Microsoft scraps developer fees for Xbox 360 patches - Report

Title updates for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games are now free.

A change of policy at Microsoft means the platform-holder is no longer charging developers for Xbox 360 title updates, a new report has said.

Eurogamer reports that Microsoft quietly ushered in the change earlier in 2013 and that developers are no longer charged a fee to re-certify their games through Microsoft's submission process. Microsoft still charges a fee to developers when they initially submit Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games to be published, with the games then tested and sent for approval through Microsoft's certification process.

There are reported to be a few caveats, with Microsoft able to charge developers if it suspects an excessive number of submissions.

Additionally, a source told GameSpot that Microsoft no longer charges developers to have Xbox Live Arcade games re-certified if they fail their initial submission. The move is believed to have been implemented to help smaller developers who lack the resources of bigger publishers, and avoid situations such as when Fez developer Polytron opted to rerelease a patch with a potential save-corrupting bug in 2012.

Microsoft's previous system gave developers one title update for free, before levying fees upon subsequent updates. Double Fine boss Tim Schafer attached a $40,000 figure to the fee in an interview with Hookshot in 2012.

Microsoft's choice to charge for additional title updates was so that developers would focus more on the quality of their software before initial release, GameSpot has been told.

Abolishing some of the fees attached to the Xbox 360 submission process brings Microsoft's publishing model one step closer to PC platform Steam.

Fez developer Phil Fish previously said that the situation with Fez would never have happened with Steam. "Had Fez been released on Steam instead of XBLA," said the developer a year before porting the game on Steam, "[Fez] would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us."

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Discussion

217 comments
Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

So what.  You still force indies into not being able to self publish, and force a limited exclusivity agreement for any that still want their title on your platform.

Don't pretend you're friendly to indies.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

" Microsoft's choice to charge "$40,000" for additional title updates was so that developers would focus more on the quality of their software before initial release"

Hahahahahahaha!!!

No comment needed.

spindie
spindie

wait they were gonna charge for updates?

Chimzard
Chimzard

Too late for the Orange Box...

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Now work on bringing XBL indie games to XB1. It's doable, and no reason not to.

Derpalon
Derpalon

Credit where credit is due; Microsoft has taken another step in the right direction.

steelmouth
steelmouth

So its one step closer to steam but how many step to go

steelmouth
steelmouth

That's an egg in the face of that Fez guy who was crying saying MS don't love me, Fez would never come to any Xbox platform am going all Sony from now on

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

It wouldn't be a good idea to totally ditch QA. In the past PS3 didn't have any (or very few) independent 1 man team games because of the dreaded cell, MS had XNA and a PC like architecture so every man and his dog wrote games for it. MS had to put up some type of control/big stick or it would have been insanity. Perhaps it was too much of a big stick but I feel MS is getting treated unfairly by many here when they were in a position that Sony was not by being more friendly to devs in the first place.

spiral_dragon
spiral_dragon

A PR play no doubt, milk the developers for the general lifespan of the console then drop it right at the end to try to earn rep from the community. 

tightwad34
tightwad34

I just wanna know why would you charge for something like that in the first place? Seems like more damage control, which they are doing a good job of.

Accuracy158
Accuracy158

So are they letting Indies self publish now too?  That could help them out a ton in that area.

CaptWaffle
CaptWaffle

They did this in response to losing indie devs to Sony.  Also: i don't think it said anything about no fees for the XBone, just the 360, just pointing that out. Something to keep an eye on when the XBone comes out.

loe12k
loe12k

Microsoft have said very little. They only said Arcade games are free and have been since April 2013.

Microsoft is smart  they said nothing about all" X box 360 being free to patch. And no mention of what their policy is in regards to XB1 games.

Aleperez75
Aleperez75

To all the haters and ignorants, if you read the note it says that these charges were drop at the begining of 2013, which is way before the xbox one reveal. And contrary to Sony, which like to been seen as saints, they did not published this as something to hold and being seen as a good company. I think you need to read bqefore talking.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Too little too late.  Sony never pulled this shit, and you already lost developers. 

foxrock66
foxrock66

Man they are running scared now. It's like they're trying throw as many seemingly "good" things at us as they can without actually doing anything serious to their bottom line

xcollector
xcollector

Its free now that the gen is over.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Thumbs up to Microsoft for this decision. That was such a silly policy.

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

Wow Microsoft are getting super aggressive reverting many policies.  Kudos to them.

nurnberg
nurnberg

It's a good thing.  I wonder how things work with Sony?

Chai_Tea
Chai_Tea

It must be like chopping of your own leg to save yourself.  Each time they have to retract a policy must be like the swing of an axe.  Each chop of the axe must be agony.  Tears are flowing, snot loosening, spit is drooling.   I can't tell if I wanna laugh or cry at their misery.

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

too little too late MicroFucks

hp2110
hp2110

@spiral_dragon why the hell would they do that? 40 grand per updates isn't shit to Microsoft. and they did a great thing there is zero reason to take that away from people

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@Accuracy158 Total freedom to self publish would be madness, there needs to be checks and balances or you could bring the hardware to it's knees. I think what they should do is bring this scheme to the Xbox One so devs have to go through a certification process but don't make it super onerous.

y3ivan
y3ivan

@loe12k 4mb patch limit has been removed. certification takes about a week. no limit for indie patch. and bunch of stuff said that i dont remember. 

colt_a
colt_a

@DrKill09 Actually Sony did charge as well.  Just no one cared.

xxYetterxx
xxYetterxx

@Chai_Tea While the devs at Insomniac said that this was one of the draws for bringing 'sunset overdrive' to the X1 so it is pretty clear that this decision has been in the pipeline for sometime.  They can add and change their games as they please.  It's not all the surprising that this info was confirmed this week it being MS //build/ (developers conference) 

Salt_AU
Salt_AU

@Chai_Tea Cosnidering you and 95% of the other members here are using their operating system to type want you just typed.  I'd say they're doing ok.

huerito323
huerito323

@xeoneex66 It's never too late. If everything was too late, then why bother changing anything? With your mindset, no progress would be made.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Wattsburg0 @SpicaAntares 

Too bad, I was here first.

Imagine if Microsoft had to give back money to consumers every time they patch windows, as "to focus more on the quality of their software"

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

@huerito323 @xeoneex66 bit late for xbox360... and for all those devs that "could" have patched their game.  Way to fuck your consumer base Micro$hits.

huerito323
huerito323

@Bellum_Sacrum Ok then, I guess Microsoft should continue to require a fee. I guess blacks should still be slaves after all those years of suffering.

Great logic.