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Braid Creator Believes XBLA is A Pain for Indie Devs

Speaking with Gamasutra Braid and The Witness developer Jonathan Blow denounced Xbox Live Arcade as being a "pain in the ass" for indie developers.

"The thing that [Microsoft] don't understand -- between that and the [certification] stuff that they do -- they just kind of make themselves a pain in the ass," he said. "For a big game, for a triple-A game that costs 60 bucks and has a giant budget and all these people working on it, the amount extra that that pain in the ass adds is not that much. But if you make an XBLA game, the amount of bulls**t that adds is gigantic. It can take a third to a half of the effort required to build your game, in some cases, and I don't think that they understand that they're competing very heavily with Steam and iOS for developer mindshare."

Blow notes that it's possible for a developer to get its game on Steam without too much trouble, but that "the XBLA business people d*ck me around and give me a**hole contracts that I need to spend three months negotiating back to somewhere reasonable" making him question whether the whole process is really worth it or not. He points to the success of titles such as Terraria and Minecraft casting doubt on the sometimes-stated assertion that XBLA has a bigger audience than the PC in general, and specifically Steam, for certain types of games.

He did note, however, that his understanding of the situation was based on the last time he spoke to Microsoft regarding publishing -- 2009, and that times might have changed since then.

"To have Microsoft as your publisher varies a lot from year to year because they change policies to do whatever they think is best, to steer the service," he admitted. "They have personnel changes and all that. So who knows what's happening?"

Blow's new game The Witness, which we previewed here, hasn't had its distribution arrangements finalized as yet. It will be launched on "at least PC and one console, others later," according to Blow.

This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Braid Creator Believes XBLA is 'A Pain in the Ass' for Indie Devs


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