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Schafer Says Microsoft, Xbox Live Arcade Facing Mass Exodus

The war between developers and publishers is still ongoing and the war between developers and console manufacturers is still ongoing. However, after reveling in the huge success of the Kickstarter program (which has prompted more developers to follow suit) Double Fine Productions' Tim Schafer believes that Microsoft's closed-system mechanics for Xbox Live will drive away top talent very quickly.

The comments come courtesy of Industry Gamers [via GI], who conducted the interview with Schafer, where he states that...

"I like Sony and Microsoft, but those systems are closed and curated very closely and it costs a lot more money to go through that system, to patch a game,"... "It makes me stressed out that if I put a game up there, I might not be able to patch it because it might cost too much money, whereas these more open platforms will let us manage our own price and our own updates. It's just a lot more appealing right now."

This isn't the first time someone has come down on the console manufactures for closed system development. Trendy Entertainment won't be porting over any of the DLC from the PC version of Dungeon Defenders to the Xbox 360 for the very same reasons, and it's also why CD Projekt lamented over not being able to provide Xbox 360 owners with free DLC given Microsoft's no-free-DLC policy. The closed system treatment is also why Team Meat, creators of Super Meatboy say that they won't be working with Microsoft again. Even Gabe Newell, president of Valve, took digs at Microsoft over the imbroglion state of Xbox Live and getting games made, approved and published on the system.

Schafer also points to a blog by indie developer Ron Carmel, who addresses the possibility of a mass exodus of talent from Microsoft to other, more open systems. And even though an article was made as an antithesis to some of Carmel's comments over at Arcadian Rhythms, they still acknowledge that Epic Games' subsidiary Chair has moved forward with two Infinity Blade games on the iOS and no follow-up with the XBLA franchise, Shadow Complex.

Schafer further states that...

"I really think it's something they can't dismiss and they should really pay a lot more attention to because he's calling attention to a migration, an exodus of real creative talent away from those platforms to more open platforms, and I think they should do something quick to reverse that."..."Things change every generation and just because you're on top and the 900lb gorilla in one generation, as you've seen, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't mean it'll be that way forever. I think that these threats that are possibly being ignored are going to hurt those guys."

I think the situation right now may seem a little bleak, but I doubt Microsoft and Sony are ignoring the kind of influence and money-making possibilities that are attached to services such as Steam and the App Store. Sony, in fact, has already embraced Steam with an app for the Sony Entertainment Network. I imagine for Microsoft's next console they may aim to do the same.

Remember, the main thing about console gaming is first: making a name so that secondly: you can make a lot of money, and thirdly: protecting your investment to keep making money. Now that Microsoft has done all three and their biggest hurdle (i.e., RROD) is behind them, I imagine moving forward they may search out the indie community a bit more seriously heading into the next-generation of console gaming. If not, well then expect to hear more about that mass exodus Schafer was talking about.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.