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 naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

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"I want them to feel like they're first-class, because they are."

Made me throw up a little.

Just stop talking, Phil.

Please.

23 • 
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R-E-A-V-E

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<< LINK REMOVED >> He sounds like a jackass with that comment and not so surprisingly he is! who knew.

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leviathanwing

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<< LINK REMOVED >> but but hes going to FULLY support pc gaming and gamers... i mean they only just let ryse come to pc, meaning exclusivity payments must have petered out.

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rem234

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Since MS technically owns the first Ryse at any rate, it would not be that it has run out. More that they are putting it out on PC because MS will get a chunk of that profit as well.

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jenovaschilld

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I have no problem with publishers and console makers throwing their money and weight around, whether people believe or not, console wars help spur on competition which is ultimately good for gamers and our wallets. BUT..... This is a play by a leader in the game industry to hamper competition and force down Indie studios that cannot afford cross platform development. -


Ex. I am a small Indie studio with a great little game, I know it will sell and I generally know who will buy it. But if I plan to release it to console I have to afford the money to release to Xb1 whether I want or not, Why? simply because my target audience, 50% of potential console customer may or not be on xb1. If I release on android, pc, playstation, wii, - whatever I will (by MS terms, not be eligible for xb1). And the toolsets and devkits are not exactly cheap for next gen console. This means my budget will have to be overly large whether one likes it or not. This takes away the ability for Indie to cut their piece of pie from larger studios and hampers competition. Bad for gamers.


So Indie studios can make a game that few will see, or spend on a large budget to release on MS platform first.

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rem234

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You do realize that MS actually gives away a lot of dev-kits and whatnot for free to indie developers if you sign up for their program. They actually make it very accessible, speaking as someone else in the game industry.

And also that if you are taking a long time to reach that parity you can actually talk to them and they will give significant leeway. The parity is there to begin with to try and keep companies from just deciding they are going to release it later. You can very much talk to them and get the buffer time you need if it comes down to resources.

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Aaronp2k

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this is why a lot of indie games are skipping xbox one. microsoft need to get rid of this clause, they are not in the right position to be pulling stunts like this. maybe if they were winning, but they aren't even close atm. the wii u is more competitive with the xbox one than the xbox one is with the ps4 lol. that just shows how much they are losing.

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Radnen

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@Aaronp2k Exactly it's cheaper to launch on all other consoles than the XB1 and still be successful. Xbox's parity clause means you make it for the XB1 and all others or you don't. Other companies do not have a similar feature. And if I were to launch my indie games I'd choose steam over anything else anyways.

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HumdingerMarkie

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Ah the Xbox hate in the air is palpable.

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TheExxorcist

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So... basically if it's not a simultaneous launch...

instead of Xone owners getting the game the same day... if you have to wait a month, Fk off!! you don't get it at all!!!

Yeah, first class alright.

4 • 
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khankalili

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"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"

Translation: I don't want somebody to release a game fully and properly developed for any system other than Xbox. I would prefer a game that is badly developed for multiple systems because I think that the product which makes me money is more important than any game.

No doubt developers will just ignore the Xbox in favour of any other systems that don't restrict/try to influence their release schedules, and rightly so imo. (extreme cynisme incoming) The only time these guys care about their customers is when their cashflow is in peril.

4 • 
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leviathanwing

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<< LINK REMOVED >> thats exactly what all the back tracking/pedaling has been about ever since were heard anything about the new xbox at all. and why mattrick isnt there and we get this talking head instead. yeah, yeah... *clap* *clap*...

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uncle5555

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Phil Spencer: "I'm gonna take my ball and go home if you don't let me win and play fair."

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BrokenChaos666

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There is nothing "first-class" about the Xbox One. Microsoft has shot themselves in the foot so many times with this console I have no clue if they'll ever recover.

4 • 
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deactivated-5aa080b4ab96f

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@BrokenChaos666 Monthly updates, DLNA, USB media playback, PLEX app ,suspend/resume, good exclusives... yeah nothing about Xbox One is first class! Another deluded PS4 fanboy, how's that drive club working for you?

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lolhalorocks

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<< LINK REMOVED >> microsoft has not look at windows OS still the most used in the world

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Smosh150

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> He isn't referring to the future success of Microsoft in general, but more on the side of their Xbox division and their reputation with gamers. Not that I agree, most likely the Xbox division will continue to thrive in the future, just not as much as in previous iterations of their console.

