Just like many other gamers and developers I hurried home to watch the live stream of the Xbox reveal only to be left disappointed by the focus on TV & Sport. Then as snippets from interviews poured onto Twitter it became clear that Microsoft have abandoned indie support. However rather than having another moan, I’d like to look back and say “Thanks”.
Several years ago, just into my first full time job, I was looking to buy a console. Despite everyone telling me to go for the 360 for the indie support, I wound up going with a PS3. Despite never previously feeling the need for two consoles, I grew to learn the error of my ways and am now the proud owner of both consoles with around two dozen indie games. My Steam account also includes many great indie games, but it was the 360 that made me fully appreciate their value.
Just over 18 months ago I even started making my own games and, thanks to Microsoft, I am currently developing a game that I will be able to release on a console. Several years ago I never would have thought that I could achieve something like this but the open nature of XBLIG and ease of access to XNA has really opened doors. I have to say, Microsoft I owe you a massive thanks.
I’m not alone here. Many people do. They’ve been a vital part of helping the indie scene thrive and perhaps right now that is being forgotten.
Sadly XBLIG never hit its potential and is in decline. I also know that I’ve joined the party too late but I’m still very excited to have some part. I had hoped, perhaps expected, that this was because the new Xbox console would have even better indie support, alas that isn’t the case. I’m not sure why. They’ve created something great, potentially wonderful, then cast it aside. It is a real shame.
However Sony and even Nintendo have seen the potential and benefits of getting indie developers on board to create new, original and exciting games (as well as many rubbish ones, if I’m be honest). Rather than bemoaning the decision of Microsoft, lets thank them for opening the door for indie developers on the consoles and now go through the ones being offered by Sony & Nintendo.
Thank you Microsoft. Your Xbox 360 was and still is fantastic. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to release a game on it (due out “soon”!). Also good luck with your TV, Sports & games box. Doesn’t look like my cup of tea but I’m sure many will enjoy it.