Microsoft Dropping Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games Channels

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Microsoft Dropping Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games Channels


Microsoft Vice President Phil Harrison says the "just games" approach of the Xbox One marketplace will actually help indie developers connect with an even wider audience.

There are a lot of really great indie games on the market these days but they're sometimes lost in the howling storm of noise that surrounds heavyweight triple-A franchises like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. That's not really a big deal in the PC sphere, as any budding game maker with a few bucks to blow can set up a website and make their wares directly available to anyone who cares to download them, but in the realm of consoles, where the serious lucre is hidden, the situation is a little different: There's only one road to Rome, and everybody's on it. Hence, you have things like Xbox Live Indie Games, which showcases high-quality, low-profile titles away from the blinding glare of the mainstream.

It's a perfectly reasonable and functional system, and one that Sony recently announced [http://www.develop-online.net/news/44112/Sony-opening-Indie-section-to-PlayStation-Store] it would emulate by launching a new indie section of the PlayStation Store, and yet Microsoft has decided to do away with it with the launch of the Xbox One. "In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos. With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they're games," Harrison told Eurogamer. "We don't make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two."

Harrison said the new system wouldn't mean the end of spotlighting "products that we think are going to be exciting," but added that other features of the system will help "propagate up" the most interesting games, regardless of their pedigree. "Search, recommendation, what your friends are playing, game DVR - these all go to helping you discover the games you want to play, so I think we solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself," he said.

I don't want to be too judgmental about the merits of the plan because, like so much of the Xbox One at this point, the details are far from clear, but there's a reason the Indie Games channel was created in the first place and while it's nice to think that merit will ultimately triumph, it seems inevitable that the sheer numbers and overpowering volume of Madden or Modern Warfare will bury even the best indie titles. And even if Microsoft is able to keep the scales reasonably balanced, taking away a well-established showcase for their work hardly seems like a smart way to encourage indie developers to pay attention to the platform.

Source: Eurogamer [http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-05-21-phil-harrison-on-xbox-one-kinect-indie-games-and-red-rings]


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NinjaDeathSlap

Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
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Some of the first good news I've heard about this thing. Still has a long way to go though before I'm even a little bit impressed.

Also, when I read the headline I thought it meant by "dropping" that Microsoft was getting rid of XBLA altogether. I don't know if anyone else will interpret it that way, but just a heads up.
 

NLS

Norwegian Llama Stylist
Jan 7, 2010
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Hey, steam manages to keep fresh on both indie and AAA games on the same front page. Why wouldn't this just work as well? As long as they allow you to go through sub categories, I don't see the problem.
 

Canadamus Prime

Robot in Disguise
Jun 17, 2009
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There have never been many indi games that have interested me nor have I ever used the Xbox Live Arcade, but this is still yet another bafflingly stupid decision that turns me off the Xbox One. Not that I needed another one.
 

Jhooud

Someone's Dad
Nov 29, 2011
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What keeps bugging me about all of this is that not only do I not get what exactly this (and just about everything else about the damn thing) means, it seems like Microsoft doesn't know what it means. So search will help the indies? I'm going to search for something I don't know even exists? Ugh.
 

DJonos

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Jan 28, 2013
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To be honest I don't think this is an entirely stupid thing. It's definitely true that microsoft's audience is more attracted to AAA games and I think those AAA game-developers pushed for this switch. Not buying your stuff any-more microsoft.
 

ZZoMBiE13

Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
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NLS said:
Hey, steam manages to keep fresh on both indie and AAA games on the same front page. Why wouldn't this just work as well? As long as they allow you to go through sub categories, I don't see the problem.
This seems right on the money to me. Not that Microsoft will pull off becoming the "console Steam", but if they're taking a few tips from the top of PC gaming, that could be an interesting move.

Just need to see how it all shakes out really. Won't know much for certain until we get a better idea of how these things are implemented.
 

