Indies praise Xbox One self-publishing – but Microsoft must drop its launch parity policy

Edge :

The [email protected] program is being hailed as a success by indies releasing games through the initiative, but Microsoft must revise its launch parity policy if Xbox One is to become as indie-friendly as rival PS4.

During GDC Microsoft announced that that it has sent Xbox One devkits to over 250 independent studios, and it also confirmed a roster of 25 self-published games to be through [email protected] in the coming weeks and months. While the indies we spoke to at the GDC launch event were delighted with how much friendlier Microsoft has been in recent months, there were still lingering concerns over launch parity.

Many indies have voiced their concerns over the clause, and even Sony has taken a swipe at its rival’s stance on indie self-pubishing – before GDC PlayStation’s VP of publisher and developer relations Adam Boyes tweeted a ‘list’ of platforms developers are not allowed to release their games on before they hit PSN.

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NYC_Gamer1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

They need to kill the whole policy and just have studios confirm their games are coming to Xbox One along side PS4 when doing interviews and etc

Mr Pumblechook1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

Microsoft's launch parity policy is a cancer in the industry that must be stopped.

I read a Kotaku article criticising Sony for 'boasting' that they don't have a parity clause! Can you believe it? Instead of bent journos praising negative policies I'm really pleased that EDGE, a major UK website, has the balls to speak out. Of course companies like Valve, Nintendo and Sony want to be competitive - but they recognise that dictating how developers publish their games and what content they include should be decisions made by developers themselves otherwise it places improper controls on the market. When gamers make their wishes known in a positive manner companies take notice.

Copen1603d ago

Very well said and it's the truth.

zeal0us1603d ago

Well the launch parity policy will be a huge problem small indie developers without the funds or people who can release two versions of their game alongside of each other.

If they don't remove the policy or even change to make it more lenient then it will cause MS more harm than good in the long run.

Volkama1603d ago

Cancer is pretty extreme. It's a small sour taste in what is a delicious package over all.

I think ms should offer an alternative self publishing program without the clause, but without free dev kits and unity licenses as well. Then the policy wouldn't be so hard line, but everyone would clearly go along with it anyway.

redwin1603d ago

Well, I have a Xbox and I feel that MS is protecting me with that policy I want my game to come out at the same time as everyone else's ,wouldn't mind if Sony had it. I think they should all have it. If I had a WiiU only, I would be happy if all titles come out at the same time . And as for EDGE, they have had a chip on their shoulder against the Xbox One ever since it came out. That's why I cancelled their digital subscription. You might not agree with me but if the animosity was against your platform of choice you would fell the same as me. I like MS, they have a great infrastructure . MS was the first platform with indie games, the best online, the best fps games everyone else is just trying to catch up. Back when the ps2 was out, Sony said you didn't need any of these and now it's considered indispensable.

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lelo1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

Like it or not, agree with it or not, the parity clause exists so that games are released (at least) at the same time on the Xbox and other consoles. Xbox division is a business ... and Microsoft knows that releasing a game later on their console then other consoles, sells a lot less copies.

Imagine if all developers decide that they will release their games firstly on the PS4, because of it's larger install base, and later on release it on the X1. Do you think that will be beneficial to the X1 ? It would just incentive gamers to purchase the PS4 because it gets games released before the X1. This is a business, so take or leave it.

Sony had a similar clause with the PS3 (if a game was releases later on the PS3 then other consoles, it had to have exclusive content), don't know if it still exists with the PS4, but I didn't see anybody complain about that. Now all of sudden Microsoft's clause is a big deal.

EDIT: @CynicalKelly
bullying ? It's business, take it or leave it.

CynicalKelly1603d ago

Yeah, it has a purpose but that doesn't make it right. Sure, they don't want a game releasing on PS4 first but what they are doing is basically bullying them into parity.

Release at the same time or forget about coming to Xbox at all.

Cupid_Viper_31603d ago

@ lelo

asking devs to put extra content in a late release is completely different than forcing a dev to delay a game on all other platforms until your version is ready, or dont release on said platform at all.

