Indie game developer critiques WP7 Marketplace, offers advice

This morning on Bill Reiss's blog, Silverlight Games 101, he makes some pretty good and in our opinion, even handed, criticisms of the Marketplace, specifically in relation to indie games and competing against the big Live titles.

Reiss is the developer of Popper 2 (see review) which was launched pretty early in the Marketplace. But now with developers finally having access to their numbers, he noticed just how lackluster his game was doing: 600 downloads/156 sales, even though he notes it is "...the 20th highest rated overall for all apps and games on the phone". At a $1.29 a sale, we can see that he's not exactly rolling in money from this game.

In turn, he goes through and lists a range of reasons as to why he thinks this may be the case (and he's far from the first developer to say such things). The reasons range fro the Xbox Live "filter" which gives higher precedence to those games over indie apps, no ability in the marketplace to sort by popularity, "featured" games and more,  For developers, he gives a few tips on how to better increase presence, including offer a free or lite version, social networks, etc. If we were a developer, we would think this to be a solid read.

From our perspective as consumers, "games" on Windows Phone 7 are almost too bountiful and we agree--with no real way to sort games by ratings/popularity, it makes it hard. Take for instance Decimation X2 which we covered here--by all means not selling well, though it's my #1 game by a long shot. It was discovered by accident on my part. Combined with increased users and early adopters, social networking, sites like ours for reviews, etc. we hope that developers will be able to profit. But then again, even Apple's App Store tells a similar story with the biggest, most popular apps being free and with over 300,000 programs available, we imagine most get lost in the crowd. Agree or disagree with Reiss's comments? Discuss in comments.

Source: Silverlight Games 101

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.