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Microsoft XBox (Games) Games

MS To Indie Devs: You Have a To Have a Publisher 463

Posted by samzenpus
from the name-recognition dept.
Loadmaster writes "The new Oddworld game New 'n' Tasty is coming to every platform in the current generation and even the next generation but not the Xbox One. It's not that developer Oddworld Inhabitants isn't porting the game. It's not that they hate Microsoft or the Xbox One. No, it's that Microsoft has taken an anti-indie dev stance with the Xbox One. While the game industry is moving to Kickstarter and self-funded shops, Microsoft has decided all developers must have a publisher to grace their console."
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MS To Indie Devs: You Have a To Have a Publisher

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  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#44028411)

    Microsoft is a sinking ship, there is no salvage.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:18AM (#44028937)

      Microsoft is a sinking ship, there is no salvage.

      You mean like SCO ... oh Wait [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by limaCAT76 (2769551)

      Microsoft is a sinking ship, there is no salvage.

      From this point of view (not allowing independent games) this is a very well reasoned observation.

      Or maybe we can say

      Xbone is a sinking ship, there is no salvage.

      An ecosystem is done or killed by the software it delivers.
      To be interesting for a publisher (or for a self-publshing aka "indie" developer) that ecosystem needs to have a big number of applications.
      Take the iOS and Android ecosystems: they have been great for gaming[1] because they just brought software to millions of people, and publishing on either app store or google play wasn't ne

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:36PM (#44032157)

      Microsoft is a sinking ship, there is no salvage.

      So Ballmer's just going to rearrange the deck chairs?

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:37AM (#44028413)

    This is just Microsoft protecting their own turf. This is part of their culture. As a publisher they feel they must prevent anything that might jeopardize that income. Most companies would not go this far, but Microsoft has a culture of "cutting off their nose to spite their face."

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:44AM (#44028491)
      Wow, I thought the negatives for Xbox One couldn't be any more before it got launched. Did Sony get a leak of Microsoft's plans and then decide to do the opposite? 1) Make PS4 cheaper, 2) Not require constant internet connection, 3) Allow used games, 4) Push for indie games [polygon.com].
      • by AJH16 (940784) <aj AT gccafe DOT com> on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:48AM (#44028545) Homepage

        Or they are simply acting sanely.

        • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:49AM (#44028567)

          ... or they're lying ... again.

          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:57AM (#44028631)

            Citation please.

            Sony fucked up a lot last gen, it looks like they are learning.

            Either way, even if they change a month after shipping it, at least it started out better than Xbone.

            • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:04AM (#44028721) Homepage Journal

              > Citation please.

              OtherOS was a feature available in early versions of the PlayStation 3 video game console that allowed other operating systems, such as Linux or FreeBSD, to be installed on the system. This feature was made unavailable in newer models and removed from the oldest ones through a firmware update by Sony.

              Source [wikipedia.org]

              Sony fucked up, in a few ways, one of which was lying.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by h4rr4r (612664)

                When did they hide that or lie about it?

                I thought they were totally upfront about it. They removed the feature from new units and told the folks on the old ones to not update. Sure it sucks, but nothing like being a total cockbag from the word go the way MS is being.

                • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:13AM (#44028869) Homepage Journal

                  It was a promised feature that was removed later - would some of the people who purchased it have dropped that $$$ if they knew that, even at some point in the future, they'd have to make a choice between running Linux or playing online? I know I wouldn't have, if Linux were part of the draw to a PS3 (too pricey for me tbh). Besides, their track record isn't great, and it'll be worth it to watch both of these companies after launch... just wait and see.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    It was a promised feature that was removed later - would some of the people who purchased it have dropped that $$$ if they knew that, even at some point in the future, they'd have to make a choice between running Linux or playing online? I know I wouldn't have, if Linux were part of the draw to a PS3 (too pricey for me tbh). Besides, their track record isn't great, and it'll be worth it to watch both of these companies after launch... just wait and see.

                    They made some unfortunate choices, but "changing their mind" is the prerogative you gave them when you bought their proprietary hardware/only-as-open-as-we-say-it-can-be model in the first place. I'm sure it was disappointing, but how old are you that you really weren't expecting that ability to be taken away?

