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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Indie RPG Struggles On Xbox, Yet Thrives On Steam 125

derGoldstein writes "Two weeks ago Robert Boyd started offering his two RPGs Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World on Steam, for $2.99 (for both games combined). It fared far better than it had on the Xbox Live Indie channel: 'In less than a week, our Steam revenue has actually exceeded over a year and a half of XBLIG revenue for us.' Hopefully this will prompt more developers to port 'smaller' games over to Steam, especially since many of them can run on low-spec machines, like netbooks."
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Indie RPG Struggles On Xbox, Yet Thrives On Steam

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  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @03:24PM (#36850156)
    Steam seems far friendlier to indie games. I saw these titles on the front page of the Steam store. I expect they are far harder to find on XBox Live.
    • Part of it has to do with having a larger install base. Sure some require more than a typical PC to play, but I'm sure the number of machines that can run the games are significantly higher than the total number of XBoxes out there.

      • Many of them only require minimal specs. I have Steam installed on a netbook, and while it's sluggish inside the Steam interface, the games themselves (the ones intended for low-spec machines) run just fine. This flexibility is a huge advantage.
      • Well that and the fact that the consoles are having such a long cycle this time means that games haven't been pushing PCs for awhile now. Hell even on the 3D games like shooters you'd be surprised what you could still game on.

        My oldest nephew had one of my hand me downs which he was using for gaming for ages, a 3.6Ghz P4 with HT and a 7600GS AGP and while he had to turn down the bling his TF2 and Bioshock II played just fine. I just recently took pity on him by upgrading him to a Pentium D and an HD4650 PC

        • Agreed. I've been picking up core2duo systems for $100 for awhile now on ebay. They're business machines so video is onboard but a $50 video card would make them pretty decent gaming machines, very few if any games require more than two cores.

          although I'll be honest, I play games far more often on my iPhone than my PC. I think it's because iPhone games are designed to be started instantly and close just as fast while PC and console seem to want you to sit for a few hours. That was easy at 10, not so e
          • Heck you can go even cheaper, as a LOT of those late model Pentium 4 LGA775 boards can take a Pentium D and those can be had for a whole $30 and the late model P4s often go for $40, even less sometimes. Drop in a cheap low midrange GPU (Tigerdirect had a Geforce 210 last week for $10) and voila! Gaming goodness. As I said the oldest as well as his little brother are gaming on Pentium Ds, one with a $45 HD4650 1Gb, the other with a $60 HD4850 and both are blasting away on TF2 and their RPGs.

            As for playing on

            • These are complete [] core2duo computers [] for $100. [] I'm sorry but p4 and Pentium D are ancient and not suitable for modern gaming.

              ..."why waste your juice on something you need for calls, when there are those ultra cheap emulator portables"

              Yet another device to carry around. Thanks but I'll stick with my iPhone, and yes it does have Final Fantasy [] specifically designed for the touchscreen, or what many call WoW for iPhone (I've played it, it really is WoW) []

              "Maybe its just me, but I'd rather save my pho
              • And how many of those on eBay will you get a box with a brick? I quit messing with eBay after buying some off lease machines that were SUPPOSED to be late model P4s and they shipped me some 386 shitpiles it looked like they had literally picked up off the side of the road and all I got from eBay was basically "tough shit". Now I will ONLY shop Craigslist where I can see the actual merch or someplace where I know its legit like Starmicro (GREAT place for CPUs BTW) and Surpluscomputers.

                And while you may not c

                • "And how many of those on eBay will you get a box with a brick?"

                  box with a brick? Now you're just being ridiculous
    • Well, and the question is whether he could have gotten on Steam in the first place without getting popular on XBLA in the first place---he'd be nowhere without XBLA. Steam promotes his game on their service because they already know it is popular among those who play it.
      • [citation needed]. Steam may not carry "bad" games, but they sure promote a ton of unknown (that is, not yet popular) games.

