RantPost: Back to Xbox Live Again!

Blow off the week’s stress with our Friday rant posts! What happens in RantPost, stays in RantPost so feel free to vent your frustrations at the topic of choice without fear of (too much) persecution. Lay on the sarcasm, ignite your mild concerns, fan the flames of your fandom! I’ll start but please don’t just reply to me.

Earlier this week Director of product management, Aaron Greenberg said of the Xbox Live Arcade delisting initiative:

“If anything you will see developers take more time, make use of the new additional storage space and focus on game quality now more than ever to ensure the title is well received.”

Which leads me to wonder how few games will get released if they put any more emphasis on “quality”. That was the defense when everyone was asking why Xbox Live Arcade was only getting one new game when Nintendo’s Virtual Console (and now WiiWare) are getting a handful each week. As far as I’m concerned the more bad games there are the better the good ones look. Hell, even a mediocre game looks good alongside Yaris and Screwjumper.

Who’s to say what’s good and bad for each one of us anyways? A game like Arkadian Warriors, with its cheap price and instant download could be someone’s introduction to dungeon crawling hack-and-slash games. And for a company trying to grow their casual business they also seem poised to pull a whole lot of casual games like Soltrio Solitaire. C’mon, Windows Solitaire may be Microsoft’s greatest contribution to gaming, the Xbox 360 needs at least one of ’em. This delisting seems more and more to be about freeing up server space and bandwidth than motivating anyone to change their game-making focus.

What Microsoft needs to do is straighten out the release schedule and not promote upcoming games that are more than a few months out. I remember reading reviews of Arcade games in the Official Xbox Magazine a full four months before they were released. By then I can’t even remember if a game sounded interesting. Meanwhile, we’ve been looking forward to the simple PC port of Feeding Frenzy 2 for nearly a year.

Don’t try to control the developers more than you already are. You guys work on your end — the infrastructure and the business — and make Live Arcade a well rounded marketplace to shop for new games, and the developers will fill it up for you.

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