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Prison Architect developer speaks out against XBLA certification process

It's a hard knock life for indie games

Introversion Software co-founder Mark Morris has spoken out against the pricey Xbox Live Arcade certification process, stating Microsoft must make changes in order to compete with Steam, VG247 reports.

The developer has no immediate plans to pursue XBLA or PlayStation Network platforms for its latest title Prison Architect due to the price required for development kits for these systems, Morris explained.

"If you look at our position: we're two guys basically - although we're a little big bigger than that - working on a game we've launched ourselves. We're in alpha, we're seeing money now, which is enabling us to carry on developing it," he said.

"Hopefully we'll get a Steam deal - I'm pretty confident we will as we have a great relationship with Valve - and then we're exposed to Valve's market of 20 million people. Alternatively we could spin out a team of probably 10 people, we need to pay Microsoft £10,000 a go for a development kit."

Morris calls the £10,000 price "ridiculous," adding that it is a non-refundable figure once the kit is purchased.

"I think our quality assurance bill was $30,000 for testing with Darwinia+, and it took four years to get the game certified to a standard that Microsoft wanted. It then sold rubbish. We hardly shipped any units on Xbox 360, compared to PC."

Morris is not opposed to outsourcing the work to bring Prison Architect to Xbox 360 once the title releases for PC; However, he says the studio is not interested in directly working with console owners now, and additional problems rear their head due to Microsoft and Sony's preference for exclusive content.

"Microsoft and Sony come along and they say, ‘well we don't want to have your game second, we want to be first.' Well, they can't be first. We're on PC because they've made it too hard. Also, they want exclusive content, well piss off.

"You're not delivering the amount of sales, you're making us work harder, and ultimately we're getting paid less than what we do on PC. So I think they're definitely - in the indie world - second class customers."

Morris states if Microsoft and Sony hope to work with the developer, and wish to have indie titles on their individual systems, "they're going to have to change quite a lot to make it attractive."

Prison Architect is currently in Alpha and is available on the official Introversion Software website.

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