Shortly after the keynote presentation in which Boyd Multerer unveiled Microsoft's pricing scheme for its XNA Community Games initiative, Gamasutra had the chance to sit down with the Microsoft executive and discuss the thinking behind the company's strategy.
* There isn't any way for people to distribute games without charging for them, is there?
* BM: Well, on Windows, you can currently download the toolset, you can download for free on that platform, and it's perfectly fine to distribute your game to other people on Windows machines for free. On the Xbox space, where we're opening up the console, and we're opening up the couch to people for the first time in this way, we want to prove that this is a viable commercial market first.
Now, we're always open to changing the model, and doing those things in the future, but for now we want to focus on the professional aspect, and prove that there is even a market here, because it's never been done before.
* Do you have projections about what kind of numbers or what level of participation you're expecting?
* BM: Alright, well, it kind of goes two directions. One: as far as, "What kind of games are there going to be? What kind of purchases are there going to be?" goes, we have no idea. Because there's nothing to study! Because this really hasn't been done before. So we're kind-of sneaking on some new territory, and it is a bit experiment, and we're going to find out; we're going to demonstrate how big the market is.
On the creation side, we recently passed a million downloads of the toolset. Now, we know that some people are downloading it multiple times, and use a couple versions, so we think maybe three hundred thousand people have actually played with it. That's like twenty-five times the entire size of the game industry.
Now, how many games are they going to make? That's a good question, and we'll find out, but holy smokes, there's a lot of interest.
* If someone makes a game in Spanish, and it's only in Spanish, is it going to show up on the US market?
* BM: Yeah, we're still working on some of the details of how it gets displayed. It's really more of a question of, "If I know what language you speak, and you said, 'I don't want to see any games in other languages,' can I filter them out correctly?" So it's more of a filtering question than it is about whether we'll let you see the games. The goal is to let you see as many games as you can, because you're going to pick what you want to play!
* The royalties change when a game is in front, right?
* BM: That's right. The primary share is 70% to the creators. And most of the time that your game is for sale, it'll be at 70%. During the short period of time it's being heavily advertised by being in that front, it's an additional marketing charge between 10% and 30%. And exactly where it's going to land is going to depend on performance.