The Future of Indie Gamer Chick

It’s been 580 days since I started Indie Gamer Chick.  In that time, I’ve reviewed 352 games, 327 of which are for Xbox Live Indie Games.  My participation in the XBLIG community has been nothing short of life changing for me.  Sometimes my reviews aren’t exactly nice, so being embraced by developers was not something that I expected.  I feel like I’ve been adopted by a loving, nurturing family.  Yea, Xbox Live Indie Games don’t always produce the highest quality of titles, but that’s the price you pay for having an open platform.  For all the bitching people (including myself) do about some truly abysmal games that were intended to be bad from the get-go, it’s all worth it.  It created a place where talented, enthusiastic dreamers could create and market their very own video games.

Proof that XBLIG isn't dead: there's some very exciting looking titles still on the horizon.  This is Ring Runner, coming this Summer.  Click the picture for a trailer.

Proof that XBLIG isn’t dead: there’s some very exciting looking titles still on the horizon. This is Ring Runner, coming this Summer. Check out their YouTube channel by clicking the picture.

Unfortunately, word from Microsoft leaked this week that XNA, which is the sole development language of Xbox Live Indie Games, has begun to be phased out.  While not discontinued, XNA is now classified as “no longer under development.”  Along with this, all current XNA MVPs will be relieved of their duties on April 1, 2014.  This has caused widespread mourning among the XBLIG community.  Mind you, we’re over a year away from the date that MVPs are being let go.  Still, the future of Xbox Live Indie Games, which was always shaky at best, now seems downright bleak.

To clear-up some misconceptions for those non-hardcore XBLIG fans that read me, Xbox Live Indie Games are, to the best of my knowledge, not being removed from the Xbox 360 Marketplace at this time.  In fact, it’s a safe bet that they’ll be around for at least another year.  If the time comes where membership to the App Hub is stopped, then you can feel free to panic.  However, there’s no question that XBLIGs as we know them today will cease to exist sometime in the future.  Hopefully some questions will be answered with the next generation Xbox is unveiled in the coming months.

Another reason to stay excited about Xbox Live Indie Games: DLC Quest has a sequel on the way.  It's called Live Freemium or Die and it's coming "very soon" says creator Ben Kane.  Click

Another reason to stay excited about Xbox Live Indie Games: DLC Quest has a sequel on the way. It’s called Live Freemium or Die and it’s coming “very soon” says creator Ben Kane. Okay, so I’m the one and only person who begged him to NOT do a sequel, but if anyone can prove me wrong, it’s him.  Click the picture for the trailer.

The end of XNA is not the end of Xbox Live Indie Games.  Indies will factor into the next generation Xbox.  Not because Xbox Live Indie Games was a rousing success, because it wasn’t.  It’s because the game industry is trending this way.  iPhone has become one of the most successful gaming consoles in history.  Sony has created its own open-to-anyone platform.  This is the direction the industry is heading.  Microsoft won’t keep indies around because they’re trendy or because they’re artists.  They’ll do so because it’s sound business sense.

In the meantime, my fans on Twitter want to know what this means for Indie Gamer Chick.  Well, since Xbox Live Indie Games aren’t going anywhere in the immediate future, I’m not going anywhere either.  Yea, I suffered from a bit of burnout earlier this month, but then a couple of games came along that reminded me why I’ve stuck by this platform for the last eighteen months.  Of course, I can’t say what the future holds once XBLIGs begin to roll out on the next generation platform.   Whether they remain the focus of my site will depend on how open the platform is and the volume of games released on it.  If it sees the same amount of games as PlayStation Mobile, I obviously wouldn’t be able to center my site around it.  Thankfully, my name is Indie Gamer Chick, and thus I’m not tied down to anything.

Heh, sorry Tim.

Escape Goat 2 might not come to Xbox Live Indie Games, which is exactly why I need to start paying more attention to other avenues of indie gaming.

Escape Goat 2 might not come to Xbox Live Indie Games, which is exactly why I need to start paying more attention to other avenues of indie gaming.  You can head to the developer’s website by clicking the picture and threaten bodily harm if he doesn’t release on XBLIG.  Or, you know, ask politely.

