Report: Microsoft drops $40,000 Xbox 360 game patch fee

Microsoft has reportedly dropped the substantial fee it charges for re-certification of Xbox 360 games following title updates, according to Eurogamer's "multiple development sources". The quiet change to policy occurred earlier this year, and significantly benefits indie developers who were often stung by the fee, reported to be around $40,000 per patch.

The new process for Xbox 360 game certification involves Microsoft charging an initial fee to certify the game, followed by free re-certification for all future title updates. Previously Microsoft granted just one free title update per game, with all other patches including the fee; a process designed to encourage developers to polish their games to the best of their ability before submitting them for review.

However, the new rules allegedly include something along the lines of a 'fair use policy', whereby Microsoft will still charge developers if they're deemed to be making an excessive amount of patch submissions. At this stage it's unclear if the same policy of free game title update certification will carry over to the Xbox One, but it's at least a step in the right direction for supporting independent developers.

Source: Eurogamer

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And here I thought it was $10,000..

This has really hurt a lot of GFWL games on PC, especially lower budget ones.

Whether or not this actually applies to GFWL games or not, I'd like to know. If so: I hope we can expect a few patches to forgotten games, but I highly doubt it.. Forever ruined thanks to Microsoft and their beyond ludicrous policies.

They should charge a fee per game install, or have tiers of fees depending on approximate install base. No reason to charge the same for Call of Duty and some no-name game. Having the fee also keeps the incentive to releasing the game a bit more bug free.

this is a good thing , it was silly when companies had patches they didn't want to release . Valve struggled when they wanted to give away free DLC.

fair play to MS

Here's the thing that people fail to realize, that charge was to give incentives to devs to not make crappy games and I think that was a good thing. That damn Fez developer freaking out every 5 seconds wouldn't have to be freaking out if he did not make a game with bugs.

MS has been able to avoid a "skyrim" like incident on their console and for the consumers that has been good.

I just don't understand why people were so oblivious as to why patches were being charged? If you don't want to pay make sure your damn game run well and is not buggy. These factors were said upfront and any devs complaining about it knew it.

Meanwhile over on the PC, Steampipe is letting developers push as many updates as they want, when they want.

Console innovation right here.

Yea let go back to buggy as hell PC games that require a million patches to even be completable.

Some like the fact Console games have actual standards and devs are actually punished if they produce buggy games.

swanlee said,
Yea let go back to buggy as hell PC games that require a million patches to even be completable.

Some like the fact Console games have actual standards and devs are actually punished if they produce buggy games.

And some people prefer playing games above 320x240 resolution at 10 fps.

"The new process for Xbox 360 game certification involves Microsoft charging an initial fee to certify the game"

Or i am wrong or MS is just moving the fee?.

I bet this is a direct result of changes coming because of the Xbox One and the new Xbox Store that we're going to get. They're going to align it to be like Windows 8 and WP8 and while they're at it they might as well cover the Xbox 360 to since it'll be around for a while longer. This helps developers target and support a game on all of MS's platforms without worrying about large fees. Now you can target Win8.x, WP8.x, XB1 and XB360 with one go I bet.

why can't they just behave like they do on the windows store. 99 bucks/year, unlimited apps, unlimited patches, 30% commission on in-app sales and initial sale.

neonspark said,
why can't they just behave like they do on the windows store. 99 bucks/year, unlimited apps, unlimited patches, 30% commission on in-app sales and initial sale.

its about quality control. crappy quality dilutes the brand. even on the windows store, you have to be certified to have xbox branding,and must jump through hoops.

Ouya

still have very basic games and millions of bugs, but if the new developers go there because of the stupid overpriced fees, it will not be good for Xbox.

Competition does magic sometimes

john.smith_2084 said,
Ouya

still have very basic games and millions of bugs, but if the new developers go there because of the stupid overpriced fees, it will not be good for Xbox.

Competition does magic sometimes

This isn't in response to the Ouya. It isn't even viewed as competition yet (if ever).

