Indie developer Hello Games is a four-man operation, and Sean Murray of the team has said that "it is a shame" the door to digital downloads is "getting a lot harder to open".
These words are being echoed by many now, with Murray noting it's "a closed market." There are only so many slots, and they're maintained, to "hopefully increase quality" for users.
Hello Games is currently developing Joe Danger. "For us the main thing is the gameplay, but as well as that I think the game that we're making does have high production values and we don't think our game is more worthy because it was only made by four people," said Murray.
"Hopefully it will have a personality that other games don't have, but we feel we have to compete, that's not an excuse." Budgets for digital titles have started to break $1 million.
"We're making the best game we possibly can - but... as a developer it is a shame that, while I don't think the door is closing" on digital download platforms, he adds, "it is getting a lot harder to open, and there are a lot of people saying that."
"That's just economics in some ways - it is a closed market. There are only a certain amount of slots, and they're maintaining those to hopefully increase quality for the consumer. The only thing that is a shame in that is that more traditional titles will end up being non-XBLA."
Murray stresses the importance of new ideas and not just 'franchise focusing'.
"I think at retail, if you look at the keynotes from E3, the majority of announcements were sequels, definitely," he said. "That puts games as more of a form of software, almost, where it's just different versions, and improving versions, rather than something that's full of new ideas."
"I think having said that, you look at some platforms like the Nintendo DS, and it has the widest, weirdest range of titles on there. You can play anything on a DS, and there are so many different genres." EA recently celebrated the Need for Speed franchise busting through 100 million copies sold worldwide, which includes 15 titles in the series.
Indie developers have brought us gems like Braid and World of Goo. Are the developer giants too franchise focused? Surely we gamers don't consider ourselves innocent in that...
It's getting "a lot harder" to break through with digital title releases
26 October 2009 | By Simon Priest