Posted on May 22, 2008, Chris XNA Will Help Microsoft "Leapfrog the Competition"
You might not think much of it, but Microsoft believes XNA is the ace up their sleeve that’s going to help give Xbox Live Arcade a leg up on the competition, according to David Edery, XBLA’s worldwide portfolio planner. Edery believes their Community Games initiative is going to open up an avenue that you simply can’t find elsewhere.
“I certainly think from an innovation perspective it’s going to help us leapfrog the competition, effectively until they find a way to duplicate it, assuming they ever do,” he told GI.biz.
“To some extent it will certainly help us have more innovative content than either of them, just by definition. With all this random stuff coming from the community, every once in a while there’s going to be a real gem in there that you just couldn’t have found otherwise, it wouldn’t have found its way on to a console,” he added.
Edery gave an example of a scuba diving game that a small group of people may want, but lacks enough interest to warrant an XBLA release, as a perfect example of what XNA will allow. (Maybe he didn’t get the memo about how WiiWare doesn’t have a concept approval process.)
“The example I always like to give is will someone finally make that scuba diving game, where there’s really only 15,000 people interested in a hardcore scuba diving simulation, but they really, really want one? And maybe through XNA someone can profitably get one out there,” he said.
“Today, there’s not really a venue for that. I’m not going to green light a hardcore scuba diving game for Xbox Live Arcade today because there are not enough people who are interested in that. But with XNA it’s perfectly possible.
“So I’m much more interested in it from a perspective of can it be used to satisfy more people, with more diverse content, than anything else.”
While I’m absolutely excited to see what XNA developers have in store (Dishwasher and Jellycar were both great fun), I think Edery might be off-base in his assessment that there’s currently no avenue for developers to make niche games.