EDIT: Competition does magic ALWAYS.

SteveyAyo said,
The Ouya is a mistake and a massive failure in the making... Even my Google fan friends have already returned theirs

I think the problem is that people got exactly what they wanted, and realized, "Wait... maybe I don't want this."

Good move MS...
But at the same time... BAD MOVE MS...

The Fee was there as a scare tactic so that developers wouldn't release buggy, crappy, games...

MS Loves $$$... But they do try to be about quality when it comes to XBOX...
If a games just sucks... well it sucks...

But when the controls are horrid... in game camera won't pan correctly, game glitches and save files are gone... those things should be 0 tolerance...

Microsoft should keep the fee and start at $100 and the can rise depending on how many patches you have within a certain time period (4 patches in a 90 span) would be a considerable fee

Showan said,
Good move MS...
But at the same time... BAD MOVE MS...

The Fee was there as a scare tactic so that developers wouldn't release buggy, crappy, games...

MS Loves $$$... But they do try to be about quality when it comes to XBOX...
If a games just sucks... well it sucks...

But when the controls are horrid... in game camera won't pan correctly, game glitches and save files are gone... those things should be 0 tolerance...

Microsoft should keep the fee and start at $100 and the can rise depending on how many patches you have within a certain time period (4 patches in a 90 span) would be a considerable fee

Well, they say that they do reserve the right to charge if a developer submits updates way too fast, as to how much that fee will be I don't know. But I bet it'll be a good slap to the face in the end.

ahhell said,
The fee was to cover the costs of MS' internal testing before being promoted to production on Live.

come on, you cant seriously believe it costs MS $40,000 to test a patch? It was obviously a way to encourage good QC on game releases.

Vinylchan said,
Fez 2 on Xbox One?
You can forget about that...

Fish is being a baby, why cut yourself out of a large user base target just to toss a hissy fit? It's clear that the Xbox One will sell well, very well. Developers want to get their stuff out to as many people as they can and make as much money as they can otherwise they're doing it wrong IMO.

Yea fish is being a complete dooshm he knew upfront what type of charges would be in place if he made a buggy game. Xbox is a closed platform their is no excuse in making a game with a fatal save flaw.

He should be blaming himself and not the fact that MS has actual standards in place to protect consumers.

GP007 said,

Fish is being a baby, why cut yourself out of a large user base target just to toss a hissy fit? It's clear that the Xbox One will sell well, very well. Developers want to get their stuff out to as many people as they can and make as much money as they can otherwise they're doing it wrong IMO.

Especially when there can be a hundred fold difference in sales in favor of XBL (according to Ska). He's cutting the hand that feeds him.

GP007 said,

Fish is being a baby, why cut yourself out of a large user base target just to toss a hissy fit? It's clear that the Xbox One will sell well, very well. Developers want to get their stuff out to as many people as they can and make as much money as they can otherwise they're doing it wrong IMO.

I disagree, his main issue with MS is not the fee but the fact that he used them to publish his game and they did NOTHING for him. Publishers are not just supposed to take your money for nothing, they're supposed to push your game out as much as they can.

Rudy said,
I disagree, his main issue with MS is not the fee but the fact that he used them to publish his game and they did NOTHING for him. Publishers are not just supposed to take your money for nothing, they're supposed to push your game out as much as they can.

They did, otherwise I wouldn't have known about Fez in the first place. I saw ads for it plastered on my Xbox dashboard for quite some time.

Thief000 said,
I still think self publishing will be enabled on the Xbox One through an app store.

I agree, it's just a case of if you want to use and get the Xbox Live branding on your game. At that point you probably still need a publisher but that's a option for the developer.

I agree, but since we haven't heard anything yet about it, I'm guessing it won't be there at launch. Then something like the rumor above(if true) would help the transition until the new solution is in place.

Graimer said,
I agree, but since we haven't heard anything yet about it, I'm guessing it won't be there at launch. Then something like the rumor above(if true) would help the transition until the new solution is in place.

