Prison Architect dev laments cost-strapping console development
Inversion co-founder Mark Morris recently spoke with VG247 about his decision to bus slammer-sim Prison Architect over to the PC instead of Xbox Live Arcade or the PlayStation Network, citing the prohibitive cost of acquiring test kits to meet quality standards and telling Microsoft and Sony to "piss off" after calling them "second-class customers."
"If you look at our position, we’re two guys basically—although we’re a little bigger than that—working on a game we’ve launched ourselves," Morris said. "We’re in alpha, and we’re seeing money now which is enabling us to carry on developing it."
Morris believes shelling $10,000 for a console development kit is a "ridiculous" hurdle for indie teams seeking a break into the Xbox and PlayStation digital markets.
"And it’s non-refundable once you’ve bought it," he added. "I think our quality assurance bill was $30,000 for testing with Darwinia+, and it took four years to get the game certified to a standard that Microsoft wanted. It then sold rubbish. We hardly shipped any units on the Xbox 360 compared to PC. There is a strong indie community now on PC that doesn’t exist within the console world, and they’ve tried various ways to tap into that with Live Arcade and Xbox Indie Games, and they just never managed it in the way Steam has."
Morris also stated Introversion holds "no interest" towards a possible console port for Prison Architect—that is, unless Big Green and Big S sees the error of their ways.
“Microsoft and Sony comes along and says, ‘Well, we don’t want to have your game second, we want to be first,’" he continued. "Well, they can’t be first. We’re on PC because they’ve made it too hard. Also, they want exclusive content, so they can piss off. You’re not delivering the amount of sales, you’re making us work harder, and ultimately we’re getting paid less than what we do on PC. So, I think they’re definitely—in the indie world—second-class customers.
“If they want to work with us—and if they want indie games on their systems—they’re going to have to change quite a lot to make it attractive."
Read up on the rest of VG247's interview with Morris here.