Well, there it is. Microsoft is pushing indies back to other platforms. It’s kind of funny, XBLA is a huge part of why the indie scene as so recognized and huge today, and now MS seems to want nothing to do with it.
I remember having a conversation back when I was building websites for internet marketing related to how Google handles it’s PPC customers. Google pays far more attention to the largest sources of revenue in their platform; and will always give preferential placement and treatment to those that spend the most.
The bottom line is that while Minecraft sells really well; it isn’t an XBLAindie property. I would guess that of all the profit Microsoft sees from their distribution platform; less than a percent or so comes from the Indie channel.
Now, I’m not an apologist, and I certainly would have liked to see it go a different way here (ne. Having a new standardized binary format that runs on playstation or xbox would have been an amazing leap forward.) The XBLA store is entirely Microsoft’s domain and they can do whatever they want with it. I’d have loved to be able to one day self-publish on the platform but I’m not really heartbroken over having one more “Sniper Simulator” for my kid to play.
I think it might be time that some of us indie devs start talking about consolidating our publishing efforts to give us some leverage in these situations; the ball is absolutely, 100% in our court to do so. It’s either that or we stick with the desktop and the (Massive) mobile platforms that we’re already comfortable with. Let the content win-out and everyone stays happy.