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Schafer: Console makers need a more open platform or risk losing indies

Friday, 17th February 2012 18:24 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer believes console manufacturers should pay heed to the report 2D Boy’s Ron Carmel complied last year regarding the loss of independent developers on Xbox Live.

Speaking with IndustryGamers, Schafer called the report “eye-opening” and said the console makers shouldn’t “dismiss” it.

“I really think it’s something they can’t dismiss and they should really pay a lot more attention to because he’s calling attention to a migration, an exodus of real creative talent away from those platforms to more open platforms, and I think they should do something quick to reverse that,” he said.

“I think that that was kind of a warning call. It’s not like ‘it would be nice to do this’ for developers – [if they don't] they’re going to lose out. Things change every generation and just because you’re on top and the 900 pound gorilla in one generation, as you’ve seen, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t mean it’ll be that way forever.

“I think that these threats that are possibly being ignored are going to hurt those guys.”

Schafer, like a lot of other indie developers, have expressed appreciation regarding the openness of platforms other than consoles, and the Double Fine man notes at lot of said openness is how easy it is release games on the systems.

“We can put something up on the App Store pretty easily, we can put stuff up on Steam really easily,” he said. “I like the Xbox and the PS3. I like Sony and Microsoft, but those systems are closed and curated very closely and it costs a lot more money to go through that system, to patch a game.

“It makes me stressed out that if I put a game up there, I might not be able to patch it because it might cost too much money, whereas these more open platforms will let us manage our own price and our own updates. It’s just a lot more appealing right now.”

Schafer said he still believes in the Microsoft and Sony platforms as well as the opportunities each console has bought to the table – but both need make policy changes or indies will go elsewhere.

“There are good games on both platforms,” he said, “and that’s the thing, is that I really believe in both those platforms, and I want them to succeed. So when you read an article warning about the migration away from the platform, that’s a shame and we want that not to be the case.”

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20 Comments

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  1. LOLshock94

    possibly some of the worst games ever made are on xbox live indie thing

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Maximum Payne

    @ Are you like, retarded ?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. LOLshock94

    @2 ?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    It’s just typical Microsoft though.

    The biggest threat to Sony and Microsoft at the moment is someone making a console that isn’t all about control and locking down every little piece of content. And squeezing pennies out of people.

    If Sony dedicated themselves to opening up the console scene I’d be there in a heartbeat.

    Microsoft are so incredibly narrowminded, and that’s been the case for as long as I can remember. They literally stare themselves blind on one very specific way of doing things, and it simply doesn’t work today.

    Things are moving way too fast, people demand way too much. You may have been able to get away with that 15 years ago, but these days all it does is make you a dinosaur.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Maximum Payne

    @3 Some of the AAA games are also one of worst games doesn’t matter.
    Lot of developers started as Indy or small budget studio.
    You were generalizing much.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. LOLshock94

    @5 About 90% of the indie games on xbox are for the shits and giggles

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Da Man

    #4

    MS were the first company out of the big three to allow indies.. Xbox is the only console anyone can develop for using Xna. While others were being busy milking hardware for decades, they went ahead and made a platform for indies. How’s that narrowminded?

    Are you that into mods?

    May I ask, who demands way too much, customers?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    I should hope Schafer likes Sony. Stacking and Costume quest were both free on psn so I have to wonder how much Sony paid Double Fine for that.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OlderGamer

    My next gen setup is going to be a WiiU(hope they change the name after all), and a PC. Mean while hoping the hardware doesn’t die on me when it comes to PS360. I have so much DLC and digital games purchased that I don’t want to start all over again on a new system. So I will play my Rock Band, My Pinball FX, and a modest handfull of other games across the Sony and MS platforms.

    Once those systems die, unless I can find sub 100usd replacements, I am moving on.

    MS and Sony(esp MS) have left a bad taste in my mouth at this point.

    Time will tell, maybe things will change, maybe my opinion will change. But at this point Steam and a new Nintendo system sounds like a win win to me.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    @7 Their results (or lack of same) speak for themselves. All you need to do is look at Steam. A platform that actually tries to accomodate enterprise and creativity in equal measure, which is what indies actually need.

    http://2dboy.com/2011/10/03/xbla/

    In comparison, XBLA couldn’t possibly seem more conservative or ill suited to adapt to the needs of their developers.

