Microsoft’s online gaming and media service, Xbox LIVE for the Xbox 360 is a place where gamers, and entertainment-loving folks in general can go and download all sorts of things to pass the time. A strong moneymaker for the Redmond-based company is Xbox LIVE’s Arcade, where developers and publishers can release “classic” titles, along with smaller games that may not be big enough to fit into a full “retail” package. Titles like Limbo and Monday Night Combat managed to garner plenty of rave reviews, and even some “best of” lists. But, there’s another section on Xbox LIVE that hasn’t received so much attention: Indie games. In fact, getting any kind of face time on Xbox LIVE for the Indie game developer has been sort of a rough patch recently.
Back at the beginning of November, Microsoft decided to shove the Xbox LIVE Indie Games section way, way into the depths of the Marketplace. No longer could you find it with a few flicks of a joystick. You’d have to go all the way into the “Specialty Shop,” and there you’d find your favorite “small-time” games. This didn’t sit well with the developers of these titles, and they made it apparent that they believed Microsoft was worried about these other games taking the limelight away from Microsoft’s cream-of-the-crop Arcade titles.
Microsoft eventually relented, and returned the Indie Games panel back to the main section of the Marketplace. However, it doesn’t look like that’s enough for some Indie game developers, as they still believe they do not receive the same treatment that Arcade developers get. The result? The Indie Games Winter Uprising. It started off from a pair of developers coming together to promote not only their titles, but other Indie games that they believed looked too good to pass up. After the Xbox LIVE Indie Games panel was moved into the Specialty Shop, a lot of developers started losing money as sales dropped suddenly. It was bad enough that, according to Robert Boyd, the development head of Breath of Death VII, “a lot of developers talked about quitting the service.”
That’s when Ian Stocker, the developer behind Soulcaster II, got in touch with Boyd and suggested that the two of them team up, more or less, to promote their games. Boyd was just about finished with Cthulhu Saves the World, and figured that it would be a good idea. He didn’t want it to just focus on their games, though, and suggested that they should widen their scope to include other top-notch Indie games. And that’s how the Indie Games Winter Uprising was conceived.
In total, there are 14 games that are part of the Winter Uprising. A few of them are already out, but most of them won’t be released until early 2011. What’s interesting, though, is the support that the Winter Uprising has received from Microsoft. After the company wanted to squander the service into the depths of the Marketplace, the Winter Uprising now has its own promotional panel in the main section of the Dashboard. It’s not just in the Marketplace — it’s right there in the front, where everyone can see. And, what makes it better, is that the idea for the large promotion was apparently Microsoft’s.
The developers taking part in the Winter Uprising are not only hoping that their games pick up in sales due to the promotion, but also that the overall traffic increases significantly into the Indie Games section of Xbox LIVE. One of the games, Epic Dungeon has already managed to sell over 10,000 copies. You can see the game in action below.
[via Ars Technica]