indy gaming Support

I am a avid watcher of the Digital selling market for games and where it is, where its going and how its effecting games. Personally when it was first done I was frimly in the "its no good" camp, another service running on my mahcine, if I uninstall a re-install takes hours to download. And as many have said here, no box, no cool do-dads, etc.. Well the simple fact is boxed games are about as appealing (nowdays) as a tv dinner to a $40 a meal resturant meal. They are a box with a CD/DVD in a paper sleave with a warrnty card, a tech help card and a bare bones manual or one included in PDF form on the media. Sure you can still by collectors editions for $50+ more.. to get a cloth map, small figurine made in china for $2 or a making of DVD (also costing said company about $2) neat none the less.. but charging $50 more for these things when they where often included in the old days for $5-10 more... but to the point ...

Digital downloads and the internet has made INDY games a better thing, a KNOWN thing, and many games are incredibly good with the tools availble to people nowdays. When I saw the Xbox Live support of them (and the excellent tools MS gives for free to make them) I really thought it was a big deal. And MS supported them quite exstensivly when the 360 was new. Nowdays it seems they are sorta dying out, I dont hear much about them. I bought Castle Crashers Purely on hype when logged into Live ont eh 360, demos, preview videos, ads.. I actually seen something of it. Now I only see AAAA games and have to dig through the store to find anything (while its nice, its sure not helping premote any games) I would have Missed ARMY MEN completly if I didnt just "DIG" in the 360 store.. I havent seen any news on this game, no promotion, nothing ever. To be honest I thought the 360 was going to really push some boundries with them. When it was new I remeber deal of the week games on it all the time., which i bought several (like STEAM does now) but if that promo is still going It's not pushedl;ike the old days, you dont see it when on live at all. And to be honest I used to login to see what was on sale, now.. havent in a long time. I really had forgot the indy games on the 360, part the lack of support to see them on it, and the fact that its so easy to get them on STEAM as well. I had always assumed the 360 Indy games did well.. (and they did, at least till lately it seems).

http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=23893

I have read this news in a few spots.. I also know STEAM has a better agreement than Live (for the devolper, at least cash wise). I really would have thought with the Consoles base (which far excedes the PC base) this wouldnt happen. But it sounds like most none "indy hit" games do much better on PC than consoles. Some exceptions are Braid, Super meat boy , etc.. In fact i read someplce with some number crunching (guestimates) that Braid made more money for its dev on STEAM but sold much less than the 360. I'm just kinda stumped the Live indy game thing was such a HUGE thing, the dev kit, so on, have they forgot it? Or.. has the phone market made MS kinda start ramping it down as they know its going that way? Will the phone market kill the console/PC market ofr indy games?

I really dont have answers, and not even sure i know what the question is, im just wondering after that story if "average" indy game should go stright to the phones (kinda easy to be lost in the glut, personally there might be a million apps in the Ipone and android, but 90% of um are crap.) or is it a GLUT? like all things succesfull it drows people in, is there to much that even good games wont get noticed?

I must say the 2 games in the story are quite good, very old school (dragon warrior 3, FF on nes) feel.. I enjoyed the time I have spent with it.

Comments

Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Steam

Steam definitely pushes indie content very well. I've purchased several of indies there, and have played many of them more than the big-league games I've bought there!

I think XBLive missed a great opportunity. Their "app store" could have really pushed the platform to new heights, like the app store on the iPhone/iPad has done for Apple.

Steam not only gives you lots of independent company productions, but sells them at "impulse purchase" prices that make it really easy to buy games you'll never end up playing, just because it seems like such an incredible deal at the time!

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I've only spent a few weeks

I've only spent a few weeks with a Xbox 360 so far, but I can say I agree that Steam is a much better service when it comes to specials and finding new games. The recent Altitude promotion is a great example of that. It seems to me that Xbox Live is more focused on indies that look as close to AAA as possible, whereas Steam is comfortable featuring stuff like Altitude that looks (let's be honest) like it was made in the 90s or (in the case of VVVVV), even the 80s!

Here's a great example of why I hate digital downloads, though. So I have a friend who's obsessed with Gears of War 2 and kept on and kept on. I couldn't get to the store to buy it (Triple Pack with the first two games is $30 at Best Buy), so I had to download it from XLA. That took hours and cost me $20 just for the second game, no expansions. What a rip off! It should have cost $15 or less to at least compete with the boxed copy...They're basically charging you for a "convenience fee" that encourages you to skip the service and just stick to Amazon and big box stores. Stoooopid!

Steam's big strength are those crazy specials it's always offering. They must have an elite squad of marketing people there. Any true gamer would have a hard time seeing those specials and not buying at least a few games a month, if not per week.