        Steam is particularly fantastic with indie games. Just look at the Potato Sack - a large bundle of highly-discounted games that *everybody* (ok, hundreds of thousands) bought because it was tied in to the Portal 2 launch.

        • It also doesn't have the super-fast life cycle that you'd see on other systems, in terms of exposure. You'll keep getting offered 3 and 4 year-old games, that are excellent, and cost a third of their launch price. Not to mention that special offers (the ones that last a couple of days) can slash the price of a relatively recent game (~2 years old) to $15 and lower, for a games that launched at $55.

          There are also constantly offers of bundles of game "series" and games+DLC, as well as the "Valve Pack" and "
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Let's be realistic, it is all down to the game packs. Buying a whole bunch of games for one relatively accessible price, even if half of them suck, the rest are still cheap enough. Of course steam can become unreliable at times when huge numbers of packs go out the digital door leaving millions of gigabytes to download, creating huge burdens on their systems, with regards to login, game downloads, and game connections.

            What your actually paying for a game becomes arbitrary, likely paying more for a newer

    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @03:36PM (#36850352) Homepage Journal

      No, actually the problem is the opposite. Independent games on steam seem to have some sort of quality control, whereas xbox indie games include a ton of trash that block out the decent items.

      • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @03:55PM (#36850646) Homepage

        I wandered through the thread for a while to confirm someone had the right answer.

        If this was a comparison between "proper" XBox arcade games and Steam, then it would mean something. But "Indie Games" is a wasteland (because of no quality control or promotion of quality games), and none of the XBox owners I know have bothered to look there for a long time.

        There's a strong, justified assumption that if something is in "Indie Games", it's trash. MS need to give some attention to helping promote and discover good games, or else Indie Games will continue to wither (despite, reasonably good tools and technology).

        • by Danse ( 1026 )
          Yeah, I think XBLI needs some kind of "Showcase" section to promote the best of the indie titles and elevate the stuff that is actually interesting and playable above the rest of the crap.
        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          "MS need to give some attention to helping promote and discover good games"

          It kind of does, the best indie games at review stage have been given license to shift to be Live Arcade releases instead, but that doesn't help the middle of the road games that are better than the shite in indie games, but not good enough for live arcade.

      • by brit74 ( 831798 )
        "Independent games on steam seem to have some sort of quality control,"
        You have to be accepted by Steam in order to have your game on the service. I don't know what the system is on the XBox.
        • You have to be accepted by Steam in order to have your game on the service.

          From Steamworks FAQ []: "For new games we look for unique and interesting gameplay and art, and of course it should be fun!" That doesn't give much detail, especially how much of a budget they're expecting to produce "unique and interesting [...] art". Another technical criterion is that it run on a PC, which has its own limitations such as generally smaller monitors than consoles.

          I don't know what the system is on the XBox.

          Xbox Live Indie Games, as I understand it [], starts with legal residence in select countries plus paying $99 per year to join App Hub

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      even if someone found it on xbox, they're more likely to buy it on pc. pc is just better by default, if not for any reason that you usually get to keep your game one way or another and play at more places. quote from art: "Also, apparently, people are starting to pirate our games. If that isn't proof that we've hit it big, I don't know what is," too bad that part isn't true, as a way to spur up some interest in me to get a job now many years ago, I did couple of shareware games for s60(ngage was the best pl

      • pc is just better by default

        Not if you have friends over. PCs are perfectly capable of split- or otherwise shared-screen multiplayer play (just connect four USB gamepads and an HDTV), but far more games for Xbox 360 than for PC actually support it. It's a lot cheaper to buy three spare gamepads in case friends visit you than to buy three spare gaming PCs to make a LAN party.

        • I would really like to see more PC games that support this. I regularly get together with a friend who doesn't do much gaming on his own (due to a lack of adequate hardware) to play some co-op on my PC. The selection of PC games that support this is pretty slim but there are a few good titles such as Shadowgrounds (and its sequel), Magicka, Trine, and a couple more.

