compared to most games, and they’d be right until its pointed out the game is $3 meaning its sold 1million copies. Its claimed even before MS changed its policies to give a better % to the creator, the developer had made $1 million in profit on the game. Let me say that again, an indie game made by one guy has made him $1 million on XBLIG and he’s not even got the best selling game on there. So no Mr Holmes the XNA / XBLIG isn’t completely unprofitable some people are making a living off it and some are doing quite well even with the huge amount of mishandling its seen by MS.
This isn’t the first time they’ve screwed up, but boy did they mess up with both timing and style this time and all so very close to claiming they wanted indie games. I’ve talked before about a campaign to get MS to pay its developers on time after MS ran very late on payment.
The above is a tweet by noted XBLIG developer Sean Doherty of Freelance games. According to other indie developers this information is correct, Microsoft are 11 days late publishing sales data and have somehow failed to add two random days worth of sales in, meaning once again Indie developers might be getting underpaid for the quarter due to a Microsoft error, that is if they remember to pay them this time not delay it two months.
It however gets worse as according to the head of CSR studios, he won’t even be getting paid this quarter because Microsoft have twice lost the relevant paperwork to confirm the new status of his company as a Limited Company.
Actions speak far louder than words and as such Microsoft’s present handling of its own present self publishing system should have indie developers really concerned about how much Microsoft is actually committed to self publishing, and how much of this new change in policy is MS paying lip service to the community.
Now here’s the thing the mainstream media aren’t reporting this its worse for me to actually see Developers claiming no-one would publish this in the media. You know what though I may not be mainstream media but after receiving this tweet I’m determined to at least puts this out there in my very limited capacity as a Garmes Jurnalized because “Hey Gaming News and media, I have a story for you and it’s very relevant to present news as its about Microsofts present treatment of their existing self publishing system. This story you can have entirely on me and it needs very little extra legwork now.” Who knows if anyone will pick this story up but I really hope someone does as indie developers really should know what they’re potentially getting into and see how for all its claims of allowing indie self publishing. Microsoft isn’t doing a very good job of it already. It seems sad to me that XBLIG gets overlooked in everything even when it has rather relevant news relating to big statements by MS.
So in closing.
Is Microsoft really committed to indie developers or is this just more hot air ?
How is it that with the recent statement on indie game publishing not one news agency decided to look into or research the XBLIG scene ? Not one place has reported about it and this screw up ?
To any Garmes Jurnalists reading this I encourage you to talk about this story because indie developers need to be aware of the pitfalls of working with Microsoft as many such as Team meat, and even even the makers of Skulls of the Shogun found out to their peril.
To any developers out there thinking of going for Xbox, just ask yourself how much is it worth to try and have to constantly sort out the potential mess Microsoft could make with your pay just like it presently is for developer ?
Or would you rather wait and demand Microsoft sort themselves out first and actually pledge to improve not just to let you self publish but to actually treat you with some respect and actually care for your product you’ve spent your time carefully making.