Major Nelson podcast #280 Greenberg: "fix the XBLA UI, or ignore the long tail? hmmm"

Apr 7, 2007
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#1
In the Aaron Greenberg interview he mentions that de-listed XBLA games can still be bought through the ''tell a friend'' link on marketplace. Also if you downloaded it in the past you can still re-download it. So theyre not removing the files from their service - just the front end "store" of mktplace. Still seems like a strange decision to me.

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Jun 7, 2004
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#2
voltron said:
In the Aaron Greenberg interview he mentions that de-listed XBLA games can still be bought through the ''tell a friend'' link on marketplace. Also if you downloaded it in the past you can still re-download it. So theyre not removing the files from their service - just the front end "store" of mktplace. Still seems like a strange decision to me.
That actually makes it even weirder.
 
Apr 7, 2007
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#6
Yeah, I mean why the hell not just have a budget range? In a nice little budget blade within marketplace so they can still make money off them and people still know about them AND the vision for XBLA can be realised in as much as it becoming a huge resource of old / retro and even new games for download whenever you feel like.

Theyre not even deleting to make space!!! What the fuck MS?
 

RBH

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Apr 19, 2007
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#8
GhaleonEB said:
That actually makes it even weirder.
Yeah, I really don't understand what their motivation is, as they're trying to "clean out the shelves" of XBLA, yet they're not even going to take the games off the service.
 
Sep 24, 2006
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#9
Why not just organize the damn thing properly!? Wouldn't modifying the UI be a better solution than just not listing them at all?

It boggles the mind.
 
Jun 15, 2004
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#11
This may actually be a smart move on MS part. It's already stirring up interest in what were probably titles no one cared about anymore.
 

Xabora

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Oct 7, 2006
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#13
kpop100 said:
This may actually be a smart move on MS part. It's already stirring up interest in what were probably titles no one cared about anymore.
Yup, watch them get a sales boost and not become delisted.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
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#16
kpop100 said:
This may actually be a smart move on MS part. It's already stirring up interest in what were probably titles no one cared about anymore.
Not really. It's just sowing distrust for MS among people who are already skeptical of them. If outrage and indignation translated directly to sales CD sales would spike every time the RIAA sued somebody.

Plus, I don't think MS is going to make a huge announcement when they delist something. Someone is going to browse the big list o games and notice that Yaris is not there anymore.
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#18
voltron said:
Yeah, I mean why the hell not just have a budget range? In a nice little budget blade within marketplace so they can still make money off them and people still know about them AND the vision for XBLA can be realised in as much as it becoming a huge resource of old / retro and even new games for download whenever you feel like.

Theyre not even deleting to make space!!! What the fuck MS?
Because they would make far more money by shifting people into buying the regularly priced XBLA titles. There's very little incentive for some sort of bargain bin.
 
Nov 14, 2007
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#19
SapientWolf said:
Not really. It's just sowing distrust for MS among people who are already skeptical of them. If outrage and indignation translated directly to sales CD sales would spike every time the RIAA sued somebody.

Plus, I don't think MS is going to make a huge announcement when they delist something. Someone is going to browse the big list o games and notice that Yaris is not there anymore.
Nobody will notice the absence of Yaris.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#20
Retarded. All this does is ensure that anything not already performing to their standards of conversion rate and/or sales rate will be further lowered in sales by not having a listing. Way to go, MS. Champion the little guy and little game by sweeping it under a rug.
 
Jun 8, 2004
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#22
Vaxadrin said:
Nobody will notice the absence of Yaris.
Here's my issue with this "fix" and your attitude. What happens down the line when XBLA has a couple hundred good titles? Do they just keep pruning? I really don't give a shit about Yaris, or any other terrible XBLA game that you can throw out there, but if they're going to fix this problem, why can't they do so properly?
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#24
MightyHedgehog said:
Retarded. All this does is ensure that anything not already performing to their standards of conversion rate and/or sales rate will be further lowered in sales by not having a listing. Way to go, MS. Champion the little guy and little game by sweeping it under a rug.
What are you talking about? They need to score less than 65% and have a less than 6% conversion rate (which I'm sure means Yaris isn't going anywhere). Now, we can argue about the merits of the review system, but it's a pretty sorry list of games that fall within this criteria. Plus, games won't be removed before six months, so its major sales will be long over already.

People are bitching about being denied something they don't want to begin with.
 
Apr 8, 2007
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#27
That's so stupid. So if you don't have a friend who owns the game, how are you supposed to get it?

Ugh. MS you are so confusing.

