"We Already Owe Microsoft A LOT Of Money"
Polytron has taken the decision to re-issue a bugged Fez patch that causes save files to be wiped in 1% of players... because Microsoft has made fixing it too expensive for the indie developer to afford.
“We’re not going to patch the patch. Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game,” reads the somewhat depressing Polytron blog post. “Microsoft gave us a choice: either pay a ton of money to re-certify the game and issue a new patch (which for all we know could introduce new issues, for which we’d need yet another costly patch), or simply put the patch back online. They looked into it, and the issue happens so rarely that they still consider the patch to be ‘good enough’.
“In the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops just doesn’t make any sense. We already owe Microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform. People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."
Microsoft's painstaking and expensive certification process has caused huge amounts of grief for many developers, and Polytron were keen to point out that the issue would have been recified within weeks had Fez released on Steam.
“As a small independent, paying so much money for patches makes NO SENSE AT ALL," they continued, "especially when you consider the alternative. Had FEZ been released on steam instead of XBLA, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us. And if there was an issue with that patch, we could have fixed that right away too.".
Oh, before you jump on the obvious bandwagon, it's worth noting that PSN is just as bad when it comes to this sort of thing (unless you cede the rights to your IP). It's becoming increasingly clear that platform holders will have to look into making their downloadable marketplaces more attractive and friendly for indie developers as digital distribution becomes increasingly important - and the PC undergoes a renaissance.