One Indie's Troubles With Microsoft

The common, popular narrative is that companies like Microsoft are eeeeevil. All they want is money! Or something like that. Maybe it's not so clear-cut?

This quote in the image above comes from a piece on Rock Paper, Shotgun on Skulls of the Shogun. (Edit: the quote comes from Borut Pfeiffer, who works for Plush Apocalypse Productions—a studio that collaborated with 17-BIT on Skulls of the Shogun). The article describes the trials and disappointments that came with developing a game exclusive to Microsoft products. Instead of having that exclusivity result in more exposure and sales, the move resulted in complications and an empty bank account.

They came across as though they were institutionally incompetent. I think they’re not really set up to be a decent publisher. I do feel slightly bad saying that, because there were people there who worked hard on our behalf, but at the same time there are systemic problems with the way that division is setup and run.

Of course, the developers knew they were taking a gamble that involved releasing a game on a bunch of new products—it's probably not fair to put all of the blame on Microsoft. Still, it's kind of impressive how incompetent Microsoft sounds, at least when it comes to doing well by indies. You can read specifics here; it's well worth a read.

Granted, we've already gotten a taste of ineptitude outside of indie publishing—look at the whole Xbox One debacle. To quote our own Kirk Hamilton on it:

The company seems to lack the sort of leadership that would've stopped this kind of clusterfuck from transpiring in the first place. From the moment the Xbox One was announced, its messaging has been a mess of corporate-speak, contradictions and vaguely menacing obfuscations, wandering around aimlessly and pissing off everyone it stumbles into.


Compared to Microsoft, Sony appears poised and ready, a company with seemingly strong leadership and a number of clearly defined goals. They've set out to win over developers and land exclusive games and content, they have a robust indie recruitment strategy, and they seem to take their customers very seriously. (Or, at the very least, they take courting their customers very seriously.) Microsoft, with their bumbling TV-TV-Sports-Call of Duty announcement event, weird pre-E3 info-dump and let's-not-mention-the-elephant-in-the-room E3 press conference seems to be more of a leaderless bureaucracy.

So maybe "evil" is too strong a word? What do you think?

The Sorry Saga Of Skulls Of The Shogun & Windows 8 [Rock Paper, Shotgun]