The Future of Indie Gamer Chick
January 31, 2013 11 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.