You should have just done some redesign on the UI to make it scalable to a lot of games...
 
Nov 14, 2007
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#28
fallout said:
Here's my issue with this "fix" and your attitude. What happens down the line when XBLA has a couple hundred good titles? Do they just keep pruning? I really don't give a shit about Yaris, or any other terrible XBLA game that you can throw out there, but if they're going to fix this problem, why can't they do so properly?
I don't know what Microsoft is going to do a few years down the line. I find it hard to believe they would make a decision like this without having some sort of strategy behind the scenes that us messageboard folk won't know about. Do you think they're just purposefully doing this to piss people off? We're definitely not seeing the bigger picture here, and there's probably a reason for it.

I just think it's ridiculous the number of people who I've never seen in any XBLA threads that appeared out of nowhere to shout "What? You're taking away the shitty Atari ports that nobody liked or bought???? Fuck you, M$!"
 
Jun 8, 2004
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#29
Vaxadrin said:
I don't know what Microsoft is going to do a few years down the line. I find it hard to believe they would make a decision like this without having some sort of strategy behind the scenes that us messageboard folk won't know about. Do you think they're just purposefully doing this to piss people off? We're definitely not seeing the bigger picture here, and there's probably a reason for it.
I think they're doing it because it's an easy fix. All speculation on my part, of course, but what I do know is that there are better, more permanent solutions for this kind of problem. It's all related to the UI and the organizational structure of XBLA. I'm positive someone at MS voiced this very opinion, but I'm kind of guessing that MS just felt that it wasn't worth it.

I just think it's ridiculous the number of people who I've never seen in any XBLA threads that appeared out of nowhere to shout "What? You're taking away the shitty Atari ports that nobody liked or bought???? Fuck you, M$!"
Yes, well ... messageboard folk are silly. I can't help that!

Aaron said:
People are bitching about being denied something they don't want to begin with.
No, people are bitching about poor solutions to easily fixable problems.
 
#31
Okay this is actually even dumber than what we thought they were going to do. Having the titles on the service costs them almost close to nothing so removing them is stupid. But just removing the links to the titles on the store makes it even less sense. They are still incurring some minimal cost in space on the Marketplace gigantic master hard drive or whatever, but they have now removed almost any chance of the game generating revenue.
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#32
Iced_Eagle said:
That's so stupid. So if you don't have a friend who owns the game, how are you supposed to get it?

Ugh. MS you are so confusing.

You should have just done some redesign on the UI to make it scalable to a lot of games...
Yes. If only there was a message board with a large number of video game players, where you could request if someone has a particular crap game you're dying to play, but how would go about creating this wondrous forum? It's hard to believe it could be possible.
 
Nov 14, 2007
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#33
fallout said:
I think they're doing it because it's an easy fix. All speculation on my part, of course, but what I do know is that there are better, more permanent solutions for this kind of problem. It's all related to the UI and the organizational structure of XBLA. I'm positive someone at MS voiced this very opinion, but I'm kind of guessing that MS just felt that it wasn't worth it.
I'm finding it hard to believe this has anything to do with UI. That was a rumor created in the other thread. I just can't wrap my head around people at Microsoft, the company who has spent almost two decades researching & creating user interfaces, saying "This database is too cluttered." "Oh ok, we'll just delete some stuff."
 
Jun 14, 2004
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#34
MS is approaching this problem in the wrong way. This is nothing more than a temporary bandaid fix - as the library continues to get bigger, they'll just run into the same problem again. What happens when there's hundreds of good games for example?

IMO, the only solution is to copy the Amazon/YouTube/Netflix model. Make the store more dynamic with a lot of sorting abilities (such as popularity), have the store automatically recommend you new games, etc.

Obviously they'd be much more limited in what can be done/shown on-screen at once since it's being designed for a (640x480) TV screen with gamepad navigation rather than a hi-res monitor w/ KB and mouse. But still, sooner or later they're going to have to do this stuff anyway (especially with the hundreds of user-created XNA games that are supposed to show up this Fall).
 

Mejilan

Running off of Custom Firmware
Jun 9, 2004
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#35
Everything about this is so fucking stupid. If you're not removing them from the servers, then fucking clear them out of the main store categories and shunt them off to some out-of-the-way yet still accessible archive. What the hell.
 

bishoptl

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Jun 6, 2004
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#41
Rlan said:
Another good, incredibly long article about Cleaning up the XBLA:

http://www.attackofthepowerbrick.com/2008/05/25/cleaning-up-xbla/
Read this article. A well presented viewpoint on why this new XBLA approach is an avalanche of stupid.

