I finally got to try out the new Xbox Live dashboard the other day, and was pretty impressed by it. However I lacked the eye to judge it from a developer/publisher standpoint, so I was clearly unable to pick upon the issue that has some indie developers raging. A number of indie developers claim that the indie marketplace is both hidden from view and takes up to 16 button presses for the user to be able to see indie content.
Niel Jones, developer of Monster Talk had the following to say regarding the new dashboard:
“Everyone knows the top downloads list is where the good money was made, if you landed high enough you could have sales for a few weeks if not months. If people can’t get to this list easily then things don’t look good. Even if your game gets top rated it won’t help that much if it takes the user 16 plus button presses to find the indie game top rated list.”
Contrary to the claims, Microsoft XNA/XBLIG team member Nick Gravelyn said that an indie tile on the game marketplace’s rotating carousel was added to boost exposure for developers. However the frustrations do not stop there as indie devs are also pissed about their games not showing up under any genre other than ‘indie’.
A Pouncing Kitten Games developer had some bold words:
“This is just a giant F-U to all of us. There is simply no other way to put it. Put 2000 plus games in a single list and give less than a half dozen filtering options, not including genre? Good call. Whoever made that decision should be fired immediately.”
Some developers did actually have some positives to say about the update, such as Awesome Games.
“Overall I think it’s good – there are much more ways to reach Indie games than before the update, and there are two significant improvements to ratings usability.”
Whatever the case, I’m sure Microsoft will work with developers to find a reasonable solution that satisfies everybody. One of the Marketplace’s greatest strengths was (and still is?) the indie marketplace, so I’m certain that Microsoft will not ignore these criticisms. Let us know what you think of the new Dashboard update.