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Microsoft: So sorry for NOT paying Xbox indie game devs on time

$397bn IT giant says payment will take two weeks

Making computer games can be a hard slog for indie developers. Big studios have piles of R&D and marketing cash, and it's easy to see your pride and joy fall into unplayed obscurity.

Microsoft sought to help indie developers with the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) portal on its Live console marketplace, which was set up six years ago. XBLIG hosts games that are small, inexpensive, and that are developed using Microsoft's XNA development environment.

The system works pretty well. Sure, developers don’t get the kind of marketing push that a major studio can provide, but XBLIG is a good starting spot for indie coders to get their hard work some visibility. Players like it too, since you can often find a cracking good game for a couple of dollars.

But getting that money to programmers seems to be something Microsoft is having problems with. Developers are supposed to be paid their royalties every quarter, and within 45 days of the quarter ending. Redmond sometimes stretches that deadline, but for the third quarter of this year it has missed it entirely – leaving developers out of pocket in the run up to Christmas.

Rumblings from the developer community have now risen to shouts, and there are an increasing number of games writers who are seriously pissed off about the whole debacle. Now Microsoft has admitted it was at fault and promised to get the money flowing again – eventually.

“Due to a technical issue in our system, we recently learned that some payments to select developers in the Xbox Live Indie Games program on Xbox 360 were delayed," a spokesperson told The Register in an emailed statement.

"Our partners are important to us and we work hard to help make sure they have a great development experience. This was an unfortunate error and we are working hard to fix it. We apologize for this incident and anticipate developers will receive payments within the next two weeks.”

It does seem somewhat bizarre that a company with a nearly $400bn market capitalization, a well-compensated board, and more staff than you can shake a stick at would be having so much problem paying a few dollars to developers contributing to its console world. Hopefully things will improve, but do let us know if they don't. ®


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