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XBLIG developers would like MS to add Achievements, a new storefront, offline play

Saturday, 19th March 2011 20:47 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Xbox Live Indie developers would like to see Microsoft implements a better storefront on the service as well as add Achievements to indie games.

Speaking in a Gamasutra feature, six different indie developers agreed that added Achievements would ultimately help the developers sell more titles.

“Platform fixes could have a quality assurance solution, which I have detailed in my proposed changes to XBLIG, as well as the inclusion of achievements with Gamerscore and leaderboards,” said Matthew Doucette from Xona Games. “That will fix everything. Sales will increase 10- to 100-times certainly the moment you give gamers credit for playing indie games.

“I respect the difficulties of both solutions, with the potential abuse by indie developers. My proposal addresses developer abuse wonderfully, but how to give games achievements is much harder considering regulations need to be brought into an essentially unregulated system.”

Changing the storefront would also bring more awareness to indie games on the service, but none of the developers see that happening any time soon.

“There is no long tail in the Xbox Live Marketplace because the product discovery tools are so weak — a few top 10 lists and an alphabetical browse feature,” said Deejay, creator of Binary Tweed’s Clover.

“Can you imagine Amazon without a search? Without recommendations? Microsoft could fix these problems, but it’s very likely that they won’t be able to.

“They have ongoing relationships worth millions of dollars with publishers that far outweigh the needs of the indie development scene. XBLIG getting any meaningful improvements in terms of eCommerce experience is as likely as a local farmer walking into Walmart, demanding they take his stock, and then insisting that customers should be able to walk straight to his products without going past anything made by Kraft or any of the other big suppliers.”

Another issue is the inability to play games offline, something gamers have complained about as well.

“[The addition of ] true leaderboards (instead of the hacked-in ones many of us currently implement) and Kinect support are two large issues that could be addressed as is the inability to play the games offline,” said Luke Schneider of Radian Games. “Another issue is the overall reputation of the service.

“But the biggest issue is definitely Achievements. Many gamers simply won’t consider paying for a game on the 360 that doesn’t reward their play time with achievements.”

You can read the full feature through the link, and it’s well worth it.

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6 Comments

  1. Psychotext

    I still don’t entirely get the lack of leaderboards. That’s an easy fix for Microsoft. The offline issue is far more complicated though as it would require that the games were rated by the appropriate rating boards… that or that the games were locked at the highest ratings level and basically inaccessible to many accounts.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. hitnrun

    There are some great indie titles on XBLIG, but I wouldn’t want them to have achievements. That would ruin my life. Or at least my profile. And I wonder if it wouldn’t hurt the devs as much as it would help them if spending $1 or $2 on their little 20-200 minute titles meant adding them to your Pile of Shame.

    @1: I didn’t think of that. I assume in Britain downloaded games have to be rated? I know in the US, it’s self-enforced by the Big Three that all titles be rated. Microsoft could just choose not to enforce their policy for Indie titles.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blerk

    They could improve things massively by putting all the ‘Avatar Something’ games into a separate section. Like the bin, for instance.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. DrDamn

    I don’t think adding achievements is viable. The achievement system works because of certain rules – mandatory inclusion is regular titles, set limits for different categories (full games, dlc, xbla etc.). If they were included in a less restricted environment you would get a shower of “easy” points titles clogging up the market even further – so you wouldn’t be able to find the all the great avatar games and “retro inspired and definitely not just shite” graphics titles. :)

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Hooded

    I think the indie games really do need achievements and offline play. Even if it was a small total of achievements like 50 points. It doesn’t have to be a high amount.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Blerk

    Achievements aren’t going to help when 95% of the games are unadulterated crap. All that would happen is that you’d get an entirely new raft of ‘pay 80 points to get some achievements’ rubbish, which would further bury the games which are actually good.

    Better moderating of the content is the only way for XBLIG to go forward. Someone needs to set a ‘quality’ bar and either reject games which don’t make it or somehow elevate the games which exceed it. At the minute there’s just far too much cheap shit which gets by on ridiculous avatar-based ‘comedy’ or pictures of semi-naked ladies, and it’s crippling the people who are actually putting time and effort into making something that really stands up.

    #6 4 years ago

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