Indie Developers Rejoice, Microsoft Abolishes Patch Fees

Xbox removes one barrier for indie publishers -- on the 360.
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In the latest console wars, one of the many things going against Microsoft is how they have treated independent game developers, both in terms of the past and the future. For now at least, they’re abolishing on the most hated policies — no more fees for 360 patches. 

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In the past, developers have discussed the pains of working with Microsoft, and specifically the patch payment system. Tim Schafer discussed why they prefer to work with open systems like Steam back in 2012, saying “I mean, it costs $40,000 to put up a patch.” 

Fez publisher Polytron has had to re-issue buggy patches in the past that corrupted some players save files, because the alternative would have cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

In the past, Microsoft has allowed for one title update to be free. But unlike Steam, where subsequent updates are still free, in the past Microsoft has charged for subsequent re-certification, costing small studios and big ones alike several thousand dollars a patch. 

Microsoft has been getting a lot of flack from the indie community lately. You can see Phil Fish’s rage on the subject today on his twitter, claiming that:

“Microsoft was our publisher on X360, and they did NOTHING, no promotion, no festivals, not a single mention in a newsletter or conference…” and that “…they put us up on the game marketplace WITH NO COVER IMAGE, the file was missing for a whole week. the first week, the most important week.”

The outspoken game developer has stated in the past that Polytron had to pay to be exclusive on the Xbox 360 platform. 

No word yet on whether Xbox One will allow indies to self publish, or whether they will retroactively refund some smaller studios for their previous updates. 

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Amanda Wallace
Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.