Creator of Fez pays Microsoft to be exclusive on their console

#2 Posted by mrpandaman (836 posts) -

I think you're taking it out of context.

They, the developers, have to pay MS approx. $40000 according to some developers to be able to patch their game. Patrick had a story just a few days ago that talked about this kind of.

#3 Posted by Vamino (202 posts) -

@mrpandaman: It looks like the context was right.. It seems insane to me, but it does seem seperate from the money to patch, which is brought up elsewhere in the blog post.

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.
#4 Posted by Subjugation (4694 posts) -

Huh. How strange. I would have thought it would be the other way around.

#5 Posted by mrpandaman (836 posts) -

@Vamino said:

@mrpandaman: It looks like the context was right.. It seems insane to me, but it does seem seperate from the money to patch, which is brought up elsewhere in the blog post.

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.

Yeah after rereading it and looking at a few other stuff, it is kind of odd that the developer do pay to be an exclusive as well as being paid while being an exclusive.

#6 Posted by Akyho (1550 posts) -

I dont know. it dosnt make alot of sense in that context, without more info.

#7 Posted by slyspider (1039 posts) -

lol that seems ass backward

#8 Posted by Hailinel (22739 posts) -

What the actual fuck?

Why would Polytron pay Microsoft to be exclusive to the platform? What pieces of the puzzle am I missing here?

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#9 Posted by Demoskinos (13907 posts) -

This seems like the dumbest fucking thing ever. Selling less copies of your game and restricting your audience is always a good move when trying to sell software.

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#10 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5121 posts) -

Maybe by paying to have Fez be an exclusive means that Microsoft will put more money towards marketing it or something.

#11 Edited by Ares42 (2447 posts) -

I don't think they have to pay extra to be exclusive, he's just pointing out that he actually has to pay MS to have his game on their system. You need the sentence before for the context.

Read these 3 sentences as 3 seperate facts

  • "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"
#12 Posted by Mcfart (1429 posts) -

Yup, but really, these reasons are probably why it took so long for Mincraft to come to XBLA...

#13 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

The fuck?

#14 Posted by mrpandaman (836 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

What the actual fuck?

Why would Polytron pay Microsoft to be exclusive to the platform? What pieces of the puzzle am I missing here?

From what I could find, they may have had to pay for their own dev kits, marketing, patches, the cert process, etc. I may be completely wrong, but that is what I was able to gather from reading. They then get paid their cut after the game sells.

Fish could also being saying that the development for being an exclusive to MS may have costed them more money than earned them hence saying they were paying MS instead of the other way around.

Without full knowledge, we don't know the nature of the contract between Polytron and MS.

#15 Edited by Ares42 (2447 posts) -

@Anwar said:

@Ares42 said:

I don't think they have to pay extra to be exclusive, he's just pointing out that he actually has to pay MS to have his game on their system. You need the sentence before for the context.

Read these 3 sentences as 3 seperate facts

  • "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"

Are we supposed to decipher his statements or just read it like regular people?

It's quite simple, first he says he's payed MS to be on their console, then he's saying they didn't get any money for being exclusive, ergo he pays them. Even if you read the statement as a whole that's the message that comes through, just easier to realize if you notice the punctuation. I should've probably put the "nothing could be furhter from the truth" with the second line to make it even more clear though.

#16 Posted by Shivoa (595 posts) -

Doesn't make sense (from a 'why would any sane person sign that deal' perspective), unless it is obfuscation. If I am paid $100,000 by MS for development of a project and exclusivity and for this deal I get advertising focus but also they publish and so it is a 50/50 split on XBLA (rather than the 70/30 cut you get if you're publishing to XBLA) and then the game needs cert before release ($40k+) and we make, say, $500,000 in sales (note that the average salary consideration in the gaming industry is $100k a year so those sales would only cover a single person's typical salary if they were being adequately financially compensated for their time/expertise on a 5 year project).

So MS pay $100k but then the developer has to pay $40k for cert and now owes $250k in revenue split from sales. Looks like the dev is paying MS $190,000 for the privilege of an exclusive contract on mild sales. "WE pay THEM"

But the reality is totally different. I'm not saying this is what is going on in this case, just that sanity says you wouldn't pay a contract fee to limit your sales by refusing Sony's money (they do deals that pay for indies as well as revenue share compensation) or Valve's wide net and advertising mechanisms. Maybe the costs and revenue shares massively outweigh and financial and non-financial support that this contract generated, in which case it was a bad deal, but maybe that evaluation doesn't factor in the 30% XBLA store cut that everyone has to pay for. One thing is certain, before signing anything the developer will have been aware of all fees that would be required for an XBLA release at every stage.

Right now the consumer, the person who has paid 100% of the revenue generated by the project Fez, is being held to ransom in a dispute between developer and publisher/distributor (not sure exactly what MS's role is, they don't own IP but may be considered closer to publisher than distributor and almost certainly are in their language as that XBLA slot will have been one of their allocation so they 'publish' to at least that extent, if not in a financial risk sense). Knowingly fucking up 1% of all users' saves is not an acceptable way of making a point. Every penny Polytron have from Fez to try and build themselves out of this financial hole of development and release has been paid by the consumers, that's why they're so important. This kind of thing just isn't indie. 'Indie' respects the relationship with customers.

