Xbox One's Parity Clause Meant to Make Owners Feel "First Class"

Phil Spencer discusses Microsoft's policy of requiring that indie games launch on Xbox One at the same time as on other platforms.

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has further elaborated on the purpose of Microsoft's controversial indie parity clause, which requires that indie games launch on Xbox One at the same time as other platforms, saying it's meant to make Xbox owners feel "first class."

"The thing I worry about is--because I look at all the people who buy an Xbox, and they invest their time and their money in Xbox One, and, as millions of people obviously own Xbox Ones, I want them to feel like they're first-class, because they are," Spencer said on The Inner Circle podcast. "When a third-party game comes out, it comes out on all platforms at the same time, and when indie games come out, I want them to come out and I want Xbox to feel like it's a first-class citizen when an indie game launches.

"So, for me, the parity thing is, if you own an Xbox One, I want to work for you to make sure that when great content launches, if it's coming to Xbox and another platform, that you kind of get it at the same time everybody else does," he continued.

"I don't want somebody to come in and just think 'I'm going to go do a special game on one platform and then I'll get to Xbox whenever I get to it,' because I don't think that's right."

The parity clause has been a contentious issue, with some developers speaking out against it and even Sony taking a shot at it. But Spencer insists it isn't a blanket, uncompromising policy that will negatively affect indie developers if it's simply a matter of them not having the resources to develop on multiple platforms at the same time.

"That said, I have a lot of friends that run small indie studios, and I get that timelines around when--they just can't get both games done at the same time, all three games, all four games, depending on how many platforms they're supporting," Spencer explained. "So I always just say, 'Let's have a conversation.' And it's worked; today, I think we've done a good job of working with the indies on, when they've had parity concerns, if it's just a dev issue for them."

If it isn't a matter of resources and a developer is making a conscience decision to favor other platforms over Xbox, that's where Spencer takes issue.

"But I don't want somebody to come in and just think 'I'm going to go do a special game on one platform and then I'll get to Xbox whenever I get to it,' because I don't think that's right," he said. "And I think, as Xbox One customers, we want good games when they come out on both platforms. But I also get that, hey, for some guys, they just can't afford the time to get both done, so we've just entered into conversations with people as they're launching, and I feel pretty good about the plan."

Despite that clear stance, it's possible things could be changing. Spencer's comments on the podcast resulted in new criticism of the parity clause on NeoGAF, among other places, a fact which was brought to his attention on Twitter. "I see the feedback on my stance on the clause, I want to rethink how we approach this, responses are heard," he said in response.

This is, of course, no guarantee that the parity clause is going away, but critics will no doubt be pleased that Spencer is at least entertaining the notion of making changes.

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Avatar image for ECH71

Wow. Microsoft wants give their Xbox customers a first class experience... what about your Windows customers, huh? Which platform out of the two has had its gamer base mistreated over the past decade? That's right, PC gamers.

Exclusives, timed exclusives, garbage ports and this non-stop "we fully commit to PC" crap we've been hearing from you over and over but without any evidence to back it up.

Yes, I fully understand why you should focus your efforts on making XB gaming a first class experience. Pr***.

Avatar image for Terminator95

SONY First Class

PC Second Class

Nintendo Third Class

Xbox Last Class

Avatar image for RevLux

I appreciate Microsoft trying to make me feel "first class," but in all honesty I'm barely even 4th class...and that's being generous.

Avatar image for Shin_Gallon

Considering how often Xbox pays hats of money to devs to get timed exclusives on stuff like DLC and expansions or full games, this is rich.

Avatar image for Allerletzt

<< LINK REMOVED >> No kidding.

Avatar image for squall_83

Wait.... Hold up. PLENTY of deals have been done to make 3rd party games exclusive for a certain amount of time. This is bullshit and now they don't want indie titles to be able to do that? WHAT?! Not only that, but their response is that they are completely full of themselves and they're better than everyone else? You have GOT to be shitting me! Really?

