Microsoft’s handling of their Indie Games channel has drawn ire in the past, and many members of the community have found that the latest update to the Xbox 360’s dashboard is another step in the wrong direction. The Indie Games section has been re-categorized as a “Game Type”, and is listed alongside the Arcade and Xbox Original store fronts behind the dashboard’s videos section. The consensus among independent developers is that Microsoft has sacrificed game availability for advertising space, a claim which Microsoft has denied.
Nathan Fouts, of Mommy’s Best Games, described the community’s complaints in an interview with Eurogamer. “‘Videos’ is now before ‘games’. For better or worse, the new Metro layout is an advertiser’s dream. Every single page main page now has an advertisement on it (you can’t scroll away any more), there are dozens of secret little places to feature things, and it’s easy to get lost. But simply getting to the main portal for Arcade, Games on Demand or Indie Games, or for that matter my own game library is a chore. I like the ‘quick list’ but if it would have a simple connection to my complete library, it would be a huge help.”
Zeboyd Game’s Robert Boyd echoed the sentiment, “It feels to me that Microsoft is trying to promote individual games more but hide the [XBLIG] channel as a whole,” he said. “I think this will result in less sales overall but only time will tell.”
A spokesperson for Microsoft issued a statement defending the re-design, saying, “Indie developers have told us they are looking for an easy route to market, which is the biggest hurdle to overcome, and we’ve provided that for them with Xbox Live Indie Games…But they’ve got to take that next step and do marketing after the launch. We encourage indie developers to work together and support each other in marketing efforts, like the Indie Games Winter and Summer Uprising promotions.”
What is the EG opinion of the new 360 Dashboard? Do you think Microsoft has made it harder for the Indie Games marketplace to remain visible? Sound off below in the comments section!