          I hate to complain about what is out there, but most of these games are really hard to play with a gamepad. Maybe I am just too used to a keyboa

    • Consoles in general are not good for RPG games It is really a PC thing. Probably due to the old days RPG needed a keyboard... Although they are less needed now it is probably still a PC mindset to play RPG while you do action games on Consoles.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Wha? These are "CRPG"-style games (ie *console* role playing game). Think Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy, etc. The whole point is they were designed to play on a console without a keyboard, and they have been massively popular for decades...

        • You're thinking of JRPGs. The "C" in CRPG means "computer", and includes game such as Baldur's Gate and Fallout, both decidedly not console-friendly.
          • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

            Oops, yeah, "JRPG" = "console RPG" :) Oh well, I can't stand console RPGs for the most part, anyway...

          • Well, there have been PC RPG's ported to consoles in the past. Not much recently though which surprises me. Wouldn't have been THAT difficult to port the original Fallout's UI to a controller, it's turn based so speed doesn't matter, same goes for Baldur's Gate. If they could port Civ II for gods sakes, then they can port anything.

      • by Miseph ( 979059 )

        That is simply untrue. JRPGs are almost always better on console, and are generally designed with consoles in mind.

        It's one of the things that separates Ultima from Final Fantasy.

    • These were on special last week; I actually considered buying them (opted for Lume, which was Win and Mac OS, instead) but PS3 and Xbobx360 are all HDMI look great flashbang boom. The graphics on these boys? To call them "old school" is charitable. And as much as I am on the "playability beats graphics" just last week on the Blood Bowl internet leagues I saw people chatting about how a free java version of blood bowl was "laughable because it wasn't even animated." Good graphics are a REALITY of modern g
      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Yeah, just because it looks a little like a CRPG from the 80's, doesn't mean it's as good. If I wanted graphics from 1988 I'd probably just play a good game from 1988...

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          If I wanted graphics from 1988 I'd probably just play a good game from 1988

          Good luck digging out your console from 1988 and getting it to work.

          • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

            1988? Hah! I have a working Intellivision from 1980, among others. Ever heard of eBay? :)

      • PS3 and Xbobx360 are all HDMI look great

        HDMI is DVI signaling with PCM sound in a different connector. PCs have supported DVI longer than the Xbox 360 has supported HDMI.

        flashbang boom.

        Stun grenades [] have been around since Counter-Strike, which predates the original Xbox.

        Good graphics are a REALITY of modern gaming.

        Say someone wants to express his vision in a video game but has only a shoestring budget. How would you recommend that this person produce worthy graphics?

        • by ynp7 ( 1786468 )

          Three words: Full motion video.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Three words: Full motion video.

            What do you mean by those three words? Do you mean "make a movie instead of a video game"? Do you mean "make an FMV game [] like those popular in the LaserDisc and Sega CD eras"?

        • by mekkab ( 133181 )
          My initial intention was to say people are more forgiving of graphics on a computer rather than a console. I'm not saying that computers can't provide all the bells and whistles when it comes to visual output. In fact, I'd go one step further that computers are better adept given their inherent modularity (upgradable graphics cards being the prime thing). Consoles are stuck. But I will play a game on a 12" laptop (even though I can HDMI out on my macbook) and my needs are more forgiving. For example,
  • Well, duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @03:24PM (#36850160)

    On Steam, the games are promoted with giant images and a discount on the front page every time you visit the site.

    On XBLA, finding where the Indie games are is a game in itself. Hell, sometimes even finding a non-indie game that just doesn't happen to be promoted well is difficult. They can't be wasting all that space advertising videogames, after all. They need that precious space so they can sell their paying customers repulsive AXE body spray, beef jerky, cell phone plans, and advertise the latest shitty romantic comedy featuring people you've never heard of.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

      It's not just that. For the steam release, I saw people blogging about it, but I heard nothing about it prior to that.

      It's not a surprise to me that an unknown game doesn't get sold. You have to advertise it.