Avatar image for DatDarkOne

<< LINK REMOVED >> I remember Sony doing something very similar with the original PlayStation. It locked out all other CD based consoles from stores that sold the Playstation. I remember it because it greatly effected how I got games for my Saturn.

Avatar image for emryssyrme

So following that logic Rise of the Tomb Raider will be coming to the PS4 at the same time as the XBone...

Avatar image for snugglebear

Ok, but give me Sunset Overdrive on my PS4. Give eeeet!

Avatar image for Terminator95

<< LINK REMOVED >> Sunset Overdrive is a rip off of Infamous on SONY.

Avatar image for Terminator95

Notice how NONE of Xbox games like Halo or Gears of war get crossover to SONY Playstation? But Sony Games like Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, and Metal Gear Solid get crossover to Xbox?

SONY still has GOD of War, Uncharted 4, and Gran Turismo 7 coming out later.

Xbox Master chief collection, Gears if War collection, Forza collection. pathetic.

Future Xbox MORE collections.

Avatar image for Allerletzt

<< LINK REMOVED >> GTA MGS and FF are not Sony games. They're third party games. Done by studios completely independent of them.

Avatar image for dman123_1

<< LINK REMOVED >> But those aren't Sony games, those are third party titles that just so happen to makes some games only on the Playstation.... Final Fantasy and Metal gear was Originally on the Nintendo before they were on the Playstation. Xbox isn't just coming out with just Collections, I assume you don't really do a lot of research on a lot of things or you simply just look at Playstation news and skim Xbox news, which is fine, but don't spew a bunch of crap. Of those games you mentioned that are having collections, Forza 5 was already released on the One, so has Forza Horizon 2, Halo 5 will come out and Gears hasn't been announced on the One. However, both consoles are coming out with new IP's, I think you should look into those as they can make or break these consoles plus you should demand that from these new consoles instead of more sequels

Avatar image for dman123_1


Avatar image for MuffintopX

It's a defensive maneuver specifically designed to counter Sony's favorable Indie market relationships. These statements are nothing more than PR.

Avatar image for ladymulti

Sorry, Microsoft, but I don't look at gaming to feel any sort of social status up-scaling. I invest in gaming consoles to play games that I like and enjoy and if those aren't there and many others I may be interested in can't afford to abide by your standards, then you're not yet worth my investment. I can't help to say that I'm with Japan on this one and I'll say it again, you don't yet understand your market. You're over-reaching and unconcerned about what certain people in certain areas want in gaming; it's not a CONSOLE that makes people feel, it's the games, their story, their gameplay, the interaction with others, and the time gamers spend playing it that makes us feel special. Limiting your gamer's options lessens that from happening and its sad that you're slowly losing your exclusives now, Microsoft, because that's only going to hurt the fans.

And before the inevitable yelling calling me a "zomg!Playstation fanloser" occurs; I'll have you know that by the end of the year the only current console I WILL NOT OWN will be an XboxOne. I bought an Xbox360 for one game several years ago; I'm in it for the games not for any console loyalty.

Avatar image for dman123_1

<< LINK REMOVED >> I dunno, the way people act, I believe people are plastic defenders and don't care about the games as much as they care about the brand. This is why the gaming industry is getting away with so much shady stuff. Consoles players are caring so much about resolution and FPS which goes hand and hand with hardware, this is something no one who played on consoles cared about years ago. Features in a consoles have also become something important to the people, when PS2 had the DVD player, to when the PS3 had the Blu-Ray, when Xbox 360 introduced apps like netflix some people simply used the 360 as a streaming device rather a gaming device. I would love it to be about the games, but until some things change, I doubt we will truly see that.

Avatar image for ladymulti

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I've actually heard quite the opposite from most actual gamers in regards to being "all about features", especially when it comes around to convention time. People always are all like "bring on the games" when a showing is occurring.

