The excitement amongst indie developers at a Microsoft-thrown Community Games at a launch party in San Francisco last October was nigh tangible. Here was a delivery platform for every day game designers to deliver their ideas to millions of hungry consumers and instead of simply giving it away, they could profit from it. That was Microsoft’s promise.
While Community Games has launched without a hitch, the situation is more troublesome behind the scenes, Community Games developers told MTV Multiplayer, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The root of the problem: we know as much as developers do about how games have been selling. Official Xbox Live evangelist Major Nelson has released several top ten lists seemingly indicating Xbox 360 users would pay for quality indie games, but how many people are buying them? Our sources said those numbers haven’t been disclosed to anyone outside of Microsoft, developers included.
Being number one, two or three in a list is encouraging news, said our sources, but without knowing the numerical data driving the list, the elation is quickly lost when it’s possible only a couple hundred people bought your game.
Microsoft told MTV Multiplayer they are currently working on making sales data available to developers. “All Community Games developers will be able to access sales and download numbers through the [XNA Creators Club] Web site by March,” said a company spokesperson in an e-mailed statement this morning.
Until then, however, developers are forced to rely on word-of-mouth and top ten lists from Major Nelson to determine whether their flirtations with Community Games have been a success.