Braid Developer Says XBLA Is Inhospitable For Certain Games

Xbox Live Arcade lags behind other digital distribution services like Steam, according to the developer of Braid, Jonathan Blow. Speaking to The Penny Arcade Report, Blow said that pricing was among the things making XBLA difficult to work with.

"If I go to Steam I can sell a game for $25, but if I go to Xbox Live Arcade I can’t,” Blow said in an interview with The PA Report.

“In fact, the contract says I can’t control the price at all. That artificial channeling is sort of making their platform inhospitable for certain kinds of games.”

Blow also highlighted issues with XBLA's user interface, pointing out that Steam is miles ahead compared to the Live Arcade platform.

“Steam already has a good interface," he said.

"You can find games, there’s community stuff on there, it has recommendations… you compare that to Live Arcade, which is the best console digital experience by a wide margin, and Steam is still way better, which is crazy."

“The other thing is Valve is not stopping. Microsoft mostly stopped, and now they’re f*cking around with the Kinect UI. Who cares about that? Does anyone use that?”

Blow explained that on a recent tour of Valve 's studio, he met with the studio's engineers. When he asked if it was possible for them to do certain things to Steam, the engineers put it on a to-do list.

"It's the complete opposite of Microsoft bureaucracy, which is 'we can't do that, it's not how the Xbox works'," he said.

Blow believes that XBLA will not be able to compete with Steam even if they implement the features that Steam current has.

"Even if Live Arcade targets Steam’s current features, which are way better than what they have, they’re still aiming for where Steam was, they’re not skating to where the puck is going to be," he said.

What do you think of what Jonathan Blow has to say about XBLA? Does it fall short compared to Steam? What digital distribution services do you believe to be superior? let us know!

[The PA Report]


    A lesson Origin should learn if it hasn't already. Don't rest on your laurels. There's always something which can be done better.

      I hope that POS dies in the arse so they can fuck it up for all I care.

      I do agree that M$ needs to get their shit together with the interface though. Only problem is that I don't think that M$ sees steam as a direct competitor as the two are on different platforms so they are unlikely to do anything about it.

    This is rich coming from a man whose first game was considered overpriced at 1200 pts ($19.20) on initial release. If he feels that people will buy a first person game about tracing lines on notice boards then good luck to him but wow, imagine how many more line tracey games he could sell by aiming for the PSN/XBLA market instead of just Steam.

    Maybe it's just me but getting sick of hearing developers bitch about distributor practices, there are plenty of publishers out there folks...

      The article includes the quote “If I go to Steam I can sell a game for $25, but if I go to Xbox Live Arcade I can’t”. If that's the case, then Braid's price might not have been his choice.

      Yeah dude, if you actually read the post he stated that they actually HAVE NO CONTROL OVER HOW MUCH THE GAME SELLS FOR.

    BTW yes XBLA has dropped the ball of late - there are still good games in there (Alan Wake, Rock of Ages, Fruit Ninja are all good) but good luck finding them and the specials (which is what stands out about Valve) have been non-existant in recent months.

    I think the difference between Microsoft and Valve in terms of taking suggestions was just Microsoft flat out said "We can't do that" while Steam used a bit of psychology to give a positive impression of being open to ideas but weren't necessarily going to implement them.

    I can't really speak for Valve's engineers but the company I work for adds suggestions from our clients to a to-do list all the time. A lot of things are still there after several years and will be there for many more but people are somewhat happy because we didn't flat out say we weren't going to do it.

    Regardless, XBL is still the best place for console releases. Shit? Yes! But still the least shit.

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