Good grief, Microsoft. Will the day ever come when you’ll simply make the proper decisions the first time, instead of waiting for the public to disapprove, and then do the right thing? I know I’m being sceptical here, but it’s not without reason and honestly, it’s about time someone did, instead of simply praising Microsoft for backtracking. That said, this is still very good news for indie developers.
First Microsoft said it would have online DRM, then, following a huge backlash and a lot of negative press, they changed their mind. So far, so good. Next, it was the pre-owned games thing, guess what – more negative press, another statement reverted, no restrictions on used games after all. Am I the only one sensing a pattern here? Probably, but come on Microsoft. How hard can it be to do a huge survey – or similar research – and act on that? It’s almost as if they’re enjoying the bad PR and using it to build hype, seeing how they can change their mind on just about anything prior to release, and quite easily at that.
Getting back on track, if this decision ends up sticking come launch, a lot of current Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA)/Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) developers are likely going to be celebrating. That is, those who haven’t already grown impatient with Microsoft and jumped ship to PlayStation 4 or even the Wii U, as until recently both seemed like far more viable alternatives to the Xbox One. In a recent interview on Gamers Xtreme, Frozenbyte shared a very positive opinion of the Wii U eShop and highlighted just how easy it is to both release and update your game on that service, compared to, say, XBLA.
Sony’s desire to support indies is nothing new either, as there are currently “over 500 self-published games from more than 160 studios on PSN” (source). That’s a LOT of indie games, and without a publisher pulling any strings, no less. Now, imagine if Microsoft had actually pushed indie support as much as Sony, this generation. You know, instead of pretty much ignoring XBLIG and not only charging for XBLA updates but also requiring a publisher to release on that service. Oh and don’t even get me started on the limited availability of XBLIG. Sheesh!
FYI for those asking: Microsoft eliminated fees for Title Updates on Xbox 360 Arcade games in April 2013— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) June 27, 2013
If this happened back in April, why did the news not spread until JUNE?! Oh well, at least now Fez can finally be patched without Polytron Corporation having to pay a small fortune to Microsoft. It kind of makes you wonder what their pricing policy on patches – or title updates, rather – will be, on the upcoming Xbox One. I’m gonna be optimistic about it, and say that it won’t cost a dime. Chances are I’ll be proven wrong, but it wouldn’t be the first time!
Whatever the case, at least indie developers can now add one more console to their list of potential homes for their games, this upcoming generation… until Microsoft changes their mind again.