Xbox Live Stops Charging Studios to Patch Games; Fez Creator Upset

When a rare—but utterly game-breaking bug—crippled the indie sensation Fez, its maker said it would issue no patch to fix it. That's because Microsoft would have charged "tens of thousands of dollars" to put out the patch out over Xbox Live. Yesterday, the company revealed it did away with those charges back in April.

Eurogamer first reported the news that developers are no longer being charged for title updates on the Xbox 360, which Microsoft later confirmed over Twitter. If so, that's news to Phil Fish, the head of Fez studio Polytron, whose relationship with Microsoft soured greatly following last year's patch controversy.

Nearly a year ago, Fez published a title update to fix glitches that had popped up in the original release. Developers were given one free patch update over Xbox Live. After that, Microsoft charged for patches. Problem is, this patch broke Fez even worse. Microsoft removed the patch from Xbox Live.

When another fatal bug was discovered, Fish made the decision not to patch it because of what Microsoft would charge ("tens of thousands of dollars," Fish said in a statement) and the fact it affected, according to Polytron, less than one percent of all users.

On consoles Fez is available only on the Xbox 360; a PC version came out about a year after it first released. Polytron's relationship with Microsoft disintegrated after the patch matter. Over Twitter, he profanely denounced a lack of support his game got as a console exclusive, echoing other indie studio complaints (particularly from those who made Super Meat Boy.) Fez 2 is confirmed to be in development; asked on which platform, Fish said, "not Xbox."

So when he learned yesterday that Microsoft had rolled back its charges for title update, Fish said "You forgot to tell people."

"I've been hearing this rumor for months. Microsoft never told us anything about it," he added, via Twitter.

He then said he would ask if the new policy was retroactive, meaning Fez could finally get its patch.

"Something tells me it won't be retroactive," he said.

Microsoft no longer charges developers to patch their Xbox 360 games [Eurogamer]