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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Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for TheDigitalDeity

All is well in the land of the Xbox owners.

Avatar image for 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"


No comment needed.

Avatar image for Wattsburg0

@SpicaAntares Damn that was what I was about to post.

Avatar image for 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"

Avatar image for anfunny

@SpicaAntares @Wattsburg0 *cough* windows 2000 *cough* vista *cough* windows 8 *cough*

Avatar image for spindie

wait they were gonna charge for updates?

Avatar image for Wattsburg0

@spindie They have been charging for updates.

Avatar image for Chimzard

Too late for the Orange Box...

Avatar image for acelogan1989


Avatar image for DiscGuru101

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

Avatar image for Derpalon

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

Avatar image for steelmouth

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

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Accuracy158

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for DrKill09

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

Avatar image for colt_a

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

Avatar image for Export

@colt_a @DrKill09 sorry but you are wrong

Avatar image for Export

@colt_a @DrKill09

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for obsequies

oh how generous

Avatar image for xcollector

Its free now that the gen is over.

Avatar image for hadlee73

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

Avatar image for Salt_AU

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

Avatar image for nurnberg

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

Avatar image for xxYetterxx

@nurnberg It is similar. Found this article that gives a fair bit of detail around the process.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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)

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for foxrock66

@Salt_AU @Chai_Tea Lion OS babay