      • ...For the steam release, I saw people blogging about it

        It makes more sense when you consider that it's all on the same platform. If you see a good deal on Steam, and you're on Twitter/Facebook, you're just an Alt+TAB away from recommending it to whomever is following you. This is especially true for short-span offers. It's common to see a tweet like "game X is awesome and it's on Steam for half price right now!". A couple of times I saw a tweet like that while I was working, for a game that I wanted to try out. I just launched the Steam client, made the purchas

        • by Namors ( 934315 )

          ...For the steam release, I saw people blogging about it

          It's common to see a tweet like "game X is awesome and it's on Steam for half price right now!".

          yep, you're spot on about that, I'll get them every day on Facebook from various mates - Drops my productivity way down. :)

        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

          As the AC notes, you can buy XBLA games on the internet site for the XBLA marketplace. Even better, you can queue the demo for download to your console, and it'll download when you turn it on. Steam doesn't have that! (And I sure wish they did.)

    • On Steam, the games are promoted with giant images and a discount on the front page every time you visit the site.

      Not just then. They also seem to pop up new game announcements and ads for large-scale sales when you close the game you've been playing, if something new appeared since you last did that - and I believe with some preconfigured frequency (i.e. not more often than 1 per day?).

      It sounds annoying, but I actually like it - it gives me reasonable rate of updates, and, despite being a popup, it actually happens at the point where it doesn't interfere with my workflow (I've just closed a fullscreen game, so it doe

  • by SoTerrified ( 660807 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @03:26PM (#36850190)

    I think it's pretty obvious. There's a lot of PC gamers who grew up with games very much like indie RPGs. Whereas the average console gamer grew up with twitch games. Does it really surprise anyone which platform will be superior for that genre?

    • Well, maybe if those gamers are ~23 or younger. Anyone who gamed on a Genesis or SNES and earlier wouldn't fit into your average console gamer category.
      • Exactly. This game is a parody of NES area games. It's essentially a take on Dragon Quest, which isn't the type of game that PC gamers grew up with. There are very few PC games that I can think of that fit that mold. If we were looking at some parody of a point-and-click adventure ala Gold Rush, Monkey Island, or King's Quest, sure, PC makes sense. But the Zeboyd games are console thru and thru.
        • I think you mean Dragon Warrior, not Dragon Quest. But anyway, I consider myself a PC gamer through and through (haven't owned a console since the SNES), but I was playing console games long before PC games. Probably because I remember pinching pennies and doing extra chores as a kid to save up for an NES which must have cost ~$120 whereas our family's first computer cost at least $2000, was bought years after I had owned that NES (it was a 386), and was initially reserved for my father's "serious work", no

    • by 0racle ( 667029 )
      Hi [],how are you today []
    • PC gamers also grew up without restrictive Steam DRM or any of that "YourPlatform Live" junk.

      • PC gamers grew up with "enter this word from the manual" DRM, where losing your manual means you lose the privilege of playing.
  • Anyone who logs into steam sees the front page sales first thing, and this game was on it IIRC. Also, the update news will show new games for those who stay logged in all the time. Not to mention, steam almost always has some pretty good sales going on (even besides the annual summer sale, which is the best in the business) so its worth checking around for new releases/ specials. I do, anyways, and I suspect a lot of others do as well. Combine this with steams relative ease of use and extreme ease of purcha

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

      Well, fear of piracy isn't really a BS reason. Large numbers of people pirated the humble indie bundle, despite the fact that it could be purchased for $1 (or was it 1 cent?). Some people are just incredibly selfish. I can understand why devs might want to avoid that, even though I think they're making a mistake if they do.

      • True, some people will never buy the game. You won't get money from them in any way.

        However, for others the case is different. For instance, I first played World of Goo when a friend pirated it and gave it to me. Never would have played it otherwise. Guess what? I now own it on steam. Never installed it (yet), but I might get around to replaying it on there at some point. Regardless, they now have a sale they wouldn't have had it not been for piracy. Piracy can be an indie games greatest advertiser. The g

        • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

          People always bring up this argument, but it is deeply, deeply flawed.

