If obnoxious attitudes and pretentiousness sold games more than hard work did, Jonathon Blow would be ri-
Interesting stuff, a few pointers in here for if I release the XNA game I'm working on. So starting now: It will be awesome! You must play it! Watch this space!
Well, there's a reason companies have marketing departments.
No achievement points, no care. If Microsoft gave every game 50 to 100 points to disperse in these XNA games, you would see 5x the turn around.
Yep, I think this is a good assessment and especially true if the publisher / platform provider is providing minimal to no marketing. You simply must learn the business side of game development and visibility / marketing is one of them! After all, no one cares about your game's success (or failure) more then you!
The lesson of the community marketplace is this; "If you build it, they will come" is a fallacy, because people have to know something exists before they can buy it.
Promote your game. Let people know it exists, and make it easy for them to find it. Make a web site or blog post with links, introduce yourself around, let a few reviewers give it a try for free, heck, tell your friends and family and let them spread the word too. Then you'll get the sales... assuming your game really is good.
XNA is a set of Microsoft game dev tools that scale from amateur production to professional and are used across the industry. Sean appears to be talking about the XNA Community Games/Creators' Club programme rather than 'XNA' itself.
I used to work in communications, and found the 'marketing is someone else's problem' mindset among design-oriented people to be pervasive. It's a real shame, because ideally design and marketing are part of an unbroken spectrum of response to the audience: instead of building something that you think is a good product and only THEN going out to sell it, you can be building a community literally from day one. There are writers, comic artists, filmmakers, musicians, and others all over the web doing this v well and reaping the benefits as a result. It does require going outside the mindset of 'private genius' though...
I haven't had much experience with XNA itself, but I feel a major problem with the whole thing would be low consumer attention to the service. There can be any number of perfectly valid reasons for this - a game lacks achievements, it is slightly off-putting to pay for an amateur project, its largely niche, the amounts required are too random - but I think a major problem would be a percieved lack of quality - the existence of things like Break One Out only help to reinforce this idea that this is just people making gimmicks rather than games, and bad ones at that.
Ironically, a service that allows an entry for everyone will fail because everyones a tosser (this is the defining philosophy behind 4chan). LittleBigPlanet would have choked to death within a month without a rating system, since no-one would be able to tell what was good or not (except for the 1% that make headlines for being weird - I didn't say good or bad, I said weird). Same thing applies here.
Anyway, thats my opinion. I'mprobably grossly innacurate, but thats just my pserspective.
I'm inclined to agree.
Doing a quick search on the name of your game is a great idea. If you don't like what comes up get some more content out there on your blog, website, etc. Post some gameplay videos and screenshots as well.
Part of it is exposure I'm sure, but you say perceived lack of quality.
I got a load of MS points for my birthday a few days ago and thought I'd have a rummage through and there are a load of totally crap games and a load of pong/breakout/robotron/geometry wars clones. Microsoft did claim it was going to be original gaming.
I did find a couple of decent games. Weapon of choice is good fun but quite short. Loved the sun. I knew about this game before looking.
And Bullet Trap is crazy fun. Havn't finihsed but we spent hours yesterday playing mulitplayer. I think I only found that cause it was on the front page.
I want to support indie developers but it's so hard to find the kind of quality and enjoyment I'm looking for amidst the rest of it. I think Community games needs the press industry to pay a little more attention to it. IGN or other big names doing more reviews. Even if it's just a weekly roundup.
Sorry that was a bit rant like. I just don't want to spend more time looking for a game I want to play than it takes to complete the game you know.