Why We Should Encourage "Crap" XBLIG Games

Thursday, November 4, 2010
By: Matthew Doucette

Prepare for a paradigm shift.

Here's a rant on why we should encourage "crap" Xbox LIVE Indie Games (XBLIG games) instead of fighting against it and blaming the developers, and what we should do about it instead. Based off a post of mine on the XNA forums:

Why are we complaining about "crap" games at all? It is missing the point that an unregulated platform will have "crap" by definition, which doesn't matter because there are platform-based solutions to it. Digg does it. Google does it. Amazon does it. XBLIG can do it too.

Anyone engaged is trying to dilute the "crap" is barking up the wrong tree and skipping over a much better solution.

Sure we can change XBLIG to regulate the "crap", but we don't need to and here's the thing, we shouldn't. Instead, let every developer release their "crap". In fact, encourage them to. Some are newcomers and they should learn the ropes and test the field. That's the point of XBLIG. An experimental games platform. Gems may be produced that would otherwise be regulated away. XBLIG should remain unrestricted in quality control.

When I make a website I don't have to care about all the "crap" websites out there, imagine if your developer mind was likely at ease when making and releasing an Indie Game, where the onslaught of "crap" games doesn't hurt your quality title's exposure and sales. This is a very easy reality to come by. Let the developers make their "crap", and let the platform handle it. This will put an end to all the argument and wasted effort on discussing "crap" games and how to get rid of them. They are here to stay. Accept it and let's deal with it.

Have the platform promote the quality titles, as tested on the field, not as tested before they hit the field (error prone). That's the point of XBLIG. Have a system where I Made A Game With Zombies is outputted and succeeds, but zombie clones fail and fail because gamers do not like them as they shouldn't. A system where those failed games do not hurt XBLIG's reputation and doesn't bump quality titles out of the recent releases list. A system where other developers follow the lead, as they do now, but the lead is quality titles not sell out titles.

Our efforts should be focused on such a system as this.

It is the platform's responsibility to set the direction of the platform, not the developer's.

(My final draft proposal on how to do this here: Changing the Face of XBLIG: Proposed Changes to XBLIG Dashboard .)

That is all.


About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.