Many of you may be familiar with Super Meat Boy, the highly praised (and notoriously difficult) Xbox Live Arcade game that came out in October of last year. Well today at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Tommy Refenes, the co-CEO of Team Meat, the indie studio responsible for the game, accused Microsoft of making several promises that they did not keep. For one thing, the “Game Feast” promotion for the Xbox last October was supposed to exclusively feature Super Meat Boy for one week, but Costume Quest by Double Fine was included at the last minute. Furthermore, while Microsoft promised that Super Meat Boy would be given the number one slot in the Xbox 360 dashboard’s “Spotlight Feed” it instead wasn’t featured at all until halfway through the game’s launch day. And then it was placed in the number four slot, coming in behind a bundle sale of many other games that had already come out and of all things, a Mazda 3 commercial.
Team Meat had been told that the better their game sold the more promotion it would receive, but this too seemed to be an unkept promise. Super Meat Boy significantly outsold other titles included in the “Game Feast” promotion and was very highly rated by game reviewers, but was given no further marketing support.
Team Meat struggled to find out what they might have done wrong that Microsoft would do this to them, but there seemed to be no particular reason behind it. “It’s not supposed to hurt your feelings because it’s business, but it totally … hurt my feelings.” Tommy Refenes said. According to Team Meat, the only reason why the game sold so well was the effort they themselves put into advertising it. There appears to be truth to that claim as well, since the sales of Super Meat Boy on the PC via Steam were far better than those on the 360.
Despite this debacle, Team Meat is doing very well for itself. Super Meat Boy has over 400,000 sales across all platforms, and Team Meat is currently working on something for the 3DS. Whether this is Super Meat Boy or another brand new title has not been announced yet.
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