As part of Gamasutra's latest feature
, Xbox Live Arcade portfolio director Chris Charla defended the platform's high entry barriers for developers, noting that it means customers always know the quality of games available on the service is high.
Charla explained that the barriers for the digital gaming service, while higher than other digital platforms such as Steam, won't be changing any time soon.
"With XBLA, we've consciously developed a curated portfolio," he explained. "You need a Publisher License Agreement to release games on the service and, practically speaking, that means that developers either need to go through a third-party publisher or Microsoft Studios."
He continued, "The net result is that our customers know that every XBLA game is measured to the same bar - that the quality of games that indies like Signal Studios [Toy Soldiers
] or Haunted Temple Studios [Skulls of the Shogun
] bring us continues to get better and better, so the bar is always getting higher to get on the platform."
"I think that's ultimately beneficial to our customers. We want the best, most innovative, coolest games on XBLA," he concluded.
Indie game developers interviewed by Gamasutra said using platforms such as Valve Software's Steam digital distribution service and web-based platforms are becoming more appealing, as the XBLA standard for quality, production and cost continues to rise.
When asked whether Microsoft should be worried about indie developers switching allegiance to another platform such as Steam, Charla suggested that many indies would rather use the Xbox 360 as their platform of choice.
"We think the Xbox 360 and XBLA is a fantastic, proven platform for developers," he explained. "XBLA has a really vibrant ecosystem that supports a ton of game types, and it's great to see so many developers having a hit - or multiple hits - on XBLA."
"If you look at what we're now doing with motion control, such as with Fruit Ninja Kinect
, it's just an amazing platform for a hugely broad audience and it has the potential for a really broad range of games. There's just so much room left to innovate on Xbox 360 and XBLA, it's very exciting to see what developers are experimenting with and what they're showing us," he said.
The full feature, which includes interviews with various indie developers, is now live on Gamasutra