Microsoft UK exec Chris Lewis recently talked about Microsoft’s strict policies regarding downloadable games, indicating that titles appearing with exclusive timing for other platforms could be blocked outright from being published on Xbox Live.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft Europe VP of Interactive Entertainment Business Chris Lewis talked about a lot of Microsoft’s future plans for the Xbox 360.
For all intents and purposes, it’s pretty standard. Lewis spends as little time as possible talking about the Xbox 360′s lagging sales in Japan. Inquires about the Xbox 720 were dodged. However, Lewis did make a particularly bold statement about Microsoft’s future policy regarding Xbox Live-bound games that show up on other platforms.
From the source:
Eurogamer: Would you allow a downloadable game to launch on Xbox Live Arcade it if went on PlayStation Network first?
Chris Lewis: We’re not keen to do it. I wouldn’t say never. We wouldn’t be specific about that. But I’d be surprised if we saw that as something we’d encourage. But, honestly, and this is going to sound a bit contrived, we just want what our consumers want from us.
Eurogamer also referenced the exact text of Microsoft’s policy in their wrap-up:
“Titles for Xbox 360 must ship at least simultaneously with other video game platform, and must have at least feature and content parity on-disc with the other video game platform versions in all regions where the title is available,” it reads.
“If these conditions are not met, Microsoft reserves the right to not allow the content to be released on Xbox 360.”
While this is tactically an effective business move, the concept of it is still, at its very core, hypocritical. Various DLC titles like Limbo, Braid and Lara Croft: Guardian of Light have appeared on Xbox Live Arcade in a period of exclusivity before ever coming to the PlayStation Network. In fact, the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade — one of the company’s most popular promotions — ensures that Microsoft has an advantage in securing certain IPs before other console and networks have the right to sell the games.
Although times are tough for the gaming industry, it’s an incredibly aggressive move by Microsoft, should they choose to implement it on the many smaller developers looking to get their projects out to as many eyes as possible.