Why No 360 Compatibility may Save Indie on Xbox One Laura Kate May 21, 2013 Features Let’s be honest, Xbox Live Indie Games is the perfect example of how to ruin a great idea. Microsoft took this great concept, the idea of having a section of their console where Indie developers could easily get their game onto one of the home consoles using a PC style development framework without a Publisher was a great idea that could have seen them win over the Indie loving console market with unique creative software. What XBLIG ended up being as a burial ground, somewhere that you can get your game onto, but that it’ll never receive the slightest bit of advertising or ever be pointed out, somewhere it will be hidden away, only to be downloaded by the core fanbase and never be purchased just because it looks cool. XBLIG was the opposite of what Indie need. Indies need to be shopped into the public eye when they succeed, put under a spotlight where every gamer can see them. At this point you might be thinking to yourself “Yes, XBLIG sucked as a platform, but why are you bringing it up now?”. The reason I bring it up now, is I think that by ditching 360 compatibility, Xbox One has a perfect opportunity to revive Microsoft’s Indie safe haven into something wonderful. What do we currently know? We know that because Microsoft are basing the Xbox One on an X-86 architecture, neither 360 retail or download software will run natively on the XB1 without being ported over on a title by title basis. What this means is that the majority of downloadable software is suddenly going to vanish from their online store, offering them a great chance to start over with a clean slate in terms of their store and the way it is organised. With the explosion of indie gaming in the past few years being incredibly hard to ignore for Microsoft, Minecraft has been a mega success on their platform (conveniently in XBLA not XBLIG) and many of Sony’s most critically acclaimed titled have been Indie titles that Sony themselves courted to the system. I think that at this point Microsoft has got to be looking at the growing success of Indie and wondering how they turn that into money. The solution, make Windows PC to XB1 porting simple, make a big deal of having a dedicated indie games section on your store and find a way to give indie games equal advertising space on your dashboard. With a few simple changes they could make XBLIG a service that promotes great indie games, making them something seen more on par with Live Arcade releases and not relegated to a cheap and unappealing part of the store. Use the fact that you own the most common development environment for Indie Games already to your advantage. Make porting easy, self publishing easy, and make a big deal out of your best indie games. XB1 has the potential, but now’s the time to seize it more than ever.