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What the absolute #&(£ Microsoft [strong language] [Also news] - Destructoid

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About
A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
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So with all the talk about Steam starting to stock bad games and or games that donít work I thought it might be worth talking about a recent issues most people here will be unaware of.†

As far as Iím aware Iím the only Garms Junralizt whoís actually going to say directly about this issue and report just what happened. It should be noted that the removal of the game has been noted by Tim Hurley (Head of the Xblig website), Indie gamer Chick and myself. However other than three people no-one else in the gaming press has said about it. So †Iím going to talk about it. Not in the context of a review, but what as far as any-one knows happened. †

Now I will say I havenít been able to reach out to the developer for a comment. I have no comment from them because they canít be found for some reason. Most searches for Fusion gaming actually link to video gaming clan websites and their Xblig developer profile information is blank.

So hereís what is known.†

A company called Fusiongaming released a title onto the Xbox Live indie Games service.
Said title sold on deceptive screenshots showing no actual gameplay but hinting at nudity.

Having previously tackled a title by Fusion Gaming before called Sexy Island Adventure, where said game sold itself on pictures and didnít show gameplay. As an amateur reviewer I decided to check out the Banana Bananza, if only to warn people not to buy it when it inevitably turned out to be bad. Me and as it turns out other reviewers were able to play the ďgameĒ just †fine. However as of Tuesday April 1st after a console update the game became corrupt and unplayable. †This was reported by a user on the Xbox forums called Thee Ronin2x.


On Wednesday the 2nd I went to upload my review and as one last middle finger to the developer and his shitty tactics I decided to screen shot the game being played. I found out it was broken. †I posted my review and in it I called out Microsoft for this. I also got in contact with and had a long conversation with Xbox Support.†This ended with the suggestion of posting on the support forums.






†I posted two threads in the Xbox forums (1,2) linking round everything so far. Meanwhile Indie gamer Chick had already been in contact with a number of MVP members of the Xbox team who also began to pressure Microsoft about the game (previously pressuring before it was broken due to the false advertising).



As of 7:30 am GMT on Thursday the 3rd of April Banana Bananza was pulled from the Xblig marketplace. Now you might think ďoh well surely this is better than Steam as Microsoft actedĒ except no-one who bought the game has been offered a refund. The game isnít coming back and isnít functional. Luckily for me £0.69 isnít a killer amount so Iím not pushing for a refund.

However the fact remains for 2 days there was a game on Xbox marketplace that was entirely broken.


Oh but it doesnít end there you see today saw a new release added to the Xbox Live Indie game Marketplace. †vikingfabian beta test. Remember when people said Early Access was just paid beta testing ? Well at least in theory you should get a full game at the end. vikingfabian beta test is (and get this) a £3.49 item which is being sold on the Xbox marketplace to allow you to pay a developer to be able to beta test his upcoming titles. You donít get the titles, oh no youíre actually paying to play a beta test of a game. With each month, the game being tested will change. The developer even admits these will be rough unfinished bug filled games in the true spirit of beta not the modern advertising beta stuff.

For those who donít know to release on XBLIG a game must go into peer review. Peer review is a developers only beta test, only other developers are allowed to test the games and try to see if there are any serious bugs or rule breaking content. The idea is having reported this they then pass the game. Now in the past this system itself has come under fire, but hereís the point the developer of this game has access to people who will test the game. Yet here we are a developer charging £3.49 five times the normal price of an indie game for something that isnít a game. It will never in fact be a game. Youíre paying to beta test. Heck if you really need your game testing you could do what was done by the developer @Walaber. ††Walaber†made a number of titles using XNA but never released any on XBLIG and released testing version to the public to try out.†

Iíve argued before for early access and being able to buy games in development still. Iíve also pointed out multiple times to people that you should only buy in when youíre ready and feel there is enough of a game, and enough content for your money. The difference is at least with Early access style systems, in theory at the end of it youíll get a game or a refund if the developer folds. However†vikingfabian beta test is an absolute mockery of the Xbox marketplace and a mockery of the true spirit of indie developers.

I honestly donít know what to think of the developer, is this a case of indie ego where he believes his games are so special that people will pay to beta test them alone. †This isnít investing early in a product thatís not finished and unlike a pre-order getting to play the game, this is paying just for to beta test. If anyone is channelling the spirit of Activison or EA then this indie developer most definitely is.


XBLIG has never had a good reputation per say, but in amongst the massage apps and the ďOMG boobsĒ there were at least some games that tried but now. Well now itís clear Microsoft is prepared to let anything out on there. This is the Xbox marketplace this is owned by Microsoft and while Steam is starting to turn into a pile of publishers junk. Xbox marketplace is doing it too, but without anyone noticing that.†

So while people might want to point their finger at Steam (and rightfully so) Microsoft are getting away with almost worse now by simply claiming "Oh it's not our fault just because it's on our fairly exclusive closed marketplace.
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