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Microsoft Makes Changes to Xbox Indies Policies

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Posted on January 4, 2012 AT 01:40pm

THE BUZZ: If you’re a fan of the Xbox Indies program on the Xbox 360, then you may be happy to hear about some of the changes Microsoft has just implemented.

Announced today, here are the three big revisions that have happened to the policies the company has in place for Xbox Indies developers:

Bigger game sizes: The previous maximum size for Xbox Indies games was 150MB—that limit has now been increased to 500MB. This means Indies developers will be able to craft bigger, more expansive games.

Change in price structure: Previously, games that were larger than 50MB had to be priced at either 240 ($3) or 400 ($5) MS Points. That tier now starts at 150MB, meaning any games below that size limit may be priced at 80 MS Points ($1).

More releases per developer: Developers were initially limited to releasing a maximum of eight games via the Xbox Indies platform. Then, that limit was changed to 10. As of today, Microsoft has once again increased that limit, so that developers may release a maximum of 20 Xbox Indies games.

EGM’s TAKE: As a big fan of the Xbox Indies program, I’m glad to see these changes being implemented. Both the file size increase and change to pricing tiers mean that not only will developers be able to release more ambitious games, but that they’ll have more flexibility in what price to release them at.

The last change, however, I have mixed feelings about. When I think about the better Xbox Indies developers that I’ve come across, I can think of none offhand who have released anywhere close to 10 games. Meanwhile, those who have released that many are typically the ones who are pushing out nothing but sloppily-produced shovelware in the hopes of making a quick buck.

So, I’m a little worried this will lead to even more of a flood of garbage filling up the Xbox Indies channel and getting in the way of the quality games getting noticed. I’d love to be wrong on this, however.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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