Title updates free for indie devs on Sony and Microsoft platforms [update]

Sony does not charge a fee for title updates, a representative told Shacknews amid reports that Microsoft had dropped its own patch fee.


Sony does not charge a fee for title updates, we've learned following word that Microsoft had lifted its own fees on game patches. "For independent developers, there is no cost associated with issuing patch updates," a representative told Shacknews.

Update: Major Nelson finally chimed in, saying "Microsoft eliminated fees for Title Updates on Xbox 360 Arcade games in April 2013."

We raised the question to Sony after reports surfaced from Eurogamer and OXM that Microsoft has stopped charging for title updates. Multiple sources between the two claim that an initial certification fee is still charged, but patch fees have been lifted entirely. Microsoft reportedly still reserves the right to charge a fee if the a developer is found to be making an excessive number of resubmissions.

Tim Schafer of Double Fine told HookShot in February of last year that patches cost $40,000 on consoles. He didn't specify one console manufacturer, but said it in the context of both Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network games.

OXM cited State of Decay developer Undead Labs as saying, "suffice it to say that there is nothing preventing us from releasing as many Title Updates as needed to ensure the game is stable and awesome."

Microsoft's original fees have caused some headaches for developers and players, notably when a Fez patch broke save files. Polytron's Phil Fish complained of the fees at the time, pointing out that on Steam the developer could have issued the patch faster in the first place, and then replaced it at no cost. He has since said Fez 2 won't appear on Microsoft's platforms, due to the company's self-publishing policy. Notably, though, both Minecraft and World of tanks have brokered exclusivity deals with Microsoft.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 27, 2013 2:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Title updates free for indie devs on Sony platforms.

    Sony does not charge a fee for title updates, a representative told Shacknews amid reports that Microsoft had dropped its own patch fee.

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      June 27, 2013 2:12 PM

      I'm very confused... I had already known about the fees charged by MS for title updates., it was brought up in depth on an episode of the Indoor Kids and mentioned by many indie developers as why they are distancing from the X1. This morning I read about the removal of the fees from MS from IGN. Granted it's already passed 5pm for me so I'm a few beers into my night, how is Sony the main company mentioned in the headline when the "News" is about MS?

      It sort of feels like the message is that Shack didn't know Sony is a bit easier on title updates and/or you're asking competitors about their rivals business plans without knowing what their own stance is to begin with... ugh, someone help me please.

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        June 27, 2013 2:22 PM

        There was another front page story about MS dropping fees. Seems Sony PR decided to go into HEY WE ALREADY DID THAT mode because of it.

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        June 27, 2013 3:50 PM

        That post was all before the update to article, thanks for clarifying Steve!

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      June 27, 2013 2:19 PM

      Nintendo also doesn't charge for patches, btw.

      Just FYI ...

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      June 27, 2013 2:30 PM

      Should keep in mind that this is for 360 titles *only* (for now), no word on whether it'll also carry over to the X1 (which I doubt).

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        June 27, 2013 4:06 PM

        They really need to drop the dumb requirement of XBLA games needing to be published via a retail-vested publisher or Microsoft Studios. Otherwise, indie developers won't bother with the platform, because most of wanting to be an indie developer is not having to give a huge cut of royalties to a publisher whose only purpose in the relationship of an all-digital publishing deal is shifting nonexistent boxes. That policy is from the relic days of XBLA being an "arcade!" platform for games under 50 MB in download size.

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      June 27, 2013 2:54 PM

      Update: Major Nelson finally chimed in, saying "Microsoft eliminated fees for Title Updates on Xbox 360 Arcade games in April 2013."

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        June 27, 2013 2:58 PM

        do non-arcade games still have to shell out for fees?

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        June 27, 2013 3:22 PM

        did he still have on that ridiculous hat?

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      June 27, 2013 6:19 PM

      As Brian Provinsiano pointed out on Twitter today, Sony announced this policy back in March. Sony also hasn't charged a patch fee to an indie since 2010. While the fees technically existed, they were waiving them.

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      June 27, 2013 7:21 PM

      good to see support for indie devs. this should ensure the customer has the best experience possible from indie developers. kudos for indie.

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      July 8, 2013 11:28 AM

      This is a good first step for MS to help pull indie devs out from under the proverbial bus that they appear to have been thrown under. But how does one trust that helping hand? I don't understand the attitudes and policies that appear to have shifted, from what I am reading.

      I remember this poll of Indie developers from the World of Goo developer in late 2011 that had 58% of devs saying working with MS for XBLA was "excruciating":

      XNA was a dream for developers to see their games on a console, and a training tool for a new generation of developers, and that's been quashed. We hear from Jonathan Blow about dozens of indies being invited to Sony to check out the new hardware, and that MS still hasn't changed their tune. In the Sony press conference and PR we hear about games and the smaller guys making them. In the MS conference we get sports and TV.

      Why distance yourselves from the people creating your content Microsoft?

      This attitude is partly why I am switching from Xbox to PS4 this generation. I'll stick to PC/Steam development for now.

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