Don’t worry, more reviews are coming soon. For the time being, though, I’m enjoying trolling through my “Drafts” folder of un-posted articles.
I wrote this in 2011. Not sure why I never posted this one. At the time I was pondering the question… “Why Microsoft did Indie Games first – will others follow?”
If you think about it, it’s a huge endeavour. To roll out indies Microsoft had to:
– make easy to use development tools, that were powerful yet sandboxed just enough to prevent abuse
– create a peer review infrastructure so that Microsoft didn’t need to participate in the approval process
– create an infrastructure so that indie developers can get paid (there are over 1500 XBL indie games available now, and some developers have as little as one game on the service, so that’s a *lot* of cheques going out to developers every quarter)
– create the game and title update distribution infrastructure (built on the Xbox Live backbone, but with some modifications)
It’s not just something you do overnight. No one’s done it quite like Microsoft either: both the iOS App Store and Steam require submitting it to Apple and Valve, respectively, for approval. Only Microsoft, to the best of my knowledge, has provided the distribution and payment infrastructure, while keeping themselves out of the review/approval process. The peer review process is extraordinarily democratic and, frankly, just really cool.
I would love to see Sony and/or Nintendo do something similar, the more opportunities for indie developers the better IMO, but I really can see why Microsoft (with its background in operating system and network software) did it first when you look critically at what had to be done to make it happen.