How Microsoft's Hostile Indie Policies Could Impact PS4

Push Square: "We’ve been holding off writing about Microsoft’s overdue Xbox One indie policies for a few days now, because this is something that really shouldn’t be particularly relevant on a PlayStation-centric site. There’s always wider competitive overlap that we look to explore, of course, but the details of another platform holder’s self-publishing protocol really shouldn’t matter to fans of the PlayStation 4 and Vita. However, it does when some clauses may adversely affect Sony’s systems."

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xHeavYx1349d ago

Easy fix. Indies who don't agree with the policy will opt out of the [email protected], just like Witch Beam did, eventually MS will have to (yet again) change their policy to stop being so restrictive

Dlacy13g1349d ago

Or they just stay the course as the policy really has more impact on devs that are already far into developement on PS4 anyway. They still also have options if they truly want to put their game on the xbox platform. The parity clause is for self published games but they certainly could do a publishing deal with MS if they wanted to bring it to Xbox One later.

And before we jump on MS for this policy is it really asking for too much? I mean release parity in trade for 2 dev kits and free access to Unity seems like a decent trade off for a small dev team.

amiga-man1349d ago

This does nothing for the devs and nothing for the consumer, this only suits M$, luckily with the PS4 looking to be the dominant platform M$ will not have the same influence as last gen hopefully that means devs give M$ the middle finger and the PS4 is given the support it deserves.

Dlacy13g1349d ago

@amiga-man... "This does nothing for the devs and nothing for the consumer" ... free access to Unity and 2 dev kits does help developers sorry to disagree but it does. And while it may not do anything for Sony or Nintendo consumers this policy does ensure Xbox consumers are getting these games on the same day as others. You may not think that is a big deal but the reality is games that launch in parity will perform better than something that comes to a platform after it came out elsewhere.

OrangePowerz1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

Having it mandatory to release at the same time or earlier on the Xbox One is too much to ask. It's small developers with limited resources, they can't launch on 5 platforms at the same time.

If they publish with MS they will get the short end of the stick by having timed exclusive forced on their game, that's how all those indie games where timed exclusive for the 360 because MS published them and forced them to do that.

bromtown1349d ago

@Dlacy13g True, the licenses to Unity is a good deal for small devs, and free devkits can only be a good thing but with the PS4 being easier to port games to from PC/Steam (primary indie development platform) are devkits for PS4 as necessary? There are far fewer intricacies when developing for PS4 from what I've gleamed reading dev interviews so maybe Sony can loan devkits out, but most of the work can be done on a PC? Whereas to develop for Xbox you need access to a devkit at all times?

Probably way off, I'm not a developer but just a thought.

amiga-man1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

Typical M$ give with one hand take with another, I'm sorry Diacy M$ is all about control you only have to look at their crazy DRM plans to see that, it's the same with their dominance of the windows market, people are getting tired of M$ greed and it will come back to bite them.

darthv721349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

People need to stop with the assumptions that development on one platform is really that much different than the next. The ps4 and xb1 are more alike than different.

the x86 design is meant to bridge the development gap that existed prior. so if a game is developed on the PC initially (which it very well could be) then the porting process should take less time when going to the ps4 and xb1 because of their PC-esq designs.

Now granted we would all like to see these games tailored to the individual platforms but we are talking about "indie" games not big corporate games. indie games are more about the low cost of initial release and higher yield of returns. To do that then they pretty much have to release on as many platforms as they are comfortable of programming for.

the policy of release parity is not meant to hurt anyone but broaden the scope of exposure. Unless a big company approaches an indie dev for exclusive release/publishing rights these smaller houses are going to do what is in THEIR best interest in making sure their game is available to the masses no matter what.

the part i am most concerned with is the quality of work. Im sure we would not want there to be a slew of half-assed content released on PSN, xbl and e-shop like we have had in the past. We will get the crap but i would hope there is more efforts made to keep the crap at a minimum.

OrangePowerz1349d ago


You might misunderstand the parity part a bit it's not only about the game being the same it's also about MS not allowing the game if it came out before on another platform and requires that the release date is the same or earlier.

xHeavYx1349d ago

When did you start developing for the One and the PS4? You seem to have a superior knowledge of how the systems work.

By the way, small companies may decide to start working on their game for a different platform than the One, and unlike big gaming names, they don't have the capital to hold their release and start developing for the One

mewhy321349d ago

this could have a positive affect of PS4. more devs will be coming to Sony.

darthv721349d ago

@heavy...this isnt PS1 and Saturn development days anymore.

It isnt hard to figure out that both companies went their respected routes to make development of games as close to the familiar territory of the PC as possible.

