“We’re not talking about that now” is one of the most annoying – and frequent – answers games journalists will receive when interviewing publishers and developers about games. Everything is managed now, and it is very hard to get any sort of answer other than the one that has been carefully planned by a PR suit, so hats off to CVG’s Rob Crossley for at least trying to get Microsoft to answer questions about the Day One Parity clause.
For those who do not know, this is a clause written by Microsoft that states that any game appearing on Xbox Live must not appear on a rival platform (the PSN) before its debut on Xbox. Assault Android Cactus, a twin stick shooter, is one game that will not be available on Xbox due to parity clause.
“The simple answer is that our plans wouldn’t meet the launch day parity requirement of the [email protected] program,” co-creator Sanatana Mishra told Eurogamer. “We started development on our other console versions long before self-publishing was an option for Xbox One and the only way we could meet that requirement would be to delay the other versions of Cactus.”
So, back to Rob Crossley who asked Microsoft’s Chris Charla, manager of the [email protected] indie program, if there were any plans to drop the clause.
“I can’t comment on our publishing policies,” said Chris, “But I can say we’re taking feedback from developers, and we’re always taking feedback, and we want to make [email protected] as great a platform as it possibly can.”
Rob persisted and asked “Can you explain how the day-one parity clause benefits the games industry?”
“That’s almost like you’re asking the same question,” said Chris. “I really can’t talk about it. We encourage developers to reach out – I can’t talk to you about the policy, but I can talk to developers about it.”
Rob then asked why they topic could not be discussed and a PR person stepped in and said those magic words, “It’s not something that we’re talking about, we’re here to discuss the development of the [email protected] program.”
Microsoft say they are “listening” to developers so perhaps the clause may be removed in the future but for now it may continue to discourage indies from signing up to [email protected] At the moment, it seems as though Microsoft are missing out on potential ports of great PSN exclusives.