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

by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, Jun 27, 2013 2:00PM PDT

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.