Pretty much all game development gets started on a PC (of some sort) and then as it progresses it gets refined on development kits that are equal to the target system.

the benefit of both the Ps4 and xb1 being so PC-related should make the whole porting process painless (key word: should). no outrageous CPU's to recode for (cell, RSX, Emotion engine...etc). Perhaps slightly modified but pretty much off the shelf type parts inside: memory system, cpu/gpu...etc.

Where the obvious differences lie is in the control scheme but you can pretty much use mapping to reconfigure one control layout to another controller type.

so unless these smaller devs are taking advantage of the touch pad of the DS4 or the kinect 2 of the xb1...the core game mechanics would more than likely be the same.

"You seem to have a superior knowledge of how the systems work." real superior knowledge needed but thanks for implying.

kingPoS1349d ago

What if someone didn't want a devkit with strings attached. That sounds a lot like what some cable companies do; they advertise that the box is free when it really isn't.

Gateway MT6706 2008

TRGMatt1349d ago

Indie = Independent...what Microsoft requires takes a chunk of the freedom away from that fact. Indies should be able to release to whichever audiences they wish to dedicate the time and energy (and finances) to reach, not be guided in a certain direction because that's what Big Brother wants. Unless of course they are being paid to do so. Which they are not.

If an indie WANTS to adhere to these policies and they are fine with them, so be it. But they shouldn't be forced to.

Charybdis1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

Currently indie devs enrolling into the pilot project will need to adhere parity policy, meaning: if on multiple platforms releasing the product simultaneously and launching with same 'on disc'content. This changes the roadmap for the smaller indie devs who might decide to focus on pc and xbox one first due to these policies. Might be good for xb1 not so much for ps4.

On the other hand its not a good policy for the xb1. Because we will see indie games launching and already having been launched on ps4 not getting acces to [email protected] program (not sure what the acceptance policie is for these devs, if no exclusivity deal with sony).
It would seem wise to also allow these devs into the program. Since this is a pilot program its likely the clause might be changed as surely successful future and current indie devs on the ps4 can expect an invitation to the program for their respective indie game(s) on the ps4.

dedicatedtogamers1348d ago

People know I am no big fan of Microsoft (however, unlike your average internet troll I have a history with Microsoft stretching back to the days of MS-DOS)

That said, I think these articles are barking up the wrong tree. Microsoft is giving out a free dev kit and a free engine license and all they ask in return from self-publishers is that they at LEAST launch their game at the same time as PC/PS4/Wii-U. My understanding is that if you self publish ON YOUR OWN without receiving the free dev kit and engine licence, you are free to do it however you want. Maybe I'm mistaken.

mechlord1348d ago


I think youre missing some key points here.
First, this is all about indies. In the real world, indies traditionally develop for PC (steam), make some money and invest part of it into one console. Make some cash and invest into the second console and repeat until all their demographics are covered. They rarely have the time and resources to port a game simultaneously to 2-3 consoles...they're indies you know. The consoles have differences, notable ones, that impact on the whole process.

You should note that this MS initiative is bullshit because:

indies aren't rushing to it like they did (and do) for the ps4;

this deal isnt good for the indies unless youre willing to put extra money (get more people for multiple ports) or extend the time (same guys do the port) and potentially lose a good release window. This is all about MS trying to copy SONY with a "we indie too motto" but they are strangle-holding them. Without this parity nonsense, ps4 is thriving with indies..

+ Show (12) more repliesLast reply 1348d ago
JsonHenry1349d ago

Sniff, sniff. I love the smell of the open market! I will play your indie games on Steam and PS4 if MS wants to be anti-consumer, anti-productive, and anti-profit sharing! I promise!

JackISbacK1349d ago

the article is stating for long run it will be benificial for xb1 ,but at least not for now so for what they change their polisy possibly you will be getting more time exclusives on ps4 but in future things may cahnge because of ms great policy to indie devs ,please dont talk shit for those to whom you dont like stay happy with your ps4 ,iam happy with both ,stop releasing poison for compamnies.

Prime1571349d ago

Do you really not see how this simple policy can be harmful?

nosferatuzodd1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

Microsoft will be the death of gaming just like in the 80s this is the reason i would never support Microsoft they could have the world greatest system ill either stop playing games or go the pc rout

IcicleTrepan1349d ago

Don't be foolish. Do you have any idea what caused the problem in the 80s?

Also, saying that x or y will be the death of gaming is extremely alarmist and is equivalent to saying the death of movies or the death of books. It's ridiculous.

