Gamasutra just published an interview with me. Any complaints about my responses? ;-)
Just one, Mr. Edery. Could you please explain why so many Live Arcade titles are not released in Korea? For example, the last two, Rootbeer Tapper and Paperboy were released everywhere EXEPT Korea! In addition, there are several other titles we cannot download, despite the fact that we purchase Gold memberships and MS Points. For example, MK3, Street Fighter, Doom, and Texas Hold\’em.
I have heard two excuses for this, one, that certain game publishers want to exclude product from Korea, and two, that in certain countries (such as Korea and Germany)have media ratings boards that prohibit the introduction of certain games.
However, in the case of Rootbeer Tapper and Paperboy, excuse number one would seem not to apply, because Midway/Digital Entertainment Live Arcade titles have previously been released in Korea and excuse number two would seem not to apply because a) Korea\’s media rating board has no record that approval for either game was sought, and b) both titles are free of \
both titles are free of harmful content. I would appreciate any response you have and thank you in advance.
> Could you please explain why so many Live Arcade titles are not released in Korea?
Let’s put it this way: we almost never *choose* to withhold a title from Asia in general (and Korea in specific). In fact, more often that not, we go to great lengths to incentivize the release of titles outside US & Europe (with varying degrees of success, obviously.) I know it isn’t a satisfying answer, but the fact is, it generally is a ratings issue and/or the decision of the publisher. I can’t give specific examples, but I’ve found that publishers have a surprising array of reasons why they might forgo the extra profit from a release. It’s my hope that these reasons will prove less and less compelling as customers (such as yourself) voice their demand for content!
Let’s say that I have a concept for a fun, casual game. And I successfully pitch the concept. Does Microsoft pay me to develop the title? Or is this pitch process limited to those whose games are already developed?
Dear Mr. Edery, thanks very much for your answer! I appreciate it. It is just a little disheartening when your locale is the ONLY one where a title is unavailable.
If Live Arcade weren’t such a great service, we wouldn’t be so up in arms! Thanks again.
Most XBLA titles are self-funded. This does not, however, mean that most approved titles are “already developed.” Most aren’t.
This does not, however, mean that most approved titles are “already developed.” Most aren’t.
Should I assume that means, “Yes, Microsoft can fund the development of successfully pitched XBLA titles”? If so, how would developers reach that point with their titles? What do successful pitches for XBLA titles look like?
XBLA is unusual; we approve some pitches that may literally include nothing more than sample art and a great design document, *without* providing any cash funding (though we provide a fairly significant amount of assistance in the form of PM and test resources, among other things.)
In other words, approval of a pitch for an unfinished game does not necessarily equal funding. In fact, as noted before, it *usually* does not equal funding. XBLA games are (generally) inexpensive enough to develop that many studios can bear the burden (between projects, or with a small amount of private funding, etc.) Of course, third party publishers have started funding a lot of development work for XBLA as well.
We do fund some titles, but they are relatively few in number, and I can’t disclose how we select them.
An overview of the submission process can be found at http://www.microsoftcasualgames.com (click developers->XLA).
MS sometimes funds titles (hint, this usually is the role of a publisher, so in this case we’d be viewed as teh publisher for these), but we sometimes also introduce people to publishers if they need someone to fill that role (funding, testing, etc, etc)
Great interview, David.
One question we’ve been debating among my circles at Relic and in the game dev community is why XBLA insists on publishing so many ports of 80s games. Most recently, Paperboy and Root Beer Tapper, but Froggers “jumps” to mind as well as others.
XBLA does seem to want innovative games, but cranking out these verbatim ports of terribly old titles doesn’t fit that bill. Why not make a Classics “channel” on XBLA to group these retro titles under so as not to tarnish the innovative name of XBLA?
Anyway – keep up the good work. I’ll be talking to you at some point about an XBLA pitch, I’m sure. :)
I have heard that Microsoft usually only publishes XBLA titles that are developed by teams with great track records and working prototypes. Does this mean that pitches from individuals are generally not approved? You have discussed the games for which Microsoft is open to pitches. Now, what concerns Microsoft regarding the people behind the games?
One question we’ve been debating among my circles at Relic and in the game dev community is why XBLA insists on publishing so many ports of 80s games. Most recently, Paperboy and Root Beer Tapper, but Froggers jumps to mind as well as others.
As I mentioned in the interview, it takes 6 to 9 months (on average) for a title to progress from greenlight to live release. In some cases, it takes over a year. XBLA was in a very different place that far back in time. 1) Nobody knew how much retro was “enough”, and regardless 2) Most developers and publishers were unconvinced that digital distribution on the console would really matter (anytime soon anyway), and as a result, our biz dev person found it very difficult to proactively secure the kind of original content that we’re happily being pitched today.
Of course, this is all second-hand information; I only joined XBLA about four months ago. Which, unfortunately, means that it will be another 2 to 3 months (at the earliest) before you see any titles on the service that I’ve had anything to do with!