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If only WINE, PlayonLinux, Mono runtime, etc. were more advanced. I'd be willing to ditch Windows if I could play all my games on Linux.

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lolhalorocks

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nobody has obviously flied first class here so i will explain, when in first class you get benefits that economy doesnt like a nice chair and good foot room also better liquor, on the console market it is used as a term to mean upgrade, if you had and xbox 360 it is an upgrade to get and xbox one thus making people feel good about their purchase

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lostn

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Release a first class console and its owners will feel first class.

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lolhalorocks

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<< LINK REMOVED >> first class just means above last gen which it is, more benefits with the one than the 360

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TheExxorcist

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At this point in time ( still ) ide take a 360 over a One

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deactivated-5aa080b4ab96f

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<< LINK REMOVED >> You'd probably take a Honda Accord over a BMW 435i too, cuz you're a genius.

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Martyr77

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Except the BMW has the motor of a scooter, no tires, a cracked winshield, and no ignition. That is pretty much an X bone.

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JustPlainLucas

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I would just skip them if I was a developer.

18 • 
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tommynj

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One platform at a time. A great plan and should be exercised by other developers too. Most developers can't handle multiplatform releases at the same time. Probably more releases will have less bugs as well.

2 • 
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gargungulunk

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"Parity" must be the buzz word of the month.

I liked it better not hearing what CEO's thought,


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tsunami2311

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Does Spencer even belive that words coming out of his own mouth?

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Thanatos2k

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Any explanation other than: "It's a method of control meant to stifle competition and restrict the powers of the developer" is a lie.


*Checks explanation*


Yep, a lie.

25 • 
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kikook

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Wouldn't this mean that indies would, I don't know, not develop for the XBO? I think Sony would be happy to fund indie games if MS is trying to do this to the underdogs.

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deactivated-5aa080b4ab96f

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Sony would be better off funding better servers and getting their company they bought (Evolution) in 2007 under control, still no PS+ version of Drive Club is the laughing stock of the industry.

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Celsius765

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<< LINK REMOVED >> yeah it's not fair for xbox to try to control when games are released

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Kinguard73

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Ala we are losing our collective @$$es here so we must force Indie games to do this or we fear we will be left further behind. This is not that big a deal however just feels so desperate. One owners needs real exclusive games not a console that strong arm developers possibly away from them.

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Celsius765

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Sounds like something that'll force a dev to delay their game till the xbox version is ready or it doesn't end up on xbox at all

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Hooray for PCs and Steam Machines. Now if only they could get Sony's exclusives away from them and get KH3 as well.

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lolhalorocks

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> some one needs to put PC gamers in their place

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> You mean above the PayStation 4 and ExtortionBox One?

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Celsius765

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I like Sony though and I wouldn't say no to KH3 for pc. This gen feels rockier than last. I consoles but their days might be numbered. If they do I want a unified storefront on pc or unified hardware for the living room.

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> GOG might be the only thing better than Steam, but I get what you are saying. It's not convenient having multiple log ins.

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Celsius765

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Plus you can game like a console owner on pc so it all works out

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I've a labtop. I am considering upgrading my video card in it to a Geforce GTX 980M. Portability is another plus of some PC models.

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lolhalorocks

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> lol and the good laptops are more expensive than a fucking desktop and are worse, what benefit is there

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> You can actually customize PC games. Want to put SCP-682 in Resident Evil 4? You can do that on PC. Want to throw a combustible lemon at Master Chief? Gmod has combustible lemons and probably a MC NCP as well. As for the benefit of laptops, portability.

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Deadlysyns87

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Laptop not Labtop. Your welcome.

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Jinzo_111887

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> No matter how hard I try, typos tend to slip by every now and then.

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Jinzo_111887

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Would be cool to see the Extortionbox One crash and burn with the Steam Machines taking its place. Hopefully it might get Sony to drop their PS+ required for online multiplayer on PayStation 4 in the future if that happens.

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Stogin

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Hey Phil, haven't you seen the internet in the past year? X1 fans apparently hate indies and don't consider them games!

15 • 
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Martyr77

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<< LINK REMOVED >> LOL SO true!

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leviathanwing

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<< LINK REMOVED >> which is only part of the irony... so the people who want indies have to deal with waiting for an xbox version which wont get bought in order to get our own versions which we do want... this sounds a lot like their pc gaming diarrhea mouth.

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lolhalorocks

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<< LINK REMOVED >> dont you even go into detail about the 360 indies, god they were scary

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