Microsoft to Remove $40k Game Patch Fee on Xbox 360

The news was confirmed by multiple development sources speaking to Eurogamer this morning. Previously, Microsoft would charge an initial fee for certification of Xbox Live Arcade titles, and then – in most cases – would allow a single free title update to fix bugs first discovered when a game is introduced to a larger user-base.

The new system will allow free re-certification of title updates, and apply to both XBLA games and full retail titles. However, needless abuse of the system may still prompt a fee from Microsoft.

Speaking in an interview from February of last year, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer emphasised the problems that the fee caused: “I mean, it costs $40,000 to put up a patch – we can’t afford that! Open systems like Steam, that allow us to set our own prices, that’s where it’s at, and doing it completely alone like Minecraft. That’s where people are going.”

There are several cases where the fee has caused smaller developers issues on XBLA, too, but perhaps the most famous concerns Phil Fish’s indie hit, Fez. The initial title update for the game caused a save corruption bug for a small number of players, but rather then pay Microsoft the $40,000 for re-certification, developer Polytron re-issued the patch and left it as-is.

Critics and fans applauded the indie support that Sony displayed at this month’s E3 trade show, where Sony reached out to indie developers and encouraged them to develop for their new PlayStation 4 platform. It is hoped that Microsoft’s new Xbox One console will be friendlier to independent developers than the Xbox 360 was.

Below, an indie roguelike from the creators of Superbrothers: Swords and Sworcery EP, did make an appearance at E3 for the Xbox One, though Microsoft themselves are publishing the game.


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