Home Gaming Devs can now patch their Xbox 360 games for free

Devs can now patch their Xbox 360 games for free

2 min read
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Fez

Last year, we told you how developers had to pay up to $40 000 to get their own games patched on consoles – which is why some indie games, like Polytron’s Fez, are stuck on Xbox Live in a near-broken state; the developers just can’t afford to fix them. That’s now changed – as Microsoft has axed the fees for Title Updates on both retail and XBLA games.

Microsoft has generally charged studios to patch their games as they have to undergo a certification approval process each time; a process that costs several thousand dollars – and is one of the reasons indies haven’t quite been so keen on releasing their games on the 360.

On one hand, this is a good thing. It means developers can actually patch and update their games without going broke, so games like Team Fortress 2 – which is far removed from the PC version of the game – might not be quite as rubbish as they are on the Xbox. Might we finally see patches for games like Fez, and Alpha Protocol? Probably not.

There’s also a caveat, in that Microsoft now reserves the right to charge if a submission repeatedly fails approval – but that’s really quite acceptable. 

The fee was put in place to ensure that devs and publishers put out high quality, working games in the first place – and now that they can nearly patch their games willy-nilly, we might see a few more unfinished games put to market.

"Microsoft eliminated fees for Title Updates on Xbox 360 Arcade games in April 2013," A Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon. "We’re constantly evaluating our policies and implementing feedback. While our development policies are confidential, and will remain so, we’re pleased to say that this is just one of many ongoing changes and improvements we’ve made to ensure Xbox is the best place possible for developers and gamers."

This news likely makes Bethesda rather happy, as they will now save at least a billion dollars with each of their games. It could also be the start of a new wave of indie games on Microsoft’s platforms, a sector that the company’s been neglecting of late.

Hopefully, this policy continues through to the Xbox One, because it’s too little, too late for the Xbox 360.

Last Updated: June 28, 2013

45 Comments

  1. Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    June 28, 2013 at 09:07

    This news likely makes Bethesda rather happy …… I lol’d so hard at this ………

    Reply

  2. Captain Minion TallTwit

    June 28, 2013 at 09:08

    Microsoft… look foolish?
    They are capable of anything! Trololl…

    Reply

    • RinceWind

      June 28, 2013 at 09:08

      Hahah! This is very true. But as @0057b1b27cb46b94f9191c4c7251a732:disqus said below, I think they are trying to claw their way back into everyones good books…

      Reply

      • Captain Minion TallTwit

        June 28, 2013 at 09:12

        I hope so too.
        On that note… MOAR COFFEE!!!!

        Reply

  3. TiMsTeR1033

    June 28, 2013 at 09:10

    They should of made sure the games were perfect to begin with! I for one believe the companies should get fined for shitty production values!

    Reply

  4. Argentil

    June 28, 2013 at 09:17

    About time. A lot of indie devs have been publicly outraged at the ridiculous patching fee. This coupled with the newly announced Unity support (as of yesterday) on both 360 and One should bring them closer to Sony’s indie utopia.

    Reply

  5. Trevor Davies

    June 28, 2013 at 09:17

    lol @ Bethesda slam.

    Reply

  6. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 28, 2013 at 09:18

    That my friends is what it looks like when a company overplayed its hand, and is now forced to backtrack to get the egg of its face. Make no mistake, if MIcrosoft could they would squeeze you dry, but for now… slow clap!

    Reply

  7. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 28, 2013 at 09:24

    I wonder if the success of Minecraft on XBLA might have had anything to do with this, especially given Notch’s recent comments about boycotting the xbone. Since folks like Don Mattrick and Larry Hyeb (yes even the Major) only see the green in your wallet, the possibility of not filling their own wallets with more cash, must have left a couple of the suits a little anxious over the course of the last few weeks.

    Reply

  8. RinceWind

    June 28, 2013 at 09:28

    Well, they are trying hard I must say. Oh, by the by people, Fable 3 is available for Free on XboxLive today… Once you have downloaded your 10 games from PSN

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      June 28, 2013 at 09:28

      lol the worst Fable game is free… yaayyy! Nah, I’m going to download Catherine and then Hitman on PSN instead.

      Reply

      • RinceWind

        June 28, 2013 at 09:29

        I hate you. *steps on banana and slips. Damn you again…

        Reply

      • RinceWind

        June 28, 2013 at 09:30

        I hope this happens to you today! Grrrr

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          June 28, 2013 at 09:31

          LOL!!!

          Reply

      • CaptainNemo42

        June 28, 2013 at 09:55

        And on 3 July we get Battlefield 3, Payday the Heist and a game I really want to play… Saints Row The Third.

        Not to mention the PS VITA goodies.

        Reply

      • Concerned

        June 28, 2013 at 10:08

        “worst Fable”? Ever played Fable Journey?

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          June 28, 2013 at 10:32

          Point taken! I actually forgot about Fable the Journey… hahaha!

          Reply

  9. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 28, 2013 at 09:36

    One step forward, three steps backwards, and a self-afflicted DDT on the stone floor… I think I understand Microsoft’s business plan now – chaotic incompetence

    http://gigaom.com/2013/06/27/microsoft-makes-it-harder-to-smaller-developers-to-build-off-kinect/

    Reply

    • Trevor Davies

      June 28, 2013 at 09:57

      Only work with licensed hardware & software? Oh yes! Those hackers & modders are well & truly foiled by a license.

      Reply

  10. Trevor Davies

    June 28, 2013 at 09:37

    I feel a bit of sympathy towards MS for this. I think the whole point of the fee was to stop people from releasing broken games and/or creating a higher barrier for entry to prevent the system being flooded. It’s a bit disingenuous for indies to go into it knowing the rules, then complaining when they fall afoul of them. Saying you’re “indie” doesn’t give you a free pass or entitle you to special treatment.

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      June 28, 2013 at 09:39

      Although on the other hand, the fee actually perpetuated broken games. It made it impossible for smaller indie devs to make good on their promises of patched games or additional content.

      Reply

      • Trevor Davies

        June 28, 2013 at 09:44

        If I remember correctly didn’t they get one free patch, or is this some weird dimension where it’s possible for me to be wrong? 😀

        I think they were trying to ensure that when something gets released that it just works as intended from day one because everyone complains about games needing constant patching. They probably could have gone about it in a different way to make things better for devs & customers though.

        Reply

  11. jGLZA

    June 28, 2013 at 10:07

    Good news for the 360, will they be do the same for the XBone though?

    Reply

  12. Mootles

    June 30, 2013 at 05:48

    Too little too late.

    Reply

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