News - Updated on March 30, 2022

In recent years, the whole world has been following with interest Microsoft. Through the efforts of Phil Spencer, the company reclaimed its reputation from its controversial Xbox One launch antics and is now regularly the subject of big news: Bethesda will buy then Activision Blizzard take under the wing. Gamers are favorable to such deals – however, independent studios and their founders, as it turned out, have a slightly different opinion about what is happening.

In a recent BBC article, indie developers shared their fears about the constant expansion of already large corporations. In their opinion, even now, small teams have a hard time: for example, Tanya Short (Tanya Short) from Kitfox Games told how difficult it was for her to attract publishers to Boyfriend Dungeon.

They all rejected [игру]. They said that the name was not interesting enough, someone simply did not understand what it was about and why.

Since then, a lot of water has flowed. An unusual hybrid of a visual novel and a roguelike was saved by word of mouth and Kickstarter – thanks to them, platformers saw the potential of the project, so Boyfriend Dungeon can be purchased not only on PC, but also on Xbox and Switch. However, not everyone is lucky in this way: it is not so easy for unusual projects to “go out to people”, and the expansion MicrosoftShort is sure, will make the situation even more difficult.

The company itself assures that it will continue to support small studios, but this does not calm the developers. For example, one of the few effective ways to distribute indie is Game Pass – and while it is convenient, independent teams fear that they will soon have to fight for the right to get on the platform, because this is the only way to somehow attract the attention of a wide audience.

In addition, Short stressed that smaller studios are already avoiding the Christmas holidays like fire: releasing something during the AAA premiere season is simply reckless, just no one will notice a small novelty. And given the recent acquisitions of the same Microsoftthe prospects for indie releases are getting even cloudier:

Acquisition Activision It scares us because the deal makes it harder to ignore the obvious question – what if big companies dominate the market all year long, what should we do?

Similar fears are partly shared by Yuri Zhdanovich, founder and head Sad Cat Studios – a studio developing a cyberpunk Replaced. Although Zhdanovich is satisfied with the cooperation with Microsoft (his game will be released via Xbox Game Pass), he is not sure that the corporation will actively support independent studios in the future.

Pierce Harding-Rolls, analyst from Ampere Analysis, noted another important factor – services like Game Pass, although they help the spread of indies, in the long run they can harm their sales. Gamers will be less interested in buying a game if they can just try it for less money.

It is possible that independent releases outside of these services will attract less attention from gamers, as they tend to focus on games that can be tried as part of a subscription.

According to VG Insights, more than 50% of indie games on Steam haven’t generated even $4,000 in revenue, so the situation really isn’t the most optimistic. A counterweight Microsoft insists that Game Pass expands the audience of indie games, opening up genres for users that they have not touched before. For example, 60% of people who play Human: Fall Flat through Game Pass, have not played puzzle games before. And 40% of those 60% then purchased puzzle games outside of the subscription, says the corporate vice president of the Xbox gaming ecosystem.

Recall that the deal between Microsoft And Activision will officially close towards the end of June 2023. Until then, both corporations will operate independently of each other.

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