Wait, It Costs $40,000 To PATCH A Console Game?

Wait, It Costs $40,000 To PATCH A Console Game?

Well, this is bananas. According to Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, the cost of getting a patch up on a modern console (presumably he means the Xbox 360 and/or PS3) is $US40,000.

That’s not to upload downloadable content. That’s just for a patch.

“Those systems as great as they are, they’re still closed”, Schafer told Hookshot. “You have to jump through a lot of hoops, even for important stuff like patching and supporting your game. Those are things we really want to do, but we can’t do it on these systems. I mean, it costs $US40,000 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.”

That and, you know, Kickstarter.

Interview: Schafer’s Millions [Hookshot]


  • To all the people that cry about unlockable content on disc, would you rather they release the game early, finish the work that would have gone on the disc while it’s out, put it on Psn and pass on that cost?

    • There is NO reason for locked DLC content to even be on disc.

      It just shows the devs are terrible and were even planning paid DLCs before finished development.

      • lol, u honestly think they should plan the dlc for a game AFTER the development cycle is done and the game is out?
        When your game is only 20 hours long if that thesedays, they need all the headstart they can get!

        Or think of it like movies, it is fairly rare thesedays for tie-ins and merchandise to NOT be planned whilst making the movie, yeah?
        But i guess they should give all that stuff away for free to you when you buy a ticket at the cinema right?

        /evilmode off

        • Your example is flawed, locked on-disc DLC is like going to cinema and some guy covering your eyes during certain scenes and you can only watch those scenes with a VIP ticket.

          And no, planning DLC is not okay. They should not presume their game is going to sell, not every movie thinks it is going to be a hit. It hopes it will do well, it plans for a POSSIBLE sequel but it doesn’t plan for a definite because that’s stupid, it might not happen.

          • Sorry buddy, that still doesn’t make any sense.

            Locked DLC is like going to the movie and buying a ticket, legit. And then seeing the whole thing.

            People who don’t get to see it are the ones that are buying tickets from scalpers or something.

            In fact, that analogy doesn’t work too well either.

            Nevertheless, the concept is still sound. You buy the new copy, the devs actually get the money they deserve, and you get the full package. You wait it out, buy it second hand from some Tom, Dick or Harry on eBay, thereby giving the devs no money whatsoever, and you get locked out of a minimal amount of content.

            Not only that, but on single player games, this (locked DLC) content is, let’s face it, usually shit. When has that stuff ever been any good? Dragon Age had that crap quest for the stone guardian, Mass Effect 2 had maybe one good quest amongst all its freebies, the list goes on.

          • Are you implying Shale wasn’t the most fleshed out character in that game?
            Compared to him, everyone else had the personality of a rock.

          • Would it not be more like alturnate endings on a DVD of a movie?
            Interesting takes on alturnatives but not actually required for an extensive experence (did not use the word full as whoose definition of full would you use?)

        • It’s like how a lot of low end CPUs and GPUs are actually high end ones that had certain functions disabled. It’s counter intuitive, but it actually captures both the high end and low end markets at what they’re willing to pay.

          People think leaving those functions enabled would simply mean more for the consumer, but without the people who want everything paying extra to subsidise the cost, the base price would have to increase.

          Basically if what’s on the disc isn’t worth the cost to you, don’t buy it.
          If it is and you you decide the DLC is worth its own price as well, then great you’re helping the devs out and getting more game.

          If all that locked DLC on the disc was unlocked by default, the game might not make enough money to cover the cost.

      • Nearly every developer does, because there’s usually a few months after the game’s done where the developers used to just wait for the game to ship. That’s when the first batch of DLC gets made.

  • So that’s why Brutal Legend on the PS3 has that nasty bug that makes it unfinishable. I know, I was it by it.

      • I admit I have no experience in Game Development. I do have some in Application Development though. Obviously different, I know.
        But I do look at Nintendo developers who seem to be able to deliver games without the constant patch cycles. Are they different to other console developers? Or is it the consoles themselves that are to blame?

  • Yep, already knew this. When I was trying to get a patch for Supreme Commander 2 and instead was asked to fork out 800 points.

  • I wonder what the cost breakdown is on the $40,000?

    I assume some of it is a charge for the QA the platform owner seems to do (perhaps multiple rounds), and some is a charge for distributing the patch. Is it also counting costs on the developer side too though?

  • Until this sort of situation gets fixed the Console will be the playground of the big publishers and won’t allow any independent innovation. Even downloadable games are heading the way of the “big” full retail release. PC it where it’s at.

  • Actually discussed the problem with the lack of patches lately with a friend of mine the other night. While it makes sense to bulk a lot of fixes in a big patch to save on costs, it really doesn’t help the developer or the consumer if game breaking glitches aren’t fixed for long periods of time if in fact at all, for example the PS3 Skyrim lag, which is has had mixed results on fixing the problem, and that’s about 3 months after the game came out.

  • “That’s where people are going.”

    People are still split by the console/PC debate. I am typing this on a PC connected to my TV, but it’s stil annoying to play games on this machine.

  • Yep that figure sounds familiar alright.

    FYI the cost of re-submitting a game to Microsoft for release if you fail to meet standard 3-ply submission is 20 grand.

  • Kind of lends credibility to the thought that it would be in everyones interest to release titles that don’t require constant Upkeep through patches… Mr strange face picture man. I ain’t going back to the pc just because it saves you money.

  • Kind of lends credibility to the thought that it would be in everyones interest to release titles that don’t require constant Upkeep through patches… Mr strange face picture man. I ain’t going back to the pc just because it saves you money.

  • And should this only be tagged as xbox? Does it cost $40k to patch every game out there on each console?? Just’ saying.

    • But they don’t. The recent kickstarter? They can’t use that money for anything except their adventure game.

      As far as the bug goes, they have a fix but EA won’t pay to have it deployed. DF have done what they can. For a workaround, head to the DF forums. You will need to start a new game though :-\

  • You do have to keep in mind that Microsoft has an associated cost in deploying these patches (bandwidth, tech support, admin etc). While this may not add up to much on smaller games, the numbers to stack a bunch with bigger titles.

    Take something like MW3. somewhere around 10million odd copies sold, and if even half of them were to accept say, a 20mb patch, thats a 100 TERRA-BITES of bandwidth. There isn’t a $0 associated with that data, not to mention the differences in the rate and consistency of the traffic. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if Microsoft lose money on some of the bigger game out there patching.

    • For the record, it’s “terabytes”. Yeah, that’s a nitpick, I know, but it’s good to know.

      Anyway, you’re absolutely right about bandwidth. The cost would vary. Mind you, I have no doubt that it’s expensive in any circumstance.

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