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!