A few weeks back I wrote about the indie developed Explosionade and its imminent release onto Xbox Live’s XNA section. Mommy’s Best Games who made the colourful side-scroller has taken a stand against what they consider a broken marketing system. Studio head Nathan Fouts wrote on the official site that Explosionade was finished and ready to play though he wasn’t going to release the game until Microsoft fix the top downloads list found on the Indie Games areas of the Xbox 360 dashboard. His specific complaints are about how the top downloads list is meant to update showing exactly what it’s meant to – the highest downloaded games – but instead is “stuck”. Fouts said “If we released Explosionade today, but the Top Downloads list is not updating properly we will miss a huge chance for more sales,” and continued with “We love making games as a full time business. If we have a bad launch for Explosionade, it will greatly hurt our potential to carry on.” Claiming that the list can be stuck for days and even weeks, Fouts is defiant in his cause and wants Microsoft to rectify the issue before we get any whiff of Explosionade which is bad news for gamers.
While I applaud Fouts and the Mommy’s Best Games team, I can’t but wonder if the resistance to release is damaging only themselves. Microsoft once prided themselves with the XNA initiative but now rarely speak of it. As great as Explosionade looks and although Nathan Fouts is an ex Insomniac developer, I’m not sure how much weight his ultimatum has and worse, if Microsoft would even care. I would like to think so as the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace is filled with many fantastic titles that show true creativity and should be a feature to boast about. Sadly these titles are overshadowed by the ill-conceived plethora of Avatar games that have unfortunately become the common thought when discussing XNA games. I hope that Microsoft does take this seriously and Explosionade is available as soon as possible for the sake of the developers and gamers alike.