Has Microsoft’s Xbox 360-based Xbox Live Community Games service been a success? That’s the question on everyone’s mind, following the anxiously awaited release of sales data to developers.
The answer: it depends who you talk to. There have been successes and failures in the Community Games marketplace, with hard lessons being learned by both developers hinging their futures on the service and Microsoft as a platform holder.
It’s been four months since Microsoft launched Community Games, an independent games focused compliment to Xbox Live Arcade fueled by games created with the company’s free-to-download XNA Games Studio software.
During these four months, however, developers have had no idea how well (or poorly) their games are selling, the only metric being Major Nelson top-ten lists or user created leaderboards.
The numbers are finally in. The first response came from what many believed was an early success story, trippy side-scroller Weapon of Choice from ex-Insomniac Games developer Nathan Fouts and his studio Mommy’s Best Games.
“The results are, in one word, sobering,” said Fouts on his developer blog. “I left one of the best video game employers to strike out and make my own games. This is my full time job, I am not a hobbyist and Weapon of Choice shows that. It is a full-fledged game, which took a full year to make. Not only did we hope sales would recoup the savings we spent during the year of development, we hoped it would provide enough financing to support the development of our next game.”
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