We Might Get Xbox LIVE Indie Games (After The Classification Review)

Australians currently don't have access to Xbox LIVE Indie Games — a fact that irritates many — but it's also something that bothers Jeremy Hinton, Group Category Manager at Microsoft Australia. According to him, Microsoft is looking to the Classification Review to make launching Xbox LIVE Indie a possibility in Australia.

"We're looking forward to the current classification review, which might provide some opportunities for us to launch Xbox LIVE Indie Games here, if the right changes to the system are made," claimed Jeremey.

"That's our hope — that we have a new regulatory system that allows us to use our own peer review system," he continued. "Then we'll be able to bring the games to our market.

"We work with schools locally so students can create their own content. The craziness of the system is such that they can build a game and sell that game in multiple different countries, but not their own."

The issue at the moment is that the Xbox LIVE Indie Games service is classified through a peer review system. In order for Microsoft to launch in Australia, they would have to pay for every single game published on the service — and the cost of that would be astronomical.

"Right now Indie Games, in the regions where it's launched, a lot of their ratings bodies are optional," claimed Jeremy. "But in Australia it's a mandatory legal requirement that all games are classified. The sheer volume of content coming through, the fact that it's coming from all around the world, and the fact that ratings works as part of a mandatory peer review system means that we haven't been in a position to launch that in a way where it's still within legal guidelines."

According to Jeremy, Apple's App Store and the Android Store managed to circumvent this as a result of an archaic classification system that separates console content from mobile content.

"It's all part of the challenge with the current classification system," said Jeremy, "because iPhone and Android games are on a mobile device they're under the Media Communications Act, rather than the Classification Act which console games fall under."

From what we've seen and heard from the Classification Review so far, it looks as though it will present recommendations to move towards a co-regulatory system in which the local industry bears some of the burden of classification. If that's the case, we could see Xbox LIVE Indie Games launching in Australia at some point in the future.

But when that'll will actually come to pass is anyone's guess.


Comments

    This will involve a series of thinking and pro-active movement on behalf of the Australian Government.

    Thus, we will never see these games.

    You know what's sad? At my uni there's a club that's dedicated to developing games, mainly for Xbox Live.

    They can't even sell their games to Australians, despite being Australian developed, because Aussies don't have access to Indie games.

    How much is it currently?

    I can understand not opening the whole store but surely the tried and tested "good ones" could be released here.

      $500 minimum but can go up to around $2500
      A game would have to be REALLY popular to be able to make a profit.

    In the meantime, I just created a UK live account and can access the indie channel that way.

    Also ... my points are cheaper.

      Are there any adverse consequences to this?

        None that I've found yet (Other than having to have games on 2 accounts).

      This is the same method I use to play Rock Band Network songs, which are also in the Indie Games category. I buy them with a US gamertag with US MS points and I play them on my normal Australian account. No adverse consequences. (I also have some Japanese DLC for a Japanese game bought with a Japanese gamertag.)

    Yes, soon there'll be "avatar massage games" for *every* Australian!

    Wasn't there something about the classification review where it will take two years??? I hope I'm getting that mixed up with something but if I have to wait TWO YEARS, then what is the point???

    Please, I hope I'm wrong or mixed up on that two year review thing

    Wait, aren't indies fleeing the Indie Games section for PC because no-one ever looks at the Indie Games section?

    Its all a load of crap, I can shoot clothes off japanese schoolgirls on my Android, or play the same indie games on Steam, but I can't buy games developed by Australians on the 360 because they have a better enforcement system.

    Plenty of indie titles still available on Steam that haven't been classified, why? because indie devs would need to be sure of serious profit when paying to classify their game here... when they can't as they're independent.

    It's even more irritating that a huge chunk of Rock Band songs under the RBN section aren't available here because we don't have XNA. The song "Australia" (the Shins) is not available in Australia :( having a US account gets around the problem but it's still a hassle getting points from amazon.

    Poo.

    No links to source or additional information. I've got half a dozen games up there, and got my hopes up at the title of the article.

    This is just some waffle and uncited quotes. Mark Serrels, I am dissapointed.

    Wait, isn't indie games for XBL run on a peer review system?

    If so, couldn't indie games just have people who test their games give them a classification. And the classification voted the most, after a certain period or amount, will then become the permanent classification. Instead of having ERSB or any classification reviewers involved.

    Second, couldn't independent game developers/companies, do some fund raising and pay for their own game to feature on indie games (at their own risk) to see whether they can make a profit.

    I would love to see indie games to become available to Australia, because I have a friend who is a young game developer, and it would be great to be able to play his company's games on Xbox 360.

    Please share this so others could see and even a survey could be conducted on this, so we as game lovers could see a development in Australian indie games industries.

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