I fail to see how those two things are the same.

one company says: "fine, you're going to release on the 360 first, meaning a lot less sales for us 4-6 months later. We need incentives so we can market the game and sell it $60 when it came out for the 360 4-6 months prior. That way gamers on the 360 get their game as it is ready for their console"

The other company says: "we are very sory to hear that only the PS3 version is ready at this point. Unfortunately the PS3 gamers cannot get their game before the 360 gamers, so you will have to delay this game on the PS3 if you ever want to sell itmon the xbox 360. btw, can we pay you to delay the upcoming DLC for a month on the PS3?"

Yea keep telling yourself it is the same thing buddy....

DigitalRaptor1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

Do you really think INDIES are huge, relevant business for Microsoft?

Do you think indies make them the real money that they care so strongly about? Microsoft could easily remove this clause, be a fair and reasonable company, and gain a lot of good will from people who are frustrated by their stupid policies.


Microsoft's clause prevents smaller developers who can only make games for a single platform to begin with. Microsoft basically shuts out any developer who puts their game on other platforms first. No business for that developer from Xbox. It's basically "waaah, waaah, keep your games, if they're not on Xbox first or at the same time as others, we don't give a sh*t about what your game has to offer our platform". It's disrespectful and pretty restrictive, especially for an indie dev.

Sony's clause is mutually beneficial to the developer and the consumer. The consumer gets more, and the developer get to enhance and improve their game for another platform that they want to branch out to and make money on.

They are not comparable.

Army_of_Darkness1603d ago

@lelo -"Imagine if all developers decide that they will release their games firstly on the PS4, because of it's larger install base, and later on release it on the X1. Do you think that will be beneficial to the X1 ?"

This was the very reason why Sony created that clause of having exclusive content when it releases on the ps3 afterwards. To compensate for a simultaneous release. which is perfectly fair and understandable, otherwise no one will care for sloppy seconds. It's a smart business policy to counter MS's clause.

ziggurcat1603d ago

"Like it or not, agree with it or not, the parity clause exists so that games are released (at least) at the same time on the Xbox and other consoles."

... except the fact that MS is perfectly fine with a game coming out on their platform first... so it's not exactly a parity clause when it's a one-way street.

redwin1603d ago

Well said lelo, bubble up.

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Silver3601603d ago

So basically Indie developers want to publish on Xbox one when they want and how they want, irrespective of MS wishes and the time gap between releases. Only issue I see is that without extra content or lower price most Xbox1 gamers won't care about the game if it have already been out for a while on another platform.

andrewsqual1603d ago

It is hurting them in the long run. Microsoft aren't in the position they were with the 360 so they can't hold terrified devs to ransom anymore with their threat of sales.
Lorne Lanning and the rest of JAW stood up to this crap last gen making it very clear it was Microsoft that did everything to make it impossible for their customers to play Stranger's Wrath HD and it is up to everybody else to do the same.
Don't believe it because you don't know anything? Read the facts

Xbox fans should be at least thankful that there isn't a stupid 2GB limit on download games since 2011 that has to be taken into account on Xbone like their STILL IS with 360 or you would have another barrier.

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Army_of_Darkness1603d ago

Hahaha! sounds funny to hear someone trust MS.

3-4-51603d ago

That is such a rich person elitist policy and everyone knows it.

The gamers at Microsoft don't want that, it's the Guys at the top who need to separate themselves from the rest of society and be "better" than everyone else.

* People like that don't admit their failures or faults, and thus can't accurately judge the situation because they are too into the smell of their own farts.

* No normal intelligent person who plays games, wants other gamers to be prevented from playing these good games.

It's a butthurt policy by people who can't accept that a game might be better on a different console or might run a little bit smoother.

It's pathetic.

I used to LOVE Xbox. I used to defend them about anything. I see through the BS now.

The smartest thing they've done in the past year is get rid of Mattrick and Let Phil Spencer run the company now.

