Rumor: PS4 and "next Xbox" might let developers self-publish game patches

Sony announced the Playstation 4 about a month ago, and rumors are flying that the reveal for the "next Xbox" from Microsoft could be coming very soon. The PS4 has a PC-based hardware inside from AMD and Microsoft's next console is rumored to be much the same.

One of the bad things about current generation console development is that if game developers and publishers want to issue post-release patches, they must go through the QA department of the console's hardware makers. As a result, it's highly expensive to issue patches for console games and they can also take weeks go through the certification process before they are released. PC game patches, on the other hand, have no such restrictions.

Now there's a rumor that suggests that situation might not be repeated for the PS4 and the next Xbox. OXM quotes Simon Vikland of Overkill Software (makers of the 2011 team shooter Payday: The Heist) as saying, "I've heard stories that for the next generation, they're making it possible to self-publish patches. That's a rumour. And that would be nice."

It would make a bit more sense to allow that kind of freedom to patch games since the hardware inside the next generation consoles is based firmly on the already established PC x86 standard, rather than the more custom processors that the PS3 and Xbox 360 have. We should learn more about these kinds of features in the months ahead of the console launch dates.

Source: OXM | Image via Sony

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18 Comments

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i wouldnt be to sure microsoft is the bigest patcher in the world with patch tuesday named after the amount of updates the have to release for windows platforms. Microsoft probally will be the first to let developers send out updates first. Also was their any mention of a physical drive with the ps4 i still dont think uk broadband is ready for ps4 well not northern ireland anyway people will always want a physical medium device

I just hope this doesn't backfire and allow developers to release poorly coded software and then issue several patches to fix things that should've been noticed in testing before the first release.

man, patch this & patch that mentality really annoying.

we gamers have less buggy games releases when patching was impossible ...

This better be more than a rumor.

This patch 'QA' bull**** has been hurting games, gamers and game companies for a very long time.

DAOWAce said,
This better be more than a rumor.

This patch 'QA' bull**** has been hurting games, gamers and game companies for a very long time.

However i can easily imagine a patch that would almost brick the console because it was not well enough tested, or might botch up other software on the device, like other games or something. I'm not trying to antagonize, i'm just saying too much of something is bad enogh, be it quality assurance or patching freedom.

LauRoman said,
However i can easily imagine a patch that would almost brick the console because it was not well enough tested, or might botch up other software on the device, like other games or something. I'm not trying to antagonize, i'm just saying too much of something is bad enogh, be it quality assurance or patching freedom.

If a patch for one game can brick the console or affect other games, then that's poor design on the part of the console manufacturer.

LauRoman said,
However i can easily imagine a patch that would almost brick the console because it was not well enough tested, or might botch up other software on the device, like other games or something. I'm not trying to antagonize, i'm just saying too much of something is bad enogh, be it quality assurance or patching freedom.

I've never heard of a case where a PC game patch has broken windows or other PC software. There are instances though where game patches have broken parts of the game, even on consoles that requires QA on every patch. It means that developers have to spend a lot of money to release another patch.

In the case of Fez, the developer released a patch that fixed several bugs in the game, but introduced a new bug that corrupted some user's save game files. Microsoft's QA process didn't prevent the bug, but the developer won't release a new patch because it would cost too much money.

If this rumour's true, all I can say is it's about f***ing time! The current process for getting patches up on both 360 and PS3 is ridiculous (and expensive). It's the reason why Valve pretty much abandoned The Orange Box, as well as the Left for Dead games on the consoles.

This is a great move if true, it allows Treyarch and Infinity Ward to push game fixes to their future unfinished COD games faster, but seriously this is a very good idea for faster game fixes for users.

The hardware inside the console has nothing to do with the ability to publish patches without having to go through QA. Sony and Microsoft could have done the same with PS3 and Xbox 360 - they chose not to.

Trying to tie every rumour about these new consoles to some supposed x86 tech is desperate.

I hope it does, it means we'll get more patches, and faster. Right now we have to wait no only for certification but for developers to have enough fixes to justify the costs involved of actually releasing the update.

There might be some bumps along the way, but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages considerably.

You already see patches to fix patches on the Xbox, it's rare because it costs so much that it's often cheaper to simply not fix the issues.

I'd say that's even worse for end users than having to deal with the rare "fix an issue the previous patch introduced" case though.

yardmanflex said,
I hope it does not happen on the Xbox ..I don't want dev to be putting out patches to fix patches...

Why not? If something is broken then developers should be able to fix it. As it stands there are games on X360 that are broken yet they won't be patched because of Microsoft's excessive fee for patch certification. Meanwhile on the PC we've seen Steam encourage micro-patches to address the smallest of issues and they can be issued very swiftly.

They check to see if a bug in the code would allow elevated access to the Console's OS's and could be a back door for hacking / jail breaking consoles.