‘Weapon of Choice’ Community Games Developer Unhappy With Current Sales

Weapon of Choice

We now have the first tangible evidence of whether Community Games, Microsoft’s independent-centric downloadable games service powered by their freely available XNA Game Studio toolset, has been a success or not.

The first set of sales data arrived to developers last week, in the midst of the Game Developers Conference (more on that soon, by the way). It’s up to developers to share their successes and failures. Mommy’s Best Games, the studio behind the well-received Weapon of Choice, isn’t sharing specifics, but have clearly stated disappointment on their development blog.

Weapon of Choice has so far sold less than 10,000 copies, falling into a sales category Mommy’s Best Games describes as “that hurts.”

“We want to make kick ass games, full-time. I left one of the best video game employers to strike out and make my own games,” explained co-founder and ex-Insomniac Games developer Nathan Fouts on his blog. “This is my full time job, I am not a hobbyist and Weapon of Choice shows that. It is a full-fledged game, which took a full year to make. Not only did we hope sales would recoup the savings we spent during the year of development, we hoped it would provide enough financing to support the development of our next game.”

It’s currently unknown what impact this will have on the future direction of small companies like Mommy’s Best Games, or if they’ll try to “ride it out” with another game and see if the market for independent games over Xbox Live expands.

Others will likely share their sales data in the coming days. I’m already in contact with several developers to talk about their responses to the sales so far — that article will appear somewhere that isn’t here. 🙂



Filed under Jobless

6 responses to “‘Weapon of Choice’ Community Games Developer Unhappy With Current Sales

  1. I produce a community game review show, http://xnaroundup.com, so I’ve played nearly every game on the service.

    In my opinion there are a few issues that are really holding back the Community Games section on XBL, but keep in mind the service is still very young.

    The first thing that needs to happen desperately is that developers need to stop rushing their games out the door. Now that there is a library of games I’m hoping the rush to be one of the first games on the section will end.

    Most games on the service are so shallow they do get boring after a day or two (maybe even a minute or two), and the sad part of it is that these games are close to being compelling games but the developer is satisfied that the game at least “works” that they release it without doing much playtesting or thinking about how to improve on the working build. Yes, it is a lot of work to go back and add game elements to what is arguably a releaseable game, but that’s what needs to be done to make games that stick around. In a normal game dev. cycle a good publisher would probably be on top of these things.

    The second thing that needs to happen is more flexibility on price, 200, 400, and 800, may seem like enough granularity on paper but when it gets right down to it there needs to be a 50, 100, 300, and 600 pt. price points.

    Of course promotion is another huge factor, and MS has done next to nothing to promote the service either on the dashboard or elsewhere, but don’t expect them to promote something until they get the kinks worked out and there is an abundance of good content to be enjoyed.

    So let’s give the XNA initiative some time before we bury the stake in its heart, it’s only been a 5 or 6 months since the service began, and there ARE good games that ARE worth playing that probably would have never been made if it wasn’t for XNA.

  2. Jon

    They need to implement achievements in these… otherwise people aren’t going to pick them up.

  3. I don’t think achievements are really an issue. I think one problem is that the demos are arbitrarily timed from the start.

    When I checked out the demo for Weapon of Choice, I spent too long looking at the controls and then had about a minute to try the actual game before getting kicked out. I was too turned off by that annoying experience to fire it up again.

  4. pk

    Craig brings up an interesting point about Community Games demos I hadn’t thought of. I tend to just purchase the ones I’ve heard about from friends, rather than downloading dozens of trials.

    The bigger issue is the placement of Community Games on the Xbox Live interface. Would you check Community Games more often if it were featured on the front pages of the service, right after boot-up?

  5. Great post my friend,this is really helpful,especially the last part,keep up the good job

  6. LOVE the blog! We check it daily when doing game reviews!Kennyhttp://heartnet.pinoygaming.net/

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