The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile developer Ska Studios has never had any problems working with Microsoft, contrary to ongoing talk of how indies struggle with the platform holder.
Ska Studios has three Xbox Live Arcade games – The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, and Charlie Murder – as well as four Xbox Live Indie Games – ZP2KX, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1, ZP2K9 and Zombie Smashers X4 Guitarpocalypse! – as well as one Windows Phone game, Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne).
Charlie Murder is being published by Microsoft, and in a recent blog post, James Silva – one half of the two-persn developer – had nothing but praise for the platform holder.
“Quite frankly, working with Microsoft is great. I have heard a few stories that contradict my experience, and I know quite a few people who are happier on platforms other than XBLA, and that’s fine for them,” he wrote.
“XBLA is a closed, carefully curated platform with its own set of fairly rigid standards and protocols. For me, it was just a matter of ‘do the work, release the game,’ and that’s exactly what we did. Going from a hobbyist PC bedroom developer to having conference calls with Microsoft (admittedly, still from my bedroom) was such a rush that the supposed terrors of having to fill out lots of forms or fix messaging errors were absolutely lost on me.”
Silva said that “everything’s fine” doesn’t make a good a headline, which leads to a skewed views on Microsoft’s services.
“When one indie says they’re never working with Microsoft again, the gaming public becomes curious as to whether this is an isolated incident, or part of some sort of ugly truth, and pretty soon everyone wants to know if I’ve just been secretly hiding my experience with the ugly truth, or if I’ll be moving to PS4 because of the ugly truth, when in fact this perceived ugly truth is nothing more than four or five data points,” he continued.
“Reinforcing the ‘Microsoft is bad for indies’ narrative doesn’t hurt Microsoft, it hurts indies,” he added.
“Telling thousands of readers that Microsoft is failing at indie gaming is telling thousands of potential customers that Microsoft is failing at indie gaming. And while everyone likes a sale, the ones who really, desperately need the money aren’t the Microsoft people who greenlight the projects, they’re the indie developers who are trying to quit their day jobs, trying to buy a house, trying to raise a baby.
“As a consumer, would you think twice about buying a game from a ‘failed platform?’ Would you hesitate at buying an indie game from a company that ‘screws indies?’ But that’s the current narrative, and while it sucks for Microsoft, it sucks a lot more for indie developers who are publishing on XBLA.”
It’s worth noting that the post went up ahead of recent negative discussion of Microsoft’s treatment of indies, although the sentiment has recurred several times over the past few years.