Microsoft has announced more flexible pricing options for developers of Xbox Live indie games. The changes were announced on the Microsoft Developer Network App Hub forum as follows:
We’re happy to announce an update to App Hub that makes it a great time to be an Xbox LIVE Indie Games developer. Starting on May 23, we will allow you to change your Xbox LIVE Indie game pricing on a much more frequent basis. Currently, you may change the price of your game once every 90 days. With this update, you will be able to change the price of your game as often as once every 7 days. This update gives you the freedom to experiment with different price points.
Existing requirements around game sizes and price points remain in place. Games with packages less than 150MB in size can be 80, 240 or 400 points. Games larger than 150MB can be 240 or 400 points.
Analysis: Microsoft is continuing to improve its indie gaming service following the announcement in January of this year that the measly 150MB limit will be increased to 500MB.
This is all well and good, but the Xbox Live Indie marketplace is still a hidden ghetto in the Dashboard, and having a 400 MS Point limit ($5) means only the smallest of devs would put their games there. More established developers will put their titles on the Xbox Live Arcade section, such as Dungeon Defenders or Stacking. Both of those games can rightfully be called indie but would never stoop low enough to be in the Indie section simply because of the price and size limits, the low visibility that market gets, and the flood of low quality $1 games that infest XBLIG.
On Steam, Stacking and Dungeon Defenders get top billing alongside heavy hitting titles like Call of Duty, Skyrim, and Portal 2. There’s also an easy-to-find Indie section that has no pricing restrictions at all.
Microsoft still has a long way to go before becoming a good name in the independent video game market.