The ones who seem to care more about resolution are those who are, simply that, more interested only in tech aspect and the news sites who want to stir something up for news sake. Evidence has also show that in a great deal of cases when a certain big title game releases in an area that the game fits that market more of the consoles are sold. That is why the XboxOne has done so poorly in Japan (no games for that market); and Fifa boosted sales in the UK (a game that fit that market). And the Wii-U's sales have boosted as result of the the more recent Mario titles and the soon-to-release Smash Brothers. Most people actually don't care about the resolution of the game that they really want to play... a game can be the most beautiful thing in the world but if it isn't any good I'm pretty sure no one would buy it nor invest the money in the system just to look at it first hand.

Games are the most integral part of a Gaming Console. if one just wanted an entertainment center of a device that could run Netflix, you could easily just invest in a smart TV because why would you need a slightly more expensive device that just happens to play games if you're never going to use 90% of the features?

I think some of these people who only worry about specs, features, and resolution aren't truly THAT into gaming. Some people who WANT to claim they have the best of everything to look better in other's eyes instead of being there to simply enjoy the games no matter what. Honestly, all the people I know that own XboxOnes are only playing one game right now: Destiny...they've already traded all the other ones off despite their great look...and one wishes he'd kept his 360 in order to play Dark Souls 2 yeah, graphics aren't as important as most people want to make it out to be.

Avatar image for silverjoystix

@ladymulti @dman123_1 At the end of the day, I think it boils down to getting what you pay for. I personally game on my PC and PS4. I also owned an Xbox One for 2 days before returning it. I bought it in February 2014 because I was concerned by PC wouldn't be powerful enough to play Titanfall :)

Let's just say I learned a lot from that experience!

Ultimately, games, features, and yes, graphics all matter. If you have two products and one product has superior features, it only makes sense that it will outsell the other product. It is literally that simple. Microsoft is losing the battle on all fronts right now. And, it won't improve until they ditch or re-design their system altogether.

With that said, the 360 is still a great console! I played mine heavily until Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls came out on PS3 and then I made the switch. I just think that is sad Microsoft didn't learn more from the success of what they achieved with the 360. Their management team seemed like they were living in an impervious bubble filled with endless consumer support and adoration for everything Halo!

Now, we have a post-apocalyptic game environment where the best option is PC - for those who can afford its sleek and seductive nature. But for those who cannot or are unwilling to make the sacrifice, they are left with two imperfect "next-gen" devices to choose from. Two devices that may never potentially live up to the success of their predecessors because neither Microsoft or Sony managed to remember what they did right in prior generations.

Avatar image for hotwog21

you made us feel first class when you offered us DRM, thanks :)

Avatar image for rolla020980


What, like Sony did? Fanboys can't see the world for what it really is.


Avatar image for Allerletzt

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Too bad Sony only patented that and never tried to push it on a console they were releasing...unlike a certain other company. So your comparison is incredibly faulty.

Avatar image for zinten

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> On what console was that patent announced by sony to be used on ?

Avatar image for deactivated-5a3920d6b9003

Why dont Microsoft just take their billions of dollars and buy all gaming studios in the world, force them to develope exclusively for their their third class console and make all gamers play generic casual shooters in 900p/30fps for the rest of our lifes?

Xbox One tries so hard to be known as the most pathetic console in history. I just wish that Xbox gamer would already stop supporting this annoying platform. Like they want to kill gaming for everyone else.

Avatar image for rolla020980


You sound offended that people are different than you. You need help.

Avatar image for Fursnake

This just smacks of coddling and undeserved entitlement.

Avatar image for quinnd6

I don't have an xbox one or a ps4 and when reading about the 2 of them I've noticed that neither console is what it should be.

Xbox one has install times that are far too slow, you're locked out of playing a game while that particular game is updating and the xbox one controller is unreliable, sticks breaking on a lot of people.

The ps4 has no media player capability and can't even play a frigging music cd and Sony aren't listening to their customers who ask for these features. So Ps4 is lacking basic features that it should have and Sony don't give a damn.

So things have been handled crappily by both companies.

