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REPORT: Microsoft Lift Patching Charges On XBLA

Matt Gardner
Indie Games, Microsoft, XBLA

REPORT: Microsoft Lift Patching Charges On XBLA

I genuinely don't understand Microsoft sometimes. They'll happily shout news guaranteed to piss people off from the the rooftops (before hastily doing a u-turn), but then when they do something good it happens incredibly quietly.

Don't be embarrassed Microsoft. You are allowed to be nice every once in a while!

Anyway, news reaches us today that Microsoft have quietly revised their policy on game patches for XBLA games,  removing the need to pay tens of thousands of dollars for  bug fix.

Eurogamer reports that although Microsoft have traditionally charged a (sometimes hefty fee) always charged a fee for submission to certification and for title updates after the first free one,sources have revealed that Microsoft have altered their policy to make subsequent re-certification attempts as a result of a title update free. According to the site,this applies to Xbox Live Arcade games and full retail games.

The report mentions a few caveats, such as that developers should be careful not to make "an excessive number of re-submissions due to an update failing certification", as Microsoft would reserve the right to issue a charge. But it should make patching games post-release easier and more friendly for low-budget teams.

Furthermore, OXM reports that Microsoft's more lenient policies will also extend to games that fail certification at the first hurdle. According to their sources, XBLA games will no longer "be charged for resubmission if they fail certification - there is a single charge for the first submission, but if it fails then the developer is not charged for resubmitting it.

"This has apparently been added to assist smaller development teams who don't have the resources to test games as thoroughly as the larger publishers - although as with the title updates, Microsoft reserves the right to charge for excessive submissions."

This good news. This is positive stuff. This is change for the better, however incremental. Be proud Microsoft, jeez!

Add a comment5 comments
Late  Jun. 27, 2013 at 13:11

Fantastic news. :D
XBLA is a pretty damned good place for the consumer - but I know some developers have their problems with it, and charging for updates/resubmissions is one of the big hurdles.

Definitely a very good change of policy!

JonLester  Jun. 27, 2013 at 13:15

Agreed, this is great news. Don't get me wrong - I'd still like to see a penalty system in place to deter devs and publishers from pushing out broken v.1.0 software and just patching it up after the fact (this practice is rife on PC, though stringent initial certification should hopefully curb it), but otherwise, this should finally allow XBLA games to keep pace with their PC versions and stop small independent companies from bankrupting themselves in the process!

I hope that this is just the start of an indie-friendly initiative that will be revealed over the coming weeks and months - perhaps they're saving this announcement for a larger reveal or platform.

Last edited by JonLester, Jun. 27, 2013 at 13:20
Breadster  Jun. 27, 2013 at 14:14

Wait, I'm a little confused. Is the article saying that devs still have to pay to patch the game, but if it fails certification they can go back and tweak it, then submit it again without further charges?

If so then I guess it's a step in the right direction. Pretty sure Fez still wouldn't have gotten the patch it needed though if they still have to pay in the first place.

Late  Jun. 27, 2013 at 14:35

You still pay to put your game through initial certification, but you don't pay for future patches (nor for resubmission of the original game if it fails it's first inspection)

Breadster  Jun. 27, 2013 at 22:50

Ah ok, sorry, was just a little confused with the wording. I always thought of it as just patches being certified before they were allowed on Xbox live, rather than the game being re-certified with the patch if you know what I mean.

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