Microsoft Responds to Indie Anger
Several developers for Xbox Live Indie Games have taken to the pitchforks and torches following the dashboard update for the Xbox 360. According to the developers, the reorganization reduces indie game visibility and will lead to a reduction in sales.
Microsoft responded to these concerns to Eurogamer, stating that by reorganizing the marketplace, they created a destination exclusive to indie games, which should elevate their presence in the mind of shoppers.
“The intent of the Specialty Shops section was to provide access to marketplaces that focus on a specific type of content, with unique ways of sorting through that content,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We wanted to give Xbox Live Indie Games that full marketplace experience and felt this was the best place to do it, alongside other popular channels like the Avatar Marketplace.”
According to Microsoft, this worked for Avatar items, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t for indie games.
“In fact, since the launch of Avatars, Xbox Live members have made more than 290 million customizations to their Avatar’s clothing, so we expect many people to regularly visit the Specialty Shops section,” the spokesperson said.
Creating a storefront for indie games wasn’t the only improvement Microsoft wanted to note.
“You can now browse the top-rated, top-selling and most recent games by genre. You can also find indie games by ‘best selling today’ and ‘best selling of all time’ on Xbox.com,” the spokesperson said. ”In addition, the Top Rated and Top Downloaded lists have grown from 20 games to 50, allowing for greater exposure of more indie games. We’ve also kept the Contest Finalists and the IGN Picks sections, so users can sort through titles in a number of different ways.”
So while indie games aren’t immediately visible, they have their own section now, and that section is far more robust than the old marketplace used to be. Will that result in more dollars for the struggling indie devs out there? Hefty checks have a way of qualming arguments, so if they start rolling in for the indie devs, this will soon become a non-issue.