In case you hadn’t heard, Joe Danger is pretty terrific. It was made by Hello Games, a team comprised of only four members. Managing director Sean Murray — speaking at Brighton’s Develop Conference — gave some insight into what putting a game on Xbox LIVE Arcade versus PlayStation Network is like.
First, why did they go with PSN? “It was the only way we could self-publish,” says Murray. When initially looking for publishers, Hello Games received a few rather insane requests: “Can Joe be a monkey? We like monkeys.”; “Name me one popular game with motorbikes.”; and “We want games that are less about fun right now.”
Seriously? That’s frustrating. Thankfully, Joe Danger broke even on day one, and went on to sell 50,000 copies during its first week. See, publishers? We still like fun games, believe it or not.
Now, let’s get into why the team passed on XBLA. It seems the competition is fierce, especially compared to PSN. “XBLA is kind of a slaughterhouse for smaller developers,” Murray believes. “There are games that do amazingly well. But there’s two titles released every week and a lot of those are falling in that 25,000 or less category.”
During his talk, Murray gave some sales estimates. While they are not official figures, he believes them to be accurate. Here’s the breakdown for self-published games on XBLA: 47 percent sold below 25,000 copies, 23 percent sold near 100,000 copies, 13 percent sold 200,000 copies, and 17 percent sold 200,000+.
What’s the takeaway from this? Independent games are still struggling to keep up with publisher-backed properties in the digital distribution market for consoles. That always seemed like the case, but hey, now we have some first-hand corroboration.
XBLA is a “slaughterhouse” for smaller developers [GI.biz]