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Indie console developers discuss why they aren't porting their games to Windows Phone

Our friends at WP7Connect have released the second article in their series about Xbox 360 indie games coming to Windows Phone 7. This time, the focus is on why individual developers do not plan to port their XBLIG titles to WP7.

I’ll summarize each developer’s response:

Novaleaf Game Studios, makers of The Sprit of Khon:

Spirit of Khon is unlikely to come to be ported due to its reliance on custom rendering shaders that WP7 can’t replicate. However, if interest is high enough, Novaleaf would consider porting it anyway.

Milkstone Studios, makers of Raventhorne:

The game uses too many buttons to be ported easily. Besides, Milkstone is located outside of the US and still hasn’t even been paid for their first WP7 game, Epic 7 Free.

Dannobot, makers of Pajamarama:

Dannobot really isn’t sure how to go about developing for WP7. But even then, they would want to wait for official multiplayer support (which is coming in Mango) before entering the fray.

DoubleDutch Games, makers of Speed Runner:

The game’s controls would be difficult to adapt to touch screens. Still, maybe someday.

Left: Breath of Death VII. Right: Cthulhu Saves the World

It’s no fun just paraphrasing somebody else’s article though. WPCentral spoke with Zeboyd Games (opens in new tab), makers of awesome indie RPGs Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World about bringing their games to the small screen. Their response:

“[We’re] leaning against porting to WP7 at the moment - it just doesn't look like the market is big enough to make it worth the effort.”

Ouch! I don’t think the first four developers’ games are any huge loss. But Zeboyd’s titles would be perfect for touch screens and fill an important gap in the Windows Phone software library. Perhaps RPG fans should send Zeboyd an email (opens in new tab).

Don’t think for a minute that all XBLIG makers are giving Windows Phone the shaft. Plenty of XBLIG games have graduated to mobile Xbox Live status, including Twin Blades, Z0mb1es (on teh Phone), and Shoot1UP, to name only a few.

Sources: WP7Connect (opens in new tab), Zeboyd Games; Thanks, Dale F., for the tip!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

19 Comments
  • If you build it, they will come......and that is exactly what microsoft is doing. Dont sweat it....
  • Doesn't surprise me a lot of Indie devs are apathetic towards the Windows Phone platform. They're treated like second class citizens on the Xbox Live Indie store, and they're probably worried about being treated the same way on the mobile platform.
  • On the other hand, an indie dev who gets its indie game approved as an WP7 Xbox Live titles has made it to the big time. They certainly can't count on it, but there are definitely some opportunities there for ambitious developers.
  • these guys would get xbl treatment I assure you as microsoft would approve it for that most as if you read it is control reasons, or shader reasons the only one plausable would be the rpgs as they dont see a large enough market, but if ms gave them a good deal we would see those titles.
  • While I agree the market for the platform is, unfortunately, pretty damn small at the moment, I think Paul's right, in that there are more opportunities for Indies here.Think for a moment how many Indie titles ever got XBLA status on the 360? About what... Zero? Most indie titles, or studios, that came to XBLA never started out on the Indie channel. Yet here on WP7, we have one game that made the full conversion, and a handful of upcoming titles lifted right from the Indie section of the 360.Those developments alone tell me MS is finally realizing the value of some of these creations. They've had potential investments sitting there all along, and WP7 is the thing that finally tipped things in the indie's favor. As long as they're lifting the better indie titles, I really hope this continues, as it's a huge win for everybody (PLEASE push for Soul Caster? Please?)
  • This is what happens when you are 5 years late to the market. Smartphone users already have 5 years of experience using another phone and software. It will be hard to convince them to switch when they look at the official app assortment and notice how deficient it is in comparison to iOS and android.
  • iOS certainly has an advantage for gaming. Even folks in Nintendo are pushing for Mario there.But Android? Their gaming market is so scattered, so filled with janky apps (and malware) that no one really takes it seriously for major gaming titles.As far as being five years late, perhaps. But lets be honest, the technology needed to bring Xbox-level games (even arcade)is a recent phenomenon. Microsoft is the only mobile OS with a true gaming ecoystem for both PC, console and phone. This area of computing is just beginning, not ending and they're are certainly better poised, long term, than Google Android. Microsoft's Kinect technology broke a world record for sales--the idea of leveraging that in mobile is huge and something that Apple nor Google can come close to matching.
  • They weren't talking to random indie developers who were looking to move games to a cellphone platform. They were specifically talking to indie developers on the 360, and asking them why they wouldn't move their games to WP7 (which makes total sense because XNA 4 supports both platforms).You have the wrong impression here.
  • why dont you look at how deficient your comment is in comparison to others
  • Meta comment first... I don't think it is fair to vote sdchris down just because you don't like his opinion.I see nothing factually inaccurate in his comment. Ruefully unfortunate, yes.I love my WP7 and think it has the potential to be the best gaming phone, BUT the user numbers really are like comparing a pail of water to the ocean.I completely understand the position of the indie game devs interviewed. As it stands *at the moment* the odds are good they wouldn't make enough money to cover the porting costs.I'm making apps for the WP7 because I like doing it. I have yet to see penny number 1 from it. I'm not opposed to making money with my apps, but I'm not making apps for WP7 because I think I'll make a living from them.I don't know the developers in question, but if we assume that at least some of them are small shops trying to make their living this way (as opposed to hobbyists), then we can't find fault with their logic. All development work takes time. With a small group spending time working on WP7 likely means NOT spending time on another platform. If WP7 pays less than iOS and Android, then it is pretty hard to justify spending time developing for it.I think Microsoft's practice of promoting XBL games above indie games is a double edged sword. As a USER, I find that the XBL games are usually pretty high quality. They are USUALLY a safe choice. As a DEVELOPER, I find the practice discouraging.
  • it is fair, that's why that feature is there. u can tell he was an iNaive or fandroid looking to start trouble here.
  • The voting up and down is pretty much a way to show that you agree or disagree with someone's opinion.
  • “[We’re] leaning against porting to WP7 at the moment - it just doesn't look like the market is big enough to make it worth the effort.”The way I see it, the saturated markets will likely cause their title to be a needle in a haystack, whereas in a less saturated market, especially for RPG games right now, there will be more people ready and willing to buy the game. even if the title is less than stellar, but good enough to satisfy what people want on their phone. If say they released their RPG on ios, it sure as **** be far better than something as old as Final Fantasy, or it'll be an afterthought and rot in the sea of ios games. I personally have purchased only 2 ios games for my ipad, since I know that I can wait and the games will eventually become free or have huge discounts because no one knows about them and they have to do some marketing by slashing their prices by up to 90 at times. On the other hand, I have already purchased several xbox live windows phone games and a few indie wp7 games (as well as play ad supported games daily)with less competition, you can charge a bit more as well.
  • Well said - I agree on all counts.
  • Honestly I think the bigger problem for them is time. They're three guys. It took them a **** of a long time just to get their game to Steam, and now they supposedly have two other projects on the run (one an official XBLA title).If you've already got people sending money your way and you have previous engagements, why spend time on something that's not as likely to return on your investment?I'm sure one day they'll move their titles over... But only when it makes sense to do so.
  • Porting low-tech XBLIG games to WP7 is really easy though. Far less work than porting them to Steam, for instance.
  • Also, we're blocking H-E-Double hockey sticks? Really? :/
  • damn is also blocked out too i think. these words are said in childrens cartoons
  • I hear it on SpongeBob all the time! :-P