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Team Meat, ZEN Studios, and Microsoft

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I find none of this particularly important but when companies talk about how they are treated and how they have boycotted giants like Microsoft, it makes for good blog posts.

Do you really care if Team Meat never works with Microsoft again?

That’s what Edmund McMillen told the podcast. The exact quote is, “I don’t think we’ll work with them ever again. We’ve not had one sale (XBLA) since our initial launch, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Whenever we ask, and we actively ask monthly if we can be included in a sale or get any kind of promotion, they say no.”

The idea here is that Microsoft didn’t support the game post launch and that despite that snub, the game still sold well — particularly on the PC via Steam.

Tommy Refenes of Team Meat chimed in, “Other digital distribution sites in no way compare to what Steam is. Steam is a fucking powerhouse.”

“Fucking A” um…dude.

Anyway, after this little hullabaloo, the PR department for ZEN Studios (Pinball FX2) sent this out:

We had (and continue to have) an excellent experience working with Microsoft. Pinball FX2 came out during the same Game Feast promotion, and we had similar support and promotion available to us as did everyone in our launch class (Comic Jumper, Super Meat Boy, Pinball FX2, Hydrophobia). If fact, if you want to argue, Super Meat Boy got the MOST promo out of the deal as they were the poster child for the whole campaign (

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And sorry, not to brag but Pinball FX2 continues to be a top XBLA game week over week – even in the midst of Summer of Arcade ( Believe me, we did not figure all of this out ourselves, Microsoft and their brain trust had a LOT to do with it.

So why all the backlash? What are they not telling you? Is this a desperate attempt at marketing, PR…SALES? How come no one has mentioned that these guys have made millions – is it to protect their “we are indie and poor” image?

Ok…so…how about that Packers/Saints game last night? Crazy, eh?

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

7 thoughts to “Team Meat, ZEN Studios, and Microsoft”

  1. My advice to indies find out who was the producer for Zen and who was the producer for Team Meat, and go with the Zen guy. Is easy to think of Microsoft and other mega company’s as monoliths, but I think in the end is the human factor that determines your experience with them.

  2. I have zero respect for these Ed McMillien and his people even though I loved Super Meat Boy and gave it almost top marks in my review.

    These guys are charlatans. They’re beating the “we’re so indie” drum and acting like martyrs, trying to come across as some kind of folk heroes for small fry developers. ZEN is exactly right, they’re pushing this “we are indie and poor” image, acting like they’ve NOT made all of this money and have a very, very successful game. It’s like when these indie rock bands sign on with major labels and then turn around with “*sniff* We got screwed, aren’t we so fucking indie?”

    It’s self-aggrandizing bullshit, but the forumistas and bloggers will jump right behind them- “yeah, yeah, Microsoft is so EEEEVVILL!!! Indie FTW!!!”

    They got into a business arrangement with one of the largest corporations on the planet. They knew what they were getting into, they weren’t a bunch of thumb-up-their-asses naifs without a clue that got “raped” by the big, bad business.

    Funny that you see TONS of other, much less successful XBLA games but none of their developers are bitching and whining like these grandstanders. Funny that you see other games there MORE successful than Super Meat Boy with LESS of this supposed hand-holding and mollycoddling that apparently Team Meat expected out of Microsoft.

    Frankly, I think Team Meat needs to shut the fuck up.

  3. So I read your post and really didn’t have much else to add. I’m just glad that I’m not the only guy that seems to think this. I enjoyed Meat Boy as much as the next guy but I don’t think I can wrap my head around the whining that Team Meat seems to be pushing for their game… Even when it first released and it seemed to be doing well, they were still up in arms.

    I respect the game but have a hard time believing these guys have the capacity to understand what professionalism is.

    I hope they like their indie lifestyle and it pays their 401k and everything because if I was a developer looking to work or hire these guys, I’d be taking a close look at these type of actions before considering working with them.

    Honestly can’t say I’m impressed with some of the comments from Zen either… Stick to what you know and don’t try to sling personal attacks back. Don’t play their game because you’ve already lost if you do.

  4. Unprofessional sums it up, and it really shows how immature these guys are and how they likely have zero business sense…if there is a breach of contract that Microsoft is responsible for, you take legal action…you don’t make all these fuckity-fuck statements in interviews to impress the indie crowd and try to pass yourselves off as both a victim and a champion.

    Oh but wait…there’s not anything actionable because Microsoft did what they signed a contract to do.

    There’s also some arrogance at work here…Team Meat seems to think their game somehow deserves special treatment. Great platformer, guys. There’s lots of them.

    I agree about ZEN, but it does put Team Meat’s juvenile bitching into perspective.

  5. However, if special teams will look like this all season, I’m glad they moved the kickoff line otherwise we’d be seeing 5 return tds a game.

    More on topic, Team Meat seemed unhappy with Microsoft immediately after launch in which they absolutely killed themselves to meet the deadlines. None of that had to do with promotion. I think this above complaints probably stem from the fact that Team Meat has been upset for a while now … and the fact that they have much more CONTROL over their product with other distributors. So, my response is a shrug. Team Meat doesn’t plan on working with Microsoft in the future, so they can badmouth them all they like. Zen is still getting fresh revenue streams through Microsoft, so they’re going to say nice things, justified or not.

  6. Just going from the quote provided I’d agree with the unprofessional appraisal. There have been plenty of other small companies that have said basically, ‘I don’t think we’re going to work with Microsoft again in the foreseeable future’ without actually firebombing the bridge, then pissing on and stomping on the ashes. No one knows what the future holds with any real certainty and there may be a time in the future where they want to work with MS, but good luck with that now.

    Also if there is some legal issue the first thing their lawyer would, or should have, told them is STFU about it. Inflammatory comments are about the last thing you want on record when entering a court case.

  7. 715073 459639I?ve the same issue sometimes, but I usually just force myself via it and revise later. Great luck! 753627

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