    Which, again, is symptomatic for the way Microsoft has always worked.

    Microsoft is another one of these dinosaur companies that rely on the old mantra that “We take up a lot of space, ergo we’re always right”. They only have one strategy, they aren’t willing to compromise, they don’t iterate it often, and it’s almost never based on the user. Purely on the notions and ideas of their programmers and executives.

    The only reason why they were ever able to make themselves believe that is because they were never seriously challenged by someone going a different route.

    Which is exactly why Microsoft and fellow-dinosaur Apple are shaking in their pants looking at Google, because there’s a far more flexible company that embodies everything they’re not.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Da Man

    Ah, so yet again some enthusiastic gibberish from a person who changes his views as often as the weather does. Sorry, but how about answering my questions now? Because whether it’s Ai, which you have zero knowledge about, and can’t tell scripted events from full blown intelligent game agents, or any topic whatnot, you’re always so progressive.. in reading internet blogs.

    Took you reading some shit again to reply, eh?
    —–

    Could you please refrain from linking to random blogs from the internet, and state your own pov instead? It’s appalling, really.

    Please, do elaborate on lack of results on MS part. Currently we can witness Halo3 being at 14.5 million, whilst Sony exclusives tend to do at most 4-5, with the exception of GT perhaps.

    The only reason why they were ever able to make themselves believe that is because they were never seriously challenged by someone going a different route.
    Really?
    You were talking about MS being narrow-minded, when they basically turned consoles around and made them into accessible for indies, flexible network platforms. Now you ‘re using their recent greed as an example of that.

    Please, do elaborate on this err, ‘accomodate enterprise and creativity in equal measure. What exactly is that? What is there on Steam that can’t be done on Xbla?

    If you say so. Last thing I would like to buy is an Android based smartphone. Because aside from a shitty iOS clone and a plethora of malware due to users deciding what’s on the market instead of tight control from above, there’s hardly anything one could make use of. But hey, enjoy your newly found freedom in computer entertainment.. Seriously, it would seem your idea of flourishing business is some free theatre.

    Don’t lose the enthusiasm, man.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DSB

    I know, I’m so far out I actually know what I’m talking about, and backing it up with the highly qualified words of one of the most highly respected indie developers in recent time.

    Really, if you don’t recognize 2D Boy, then that’s your problem. You probably don’t want to admit to that in any conversation about indie development, though.

    As for Microsofts failure to accomodate enterprise and creativity, it’s all described in that blog post, which you seem oddly reluctant to actually read.

    Sorry to ruin your man-boner, I know I’m fucking sexy, but I’m not here to cater to your inferiority complex. If facts and enlightened arguments are that threatening to you, I’m sorry, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do to help that.

    All you have is petty little insults. As usual, I’m actually backing shit up :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Da Man

    Not at all. I just find it appalling when people base their views entirely on text from the internet. I also can’t understand why does a person who has obv nothing to do with the topic, being so pointlessly enthusiastic.

    If you’re just here for the lulz, then w/e. I’m sorry, have fun.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    Text from the internet could be written by anyone from Albert Einstein to a highly succesful indie developer. It’s not my fault if you aren’t smart enough to tell the difference.

    The fact that you don’t recognize a highly qualified indie developer when you see one is none of my concern. I’m surprised that there are people out there who don’t recognize 2D Boy by now.

    Most of what I say is opinion. I’m surprised that it apparently means so much to you. I don’t think I even remember what I wrote earlier today. I like to back up what I say, because usually there’s a bit of thought and study behind it, but if that’s even more of a threat to you, then it’s really a pointless exercise.

    I prefer to think that speaks for itself.

    Some people want to learn, and some people just want to argue.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Da Man

    That’s true, but it doesn’t change my distaste for anyone basing their views on that alone. I tend to like people who question ‘Einsteins’ though.

    I don’t exactly ‘not recognize’ this guy, can’t see where I ever implied that.

    I didn’t figure you were just having peaceful fun around here. Might want to word your posts a tad bit less enthusiastic after all ;). Okay, thanks for the opinion.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    Mazel tov.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Da Man

    You’r hebrew (as in beliefs I mean)? Should’ve said that from the start..

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    Nope. I always wanted to learn yiddisch though.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Da Man

    #19 2 years ago
  20. absolutezero

    You guys.

    You fucking guys.

    #20 2 years ago