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Bill Loguidice
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Well, it's important to

Well, it's important to remember that XBLA games ARE supposed to be top tier titles only, ones worthy of some type of commercial release. The Community Games area is strictly for the hobbyist stuff where you will see a mix of some top quality stuff along with lots of low brow, low quality stuff. I don't mind the split, because honestly if something is good enough in the Community area, I'll hear about it. I'd rather them keep the focus on XBLA stuff and keep the Community stuff in the background. Otherwise there's too much noise to deal with...

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I think what you want is a

I think what you want is a LOT of indie stuff, including all the crap. There are people who enjoy sorting through the muck and discovering hidden gems. However, you also need really good community-based filtering, so that the cream rises to the top. You really can't depend on a paid staff to do that kind of work, since they'll just be guided by their own tastes or, worse, guessing what they think people will want.

I could imagine some mechanisms to expedite the process. Maybe you could get some free Microsoft points or whatever they're called if you download and rate a certain number of hobby games. Is there something like that in place already?

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Bill Loguidice
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No, but the Community games

No, but the Community games are rated by the community, just like the regular games. They also have a partnership with some gaming Website whose name slips my mind right this second to help highlight some of the better games.

Again, having the Community games as a separate area in the Games area makes perfect sense - there's no real quality control like with the commercial XBLA games - they just need to do a better job of making potential buyers more aware of the gems.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I like STEAMs "top sellers"

I like STEAMs "top sellers" area it helps me a bit.. of course its a bit hard to really use with certiantly as -ANY- game on sale is almost always in the top 10.. but once and awhile i see a game that looks like a great deal and its not even on the list. I understand what Bill is saying and it makes sence to try push the best. But I think the buying public should be hte PUSH... if VVVVV was selling more than gears why not support it? even if its a low grade title.. if its selling its probebly a good game.

TO be honest I would much rather buy on steam anyways.. no console hate here, but simply put HD's fail and consoles go the way of the dodo.. the original Xbox is no longer supported, and the same will be said for the current one. While I may be wrong, i forsee Steam being around alot longer than support to download on the 360 will be.. Again I may be wrong, but in 10 years if my 360 fails and i lose it all, Im pretty sure I wont have access to download any of those games, but I do believe steam may still be around. Steam has stated if they ever close up shop tehy "plan" on making as many games stand alone(without steam) useable.. of course that does mean no download access. but i can back up my steam drive anytime.

I just think MS is missing the boat.. they want in on the Digital download thing (live for windows, which the rumour mill says is soon to be shut down as its been in still birth from the start, and will be somehow merged into LIVE (360)????) Steams key to success is simple, premote/price right/and premote again.. The 360 Premoted the crap out of the indy games when it came out.. or I would never have bought Catle crashers, and several others.. and as I say nowdays, I dont think i have seen a premoted indy ever. honeslty its a win win for MS.. they ahve no tiem or effort into any game they dont produce. You put some spalsh on the main pages to premote, even small ones and every sale is profit.. no devlopment costs, no staff to pay.. nothing. Instead of some silly looking avatar tapping his foot, maybe 2-3 "featured" games.

I really think this is why STEAMN is so succesfull and MS/EA/ etc wont make it untill Digital is it.. Steam pimps Valve games, no doubt about it.. but those games (some are free, or have free DLC) bring in new steam users, plain and simple. More people more sales. But they alos PIMP the crap out of everybody elses games, be it midweek sales, daily sales, weekend sales. I know many will say " but priceing a game cheaper wont help the dev" this is 100% wrong, its been said again and again by devs of games on steam, the weeks they are on sale for 50%off (or whatever sale they have) the sales increase makes up for any price differnce, and not only makes up, but they make much more money. Not only that, but (and Im not sure if Valve pushes this or?) New titles dont get "shelf stagnation" games genrealy sell good for a few weeks, maybe a month if its not a AAA title. then sales trail off and new games come around. Steam revives game sby having great sales within 1-3 months of its release. 33% or maybe 50% off.. this revives interest and somteims gains some full price sales as people play and tell others after the slae is over. This extends the life of games sales. Heck batman is on sale this week, great game, but its over a year old.. its on for $7.50 and is a top seller again, how many 1 year old games make money? MS needs to quite worring about selling hats for our avatars and start selling content for out HD's. You cant fault um for avater crap, its a Win Win too.. basicly free to produce and makes money. But we all know people buy far more games than vantiy items (dont they?).