                    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @11:24AM (#44029719)

                      "Changing your mind" after customers purchase your hardware = "lying". I'm 37, and I wasn't expecting that feature to be taken away. I'm not buying a PS4 partially because of that - and the rootkits, and their incredibly poor response and questionable statements related to the PSN hack.

                      (Side note: this is quite possibly why Sony isn't doing the online thing; it isn't being gamer-friendly, its them remembering their network was unusable for 3-4 weeks.)

                    • by Endo13 (1000782) on Monday June 17, 2013 @12:12PM (#44030357)

                      That's the problem with continued updates... it allows the manufacturer to bait-and-switch legally. What they did with the PS3 is exactly the same as an auto manufacturer removing four-wheel-drive from your vehicle after you bought it, or a radio manufacturer disabling the cassette deck, or TV manufacturer disabling USB ports, or any number of similar examples that could be made.

                      None of these things should be legal.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by h4rr4r (612664)

                    You could never really run Linux on the PS3, you could run it on some hypervisor on the PS3 that prevent access to the interesting hardware.

                    Yeah shitty move, but not lying.

                  • by Dishevel (1105119)

                    So you would have choosed the XBox 360 instead?
                    Or would you have held out as the pro gamer you are for the Wii?
                    The other OS thing was shitty. I agree. It was not a lie though and I still would have picked up the PS3 had I knew about this ahead of time.

                    • by dougisfunny (1200171) on Monday June 17, 2013 @12:05PM (#44030253)

                      Here is a product that does X, Y, and Z*.

                      Disclaimer: We are selling it as X, Y and Z in perpetuity, but in a few years it's going to be only X and Y, and then just X a few years after that. Or X and Z. And eventually X* (because some of X won't be compatible without Y) and Z.

                      So, not lying, just bait and switch?

                    • by unrtst (777550) on Monday June 17, 2013 @01:24PM (#44031353)

                      So. While Sony acted stupidly, anyone with any honesty that followed what happened knows that it was neither a lie nor was it "Bait and Switch".

                      How the hell is that not both lying and bait and switch!?!?

                      AFAICT, Other OS was an advertised feature right on the front of the box, and there was no mention that it was a temporary feature, nor was there any mention that they planned on disabling it. There was probably some "we can do anything we want with future system updates" type of verbage in the click through license, but all licenses have that, and no one with any honesty would claim that removing a widely advertised feature with an OS update is something that one should expect.

                      If they had instead removed the abilty to play PS3 games with an OS update that could not be rolled back, would you honestly be saying the same thing? What about blu ray movies? Since it's "primarily" a game machine (as the common argument goes), removing the ability to play blu rays would be on equal footing with removing Other OS, correct? Doing so would leave people with the choice of either:
                      a) having a PS3 that only plays blu rays and no new games and all online aspects of existing games would cease to function
                      b) having a PS3 that only plays games, but no longer plays blu rays

                      That's what it boiled down to, just with Other OS instead. That's deceitful behavior. It's bait and switch. The product isn't just one thing or the other. The product was sold as a sum of its features, and they neutered it.

                • by RKThoadan (89437)

                  An argument can be made that by saying it would have that capability and taking it away the original statement was a lie. You have a valid point in that they were pretty upfront with things when they took it away. So they were very honest about when they decided to make their original statement a lie.

                • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:16AM (#44028911)

                  Sony advertised that those PS3s came with OtherOS. They did not advertise those PS3s come with OtherOS as long as you have no interest in playing new games or enjoying new features on your console, especially when those features and games have no conflict whatsoever with OtherOS.

                  It's like a dealership warranty requiring oil changes at the dealership (I know that's only the case for extended warranties now) and after the 12th oil change they rip out the radio (but they were nice enough to tell you that they'd do that the day you bring your car in for the 12th oil change). They lied because the radio was part of the car and nowhere in the warranty does it say you'll have the radio ripped out on the 12th oil change.

                  Lying by omission is still lying.

                  Let's also not forget about the rootkit, which was as obvious of a lie as any.

                • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:19AM (#44028961) Homepage Journal
                  Sony also made new PS3 disc games require Other OS-incompatible firmware, which defeated the purpose of Other OS which was to have Linux and games on one device. If people knew that they'd have to keep one PS3 for Other OS and buy a second PS3 for playing new games, they would have bought a PC instead in the first place.
                • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:23AM (#44029011)
                  What planet have you been living on?

                  First Sony said a couple of months before the Other OS removal they wouldn't be removing it. Then on an April 1st release they removed it. Everyone just thought it was a joke until it was too late for a lot of people. Sony made it MANDATORY because you either had to update and lose the Other OS feature, or you couldn't use the console to connect to PSN (meaning you lost access to any games you bought online), play newer bluRays or newer games. Either way, doing the update or not, you lost something you bought the console to do.

                  As I've said probably a dozen times in the last few weeks. My console was updated, not by me, when I had some people over to watch a RENTED movie. The movie required a BluRay update, which updated the console.

                  Sony was not up front about removing the Other OS, they lied about it profusely and tried to trick, and ultimately forced, PS3 owners to update. Linux was an awesome feature to have on my PS3 and I did a lot of stuff with it, but anyone that didn't update is now stuck with an overpriced ($800 when I bought mine), under powered, locked down Linux machine.
                • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday June 17, 2013 @02:02PM (#44031801)

                  They removed the feature from new units and told the folks on the old ones to not update.

                  Yes, those are the words they used, but actual implications of those words was a lot worse than 'You won't get a bugfix for Red's Raiders game'.

                  The reason you are sworn to tell the whole truth, and not only the truth.

                  So the whole truth of that statement would be: "Don't update, and never again connect to our network. Also, your PS3 is now a sub-PS3 and you are forbidden from playing any new game released from this point forward*."

                  "*Also, post a guard on your couch to prevent anyone from ever clicking through the text when they pop in a game or movie. Because that's going to be an irrevocable update applied to your hardware with no recourse to you. Sure, you could go out and buy an entire new PS3... but we altered the HW of the PS3 so you lose your backward compatability as well."

                  That would be the 'Whole truth' of 'Just don't update.'

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            ... or they're lying ... again.

            Yep, give this man a cigar.

            Micrsoft has a long history of using the "Queen's duck" strategy to pretend they're listening to their customers. After a suitable pause, Microsoft will grandly and magnanimously agree to allow users and developers some token feedom while reserving the option to continue screwing everyone who deals with them.

            They'll have their social media reputation managers pulling out all stops to sell the pre-planned reversion as a "customers have spoken" moment, when it's really anything but

          • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday June 17, 2013 @11:21AM (#44029689) Homepage

            Wow, speaking of lying ... apparently the stuff they demoed at E3 wasn't even running on an XBox 1 [cinemablend.com], but a Win 7 box.

            If that's true, it's both crapware and vaporware.

      • by gutnor (872759) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:51AM (#44028585)
        This [nerdragecomic.com], I think summarize it.
    • Abusive Monopolist (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tuppe666 (904118)

      Microsoft has a culture of "cutting off their nose to spite their face."

      No they don't they are simply the same bullying Abusive Monopoly they always are. There technique is abusive compromise...with the users doing all the compromising. They start with being over-reaching...and then step back ( a little) when users revolt, and repeat at the next iteration. IT has been incredibly successful at slowly eroding users rites.

      Indie publishers got the short end of the stick on the 360 this is simply a continuation of that. my personal favourite http://games.slashdot.org/story/12/07/20/ [slashdot.org]

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Sure, but that is the same thing. They could make more money if they were simply not so dickish.

      • You might want to look up your terms. MS is not anywhere near a monopoly on consoles. They have about a 30% market share, same as Sony. Nintendo has about a 40% share. This is for consoles, MS has no handheld.

        So sorry, but you can't whine about monopoly here, because MS hasn't got one. They are only one player of three, and not the big one. That is not to say this is a smart move (it isn't) but this isn't some case of a big monopoly throwing their weight around. You aren't a monopoly unless you have total o

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      As a publisher they feel they must prevent anything that might jeopardize that income. Most companies would not go this far, but Microsoft has a culture of "cutting off their nose to spite their face."

