Indies 'are turning their backs on XBLA'

Indies 'are turning their backs on XBLA'

By Rob Crossley

October 4th 2011 at 3:42PM

But there is a wider challenge for the traditional console manufacturers, study claims

The popularity of XBLA as a platform for independent developers is in decline, according to a new survey.

A questionnaire of about 100 indies found that the PlayStation Network has been a more popular outlet since August 2010. The data, presented in the grid below, projects a further decline for activity across XBLA, while PSN work will continue to rise.

The sample is not representative of all XBLA or PSN developers. But the study’s author, 2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel, said the study sample itself should be of significance to Microsoft.

“The sample includes developers of many high profile, critically acclaimed, and commercially successful games,” he said in a blog post.

Carmel’s research suggested that the average Metascore for an XBLA game made by the sample group was 78 (above the average of 66). He also found that the average number of single-game sales by the sample group was 137,010 (far above the average of 46,281). This data was reflective and taken from 2010 figures.

“So these developers not only make much higher quality games, but they also generate a lot more revenue for Microsoft relative to the average XBLA developer,” Carmel said.

On a wider note, Carmel said the pressure is on both Sony and Microsoft to retain development talent. Other platforms, such as PC, have surged in popularity in recent years, he added.

“This survey data makes it clear that both 360 and PS3 are, at the moment, second tier platforms in terms of popularity among these developers. Windows, Mac, and iOS are getting far more attention, a very positive indicator for their longer-term health,” Carmel said.

“Newer, more successful business models have emerged, the number of talented game creators leaving their jobs to do their own thing is on the rise, and both the quality and quantity of games produced by small teams has increased dramatically.”