Big news from Microsoft today, as they announced via the App Hub, the official MS forums where XBLIG developers gather, a new change in the pricing frequency. Starting May 23rd developers will have the opportunity to change the price of their title every 7 days, as opposed to the previous standard which was set at 90, stating it “gives [the developer] the freedom to experiment with different price points.”
Microsoft had last made sweeping changes in January of this year, which included larger overall game sizes, games below 150 MB could be prices at 80 MSP, and developers could release more titles under one account. Many developers jumped at the opportunity to drop the cost of their game to the sweet spot that seems to be 80 MSP as soon as they had the opportunity.
How do you guys feel about the change? Is it too little too late, or is it reassurance that Microsoft is listening to the developers?
Source: App Hub
It’s a Festivus miracle! Xbox Live Indie Game developers and fans have received a nice bit of news from Microsoft, which has announced higher maximum game sizes, a new size limit for 80 point games, and more titles per developer. The news was posted on the Official XNA Game Studio Team Blog (thanks, Nick Gravelyn!). Previously, XBLIG titles were limited to a 150 MB cap for total file size – this limit has now been vastly increased to 500 MB. Additionally, any title that was over 50 MB was required to charge a price of 240 ($3) or 400 ($5) MS points. That threshold has been increased to 150 MB, allowing for larger, cheaper games.
The final change of more titles per developer may not be the highest priority on most of our lists, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Previously there was an allowance of 10 titles per developer account (up from an original 8), but this has no grown to twice the size, and devs can now create up to 20 games.
What are your thoughts on the changes? Do you believe it will revitalize the XBLIG marketplace? How about those increased file size allowances - they sure could pave the way for more aesthetically pleasing titles on XBLIG, in addition to larger games and environments. Finally, what are your thoughts on the price change? Will we see a sudden flood of games at the 80 MS point price range, which has proven itself to be the sweet spot for most developers? Leave your thoughts below.
Source: XNA Game Studio Team Blog
Continuing from where part 2 left off in the Get to know your XNA MVPs feature, we’ll be welcoming and interviewing another of the most recent additions to the team XNA MVP. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Michael McLaughlin, better known as Bob Taco Industries on AppHub Forums and @mikebmcl on Twitter.
Big news on the XBLIG front today, as Microsoft announced via the App Hub that Xbox Live Indie developers would now have the ability to “control the release of their games that have passed peer review.” This is a step in the correct direction, both in terms of marketing and public relations. One of the key elements missing from the Indie Games Winter Uprising was the fact that many developers missed their target release dates. Should the event ever occur again, that issue would be washed away as long as the titles pass peer review in time.
Most developers seem to be excited over the matter. Nathan Fouts of Mommy’s Best Games shouted “Great News!” on Twitter, while Ben Kane of declared “This is going to wreak havoc with the new release list. It’ll be a game of chicken on every Friday. Overall, fantastic news though.” Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games shared the same sentiment with “The news made my day. This’ll make building hype for games much easier.” Evan Johnson wasn’t as enthusiastic with, “Probably should have been there from the start, but good to see it happen,” although he appreciated the change nonetheless.
Nathan Fouts of Mommy’s Best Games reported today via Twitter, “XBLIG Top Downloads now factor in 1 week of data. Compare to 1 day for all other games…and tons of XBLIGs are on top!” This then lead us to some information posted on the App Hub forums yesterday, stating:
“Previously games were selected and ordered based on the previous day’s sales information. This caused an illusion of the channel being frozen if sales data was delayed as well as exposing an instability in the channel due to occasional daily spikes. To improve this experience, we have changed the time interval from daily to rolling weekly. What this means is that the top downloads channel will show games based on the previous week’s data each day. Though it will be slightly more difficult to get on the list in the first place, the top downloads channel will be more reliable and less likely to be affected by daily delays or issues.”
The photo above is a screenshot of today’s Xbox Live Marketplace, featuring the “Best selling today” tab as seen in the top right corner. Despite the label “today,” it now reflects the weekly downloads for XBLIG titles, and the daily downloads for XBLA and retail titles. This is a breath of fresh air for those on the indie platform, especially coming off of the ratings sabotage business in the recent past. Just last week, Microsoft had taken measures to rectify the situation by banning Live silver accounts from rating games on Xbox.com.
As of this posting, the title has launched less than 24 hours ago, and has 2,467 votes for an average 4 star rating, far exceeding any XBLIG title which has come before it in that stretch of time. What are we to make from all of this? A publicity stunt? Or simply a successful marketing plan?
The Public Relations Manager of the recent XBLIG release FortressCraft, DJ Keemster has created a video on his YouTube channel labeled “Please Rate 5 Stars! thank you!” In the video, he launches the XLBIG channel, heads to his title, and rates it five stars, asking others to “Hit the A button until it reaches 5 stars, and it is very important you get your five star rating in.” Robert Boyd chimed in with his comment of disapproval yesterday on the App Hub forums and said “And Pandora’s Box has officially been opened. Doesn’t look like it’s ever going to be closed,” and many agree.