Microsoft Removing Update Fees For Independent Developers

Microsoft has taken a hit for its attitudes towards independent developers during the launch of the Xbox One but, in response, it created [email protected] — a program that allows developers to create and publish games on the Xbox One. Now we've learned that the fees usually involved with creating updates to independent games on Xbox LIVE have been removed. Developers can now update their games at any time at zero cost.

This solves an issue that many independent developers had with Microsoft and publishing on the Xbox 360. The most famous example of this centred around Phil Fish and his game Fez. After issuing a patch that caused more problems than it solved, Fish claimed he would not be 'patching' the 'patch', since it affected a very small amount of players, but mainly because he claimed that it would cost "tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game".

But with the Xbox One it appears as though these fees will be a thing of the past.

In an email sent to developers signed up to the [email protected] program, Microsoft confirmed it would not be charging developers to update their games.

We also want to reiterate that at no point in the process will you be paying Microsoft anything to ship your game: there are no fees to certify or ship your game on Xbox One, and there are no fees for updates. (There is the standard revenue share once you start selling games, of course!) You’re also not limited in the number of updates you can do.

Good news for developers, considering this was a major obstacle for many smaller teams with smaller budgets.


Comments

    I've heard they cost $40, 000 per update

      yeah im sure that was the figure they were throwing about.. but I thought this was confirmed a while ago that this cost was removed. I recall reading it but not sure if this is a new confirmation or I just made it up a few months ago? Wither way, yeah good news.

        Yeah, it was a while back that this was announced. The quote in this article says "We also want to reiterate..." i.e. they're just saying it again for the sake of clarity. This isn't a new announcement.

        There was some conjecture at the time as to whether this applied retrospectively to games that had already been released (i.e. would it mean Phil Fish could patch Fez?) or just new games going forward. I don't recall ever hearing an answer to that question.

          Ahh that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. And yeah still not clear on that last point.

    It would be good if MS were doing this for the Indies. But it isnt.
    The only reason MS are making it free is because its allready free to update your game in PS4. If it wasnt for developers getting uncomfortable with the old Xbox Indie System, then MS never would have changed it.
    same goes for those old DRM features for Xbone. MS got rid of all that crap because They thought Sony would have those DRM features aswell. Then Sony announces the ps4 doesnt and MS shat themselves.

    So what do MS do mext, they treat their fans like dumb ass' and say its for them that they changed the DRM crap.

    I cannot believe people are dumb enough to be fooled by MS.

      Yes, being competitive is foolish.

      I enjoy my Xbox One and 360 and am glad that they have changed their policy so that independant companies have less cost associated with publishing content on my console of choice. Not really sure what part of that is upsetting to you.

      I can see you hate MS and I don't care about that.. but consider this: There is a developer out there that is a PS3/4 dev who you like and enjoy their games. This announcement has provided a benefit to them so now they develop for xbox, expand their sales potential and as a result, that studio can hire someone else and make their multiplatform game better. All gamers win as a result of this so why do you feel the need to bring this negativity. Would you rather that MS didnt do this?

      EDIT: Also, you may be right that MS are reacting to PS and changing their policies.. this is called competition and it's a good thing for all of us. If we all subscribed to your newsletter, MS would go out of business and there would be a very realistic chance that PS would get lazy and deliver a less than fantastic service. I believe it is because of MS and others that PS is delivering such great products such as PS+ and PS4. You should be greatful for us dumb people!

      Last edited 24/01/14 4:33 pm

      If Microsoft thought that they could still have the DRM setup fly, regardless of what Sony was doing, they would've done it. Microsoft (like most businesses) make their decisions based upon what will make them money. The cost to developers and publishers to update their game on 360? Money driven. Removing the DRM on Xbox One due to it killing their preorder sales? Money driven. Technically the claim that it was the fans that caused them to change the DRM setup isn't wrong, because they were going to lose out on a massive lot of potential sales if they didn't.

      What you're saying is basically true, and this is why I'm thankful there's competition between Sony and Microsoft so they're forced to duke it out over who can provide better value.

      But I also think you're being needlessly aggressive in the statements you're making. Microsoft want to support indie devs, and now hopefully they've seen a way to be better at it. This improves the situation for those devs and for the gamers, regardless of what the "true" motivation is.

      The reason it's already free on PS3/4? Because Sony wanted to be better than Microsoft.

    Good news indeed. This is exactly what MS needed to do and say to developers a year before the release.

    I thought this was old news. Or is this just Microsoft finally making it official they are doing away with charging developers for patching? (Ridiculous IMO)

    I know this isn't so much a problem with Indies, but this better not result in even more unfinished games.

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