Micah Weil

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Mar 16, 2009
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The Great JT said:
So long as they don't crowd the "Just Games" hub with Triple-A games, this could work.
Gotta agree here. Perhaps an "everyone has a turn" approach would benefit the industry as a whole.
 

Midniqht

Beer Quaffer
Jul 10, 2009
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Could definitely use a better title for the article... the current one is misleading and could end up causing people to make assumptions before reading the rest of the article.

That said, it's kind of cool that they're doing this, in my opinion. The fact that today, games, arcade and indie are separated into those 3 silos is more complex than it needs to be. I forget that the indie section even exists sometimes.

They could ideally keep them all within the same silo but have a way for users to sort or sub-group them.
 

Yopaz

Sarcastic overlord
Jun 3, 2009
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Midniqht said:
Could definitely use a better title for the article... the current one is misleading and could end up causing people to make assumptions before reading the rest of the article.

That said, it's kind of cool that they're doing this, in my opinion. The fact that today, games, arcade and indie are separated into those 3 silos is more complex than it needs to be. I forget that the indie section even exists somethings.

They could ideally keep them all within the same silo but have a way for users to sort or sub-group them.
I think it's safe to assume that no-one comments without reading the article. We're fairly mature here and don't jump to conclusions based on the name of the article or thread title. (I hope the sarcasm was clear enough)
 

CriticalMiss

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Jan 18, 2013
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Maybe they should do away with separating all media on the console and just have one tab labelled 'stuff'. They want to blur the line between TV and games so it makes sense, in a Microsoft way, to have a total clusterfuck of random content in one storefront. And don't worry, you can always search.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
45,698
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Good sarcasm notwithstanding, the point is valid - I've updated the title to more clearly reflect that it's the channels and not the games themselves that are being dropped.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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NLS said:
Hey, steam manages to keep fresh on both indie and AAA games on the same front page. Why wouldn't this just work as well? As long as they allow you to go through sub categories, I don't see the problem.
If the current promotional methods continue, then it won't exactly be like Steam. It will heavily feature big retail games and bury indies. Steam doesn't do that, even including niche titles on their main page with no reservation.
 

Big_Boss_Mantis

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May 28, 2012
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Micah Weil said:
The Great JT said:
So long as they don't crowd the "Just Games" hub with Triple-A games, this could work.
Gotta agree here. Perhaps an "everyone has a turn" approach would benefit the industry as a whole.
"Everyone has a turn"? Are you guys talking about the same Microsoft as everybody else?

What I REALLY read in the article was: "indies, AAA, RPGs, puzzles ... They are just games. GETTHAHELLOUTTAHERE!"
I am wondering if GAMES are still that welcome on the Xbone. (I bet the next one is gona be the Xbox Ore, just so we can call it X-bore)
Even moreso, I am wondering how Microsoft found it a good idea to hang its hat on features that any smart TV already does, and don't remotely needs another box to help it.

I found Sony's PS4 presentation bad, but at least it was about GAMES.
Microsoft's deal is just a trainwreck...
 

AzrealMaximillion

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Jan 20, 2010
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I'll have to see this in effect before I can fully judge, but MS already has a bad rep when it comes to treating indie devs like crap.
 

MetalDooley

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May 27, 2020
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Well the Indie Games channel was never even available here in Ireland so I guess this isn't going to affect me at all
 

RA92

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Jan 1, 2011
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NLS said:
Hey, steam manages to keep fresh on both indie and AAA games on the same front page. Why wouldn't this just work as well? As long as they allow you to go through sub categories, I don't see the problem.
ZZoMBiE13 said:
This seems right on the money to me. Not that Microsoft will pull off becoming the "console Steam", but if they're taking a few tips from the top of PC gaming, that could be an interesting move.

Just need to see how it all shakes out really. Won't know much for certain until we get a better idea of how these things are implemented.
Lets just hope any games get proper advertising space amongst the plethora of ads for everything that has nothing to do with games. ;)