GameSpawn1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

In more detail to what IcicleTrepan is referring:

The Video Game Market crash of the '80s was due to the market being VERY small in comparison to now and having too many console competitors in the market. Also, with the vast variety of consoles there was also a vast variety of poorly made software flooding the market on these different systems.

All these factors together caused HUGE market confusions and drove ALL but Nintendo, Sega, and Atari (who scraped by on the skin of their teeth to die in the early 90's) out of the business.

The gaming market is so damned big now that it has created a form of check and balances that prevents too many consoles from being on the market at one given time leading to the problem in the 80's. If you don't believe this is the case, look at how hard it has been for Steam Machines and Ouya to gain ANY traction against Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. The home console market is just barely big enough for three consoles to thrive (I say barely because the guy in third is always "feeding on the scraps").

For there to be ANYTHING on the scale of the 80's crash with today's market, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo would ALL need to majorly f'up at the SAME time. So far they have managed to misstep out of sync of each other, though Microsoft's DRM fiasco did coincide with a pretty lackluster WiiU launch -- both recovered before any major damage was done.

come_bom1349d ago

I simple solution to all the indies that don't have the man power to do simultaneous release. Release the game first on the X1 and later on release it on other platforms.

amiga-man1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )

Or put your efforts into the less restrictive easier to develope PS4 console until it forces M$ to change their controlling ways, better for devs better for the consumer.

BlackTar1871349d ago

this is so A$$ backwards Come_BOM

its awful people like you that let these terrible companies (M$ seriously being the worst)to thrive.

come_bom1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )


So you disagree with Microsoft's policies... but tell me, do you agree with Sony's policies in relation to games that are released on Sony platforms after being released on other platforms have to have extra content, that way forcing the developer to do extra work ?

Stop being a blind fanboy and use your brain. This is a business. Both Microsoft's and Sony's policies are bad for developers, specially indies... but that's the way it is. Take it or leave it.

BlackTar1871349d ago


You do see the difference right?

Both are stuff that shouldn't be required one is not restrictive though.

I guarntee my brain works way better then yours since you're all for reasoning with yourself with a HUHUH they do this so we do that mentality. This isn't a highschool

Prime1571349d ago

Yeah, and that's exactly why some of us are angry. Don't you get it? Sony might HAVE to write the same clause to compete.

You people have too much trust in the company that has always tried to control your spending habits.

come_bom1349d ago (Edited 1349d ago )


Stop with that fanboy mentality. They are BOTH BAD policies (Sony and Microsoft).

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1349d ago
Sarcasm1349d ago

Yeah I think MS is missing the whole point of what "indies" are about. Indies are not trying to be restricted by a corporate conglomerate.

But like Heavy said, indies have the choice to not release on it if they don't like it. Pretty simple choice.

rainslacker1348d ago (Edited 1348d ago )

I kind of want to put this up top so people will hopefully read it. It's pretty obvious that no one responding to you has a clue about developing games, or how to publish them.

This policy, while not all that beneficial or open for either the gamer or developer, probably won't affect most self-publishing indies as much as many are assuming. It does effect the ones that are now close to, or currently developing on PS4 or other platforms, as X1 development wasn't in the works, and they obviously don't want to delay their games to get it going on X1.

Here's the bottom line. Both Sony, and MS are offering free versions of Unity to use for their indie programs. Sony also offers their SDK, but more often than not, and indie is going to go with a multi-platform engine such as Unity or Unreal.

These particular indie devs aren't going to have to code down to the metal, and optimize thousands of lines of code to make the software work on different systems, because the engines act as a type of run time environment. In fact, Unity is a run time environment using Mono. For anyone that's ever played around with Unity, or UDK, you probably have seen that you can easily build a game to different architecture without much issue, and given that the architectures are so similar to the leading platform, most likely PC, it will be even simpler to iron out platform specific bugs.

While it's possible to supersede the run times with low level code, it probably won't be done on such a large scale that optimizing it between a few different platforms will make that much of a difference in the time to market.

None of what is going on with [email protected] is going to be the death knell of indies on any platform, nor is there much need for there to be as much drama about it as there is. Its not likely to affect release dates of future indie titles to such a degree that anyone here would notice. And in the end, it would be better for those indies to release in as many places as possible.

Now. All that being said. I really don't feel that MS needs to have a policy like this in place. If they have the market share, people will want to publish games on there at the same time as other places naturally. Running two advertising campaigns for indie games costs more than one, so multi-plat release is generally a better way to go if it doesn't take significantly more time to develop.

Mosiac771348d ago

MS is to harsh on developers and It is all about money. but what they don't know is that holding back on developers it will hurt them in the future. I'm really disappointed at MS for these policies.