ID@Xbox parity clause punishes small developers, says Assault Android Cactus devs

By Dave Cook, Monday, 9 December 2013 14:54 GMT

Xbox One’s ID@Xbox scheme may seek to bring self-published indies on to Microsoft’s marketplace, but the company’s current release parity clause is punishing smaller studios. That’s the claim of Assault Android Cactus developer Witch Beam.

It follows Vlambeer’s outspoken dismay at the clause, which demands a simultaneous launch across all formats which, for small studios that often focus on one format at a time, simply isn’t viable.

Now, Australian studio Witch Beam has expressed a similar problem in an interview with Eurogamer. The team will launch its shooter Assault Android Cactus on PC in January 2014, and then PlayStation 4, Vita and Wii U in due course.

Co-creator Sanatana Mishra told the site that it won’t launch on Xbox One because of the parity clause. “The simple answer is that our plans wouldn’t meet the launch day parity requirement of the ID@Xbox program.

“We started development on our other console versions long before self-publishing was an option for Xbox One and the only way we could meet that requirement would be to delay the other versions of Cactus. We also didn’t have an exclusivity agreement in place with another console platform before the ID@Xbox program was announced, which could have allowed us to get a waiver.”

ID@Xbox boss Chris Charla has spoken with Witch Beam since, and he suggested that the studio send in their application. The studio has stressed that the scheme is still a huge step forward for Microsoft, despite its difficulty getting onto Xbox One.

“Overall I think think the ID program is very developer friendly and light years ahead of what Microsoft were doing even six months ago,” Mishra stated. “But it’s also coming in late with a clause that punishes those who have been developing on other platforms that were readily available for the past year, and that’s something they need to fix before it’s a viable option.”

What’s your take on ID@Xbox so far? Let us know below.

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