Xbox? No, not for now anyway. February 7, 2010 cliffski Over the last few days I’ve been seriously considering making an effort to get Gratuitous Space Battles onto XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade). I have decided not to do so (I must send that email…) and here is my thinking: According to wikipedia, the Xbox has sold 34 million units. I suspect that less than half are used by people who are happy to buy and play downloadable games. Most will be used purely for Madden and for Call Of Duty. So that’s 16 million, vs 25 million people with an account on steam. Lets round up the other digital dist sites and say there are 35 million people able and willing to buy PC games online? Games on XBLA are cheap. people gnash their teeth about $15. As someone who sells a $22.95 game and a $19.95 game, this does not bode well. On PC, I can sell direct, taking > 90% of the price. Through portals such as steam, it’s less, but still quite good. On XBLA There would be a Microsoft cut, then probably a publisher cut, and then I’d get the crumbs. All out of a smaller price. The Xbox has a long list of requirements about how games should play. Obviously it must be played with a gamepad, which is awkward enough, but platform holders have a funny habit of insisting you use their latest feature, even if it makes zero sense in context of the game. I hate that. On PC, there is no publisher involvement, and no approval process. I know 100% that at some point, someone somewhere at Microsoft would say that the game would be better if you could control the ships. They are wrong, and I’d have to waste precious hours of my life arguing the point. This would not be fun. I’ve heard numerous horror stories from fellow indies about this sort of thing. There are up front costs, for ESRB, getting a dev kit and so on. I already have a dev kit for PC games development, it’s called a PC. This is a big chunk of cash I need to find on the off-chance that I’m ‘allowed’ to publish a game for less money, at a lower royalty, that I had to redesign to fit at a low resolution using a controller designed for beatemup games. hmmmm Xbox gamers are not known for their love of slow paced heavy thinking text-based strategy games. GSB is not Halo, or COD. They may hate it. So combine all that and I have no urgent need to get involved with the Xbox. Maybe this is a mistake and it would have sold 100,000 copies on there, but I suspect not. Maybe if you didn’t need the ESRB stuff, and the dev kits were the same price as an xbox, and they automatically approved any game that passed a basic ‘not offensive’ check, I’d be more tempted, but as things stand, PC beats XBox for me, and it beats every other console out there. BTW I worked around the vertex buffer thing, patching both games to not use vertex buffers at all. This is slower, and infuriating, but it works. Grrrr.