      Actually, that USED to be Sony's reputation. In the console space at least, MS once had a very positive reputation. Lately though, the attitudes seem to have completely reversed. MS has become the arrogant, control-freak pricks and Sony is actually looking like the decent, pro-consumer company. Just bizarre.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:08AM (#44028769)

        I think it is natural.

        Sony has to do well with PS4 or their console dreams are over. Microsoft is doing very well with the 360 and thinks they are on top of the world. This means Sony is pulling out all the stops to get converts. Microsoft thinks they can be as dickish as they like and keep enough customers. Sony has done this in the past when they were on top.

        • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:27AM (#44029049)

          You would think that console companies would have learned by now that being on top in one-generation and getting cocky about it is the sure road to getting your ass kicked in the next generation. Just ask Atari, Nintendo, and Sony. Nothing spells doom in the console world quite like a "We're on top now, so we can do anything we want!" attitude.

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:40AM (#44028447)

    One of the main issue with "consoles" is that it really is controled by a bunch of sociopath focusing on how to put the maximum of toll boths to efficiently bleed the marcs..

    Under the pretext of make the experience "safe", you need the get some sort of "authorisations" from the console makers, and now it seems that Microsoft feels strong (or is weak) enough to add an additional hurdle to avoid "wasting their time" with the unwashed masses.

    I hope that "android" consoles become popular (and that it will not end up with Google doing exactly the same thing M$ is doing ....

    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      >I hope that "android" consoles become popular (and that it will not end up with Google doing exactly the same thing M$ is doing ....

      I'm sure it's party due to the newness factor, but my kids haven't turned on the Wii U (aside from Netflix) or Xbox 360 since I brought the OUYA home last Thursday.

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:42AM (#44028465)

    Might as well be a total asshole.

  • by suprcvic (684521) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:45AM (#44028509)
    Why do dev companies even need publishers? Serious question, what do publishers bring to the table?
  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The MAZZTer (911996)
    What about Minecraft then? Mojang surely is self-publishing that. I suppose it's just a case of MS not being THAT dumb to reject Minecraft...
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tridus (79566) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:11AM (#44028811) Homepage

      Minecraft got a special sweetheart deal from Microsoft that throws most of the indie restrictions out the window. They also don't have to pay to post patches, unlike others (who pay tens of thousands of dollars, something no other platform is doing to indies anymore).

      Microsoft's idea of "supporting indie games" is to find ones that got mainstream already and exempt them from the rules. Which is a sure sign that the rules are crap, but you know. This is Microsoft we're talking about.

  • DEVELOPERS! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bmo (77928) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:46AM (#44028519)

    DeVelOpERs! deveLOpErS! dEVLopeRS! deVelo....

    Oh sorry, not for you guys.

    --
    BMO

  • XBoxOne fails miserably as a result of MS's arrogance and stupidity

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:50AM (#44028569)
    If this were Reddit, I'd be asking for AWildSketchAppears to draw a plane crashing and burning into a train wreck because the pilot shot out the tires while simultaneously trying to insert his head up his own ass.

    This seriously cannot get any worse. Can it?
  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:51AM (#44028587)

    They been making so many bad moves in the last few years, I'm beginning to think this is some elaborate game to intentionally run the company off a cliff. Surely to god, they can't be doing all this dumb shit and actually thinking it's smart. Can they?

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:09AM (#44028777) Homepage Journal
      There is a tendency in corporate culture to drink the kool aid the top is serving. Take SGI. Perfect example. They had no clear strategy a bit over a decade ago and I outright confronted one of their sales reps about it and asked him why I should buy their products when I knew IBM would be around 10 years from now. He gave me some bullshit response that SGI had solid products and platforms and they were out of business less than a year later. If someone in the company had just said "We don't have a clear strategy and are going to get crushed by Sun and IBM if we don't develop one," a couple years earlier, they might have been able to pull it out. They did have some things they actually did better than other companies, they just chose to throw all that away and try to pursue the same course IBM and Sun were. Even Sun couldn't pull THAT shit off.