          You assume:
          A) That no one who pirates a game would have bought it otherwise. This is false. There are at least some people who would have.
          B) That a substantial number of people buy the game after having pirated it. This is true to an extent, but you have no idea how common it is.

          If the number of people in category A exceeds the number in category B, then it is a net loss for the developers. The fact that you fall into group B does not

          • The number of people in category A has been demonstrated to be very, very small in every study to date (TorrentFreak links to many of them), while the number of B's is quite high. There are a multitude of studies that show that people who pirate heavily, have also invested lots more money in the medium they pirate than infrequent downloaders.

            If I only have $100 monthly to spend on gaming, that's all I have to spend on gaming. Sure, I could pirate beyond that budget because its free, but if somehow magica

          • You forgot about
            C)All the people who hear about the game from friends who pirated it and then go out and buy it. Probably pretty huge. Granted I didn't explicitly mention it (my bad).

            However, the whole debate is rather pointless as no one has any really good numbers. Its nearly impossible to know. I do grant that people who bring this argument up in discussions about AAA titles are probably mostly wrong, what with the amount of marketing/demos those already have (and I can personally say that I generally

          • by IICV ( 652597 )

            Dude, there was an article on Slashdot just two ago [] saying that the media corporations had suppressed a study showing that B is effectively true for music and video (the study showed that pirates are better customers than non-pirates, which implies that pirates in general are likely to purchase the things that they pirate given that they 1. pirate a lot of stuff and 2. buy a lot of stuff).

            Why would you assume that games are be any different?

      • Many people, including myself, downloaded the humble indie bundles from their favorite torrent site after paying for them. Why should I have to go to the trouble of individually downloading each game through an overloaded http server when I can just grab the torrent?

        My point is that the piracy figures for the humble bundles are ridiculously misleading, even for piracy figures.

    • I'm note sure why so many indie developers even target Xbox/PS3.

      For single-player games, I agree with you. For multiplayer games, it's the fact that far more people have a console connected to a TV than have a PC connected to a TV. It's hard to fit you and three mates around a 17" screen.

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      To be honest, I'm note sure why so many indie developers even target Xbox/PS3. Fear of piracy, maybe?
      I'd guess because it's another market. In fact, the console market is far larger than the PC market. I think the PC market is something like $1 Billion/year (about half of what it was ten years ago), while the entire game market is something like $30 Billion/year - which is mostly consoles and mobiles.
  • Why is it that everyone who links to this article uses "Xbox" or "Xbox Live" in the title instead of the more specific (and less newsworthy) "Xbox Live Indie Games?"

    There's been a slew of articles lately describing how difficult it is to profit from the XBLIG channel. If the games were on the Xbox Live Arcade and got trounced by Steam, that might be worth reporting. As is, saying a game could not find success on the Indie Games channel is borderline obvious.

  • Pakistan better be worried, if India has rocket propelled grenades that run on steam! ... but honestly I'm just reading the headlines.
  • This makes me wonder - seeing the HUGE level of success achieved here, relative to the XBLIG, and compared to PSN Minis, what do people see as the chances of Steam or a Steam-like platform dedicated solely to indie games coming out soon? This story's starting to pick up some major press for an 'Indie' game, enough that other developers are going to see it. I think Steam's going to become a part of all their plans now - they're interested enough in making money to do it. I think the Indie scene is looking be
    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      Why make an Indie game section? Indie isn't a category, it's a development path.

      By separating them from other sections they get less exposure unless someone specifically looks for it in the indie section. If I'm looking for a racing game I am not going to first look under racing, and then search under indie for any other racing game that might be interesting to me.

      If indie gets it's own category it will be the special ed of categories.

