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How to stifle Innovation, the Microsoft Way

By on May 21, 2012

From the TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing:

How to Submit A Game [for XBLA]

  • Once you have fleshed out your game concept, contact the XBLA team via email with a pitch regarding your game and company
  • If the team is interested, they will contact you and ask you to fill out the official Concept Submission Form
  • You will then formally submit your game concept and will asked to include a wide selection of information[which might include]:
    • concept art
    • screen shot mock-ups
    • design documents
    • early builds
  • If it passes this stage, the concept will be reviewed and evaluated.
  • The XBLA team will research your credentials, too
  • If you get the go ahead,you will be given the relevant developer tools and documentation and be allowed tobuy an Xbox development kit
  • At this stage, you develop your game, covering all the costs yourself, working with an Arcade producer that is assigned to you
  • The producer will set targetsand will help with design, Gamerscore and achievements.
  • As you get close to the end of development, the game is tested (at your expense).
  • You must also localise the gameand acquire the relevant ratings.
  • After a period of debugging and verification, the game goes through the Xbox 360 certification process, and when it is digitally signed off, it will appear on the XBLA service.

(The bold emphasis is all mine). Can you imagine a process more designed to prevent innovation? To ensure that every step, there is the opportunity for someone to say “that’s the not the way we do things around here”? To ensure that only the usual suspects make games?

I hear that the sales on the platform have been disappointing (with the notable exception of Minecraft). With rules designed to keep new ideas out, is it any surprise?

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: