Fez-Gate: Developers Wade Into Polytron Patch Xbox Live Debate
Fez developer Phil Fish confirms patch costs mean no more game updates via Xbox Live, splitting industry opinion.
Published on Jul 19, 2012
Fez, the lovely, long-overdue retro platformer from indie developer Phil Fish/Polytron Corporation, won't be issuing a new patch to rectify a bug that results in players' save-file becoming corrupted.
"We’re bringing the first FEZ patch online," reads the Polytron site. "It’s the same patch. We’re not going to patch the patch. Why not? Because Microsoft would charge us tens of thousands of dollars to re-certify the game."
The original patch was released on Xbox Live, then taken offline when the bug was identified.
"Because as it turns out, the save file delete bug only happens to less than a percent of players. It’s a shitty numbers game to be playing for sure, but as a small independent, paying so much money for patches makes NO SENSE AT ALL. especially when you consider the alternative. Had FEZ been released on steam instead of XBLA, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us. And if there was an issue with that patch, we could have fixed that right away too!"
The indie added that mounting costs means it already owes Microsoft a lot of money: "It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops just doesn’t make any sense. We already owe Microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform. People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."
The decision has proven controversial and prompted both criticism and support from the games industry.
"I'm really not liking how are blaming MS for their problem. If you can't afford the 2nd patch make sure you fix it all in the 1st. Every dev has the same rules to abide by. MS do this to help increase the quality of games and avoid it being treated as the PC market," wrote Assassin's Creed 3 multiplayer dev Tim Browne.
"This situation sucks @Polytron should be able to patch his game as much as he wants for free. So frustrating," said Double Fine's Tim Schafer.
"This @Polytron patch really highlights how brillo Steam are. Good for devs, good for consumers. Others should be following their approach." wrote Size Five Games' Dan Marshall.
What do you think? Should indie developers be able to patch their games for free on Xbox Live? Is it unfair to expect a one-man team to find all the bugs in an indie game? Have your say below!