SixtyNine1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

I bet you use to love games too, until you found politics.

Hicken1603d ago

Hopefully with Phil at the helm, we'll see Microsoft start to turn back towards gamers in earnest.

I'm honestly very encouraged by that move, and I think it bodes well for Xbox. So I believe their parity policies may change now.

Death1603d ago

Launch parity is a bad thing? I would think that Xbox gamers getting a game at the same time as Playstation gamers would be good. The parity clause is good for Xbox gamers in this way. It's also easier to market a game launch when it releases on multiple platforms and saves the indie money. We are also seeing more indies releasing on the Xbox after the PS4 like Contrast, so this parity clause looks to be on a case by case basis.

Cupid_Viper_31603d ago

You are so one sided that it is unbelievable. Could you imagine if countries were doing what Microsoft does with this policy?

Could you imagine having to wait until the XBox One releases in Japan before you buy it in the U.S because Japan has a launch parity clause on products?

The idea that a game is ready for one console but has to be held back for another one is facked up beyond beliefs, regardless of who is doing it.

I bought a console for which game development is faster, i shouldn't have to wait on the other console to get my games.

Death1603d ago

Could you imagine all the people, living life in peace?

Seriously though, you bought a PS4 because game development is faster? Most people buy for the games, not the speed in which to create them.

It's funny that you think I am one sided for wanting parity with PS releases as an Xbox owner, yet you feel I should put your wants and needs above my own. To that I say, I see your narcism and raise you apathy.

ThunderSpark1603d ago

@ Death: Hypocrisy much? In your top post you mention "I would think that Xbox gamers getting a game at the same time as Playstation gamers would be good."

You later mention in your other post "Seriously though, you bought a PS4 because game development is faster? Most people buy for the games, not the speed in which to create them."

Now please tell us why you think parity is needed again when it is something you stated you don't care about.

BG115791603d ago

@Death, this is what may happen when there are parity clauses being forced to developers.

Hicken1603d ago

Apologist to the core.

There is nothing good about parity clauses of any sort. It's a greedy tactic designed to make the Xbox look good; they could give a damn about their gamers, or they wouldn't have a policy that would make some devs decide not to bring their games to the console at all.

So no, it's not good. Stop defending this. It's stupidity, and it makes you look like a tool.

ziggurcat1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

"It's also easier to market a game launch when it releases on multiple platforms and saves the indie money."

it doesn't save indies any money at all. it's actually more expensive for indies to have to wait until the MS version of their game is finished before they can release it to market.

Death1603d ago

From the article, “For us it’s a good thing because it forces us to be disciplined,” said Rodriguez. “If there wasn’t something like that in place, then we’d release it on different platforms over six months. It’s easiest for me as far as promoting and marketing the game goes to release them all simultaneously, because I only have to do it once and people won’t lose interest in it.”

There are pro's and con's to releasing games on both systems at once. You can't take the negatives only and form an educated opinion like many of you have. If the parity clause is keeping good games away from the platform, change is needed. Microsoft has already said it is done on a case by case basis and any games that have a signed exclusivity agreement on a competing platform aren't bound by the clause. The biggest bitch I see is from Playstation owners that simply want the games first and feel the parity clause is robbing them from unseen glory. To that I say grow up.

Microsoft's parity clause is intended to see games released on their platform before or at the same time as a competitors release. The exception being if the game is time exclusive on another platform. The only way this can be bad for Xbox gamers is if they are losing out on good games. I have yet to see one comment where a Playstation fan says they don't mind waiting if the Xbox version ships first. All I see is the ranting of spoiled children that feel the universe revolves around them.

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Avernus1603d ago

MS still have these kinds of policies in place??? Wow... I mean I expected it because of their reputation, but I honestly thought I was being paranoid and judging them off their past, but man they're still pulling this kind of crap.

Why? Does it make a difference at this point? They're clearly losing in the sales department, word of mouth is spreading and this kind of press does nothing to help. just drop these archaic policies.

