Microsoft Drops Patch Fees

Microsoft has stopped charging developers for Xbox 360 Patches.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Up until now Microsoft has charged developers to patch their games, and multiple indie developers have openly scolded Microsoft for their patching costs, which hover around $40,000 and have caused several studios to abandon the Xbox format.

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Supposedly the system is designed as a QA filter, the high patching costs were intended to discourage repetitive patching so that developers only submit their games to Microsoft’s certification process when they are confident that their game had a good quality and that multiple patches won’t be necessary.

However, Microsoft’s unwieldy rules have deterred indie developers from porting their games to the Xbox 360.

Several developers have called Microsoft a nightmare to work with. The company has always charged a fee when a studio first submits its game to their certification process so it can be approved for release. After that, Microsoft grants one free update patch. According to several developers this continues to be the case but subsequent re-certification as a result of a title update is now free.

Despite the fact that Microsoft’s format is designed to make sure developers spend enough time making sure their game is “perfect” it ends up being detrimental to consumers since fixing bugs and corrupted files would require a costly process of getting re-certified and developers end up avoiding the update process.

The Patch fees format is not the only problem that seems hostile to indie developers; the fact that indies aren’t and won’t be allow to self publish their games on Microsoft’s consoles (360 and XboxOne) has been considered a problem for developers. Studios are required to be published by Microsoft Studios or a third party publisher which is a problem for developers, because publishers take a portion of their revenue. If published by Microsoft Studios they require a minimum timed exclusivity on the Xbox One, so the developer won’t be allowed to publish on other platforms day one.

If the developer decides to go with a third-party publisher to avoid timed exclusivity (a Third-party publisher obviously won’t sign a deal to publish just on Xbox Live since they want a cut of everything on every platform) the developer will be giving a chunk of their revenue share on all platforms just to be able to release their game onto the Xbox and the freedom to release on all other platforms.

So patch fees are not the only problem when it comes to Microsoft’s policies.

Hopefully Microsoft will recognize the importance of indie developers and will change its policies in order to embrace these small studios that can bring new interesting ideas to the console market.

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Joe Triana
Hi guys! I'm just a guy with a profound love for video games. I have a Bsc in Economics whatever you don't want to know about that. You want tech!!