I think Microsoft is done announcing stuff in advance without it being ready. look at build. announced windows 8.1,released preview right away. they didn't announce windows phone 8.1 because its not ready. xbox one is still 5 months away. plenty of time. its also an advantage if they release this stuff right before launch. it could catch sony being unprepared.

This is very good news. Hopefully this means games like Tomb Raider will be updated to their PC equivalents as well...

And I see nothing wrong with a fee if a developer is viewed to be abusing the process. It costs money to review and certify all these games, so if they are doing so unnecessarily, then they should discourage that.

Though games with online play should always be exempt from this policy I think. Way too many reasons to release an update to fix something.

Will this mean that Capcom might submit a patch for Super Street Fighter II HD Remix? They claimed that it was the fee that stopped them patching it again.

That may be true, but I wouldn't be surprised if Capcom/other big Publishers have a blanket license for all of their titles. I doubt MS would make it a hassle to have one for each individual game a studio comes out with.

n_K said,
Yeah but they still won't be allowing free DLC.

What do you mean by this? Ive downloaded tons of free DLC on my Xbox 360...

Some developer came out and said they can't offer the free DLC they offered on the PS3 and PC because MS demanded they charged for it.
A bit like needing a gold account to use sky player and whatnot, they told the BBC that if they made an app it'd be for gold members only, luckialy BBC told MS to shove that so far where the sun doesn't shine and they backed down.

n_K said,
A bit like needing a gold account to use sky player and whatnot, they told the BBC that if they made an app it'd be for gold members only, luckialy BBC told MS to shove that so far where the sun doesn't shine and they backed down.
Not quite true: it's wasn't the BBC's 'choice' to push back - the way the BBC is set up required that it be free. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_iPlayer#Xbox_360

scorpian007 said,
I agree, but so is releasing unfinished games and patching them later.

I've never thought of it that way.

Nice of MS though to do this. They're really trying to go pro-consumer aren't they?

scorpian007 said,
I agree, but so is releasing unfinished games and patching them later.

Yes but releasing unfinished games and patching them later generates negative feedback and dwindling sales without MS inserting a huge fee. So EA can continue to release crap because they have deep pockets but indies can't put out important updates because the fee is more than their entire profit margin.

Asmodai said,

Yes but releasing unfinished games and patching them later generates negative feedback and dwindling sales without MS inserting a huge fee. So EA can continue to release crap because they have deep pockets but indies can't put out important updates because the fee is more than their entire profit margin.

Once console's allowed for major patchable (PS3/Xbox360 era), we lost the high level of quality assurance that had to be present in the PS2 / Xbox era and older era.

That's a double-edged sword though. You may think we 'lost' the high level of quality assurance, but I think it's basically been about the same. I remember tons of Xbox/Ps2 games that had bugs, the only difference now though, is those bugs can be patched easily.

scorpian007 said,
I agree, but so is releasing unfinished games and patching them later.
That's such a stupid thing to say. Would you say Chrome is "unfinished" because they keep releasing new versions? Do you think Chrome would be better software if it had to go through a costly third-party certification for every new build? All software has bugs and all software can be improved with new revisions. There is no such thing as "finished" software in this day and age. Games are no exception to the rule. This move by Microsoft will favor higher quality games, not the opposite. Games broken on launch will still get destroyed in reviews, don't worry.

JonnyLH said,

I've never thought of it that way.

Nice of MS though to do this. They're really trying to go pro-consumer aren't they?

More like pro-developer, pro-indie.

$40K isn't all that much developer time. Not having it encourages rush to market buggy software and just patch it online. I'd rather have it adjustable based on the complexity and sale price. Small players don't pay much because the simpler software cost less to test.

JonnyLH said,

I've never thought of it that way.

It's written right in the article (if you read more than the headline):
... a process designed to encourage developers to polish their games to the best of their ability before submitting them for review.