Double Fine head Tim Schafer has spoken out about the declining Xbox Live Arcade platform, saying that Microsoft has ignored developers’ warnings that they’re jumping ship.
Schafer refers specifically to a blog post by World of Goo co-creator Ron Carmel, who laid out his concerns about the platform. Schafer says Microsoft has done nothing to address those concerns.
“I was hoping that would be a really, really eye-opening article for the console manufacturers… and I feel like it’s been totally dismissed,” he said.
“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.
“Can you reverse an exodus? Is there a term for that? A redexus?” he jokes.
“Seriously, 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 points out the advantages of platforms such as Steam and iOS, saying that a more simple and focused updating process and effortless distribution model are the main reasons why developers are moving away from both XBLA and Sony’s PSN.
We can put something up on the App Store pretty easily. We can put stuff up on Steam really easily,” he explains.
“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 does acknowledge what the platforms have contributed to the industry, and does want them to solve these issues.
“There are good games on both platforms. And that’s the thing, is that I really believe in both those platforms, and I want them to succeed,” he said.
“We were used to thinking of these huge triple-A games and all of a sudden when you got your 360, one of the things that felt really next-gen about it was that you could download Geometry Wars for five dollars, and we hadn’t done that before. I hadn’t thought of buying that kind of game on a console before and I’m having tons of fun and I think that leads to a new creative outlet and brought us games like Limbo and Castle Crashers and all the great games that we saw on that platform.
“I want that to succeed. So when you read an article about that, warning about the migration away from the platform, that’s a shame and we want that not to be the case.”