Fez developer refuses to update game due to Microsoft fee, Microsoft supports decision

Fez

By on July 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Players of Fez on the Xbox 360 may have found very occasionally that their save files would be corrupted and become unplayable, something that the game’s developers Polytron thought was fixed in their first patch – but turned out not to be.

Polytron posted a blog post explaining that they were not going to ‘patch the patch’, because it would cost them tens of thousands of dollars to get the second patch certified by Microsoft and the issue was only affecting less than 1% of players. (the blog post has since been removed, you can view a cached version here).

Microsoft have today come out in support of Polytron, saying the company is in the best position to judge what is best for Fez. Fez is, by all accounts, supposedly on its way to the PC as well – but no release date has ever been set.

Source: Games Industry International

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18 comments (Leave your own)

Microsofts fee is often why Games for Windows LIVE games don’t get updated much if at all leaving some serious issues unfixed.

 

Irony defined. :-)

QA protocol causes the products to be left unfixed. LOL

 

bundyraider:
Irony defined. :-)

QA protocol causes the products to be left unfixed. LOL

+1

 

elfalot: +1

Cough Batman Arkham City Uncough

 

If you watched the Indie Game:The Movie you will see that the developer for Fez is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. He made the developers of Super Meatboy look normal, and that is saying something.

 

riscy:
If you watched the Indie Game:The Movie you will see that the developer for Fez is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. He made the developers of Super Meatboy look normal, and that is saying something.

Yeah…he’s a brick short of a load. Did have a fair few terrible things happen to him but still a bit odd.

 

Any way to edit/delete comments?

 

riscy:
If you watched the Indie Game:The Movie you will see that the developer for Fez is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. He made the developers of Super Meatboy look normal, and that is saying something.

Sounds like it… the fact that they forgot to ask Microsoft just a small detail like, “how much will it cost for us to patch the game?” is amateur, at best. Then to blog about how crappy the whole situation is and make comparisons to Steam is completely unprofessional. I wouldn’t touch this developer with a 10 foot pole.

That being said, it is ridiculous how much it costs to patch a game, and this is aside from the actual development costs, this is just certification costs! THAT being said, you should have a basic understanding of how much its going to cost before you get into the game.

 

I support Phil Fish 100% after watching Indie Game:The Movie.

 

realone:
I support Phil Fish 100% after watching Indie Game:The Movie.

agreed, although he’s a bit psycho he’s got more or less the right idea IMO.

 

And this is why MS need to change their policies regarding licensing. It’s now actively harming industries and by overcharging for things like patch deployment (as they have to be MS certified, or is that certifiable to use MS…) is literally rendering some peoples products as partially or totally unusable.

If this is the case then I feel MS should be liable for damages to those parties who suffer loss (even if it’s just digital) due to this crap.

It won’t happen anytime soon, but it does mean that other indie dev’s will look to other sources before supporting the MS controlled platforms in the future. I know I won’t be looking to integrate with GFWL in its current state and that also means less support for any XBox ports made too, as any needed patches/DLC will be heavily restricted due to costs.

Sorry MS but you’ve been raping the public wallet for too long.

 

rsoblivion:
And this is why MS need to change their policies regarding licensing. It’s now actively harming industries and by overcharging for things like patch deployment (as they have to be MS certified, or is that certifiable to use MS…) is literally rendering some peoples products as partially or totally unusable.

If this is the case then I feel MS should be liable for damages to those parties who suffer loss (even if it’s just digital) due to this crap.

It won’t happen anytime soon, but it does mean that other indie dev’s will look to other sources before supporting the MS controlled platforms in the future. I know I won’t be looking to integrate with GFWL in its current state and that also means less support for any XBox ports made too, as any needed patches/DLC will be heavily restricted due to costs.

Sorry MS but you’ve been raping the public wallet for too long.

o.0

This is Microsoft… the same ones who make the 360 and the Windows. I don’t think they’re liable for the running costs of a small company who can’t read a contract.

They run a (mostly) closed platform and they should (and do) charge for it. Think what would happen if a developer could deploy a patch, across the entire network, free of charge and whenever they want. Not smart.

If you HONESTLY think MS should be providing this for free, you’re not understanding the real world.

 

ooshp: o.0

This is Microsoft… the same ones who make the 360 and the Windows. I don’t think they’re liable for the running costs of a small company who can’t read a contract.

