Developer of N+ remains candid about views on how the industry isn't balancing quantity and quality
The developer of PC indie hit and XBLA title N+, Metanet, has moved to clarify criticisms of Xbox Live Arcade in a recent Gamasutra interview - but has maintained its view that the service has too many poor games on it.
In a post on the studio blog, the team said: "Everyone we’ve worked with at Microsoft have been terrific — smart, helpful, bright, and passionate. Obviously we haven’t met everyone working there, but those who were involved in N+ were great to work with. We’re sorry if our criticism of the service hurts them, because we know they’re doing their best. The 'most games suck' problem really seems to be a pervasive institutional issue rather than the fault of this or that person."
The team also added that the "interview happened about an hour after we found out that the royalty rates for XBLA have been 'adjusted' to the point where our whole business plan moving forward was totally shafted - hence the bitterness".
But on Xbox Live Arcade, the Metanet team added: "We didn’t intend to provoke outrage, we simply spoke candidly. [...] Don’t shoot the messenger — it’s not our fault that the vast majority of XBLA games suck! Literally every single person we’ve ever spoken with is in agreement on this, and yet it’s apparently shocking for gamers in general to hear.
"If you think back to when these downloadable channels (XBLA/PSN) were announced, they were supposed to be the “anti-retail”: good royalties for all involved, smaller/less “epic” games (quirky ideas which would never have been approved by a publisher), basically a mecca for small teams. In hindsight we were perhaps naive to buy into what was apparently empty marketing speak, however we really believed that something worthwhile and interesting was happening.
"Fast forward to now: royalties (allegedly) suck, casual games outnumber proper video games (this will have to wait for a future post for further discussion), the vast majority of titles are “disappointing” (this is perhaps a more politic choice of words than “utter crap”), and small teams are being actively funneled through publishers."
The team adds that "The 'diamonds will always stand out' argument doesn’t work when gamers have ceased to pay attention to XBLA due to how badly the last 10 demos they tried sucked.
"This ties in to the larger rant of “why do the majority of games TOTALLY SUCK ASS?”, which is a very complex topic. Certainly everyone is to blame — gamers, developers, publishers, press. Hopefully someone will figure it out before consumers become totally jaded and it’s music-industry-style meltdown time."
The team's comments echo previous sentiments from other developers we have previously aired here on Develop when it comes to how XBLA contrasts with other downloadable games channels.