The only real effect that I honestly see this having in the long run is a detrimental one. If a studio has an inkling that an interesting concept might be fun to certain gamers, but won’t win over the majority of XBLA players what do they do? Is there enough incentive to come up with interesting titles such as Braid when games like Frogger take little effort and sell extremely well?

To me this is the antithesis of one of the main ideas this system was supposed to be pushing. That the little guy with the cool idea will have a market to reach gamers.
 
Jun 20, 2007
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#42
I don't know why people seem so confused by this decision, this makes perfect sense to me. it is like Gamestop taking all the copies of Madden 02-06 off the shelf so the GTA4 moves have more shelf space. No one wants all the crappy xbla titles, please get the eyesores out of my sight.
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#43
bishoptl said:
Read this article. A well presented viewpoint on why this new XBLA approach is an avalanche of stupid.
Have there actually been any good, new XBLA games having anywhere near 65% average? Even the critically lambasted Space Giraffe is above the culling line. It might also encourage those that have put out the lousy ports well deserving of low scores to up their quality level a little.
 
Apr 8, 2007
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#45
Aaron said:
Yes. If only there was a message board with a large number of video game players, where you could request if someone has a particular crap game you're dying to play, but how would go about creating this wondrous forum? It's hard to believe it could be possible.
So should we make signing up for the GAF a requirement for all 12 million Xbox Live users? No thanks.

If my brother wants a game that's been delisted, he's not going to jump through hoops to get it. Hell, if it's not on the store, it doesn't even exist as far as he's concerned probably. Thus, he won't even get the opportunity to get the trial and see if it's worth buying.
 
#46
So you can still buy the games, if you can find someone to send you an invitation? The Gmail strategy?
Kite said:
I don't know why people seem so confused by this decision, this makes perfect sense to me. it is like Gamestop taking all the copies of Madden 02-06 off the shelf so the GTA4 moves have more shelf space.
It's just like that. Also how if your Madden 2005-owning friend takes you to the store, they let you into the secret stash.
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#48
Iced_Eagle said:
So should we make signing up for the GAF a requirement for all 12 million Xbox Live users? No thanks.
99% of those users will neither know nor care about this. If after this goes into effect and someone has a hankering for Time Pilot, they can go straight to xbox.com forums if they're capable of rational thought, or hit google and get there eventually if they're not. Yet most will not, because most of these games are utter shit. No gems are going to be delisted, and nothing is going to vanish before six months.

This like people freaking out when the 'Revolution' was suddenly renamed the Wii. After this is in effect for a few months, people will forget it was any other way.
 
Apr 8, 2007
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#49
Exactly, they won't know that this happens. So many people go onto the occassional Xbox Live Arcade area and download some games every few months. I know that's exactly what my brothers do. They don't go to gaming websites, use gaming forums, nada.

So let's say a game they really would have been interested comes and goes and they never notice (I know it would take 9 months for a full delisting to occur for the 6 months criteria + 3 months notice) but still, Microsoft has shown that after an XBLA game releases, there's that huge spike of sales the first few days, then it calms down and becomes very linear and tails off.

If you were a developer, even let's say you have a 5% conversion rate, that's still potential money you are no longer getting. Why? Because MS wants to clean out their virtual store by removing the games?

Aaron Greenberg even said that yes it's still possible to buy these games. I'm just upset that there won't be any way for new users to find them easily, or even know of their existence.

I will agree it's good to unclutter the store regardless of what I just said, but I would much rather have it done through a reorganization of the UI. Have an "XBLA Archives" or something to put these games into and hide them elsewhere. Sure, it's a pain in the ass. Not as bad as having to go to a forum, asking for a game, then having them send you a link online though if anyone even has it. The average gamer isn't going to go through all of that trouble, especially when the XBLA is supposed to appeal to the casual gamer, who definitely won't go through the trouble.
 
Apr 12, 2006
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#50
Okay, let's say your brother hears about a game that's been delisted and wants it. Where did he hear about it? If it's on the internet, then he should already have a straight line to someone who can send him a recommend. If it's a friend, same deal. Unless he spontaniously remembers hearing about a game a year after he heard it, there will be no problem. If he downloaded the demo before and deleted it, all he would have to do is go through his download history and it would be there for him to get again.

You have to really, really reach to get where this set up will actually prevent people from accesing the game. A game that's 65% or less on metacritic and less than 6% of the people who tried the demo thought it was worth buying no less.