Avatar image for canuckbiker

The media playing ability is supposed to be updated to the ps4, by the end of this year. It plays 3D blu-rays now, consumers asked for it, and that's all I cared about. As for cd', it's the 21st century. I was a teenager in the 90', and even I don't use cd' anymore. You might as well b!tch about it not playing cassette, or vhs tapes while your at it. The ps4 is exactly as they marketed it, gaming experience above all ( excluding the still lacklustre online support of course ). I really can't speak about the X1, but it looks like a solid multi-entertainment hub.

Avatar image for RobDev

<< LINK REMOVED >> who the f@*k plays cd's on their GAMES consoles?

Avatar image for canuckbiker

I did on my ps1, and that was it.

Avatar image for quinnd6

<< LINK REMOVED >> You're missing the point.

It is basic functionality that should be there.

Avatar image for Allerletzt

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I give absolutely no damns about if a console can play music or movies or whatever. I care about if it can play games and what games it plays and how it does that. If you want a system that can do everything buy a pc. It might be nice to have but it's nowhere near a "must" for a gaming system.

Avatar image for RobDev

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> no i'm not and no it's not. theres literally a dozen devices i will use to listen to music before my PS4. who gives a cr@p? i'd rather my Os is not cluttered up and slowed down by unnecessary functions. my games console is for playing games, not listening to music and certainly not for watching tv.

Avatar image for quinnd6

<< LINK REMOVED >> Being able to play some music or some movies off a flash drive is hardly going to bring the OS to a crawl is it.

I mean you could do that on ps3 or xbox 360 no problem and they didn't have 8gb of ram.

Avatar image for sladakrobot

<< LINK REMOVED >> Where did you read about breaking sticks on X1 controllers?
I personally have a day one controller-no issues and a Titanfall colored one also without issues.
Can you play a game while its installing on a PC? I know that a game on X1 is actually playable at a certain point of install.The same with a PS4(which can run games on earlier stage of installing than the X1 version).

Avatar image for quinnd6

<< LINK REMOVED >> I read it on a forum.

Here's an example.


Avatar image for nl_skipper

<< LINK REMOVED >> I don't know about broken sticks but I picked up an Xbox One controller for the first time about a week ago, and I don't like the feel of it... it seems like a minor step back from the Xbox 360 controller (which I still use regularly on PC), while the PS4 controller is a major leap ahead from the PS3 one. I don't know what it is exactly, but I don't like the angled shape or the feel of the joysticks at all.

Avatar image for sladakrobot

<< LINK REMOVED >> I am playing alot PSO on my GameCube lately and switched also to the original Xbox to play PSO there aswell and the GC controller feels much better.Its smaller and all the buttons are quickly reachable.
Back then,i felt the Xbox controller was the ultimate pad(i am using the S-Gamepad=small)

Avatar image for Naylord

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The GC controller is probably my favourite of all time. People criticised how unsymetrical it was but that was the beauty of it! Still use it for project M all of the time.

Avatar image for jtthegame316

Xbox one is a great console loving mine. its is the greatest system to have along side my wii u. have been playing a lot of them both. while it seem playstation fans can do nothing but harp on about resolution and troll xbox feeds i am playing my systems

Avatar image for linkdarkside

Microsorf the dictator.

Avatar image for charlesswann

Should have built a first class console then.

Avatar image for sladakrobot

<< LINK REMOVED >> A serious many consoles you own or have owned?

Avatar image for nachik

**** MS and **** Phil Spencer.

Avatar image for canuckbiker

Sounds like a great way to shorten the list of indie games releasing on the X1. A ton of indies releasing on the ps4 were released on pc over a year ago, and I really don't see a problem with it. I'd rather play a quality indie game later, than not at all.

Avatar image for hallen8

The console industry ladies and gentlemen. Where competition is not improving your own product but fucking over consumers who don't buy into your shit hardware and shit ecosystem.

Avatar image for pavlak1928


Avatar image for zulwalks

I get that they are trying to boost sales on xbone but if I was a developer, even with extra help, I would still be more comfortable if I could maybe release the games on a platform like PC first. Delaying those releases so that I can release them at the same time as on Xbone is gonna hurt me more than whatever programme can help me with