      If it does not get it's own category then indie will battle head to hea

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      That sounds like a bad idea to me. I don't have any market research to back it up but it seems like part of the problem with indie games on the XBox is that they're relegated to the separate XBLIG channel. On Steam they're right there on the main page mixed in with everything else, and compared to the more mainstream games they look like a great deal for the price. I expect that making a separate platform for the indie games would drastically cut down on the number of people seeing the games and thus the nu
    • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

      Steam already has an Indie game section. Just go to the store, click on "Genres" and select "Indie". Considering that, at any given time, there are at least a couple indie games on the front page, I think Valve is very serious about pushing indie titles. Most likely because they tend to be low cost, meaning that they can be impulse buys, and thus generate more revenue than $50 non-AAA games.

      • Most likely because they tend to be low cost, meaning that they can be impulse buys, and thus generate more revenue than $50 non-AAA games.

        The impulse buy is certainly a big part of it. I'm not going to lose any sleep on a $5 mistake, but if I by a $50 game that I get tired of after a couple of hours, it'll really bug me. Because of this, I won't wait for there to be 15 reviews on metacritic for a $5 game -- if I see just a couple of recommendations, and I know it's the type of game I'll probably like, then I'll just take the chance. Sure, I've been burnt a couple of times, but there were far more cases where I found I really fun time-sink for

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        That's the way it works for me. Having been burned a few times on the $50 titles I'd rather take that same money and buy a whole bunch of cheaper games in the hope one or two will be genuinely entertaining. The problem is I don't stop at $50.

    • It's been done, it's called Desura []. It's focused on indie games and mods, though there's a few older AAA games on it as well.
  • It's simply PC. Although Steam is the most popular distribution channel for the PC, indie games for the PC also sell well through other channels.
    It's just a major difference in culture for the gamers.

    • Plus most of the stuff on the indie games bit is generally pretty shit, it's mostly filled with top down zombie shooters and what look like people's test builds or my first game kinda thing. Either that or some Avatar manipulator. There are gems in there but you mostly find out about them elsewhere and look them up rather find by chance browsing the channel.
      • Plus most of the stuff on the indie games bit is generally pretty shit, it's mostly filled with top down zombie shooters

        Don't knock Robotron clones. Doom is what you get when you balance a first-person shooter as if it were Robotron []. If you're referring to poorly balanced Robotron clones, on the other hand, that's another thing entirely. I don't yet own an Xbox 360 console, so I can't know firsthand just yet.

        There are gems in there but you mostly find out about them elsewhere

        How would you recommend that Microsoft discover which are any good and promote them?

  • Has anyone here actually bothered looking at all or is everyone just assuming? xbla provides a list of top rated and most downloaded games, Indie rpgs are all over those lists, including cthulu. And the marketplace has a new games section too, so cthulu got advertising. I'm not really sure what to make of this. Unless people are just so lazy or uninformed that nobody bothers to check out the Indie games on Xbox. Or if steam's level of purchasing is just that high.
    • by JMZero ( 449047 )

      And the marketplace has a new games section too...

      Yes - I'm sure they had a few minutes in the sun before they got pushed off by "XBox Massage Master" and "Avatar Tic-Tac-Toe: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS chapter 1 by PandaStar Studio in co-operation with JohnnyFyre".

      Has anyone here actually bothered looking at all or is everyone just assuming?

      Yes. Most everyone with an XBox and non-infinite time (at least among people I know) has given up even scrolling over to the Indie Games new releases. Anytime I've heard Indie Games discussed among developers, it has been in the context of "How can I get out of the Indie Games ghetto and into the re

  • It is no surprise. The good game to crap ratio in XBLIG is terrible just due to the nature of how games are put there, and games have almost no chance of making a real profit there. There's no proper advertising or anything. You just dump your game there and spread advertising through word of mouth yourself. Advertise yourself, and hope you can make some money.

    Steam is different. They advertise (a lot) for you, help you pick out a good price, have all sorts of awesome deals you can arrange. It's a wonderful

  • Haven't played them yet (and don't know when I will - probably not before September), but I bought them because the developer actually priced them HONESTLY - usually there's a $1 = 1â parity on Steam, but this package was 1.99â. In fact, that's even cheaper than $2.99! Mind asplodes!