Death1603d ago

As an Xbox gamer, having release parity means I get to play the same game as you at the same time. I'm glad Microsoft is in the business of making sure I get access to as many games as possible. How is it as a gamer you are spinning this as a negative? About the only gamers that react this way are the ones that want timed exclusives. The parity clause prevents that on most games.

MasterCornholio1603d ago

If your a PS4 owner since the Xbox One is more difficult to make games for it could delay the release of the game on that platform. I believe this is the main reason why people hate this policy. No gamer would support this. Only anti gamers do.

DigitalRaptor1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

As Cupid said above, you're so one-sided in your defence of this sh*tty policy. To add, your defence makes no sense whatsoever. This parity clause ensures that LESS games make it to the Xbone. 1000 developers vs. 250 developers.

As a gamer, I'm observing it as a negative, because I'm a gamer who actually CARES about the developers who make our most creative games, and understand that their situations and relationship with MS could be alleviated by the corporation simply being reasonable.

MS, as a corporation, is not reasonable, and that is a problem.

Death1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

I am one sided because I think having same day releases is a good thing. You guys are calling me on this because you think PS4 should come first. That is very awesome of you.

1000 indie devs signed up on PS4 and only 250 signed on for Xbox One. That means 750 indies can release without parity on the PS4 and you guys are still moaning about the 250 that may release on both consoles at the same time.

The PS3 was much more complex to develop for than the Xbox 360. Where were you guys last gen? I don't recall seeing any of you saying games should release on the Xbox 360 first.

If tools come out that make Xbox One development easier for indies than PS4, will you guys have the same passion to see Xbox One releases come first?I'm leaning towards a no here, but please correct me if I am wrong.

@Drekken below, read the article. Some indies see parity as a good thing. Parity doesn't hurt everyone like you claim. It helps some. Are they relevant too or are you basing your claims on the circumstances that support your opinion?

Copen1603d ago

The parity clause just reeks of fear on Microsoft's part and these types of clauses do nothing positive for gaming it only benefits MS. Phuck everyone else right?

Death1603d ago

It benefits Microsoft and Xbox gamers. Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?

MasterCornholio1603d ago

And hurting PS4 owners in the process by delaying the release of the game on that platform. Some Indie developers dont have enough resources to work on multiple platforms at once.

georgeenoob1603d ago


I don't think MS gives a crap about satisfying PS gamers, only X1 gamers. So as an X1 gamer, this makes me happy.

Drekken1603d ago

While hurting the developers. Good call as usual, Death. You said exactly what you were expected to say.

Gohadouken1603d ago (Edited 1603d ago )

Please stop talking for "xbox gamers" already . I dont feel so lucky about it resulting in less indie developer currently for XB1 . I'm sure you tell yourself it trims the fat .. but the current result is as said multiple times .

Some of you guys arent looking out for anyone gaming benefits ... you're just locked into winning your online feuds and "Winning" in Charlie Sheen's perspective .

Of course feel free to just dismiss me as a "sony guy" or worse .

Copen1602d ago

If you want an honest answer NO is the answer. Parity clauses AND paid exclusives on ANY platform hurts the gaming industry as a whole can't really dispute that. Cock blocking a particular console OR your competitors customer base in an attempt to lure customers to your platform is wrong. MS has hurt the gaming industry way more than they've helped it IMO. Yes the goal is to sell your product and make money but in Microsoft's case EVERYTHING is about money to the point they've tainted the hobby. I'm saying this as a guy who has both systems (bought my xbox one new second hand for 400) and there's never been a company that i absolutely hate giving any amount of money to more than MS i feel dirty every time i buy anything from them because i despise their scummy tactics and their arrogance and if it wasn't for the games i wouldn't have bought an X1 at all. The people who make the games the developers make more money when their game is accessible to as many as platforms as possible not locked away on a sub par platform which lets face it the X1 doesn't put gaming front and center not like Sony has and in the end it's all about the games right?

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