I think all the digital srvices trying to start up and compete with steam (not the ones already out there but Live and Origin) have one real issue, they want to start making money (not a bad idea), but they forget Valve basicly started with half Life 2 and built this system, they made it grow by giveing their own product cheap prices, free DLC and as i menitoned free games. I know it sounds like a drug dealer, give it free to get um hooked then charge (and thats what they have done, the difference is they still charge the same as everybody else, and many times much less) it cost them to do that, but in the end spending money to make more money later worked fine. Big companies like MS and EA wont do that, yet they know they can leverage games and "maybe do it" that is not the correct attuitude and only harms the gamer in the end, and that is why they may make money on games, but will never succeed long term (keep in mind MS is only on its first succesfull hardware device (the 360, the xbox never made money nore any gaming device they have made) and kinect sales for the last few months dont equal the first few weeks, pretty sad two weks of sales eclipses months of sales... its going the way the Wii is now.. ) they dont think how can we make money by makeing the gamer like us and still turn a profit, they think we are selling $15 worth of goods, lets price it at $60... that works when you are the only guy ((MS has lived this with Windows for far to long and thinks it can do it with everything else too) even EA thinks this... killed all other Pro football games). Untill they change the way they think I cant see it changing. Stem will still be the best bet for Indy games and teh 360 (or other consoles ) while maybe getting the spotlight wont be a good thing.. and with Indy gaming making such a big impact right now... embrassing it like Steam has might be HUGE in the end.

Bill Loguidice
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I agree that Steam is a good

I agree that Steam is a good long-term investment, and Macs moving to an iOS-like iTunes model of pure apps, is very much a good thing (and it looks like this will be the model for Windows 8 as well). Having all of our crap in the cloud is the wave of the future, because you have both local storage, all of the DRM managed, and the ability to more easily use stuff you own on multiple machines. It's a win-win for everyone.

I believe Microsoft is making strides towards that model with the 360 and they will be offering some type of cloud services in the next big update in September. While initially I think this will be somewhat along the lines of Sony's cloud offering on the PS3 (mostly saves and just a small amount of storage), it will also allow for easier rights management (no more needing a USB stick to keep your Gamertag portable) and no doubt will pave the way for the possibility of being system independent. In other words, if your system dies, you just log into another one and all of your stuff will be there. That's truly the wave of the future regardless of platform or device type, and we've already made great strides in that regard overall. The main issue is transitioning there, particularly for mature products like the Xbox 360, which has been around since 2005.

It WILL happen though because it's just good business. You give your customers a sense of ownership and portability and they'll stick with you. If you don't, it makes it MUCH easier for them to give the competition a chance.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
More shots in the Digital

More shots in the Digital war, on the Console front. MS has changed the XBLA agreement. NO GAMES ON LIVE if they where released on the PSN first, and if they have exclusive content on other systems.... Ms has alwasy killed its compatition with money.. why change now.. oh wait, the whole Web browser thing all over again, ours or nobodies.. didnt they learn from the huge (n MS terms, pennies) lawsuit the first time?

Yes Im unhappy.. cross platform is the way to go, let the hardware decide my buying dollar.. Controling your exlusive content buy buying it is one thing the developer makes money still.. Money talks.. forceing developers trying to make money to chose is another. They have used the "its my ball" tactic.. devlopers make 50-70% off Live and the rest is off PSN and Wii(if its on the Wii at all).. so MS said.. fook U take 50% less or 30% less... in the end the devlopers lose BIGTIME no matter what..

bad form.. very bad form..

And my personal crusade Origin vs Steam
"The EULA says that EA can identify your computer, operating system, installed/uninstalled software/hardware, and use that information for marketing purposes while merrily sharing it with third party companies. It's all fairly disgusting, and there's no opt-out offer. If you don't want EA to know everything about you and pass the information along, your only recourse is to not install Origin -- which will mean you can't play Battlefield 3 on PC at all."

Or the new Star Wars MMORPG... at least STEAM lets me not send them data except about game releated issues. EA's "my ball" tactics.. no play unless you let us do as we please.. "all you info's belong to us"

its getting UGLY....

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Getting Ugly
clok1966 wrote:

its getting UGLY....

I figure it's just a matter of time before a big consumer group retaliates, creating an end-user's bill of rights or something to the effect. Of course, good luck getting it through congress, but if there's enough heat, it might at least get them to back off a little on this stuff.

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Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Indy games

Indy games still are not supported on the 360 in my neck of the woods. I actually have a US 360 account connected up to paypal to download and play these gems. There is a lot of crap but there are also gems to be found within the indygame offerings on xbox live. I just can't fathom why a company is deliberately starving customers from the live experience (yes that is NOT available world wide and in every country) or from the Indy games...

I am big into Indy pc gaming and remakes.

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