Developers on the Xbox 360 Indie Games Channel can now control their own release dates, reports Giant Bomb. Before this week's update, game developers submitted to the peer review for approval, after which it would go live. Now developers can halt a game once it's ready to go live, to allow time to drum up support.
While good news for developers, Microsoft didn't tell the indie community about this impending change until it was active. One developer, Jason Wishnov, just launched a RPG-rhythm game hybrid called Sequence only four days before the new feature became available. "I had a hell of a time coordinating a traditional marketing blitz when I was literally unable to tell when my game would be available to the public," he said. "The XBLIG team isn't exactly great at keeping us informed of pending developments."
The lack of structure impacted the indie games late last year, when developers tried to band together for the Winter Uprising. The games were loosely set to come out sometime in December, without formal dates. "We basically had this 'the games will most likely come out in winter' approach," said James Silva of Dishwasher fame. "If we could get all of the games approved and then publish them on a well-publicized official schedule, it would look tons better."