Developer says Microsoft cancelled his game and then released it at wrong price
After developing RCR for over four years, Microsoft cancelled the Xbox Live Arcade release due to Provinciano publicly stating his issues with the process, Provinciano told Wired. Perhaps this was written in some contract and Microsoft wasn’t out of line, but that is much harder to hold on to after what came next.
Provinciano says Microsoft made him go through a long approvals process to get the game back in the pipeline, what followed was an extra six months of negotiations and Microsoft tasked him with hunting down an outside publisher. Not exactly a warm relationship but that’s the game industry. It’s the last part that is the most damning: When Microsoft released the game, they priced it at $10 instead of $15. Provinciano was told this was a mistake.
On a positive note, Provinciano has found a friend in Sony and PlayStation Network: “Sony’s been incredibly supportive and promoted the game very well. It’s received a generous amount of promotion at no cost to me, from [advertisements] on the PS Store to events such as E3 and even having it playable on kiosks at every Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Future Shop across North America.”
He says working with Sony is a “coffee shop chat,” while dealing with Microsoft feels like an “intimidating corporate vibe”.
I don’t doubt that Microsoft and Sony want their indie developers to be happy and find success, but after hearing such negative accounts from successful indie developers — those who have a voice because they managed to reach so many people with their games — makes me think Microsoft isn’t putting the right people in place. Artists often get the short end of the stick when dealing with backers and publishers, but Microsoft sound like bullies, in this relationship.
One has to wonder what other horror stories are out there from developers that are afraid to speak up, because they have yet to find success to fall back on. Whatever the case, Microsoft has a long way to go in buttering up indie developers, who will only increase in value and reach with the next generation of consoles.