    So, essentially, the guy got my money because he isn't a greedy, obnoxious jerk who thinks that it's fine to charge European customers 40% extra. That's damn rare, and deserves an applause. And money, too.

  • I bought the bundle on Steam, because I like to support indie games and 2 games for $2.50 was the right indie price. As it turns out, both are excellent titles in the vein of the old Dragon Warrior series and I look forward to further offerings. Steam offers great promotion whenever they run one of their sales or announce something new, and I'm very glad that they extend this courtesy to indie games selling for under $5 as they do big-name AAA titles.

    Personally, I feel that we in its entirety, we

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Its pretty much holding games hostage

      Yes, because Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo are forcing people to make games for their consoles contrary to their will.

      • Well, if you look at some of the agreements necessary (especially in years past - look at the whole Official Nintendo Seal of Quality debacle), it has limited what developers can do, though not as much as it once did. Exclusives and timed exclusives still persist, sometimes in contract but I wasn't really referring to console manufacturers holding games hostage "by themselves", but rather the entire industry - development, publishing etc... is creating games in a way that isn't to the benefit of the user.

    • What you say is perfectly true for single-player but not multiplayer.

      Every game from the indie set to the biggest corporate AAA kit is developed on let them play on PCs as well.

      How big is a typical PC monitor? 17" to 19" diagonal viewable image size. Some laptops are smaller, some desktops are bigger, but take that as a median. How big is a living room TV? Twice that, which means four times the area, enough for you and three mates instead of just you.

      have a better chance of your target audience equipped to play your game

      Except people aren't equipped to play a multiplayer indie game. Any TV made in the past five years VGA and HDMI inputs on which PCs are perfectly capable of displayi

  • Most people aren't willing to drop five, or even three, bucks on a game that they've never heard of or never played. Without some sort of input, whether from a review, or friend's recommendation, or a demo, I won't buy a game, even if it does cost less than a trip to McDonald's.

    What I would really like to see is an average time-played ratings system in Steam, XBLA, etc. I'd like to be able to log in to the Steam store, search for games at the $5 point, and then look at the ones that people have played for

    • by JMZero ( 449047 )

      Most people aren't willing to drop five, or even three, bucks on a game that they've never heard of or never played.

      Every XBL Indie Games release has to have a free demo (and they give you help in the platform API to manage locked features/time-limiting/etc.. they did have some good ideas with this platform). You never have to buy a game sight unseen.

      But you're right anyways.

      Why? Because after a while, people aren't just unwilling to pay for a game. If the games are bad enough - and XBL Indie Games is a perfect platform for displaying how bad games can be - people will become unwilling to even browse titles. So, yes

      • I didn't realize XBL indies were required to have a demo - I do all my gaming on PC, and have never even used XBL (I only have a 360 because of MS's free 360 promo this summer). But I get very annoyed when games don't have a demo - I'm not a programmer, but I can't believe they take much more effort to make once you've actually finished a game. So when a game doesn't have a demo, I just assume that it's like when production companies don't allow prescreenings of big films - it usually means they're very,

  • Apart from the obvious quality/crap ratio problem, there's also the MS points as currency conundrum. Why do some (mostly media) corporations insist on obfuscating prices with native point systems? It doesn' matter that they make odd bucks by uneven surplusses when people buy way way less by having to jump through extra hoops just to make a microtransaction? I buy 1/2/3/5-dollar apps all the time for iOS, and would probably do the same in Steam if I was a PC/Mac gamer, but on Xbox Live, when I have to buy bi
    • I buy 1/2/3/5-dollar apps all the time for iOS

      Not everybody lives in a country that calls its currency a "dollar". I guess is so that a "point" will have roughly the same value in all regions, modulo short-term currency fluctuation and whether it is the custom in a given country to include sales tax in a list price.

  • He just won two sales after I read the review. Already downloading.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.