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Prison Architect dev says consoles are made unappealing to indies

Prison Architect developer Introversion has been making indie games longer than most, and it remains unimpressed by console support. Introversion co-founder Mark Morris spoke to VG24/7 about its latest title and why it has no current plans to bring it to Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony's systems.

Much of Introversion's reluctance comes from feeling burned by the Xbox Live Arcade development of Darwinia+, a port of the PC title which was an early example of a commercially successful indie game.

“[The $10,000 cost for an Xbox 360 development kit is] ridiculous, and it’s non-refundable once you’ve bought it," Morris said. "You’ve got to pay--I think our quality assurance bill was $30,000 for testing with Darwinia+, and it took four years to get the game certified to a standard that Microsoft wanted. It then sold rubbish. We hardly shipped any units on Xbox 360, compared to PC."

Morris said Microsoft has attempted to capture some of the PC's strong community with XBLA and Xbox Live Indie Games. But it just hasn't been enough to make up for how much more difficult and expensive it is to develop for consoles, all for no better returns.

“You’re not delivering the amount of sales, you’re making us work harder, and ultimately we’re getting paid less than what we do on PC. So I think they’re definitely--in the indie world--second class customers … If they want to work with us--and if they want indie games on their systems--they’re going to have to change quite a lot to make it attractive.”

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Introversion

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3 comments

  • FreezeRay - October 30, 2012 5:57 a.m.

    sounds like the crying of someone who didn't get sales they projected. I agree that the cost for Indie Devs on XBox is absurd but you know the cost up front so you only can blame yourself. Also just because a game sells well on the PC does not mean it will on consoles.
  • Travia220 - October 30, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    The whole point of the article is that it's very expensive to develop for Consoles and the developer would like to see it made easier for a team without vast funds to get their games on consoles. 10000$ is nothing for a publisher, 10000$ is a lot of money for an indepedent developer. Microsoft and Sony could offer a cheaper solution to smaller developers. It's pretty obvious these two companies don't really care for the Indie market. Oh well, typically Indie Games are received far more on PC than anywhere else. Distributors have no problem giving Indie Games just as much focus as AAA games on their store fronts. Which is what makes me wonder why developers even bother releasing for consoles to just get shafted in the end.
  • rabidpotatochip - October 30, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    Developers release to consoles because the hardware and software are consistent across the board and because PC tends to get demonized due to the ease of piracy.

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