Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
I was surprised to read in today's new post that Tycho believes (due to Microsoft's mission statement for the service) that XBLA is aimed at casual players. For those of you that are scared of the PA main page, here is the pertinent text.
Live Arcade is actually a subset of Microsoft Casual Games, so while the hardcore certainly appreciate weekly content infusions and clamor when they are not timely, we were never its aim. The purpose of Live Arcade is to make their platform a valid mainstream play. Marketplace has a wider purview, but Live Arcade is designed to deliver a certain kind of inoffensive, family-oriented product and it does so. Until recently, the scope of these products was also enforced through a stringent filesize restriction.
Microsoft's position here (as elsewhere in their empire) is to establish the platform and then let partners create the real value. This means that for games in miniature, ready to deliver, they have often sought out players who are already doing the same thing on their other connected gaming platform - you've seen this content before, in many cases. You can contrast that with Sony's approach, which has thus far been to channel much, much less content of vastly higher polish, often from teams that are first party or powerfully aided thereby. I don't actually know which one consumers prefer, I can't see the deep stats - I simply find these disparities fascinating.
Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market. It could also be argued that the 360 isn't a platform aimed at the casual gamer either. Most of what they want to play is available on the PC. Prices for individual games there may be higher (Heavy Weapon is $10 on XBLA but $20 (I believe) on Popcap's site), but there is no buy-in cost as most people already own a computer and said computer wasn't purchased solely for playing games.
I'm not sure if there's a debate here or not, but I'd be interested to see whether filling the arcade with more games that appeal to the non-casual gamer would generate them more money and, more importantly to us, more games to play.
I'm not sure what sort of gamer they'd categorize me as, but the arcade games I've got are:
- Boom Boom Rocket (it may have mass appeal for being pretty but it gets damn hard, unavailable eslewhere)
- Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank (available on the web for $20)
- Hexic HD (available on the web for free)
- Root Beer Tapper (also gets phenomenally hard at later levels, available on the web for free)