Xbox One reveal creates anticipation and disappointment for indie devs

By Naren Hooson, Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:51 GMT

With Sony and Nintendo both making visible efforts to promote and improve independent developer involvement and access to their consoles, the independent developer presence was clearly lacking in Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal. Several independent developers, as well as Ouya, offer their thoughts on the reveal.

GamesIndustry spoke to a number of indie developers to gauge their reaction to the reveal. While the general consensus was one of disappointment, few are optimistic and find solace in the power of the console and the amount of integration made possible. Overall, many are anticipating what has been held back for E3.

Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games (Monaco), points out the clear focus on set-top box capabilities, “It’s impossible for me to respond to the Xbox presentation from the perspective of a game developer: it wasn’t about games, it was about a set-top box. Any speculation about the technology would probably be unwise. That said, with all the focus on the marketplace and no attention paid to the structure or openness of the marketplace, it does seem like they are trying to compete on the same axes as Apple and Google rather than Steam. Again, purely speculation drawn from their apparent priorities, and I’m sure we’ll learn more at E3!”

“As an indie developer, there was nothing in this presentation that would lure me into making a game for this console. The PS4 is much more tempting and so is the Wii U. From where I’m standing, it looks like iOS, Android and Steam stay the most interesting platforms for independent games for at least one more console generation. OUYA needs to prove itself before I can comment on it, but hiring Kellee Santiago gives them a lot of indie credibility,” says Martin Pichlmair of Broken Rules (Chasing Aurora).

While some were pleased with the integration of living room uses, Massimo Guarini of Ovosonico believes it’s heading in the wrong direction for the industry. “Our industry cannot evolve if we get obsessively stuck with the living room domination mantra and the teenage hardware wars. Our medium evolution can happen only through new content, new subjects we deal with, human emotions we resonate with. As a result of the ongoing ubiquitous multi-tech, multi-tasking collective hysteria, what worries me the most is that Microsoft might genuinely believe in the way it positioned the Xbox One.”

“Nobody sane should want, let alone need, to play a game while watching a movie, while chatting on Skype, all while waving his hands. Where is the content? I mean, besides the dog?”

“Design-wise, at least we’re lucky today’s kids don’t even know what a VHS player is.”

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