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.”

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.