      So maybe Microsoft DOES actually believe, in their isolated corporate culture, that their platform is strong enough to get away with the shit they're trying to pull. Gamers have no loyalty and everyone has already decided to jettison them. Some people are changing consoles, some people are going to PC gaming. Microsoft could save itself a lot of money and just scrap the entire Xbox line right now. If Sony offered an easy path for indie developers, the Xbox developer landscape would be a barren wasteland within a year.

  • by denmarkw00t (892627) on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:58AM (#44028641) Homepage Journal

    I really, really don't understand what the people at Microsoft are thinking. Ever. They go about things in two ways - they either start off with a terrible product and keep it that way, or they start off with something decent (Windows 95, Xbox [original]), make it better (XP, 360), and then shoot themselves in the ass (ME/Vista/8, Xbox One).

    It stinks too, I enjoy my 360 and, even with the Gold membership fees, I'm pretty sure I'm still under the cost of a PS3, however the PS4 or Wii U are my ONLY options in this next round of console purchasing. I'll be happy to let my 360 gather dust and not worry about all the crap M$ is trying to shove down our throats. The Microsoft cocktail:

    - 2 oz gin
    - lime zest
    - fill to top with tonic water
    - put in blender with 1 lb human fecal matter
    - pulse until smooth
    - pour on your customer base
    - ???
    - profit (and imbibe! delicious)

    • by Shados (741919) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:00AM (#44028671)

      From the look of it, they're trying to make the Xbox One as "big publisher" friendly as possible..... basically doing the stuff of wet dreams of EA, Ubisoft, and all those other big names.

      Unfortunately they forgot that they have to sell some consoles too, else it won't do much.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      they start off with something decent (Windows 95, Xbox [original]), make it better (XP, 360), and then shoot themselves in the ass (ME/Vista/8, Xbox One

      That's a rather long-form way of saying Embrace, Extend, Extinguish [wikipedia.org]

      Sure, the "extinguish" portion was never meant to extinguish themselves, but that's still how it mostly happens.

  • m$ have signalled what is unfortunately the end of gaming & our rights, if sony dont implement this along the way, "forced by the nasty publishers" it will be implemented in the next offerings.

    vote with your money people, don't pay for the destruction of your rights

    the next anti consumer move will be, charging for hmmm, netflix, lets say, rentals that charge per person sitting in the room & calculated by always on connect..!

    also does the nsa have back-doors into the xbox, the same as windows 0
  • and the same BS was done with windows app = antitrust.

  • by eddy (18759) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:09AM (#44028783) Homepage Journal
    Brian Provinciano held a great presentation at GDC2013 about writing and releasing Retro City Rampage. Required watching/reading. One Man, 17 SKUs: Shipping on Every Platform at Once [gamasutra.com]. He does not have many good things to say about working with MS on the XBox Live version.
  • ... is self-destruction. Microsoft, Erdogan, Mursi -- delusions of grandeur have a remarkably similar outcome across all "platforms".
  • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:13AM (#44028863)

    The article tells you Oddworld:New and Tasty needs an official publisher to release on XBox, it tells you that Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning doesn't want to get a publisher, and it tells you why he doesn't want to get a publisher (he doesn't want to split the revenue), but it doesn't tell you Oddworld Interactive doesn't count as a publisher.

    They clearly don't meet some requirement. Is the requirement stupid and obsolete (ie: the ability to ship boxed games), or is it reasonable (ie: the ability to correctly charge sales tax/VAT)? If it's not reasonable is it trivial?

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday June 17, 2013 @10:18AM (#44028945)

    Set up a company called AAA Publishing. Problem solved. "You want a publisher? Fine. Here's our publisher. It's a freak coincidence that the president and CEO of our publishing company share the names of the president and CEO of our development company. Small world, I guess."

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday June 17, 2013 @11:28AM (#44029777)

    Maybe Microsoft still doesn't get this Internet thing. But most of the functions performed by a classical (print or physical media) publisher aren't needed for pure digital content. Put it on a web site or app store and you're done. Publishers have very little value in a world with zero distribution costs and viral marketing.

    'Publishing' as a gatekeeper for media distribution is also the last holdout of market manipulators and organized crime. Is this what Microsoft wants?

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