Xbox One's Launch Parity Clause Is Pretty Much Over, Exec Says
Phil Spencer stated that the infamous parity clause is now no longer in effect.
When the Xbox One launched at the end of 2013, Microsoft had a rule that independent games could not be released on the console after other platforms. Since then, the company has loosened this restriction, and now it appears that this launch parity clause has been removed.
Speaking to Edge (via Gamesradar), Head of Xbox Phil Spencer talked about the clause and its current status. When asked directly if the rule is dead, Spencer said, "I think so. There's this idea that's been named 'parity clause,' but there is no clause... If there's a developer who's building a game and they just can't get the game done for both platforms--cool. We'll take a staggered release. We've done it before, and we'll work with them on that."
Back in March, Spencer told GameSpot that Microsoft was loosening its restrictions and would work with developers who had made timed-exclusivity deals with other platforms. He said then that Microsoft would help tweak the games to make them special for their launch on Xbox. In this new interview, Spencer reiterated this option and emphasized that Microsoft does not hold these deals against developers.
"If another platform does a deal with you as a developer to build an exclusive version of your game for them, and you can't ship on my platform for a year, when the game comes out in a year let's just work together to make it special in some way," he explained. "People complained about that, but you did a deal with somebody else and you got paid for it and I'm happy--we do those same deals, so I'm not knocking you. It's going to be better for you, actually, because people don't want last year's game, they want something special and new."
Although the clause drew a lot of flack from developers, it hasn't been enforced too strictly. Last year, marking the beginning of the end of the clause, Outlast launched on Xbox One significantly after its release on PC and PlayStation 4. Since then, Microsoft has stepped back this policy--Spencer said last October that it was meant to make Xbox One owners feel "first class," but he recognized the difficulty it poses for indie developers. In March, he spoke about loosening it even further.