I am announcing that I’m going to include more coverage of non-XBLIG platforms.  Until recently, reviews of games on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, iOS, and Wii U eShop were rare here.  That’s going to change.  Xbox Live Indie Games will remain the primary focus of my site until Xbox Live Indie Games cease to be.  But I’ll also make a good effort to have one non-XBLIG review weekly.  Along with this, you can also expect features like Indies in Due Time (returning soon) and Tales from the Dev Side to look outside of Xbox Live Indie Games.  In fact, the MonoGame Team will be doing an editorial sometime in the near future.  There might also be changes in the Leaderboard in July in time for my second year anniversary, so that it includes iOS and PlayStation Mobile titles.  I’ll keep those elitist PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade games off it.  Snooty bastards.  And don’t even get me started on Wii U’s eShop.  It seems to have suffered some kind of gaming version of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

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The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

11 Responses to The Future of Indie Gamer Chick

  1. First time I heard of this :( It’s a shame this happened, I was going to renew my app hub subscription but I think know would be a good time to start making games on other platforms.

  2. Having XNA declared “dead” is one thing. It’s a good technology and I love MonoGame taking up the mantle. Honestly I’m not even sure what active development on the framework itself would even do, since it has basically everything you need without going overboard while making it pretty dead simple to get started making games.

    What I’m more concerned with, is whether or not there will be an analogous service to Xbox Live Indie Games for independent developers to cheaply and easily market games for the next generation console, even if it’s just a move back to C++ and unwrapped DirectX.

  3. Having wasted several month driving myself insane playing every single XBLIG title for review purposes I can safely say, good riddance.

    XBLIG is 90% garbage and has been the instrument in its own demise. Every single a-hole who made a terrible game for the indie service should hang their heads in shame, as their cynical attempt to make a few bucks resulted in everyone abandoning ship and leaving it to sink.

    All the best games from XBLIG (Escape Goat, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, Qrth-Phyl etc) are on PC anyway, so maybe this will encourage Xbox 360 users keen on indie games to ditch the console and move to that platform.

    • I’d hate to see how jaded you’d be if you played every PC game ever. I’m sure every developer out there wishes to apologize to you personally for all of your time that they wasted. Yeah, I’m not exactly nice about a lot of the games that come out, but the fact that NOTHING LIKE THIS has EVER been done before, I say kudos to Microsoft for even getting it this far and to anyone who put themselves out there and used their own time and money to do so, usually earning nothing but ridicule from everyone else. Here’s hoping that this sort of avenue is available on another console, because honestly, it’s been a blast.

      TL;DR – #becauseofXNA I learned you’re mean.

  4. Tim Hurley says:

    I certainly can’t say I’m surprised by the non-announcement. Anyone who has tried to contact Microsoft on anything related to XBLIG can attest to their ‘interest’ in the format. That will change, of course, as indies become a larger portion of the profits in the Next Generation and beyond, though the ‘XBLIG’ ‘XNA’ branding will probably be no more. Still plenty of stuff to be excited about for at least one more year, and you can’t ever forget where you came from.

    Oh, and please, Ian. By all means, focus on PC / Steam for Escape Goat 2, but get a version up on XBLIG. :)

    • Escape Goat 2 will be great, but what I wanna know is WHEN IS SOULCASTER III? :(

      (…I say this knowing I’ll probably still put more time into Soulcaster 1 than anything else.)

    • Given the limited time I have to work on developing and porting EG2, I would say that unless MonoGame proves to be too impossible, OSX and Linux will come before an XBLIG version. I’m surprised at the number of emails I’ve gotten (well, about five total) pleading for me to not abandon XBLIG. I hear you guys, the question is whether it is worth the month of time to port and test it.

      @Shin_Hogosha–SCIII has not been abandoned, and the tech added to EG2 will be put to good use when I make it later this year. Don’t worry!

      • It’s different, but not such a drastic leap. We ported over a buggy version of 3DZ rather quickly to Monogame. After we’re done with our new game, we’re going back and putting 3DZ in Monogame (Don’t like leaving our Linux followers behind). Multiple platforms is a good thing. Don’t leave XBLIG! However, I’ll buy your game anywhere regardless :)

      • I always worry. Price of getting older. You always worry and kids never stay off your lawn. :( Speaking of MonoGame, are you gonna be developing/porting for Ouya as well?

  5. ECDryere says:

    Thanks for mentioning Ring Runner! When we started working on it nearly 5 years ago, XNA seemed like a pretty hot ticket. Well, this is what happens when you have such a long development cycle. ;o But I’m just glad that we’ll be able to send off XNA in style!

  6. Pingback: Tales from the Dev Side: MonoGame is The One « Indie Gamer Chick

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