Posted on July 24, 2008, Chris XNA is a Platform to Make Money or Even Break Into the Industry, Says Microsoft
Following the announcement that XNA Creators Club members would be able to sell their games over Xbox Live, Microsoft’s Chris Satchell spoke with 1UP about the potential a platform like this has for Average Joe Game Creator. It sounds quite promising; the obvious result from releasing a game is that you’ll be able to make money, but the possibility that a developer could then seek you out is very exciting, albeit unlikely.
1UP: One of the key points we see in the first sentence of the press release — obviously this is an important touchstone — is “turning a hobby into a full-fledged career.” There’s a real strong implication in the language there. What do you think the real earning potential would be for someone working in the XNA?
Chris Satchell: I think there’s a couple ways to look at that. So, let’s take what I think the intention of the question is. Maybe I’m doing a different job, and in my spare time I’m building games, and what is my potential for being part of this developer community, being able to take my games and distribute them to the 12 million people on Xbox Live, and sell them. It’s hard to know because no one’s ever done this. But, 70% revenue split for the creator, that’s pretty impressive. That means at 400 Microsoft Points ($5), you’re getting 280 Points ($3.50). It’s hard to do the exact translation to dollars, but three and half dollars, something like that, per unit. You don’t have to sell many units before that becomes pretty meaningful, imagine if you sold 10,000. That’s close to $40,000 right there, a good piece of money already. And it might not have taken you that long to build the game because we do so much in the terms of framework to make it productive.
So, there’s that side of it, where there is some real earning potential here for the best people. The other side of this is, of course, you’re getting noticed. Professional development studios are noticing you. Companies are noticing you. So it’s a case of the other side of the earning potential. Perhaps you want to get into the industry full-time as part of a larger studio, or spotted by a publisher, and I think that’s the secondary side, where you can start with what was perhaps a hobby or an interest, and you start making money off it. You get known in the community, and the next thing you know you get picked up by a publisher, or you’re joining a top studio, and I think there’s earning potential either way.
$40 grand is hardly anything to sneeze at. He also went on to talk about the transaction-based revenue model and how Microsoft isn’t opposed to other models, such as advertising. Money is clearly a driving factor here which — while it might not be an absolute ideal situation for consumers — poses a very interesting (and lucrative) future for indie game developers.