Digital Distribution Services Vs. Revenue: Robert Boyd Speaks Out About Disparity for Indie Games

Out of Obscurity

The throwback RPGs Breath of Death VII: The Beginning and Cthulhu Saves the World were recently released on Steam and have been receiving a good bit of attention, as well as favorable reviews, including our very own. But the two games are far from “new”; both games first saw the light of day on Microsoft’s Xbox Indie Games Marketplace. Breath of Death in particular was released over a year ago, in April 2010, and Cthulhu has been kicking around the Indie Games  channel for over half a year.

That in itself is all fine and good. The crux of the matter becomes clear when one takes a look at sales numbers. During their week on Steam, the games have already grossed more money than they did during their entire one-year-plus run on XBLIG! Not that anyone, especially Zeboyd founder Robert Boyd, is complaining about increased popularity and revenue! But it does make one wonder why the games failed to show the same signs of life on Microsoft’s box.

“Steam is just a more visible or widespread forum,” some have muttered. Speaking with Next-gen.bix, Boyd shared his personal feelings about the situation; along the way, it becomes clear that there are problem areas, which Microsoft could alleviate with the proper approach:

The greatest strength and greatest weakness of the service is that it’s the most open platform we’ve ever seen on any home console. Just about anyone can release an XBLIG title, and just about anyone does. As a result, the service has got a reputation for being full of garbage.

…it’s no wonder most titles sell poorly. Greater visibility for the high-quality titles on the service would be a great help.

But does Boyd wish, in retrospect, that he had taken a different approach to publishing his games? Apparently not; keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground, the man recognizes the importance of going through the proper channels to reach widespread acceptance:

I believe that starting out with XBLIG was the correct choice for us. Without the experience and positive reputation that we gained from making XBLIG titles I believe it would have been much more difficult to get approved for Steam.

Source: GamePro

Share Your Thoughts: Is XBL, particularly the Indie Games Marketplace, truly a repository for subpar games? And should Microsoft police its own service more severely?

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