The lights are on
Although the game got off to a rocky start, Andy Schatz's excellent Monaco has passed the half-a-million mark in sales. However, the game's Xbox Live Arcade numbers remain very poor.
Much of Monaco's success can be attributed to its inclusion in a recent Humble Bundle. Prior to that, the game had sold well on Steam. However, Schatz had initially been disappointed by the game's rough launch on Xbox LIve, and it looks as though things never improved. Shockingly, only 36,000 of Monaco's 500,000 sales came from the XBLA version. Consider that Xbox Live used to be a hotbed for indie gaming, numbers like that are very disappointing.
In recent years, many indie developers have talked about the decline of XBLA as a platform -- complaints detailed in former GI intern Louis Garcia's excellent article "XBLA Exodus."
Our Take:I knew that many indie developers weren't pleased with XBLA, but I had no idea how far it was lagging behind Steam. Let's hope Microsoft's new commitment to developing a strong portfolio of indie games and the ID@Xbox self-publishing program help turn the clock back to the days when XBLA was vital to making breakout indie hits like Braid.