Thomas Was Alone port developer Curve Studios decided to publish its games on PlayStation platforms over Microsoft due to Sony “moving first, and moving faster” with indie studio support.
“It’s something that goes beyond programs and departments like ID@Xbox or the Strategic Development team at Sony,” said Clarke in part one of his blog post “Why isn’t Curve working with Microsoft?”. “The fact [Sony's indie program] exists at all is evidence of a platform holder not just making policies but acting on them, too.”
Clarke says Curve’s preference for publishing on Sony goes beyond “a clever platform”, free development kits, or the power of Unity.
“The gimmick of ‘Every Xbox is a dev kit’ and the exciting alluring of being given a Vita and told to ‘go create’ are important first step certainly, but we’re past the point we should turn into excited children because we’re offered a development kit,” he said. “We’re the content creators, and for the first time, we’re starting to have a say.
“Anyone can ‘open up’ development, all the big three platform holders act like making it easy for indies is a paradigm shift at the core of the industry, rather than a breakdown of their own internal politics and rules.
“Sony’s key advantage has been moving first, and moving faster. Microsoft’s messaging about indie games certainly didn’t get off to a good start. Indie was after all a subset of a subset of ‘gamers’ that their launch marketing was doing its best to marginalize in favor of television integration, Flo Rida and strange American sports.
“Indies aren’t going to sell consoles after all. Unless they’re Minecraft.”
Clarke goes on to note that while Xbox policies have been reversed, and the firm is part of the ID@Xbox program, there still are minor flaws in Microsoft program. Despite this, “there’s nothing inherently wrong with that system,” but the launch parity clause is still a concern for some indie developers.
Curve currently has Xbox development kits at the studio, and while the team would “love to start using them,” Clarke will talk more about why the team’s new line-up “is not finding its way to Xbox One,” and why it’s the only platform holder the developer hasn’t “released a game for.”