They run a (mostly) closed platform and they should (and do) charge for it. Think what would happen if a developer could deploy a patch, across the entire network, free of charge and whenever they want. Not smart.

If you HONESTLY think MS should be providing this for free, you’re not understanding the real world.

ask yourself seriously what every indie dev is thinking right now after watching the fez debacle, indies will be looking at steam instead, and if you think these running costs are across the board then you are gravely mistaken

ask the devs at ignition how sorry they are for going with windows when they could’ve gone with steam instead (marcus beer on invisible walls, and if you don’t believe me he said it in the podcast, feel free to twitter him @annoyedgamer to verify this story.

 

I’m currently part of a development team working on an XNA game which was originally to be released on XBOX and GFWL but have since abandoned the microsoft platforms. Compared to XBLA, steam is a godsend. Developing for the microsoft platforms locks you into several exclusive contracts which prevent you from releasing on any other platform for quite a few months. Coupled with the extremely high cost for certification and patch releases makes it just too much for some developers. With the new movement from steam to have the community far more involved its just….easier and cheaper =-).

 

ooshp: o.0

This is Microsoft… the same ones who make the 360 and the Windows. I don’t think they’re liable for the running costs of a small company who can’t read a contract.

They run a (mostly) closed platform and they should (and do) charge for it. Think what would happen if a developer could deploy a patch, across the entire network, free of charge and whenever they want. Not smart.

If you HONESTLY think MS should be providing this for free, you’re not understanding the real world.

If you honestly think you know what you are talking about then sir you are utterly mistaken. Having looked at the costs involved with production for the XBox as well as PS3, I’d personally avoid it for a first run with an Indie game. Costs are too high, support just isn’t there and the wrong people make the money off the dev’s hard work. That to me is enough to make me go in a different direction as I want to stay in the business of making games after my first release not losing it all to other expenses which end up draining your return on work (not just return on investment).

 
Black Patriot

Several commenters over at EuroGamer point out that Microsoft is not alone in this behavior regarding patching, Sony and Nintendo also do it, and Sony is apparently the most expensive (I guess that’s what happens when you don’t charge players to use your network, the money has to come from somewhere).

Nintendo has apparently cut down on their certification costs, mainly because they were so cripplingly high that a lot of 3rd party devs were just refusing to touch their consoles.

I think the XBLIG games aren’t charged nearly as much for certification, so that’s one avenue that devs can go down.

 

rsoblivion: If you honestly think you know what you are talking about then sir you are utterly mistaken. Having looked at the costs involved with production for the XBox as well as PS3, I’d personally avoid it for a first run with an Indie game. Costs are too high, support just isn’t there and the wrong people make the money off the dev’s hard work. That to me is enough to make me go in a different direction as I want to stay in the business of making games after my first release not losing it all to other expenses which end up draining your return on work (not just return on investment).

Anecdotal ‘evidence’ is fantastic, but clearly – very clearly – XBLA works for alot of indie devs. As pointed out elsewhere, everyone except Steam charges similar prices. You… you DO realise that Steam is for PC (yeah ok and Mac) and not console?

Console games ‘work’. Sure, the occasional game might be buggy, but they ‘work’. People with no technical knowhow can buy an xbox and buy games from XBLA, and they will work on that xbox.

Steam games, if you would care to browse the Steam forums, NEVER work on every PC. They often introduce new problems with a patch. Yes, this is a problem inherent to the platform, but so what? The point is Valve don’t have to pay a big team of QA people to test and certify every patch a publisher releases.

In fact, I’m pretty confident they don’t take much notice of what goes up there at all – there are plenty of games released as ‘retail’ on Steam which should honestly still be in beta.

That doesn’t bother me as I usualyl research what I’m buying (thankfully I didn’t buy Legends of Pegasus, sounds like a hideous alpha build of a bad game by all accounts… for $34!) but I can certainly see why the console networks charge so much money.

I’m not disagreeing that it might be too much for some Indie devs, but you don’t seem to be understanding that there are reasons for the costs, it works just fine for alot of devs, and it results in a more polished product being available to an end user – which is a big difference for anyone unable or unwilling to troubleshoot a broken game.

The costs are inherent to the platform (all console platforms) just as a near infinite number of hardware configurations are the bane of the PC platform.

 

One word – “Ouya”

 
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