It's been a little over two weeks since XBL Indie Games had its prices changed - Microsoft is dropping the old pricing
for what was formerly called Xbox Live Community Games on the Xbox 360.
The hobbyist/amateur-based peer-reviewed publishing system for the Xbox 360 included choices for developers to price their games at 800 Microsoft Points ($10), 400 MSP ($5), and 200 MSP ($2.50) for a tiered system that offers three different price points: 400 Microsoft Points ($5), 240 MSP ($3) and 80 MSP ($1; dollar values approximate).
Gamasutra and sister console downloadable blog GamerBytes
asked some of the top-tier developers of Xbox Live Indie Games about the changes. Topics covered what they thought on the new pricing scheme, and what they plan to do for their past and future titles.
Nathan Fouts of Mommy’s Best Games, known for Weapon Of Choice
and the upcoming Grapple Buggy
, said, “600 Microsoft Points ($7.50) was the right price for a high quality game on XBL Indie Games” rather than 800MSP ($10), but that price isn't available, unfortunately.
He hopes than the new 80MSP ($1) price point will “stave off any need from Microsoft to make a 'free game' option”, and that it stays in-line with the iPhone approach. As Weapon Of Choice
was already 400MSP ($5), it will not be affected by the new changes.
Halfbrick, an independent studio in Australia, has released two titles in its Halfbrick Fridays program on the XBL Indie Games – Blast Off
. The issue now is for the company's next title, Halfbrick Rocket Racing
, which Halfbrick intended to sell at 200MSP ($2.50), but now will need to change strategy.
“That’s a huge gap when you’re talking about selling thousands of units”, says Phil Larsen, marketing manager at Halfbrick. "The next price point up from the lowest is triple that amount. This may cause a so-called 'Race to the Bottom' scenario, where everyone releases games as cheap as possible just to compete, like the iPhone App Store." Rocket Racing
will “almost certainly be 240MSP ($3), which is a nice spot to be for a full-featured game”.
Someone who has already played both sides of the XBL Indie Games and and Xbox Live Arcade Games is James Silva, creator of the popular Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
on XBLA and both ZSX4 Guitarpocalypse
on XBL Indie Games. “I've said for awhile that I wanted a lower minimum price point, so I'm glad about this”, he commented.
In addition, speaking of his previous games, James claims, "If I was just releasing ZP2K9
I'd probably do 240MSP ($3), but it's been a while since launch so I'm going to let that go to 80MSP ($1)." James does wish for one change though – a middle ground cost. "I'm sure it doesn't make a huge difference in the long run, but my quasi-obsessive-compulsive side wants a 160MSP price point!"
Finally, Matt Davis of Barkers Crest, the creator of Easy Golf
, is a little miffed by the distaste for these lower price points by some developers. "There is only one group of people who have access to all sales data for all games", he says. "And that group of people just happens to be the same people who made the price change. At this point in time they are the only people who can perform a strong statistical analysis on sales trends as a whole."
Are you also an Xbox Live Indie Games developer? Let us know what you think of the recent changes.