#17 Edited by TruthTellah (7684 posts) -

@Anwar: Developers pay for the right to be on a platform like XBOX Live Arcade. In exchange, Microsoft will promote your game and manage the process of people getting your game. You must pay to then have Microsoft approve and distribute patches to your games. You are paying for the ability to be on the system and do business with XBOX 360 customers. Developers pay to be able to release games on the PS3, the 360, the Wii, or any console or handheld. That's one of the big savings of first-party development, as you don't have to pay extra to have your game on a system.

Basically, to get the deal to release on XBOX Live Arcade, Polytron had to agree to some exclusivity. So, unlike the scenarios where people have suggested that Microsoft paid them for an exclusive, they instead paid Microsoft for the right to release the game on the XBOX 360, and since they are an extremely small developer with little clout, their deal apparently required exclusivity. A bigger developer might have been paid for exclusivity, but as a small indie developer, Microsoft had the much stronger position and was able to have exclusivity be a requirement of the deal.

The makers of Fez would rather have the ability to release on whatever platforms they want, as would any developer. The problem is, sometimes you just can't get a deal like that. Publishers will attempt to get whatever they can, and since Polytron wanted the game to be on XBOX Live Arcade, they had to agree to the terms of Microsoft's deal. That's one of the more unfortunate parts of being an indie developer trying to work with big publishers.

#18 Posted by Inkerman (1448 posts) -

As the first reading does sound insane, I think what he means is that the developer pays Microsoft in other ways by being exclusive on their console. Because Fez in an exclusive, they get much more from Microsoft (marketing, support, etc). He's not paying Microsoft to be an exclusive, but he believes he 'owes' Microsoft for their support, ie; he believes that Microsoft gave them more in terms of services, marketing and support than Microsoft got out of having Fez as an exclusive.

#19 Posted by Raven10 (1598 posts) -

@TruthTellah said:

@Anwar: Developers pay for the right to be on a platform like XBOX Live Arcade. In exchange, Microsoft will promote your game and manage the process of people getting your game. You must pay to then have Microsoft approve and distribute patches to your games. You are paying for the ability to be on the system and do business with XBOX 360 customers. Developers pay to be able to release games on the PS3, the 360, the Wii, or any console or handheld. That's one of the big savings of first-party development, as you don't have to pay extra to have your game on a system.

Basically, to get the deal to release on XBOX Live Arcade, Polytron had to agree to some exclusivity. So, unlike the scenarios where people have suggested that Microsoft paid them for an exclusive, they instead paid Microsoft for the right to release the game on the XBOX 360, and since they are an extremely small developer with little clout, their deal apparently required exclusivity. A bigger developer might have been paid for exclusivity, but as a small indie developer, Microsoft had the much stronger position and was able to have exclusivity be a requirement of the deal.

The makers of Fez would rather have the ability to release on whatever platforms they want, as would any developer. The problem is, sometimes you just can't get a deal like that. Publishers will attempt to get whatever they can, and since Polytron wanted the game to be on XBOX Live Arcade, they had to agree to the terms of Microsoft's deal. That's one of the more unfortunate parts of being an indie developer trying to work with big publishers.

This. All developers and publishers pay to have their games released on any console. This is one of the main reasons why iOS development is so attractive to a lot of indie developers. Apple takes nothing upfront, just a cut of the profits. The cost of getting a game out on a console is staggering.

#20 Posted by TwoLines (2762 posts) -

Ya know, I'm not that into this whole publishing thing, but wouldn't Steam be a better option? Some games sell way better on Steam than on XBLA. Maybe it's a marketing thing? A game on XBLA gets more attention? Hmm... It just seems Steam is more fair when it comes to indie developers.

#21 Posted by Hunter5024 (5180 posts) -

Advertising guys. Promotion is one of the biggest struggles an indie game goes through, thats why you pay to be an exclusive. Cause if you are then they back it up with some promotion.

#22 Posted by el_tajij (704 posts) -

I'm surprised people are so shocked by this.

#23 Posted by zudthespud (3278 posts) -
@TwoLines said:

Ya know, I'm not that into this whole publishing thing, but wouldn't Steam be a better option? Some games sell way better on Steam than on XBLA. Maybe it's a marketing thing? A game on XBLA gets more attention? Hmm... It just seems Steam is more fair when it comes to indie developers.

Phil Fish had this thing a while ago bashing PC gaming and saying Fez will only ever be on consoles. Didn't make sense then, doesn't make sense now.
#24 Posted by SomeJerk (2977 posts) -
"Fez is a console game, not a PC game. It’s made to be played with a controller, on a couch, on a Saturday morning. To me, that matters; that’s part of the medium. I get so many comments shouting at me that I’m an idiot for not making a PC version. ‘You’d make so much more money! Can’t you see? Meatboy sold more on Steam!’ Good for them. But this matters more to me than sales or revenue. It’s a console game on a console. End of story."
 
It doesn't make sense because he's probably suffering from a disorder in the head. Given how he rarely seems to think before acting it's probably a form of autism that poor guy Fish has. Hope he can come to terms with it some day.
#25 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1722 posts) -

Pays to be exclusive to their platform, says he isn't releasing on Steam because 'it isn't about revenue or sales', then proceeds to bitch about Microsoft's patching policy costing too much and how it wouldn't have been a problem on Steam. What happened to it not being about the revenue, Phil? 

#26 Posted by mandude (2667 posts) -

@SomeJerk: That seems kind of silly to me. I mean, it's not as though releasing it on PC would just fizzle all the console versions.

#27 Posted by JohnLocke (237 posts) -

Is this to do with licensing, I thought all studios who have games on consoles have to pay to have the right to do that (unlike the PC which is where the argument for them being cheaper because there is nobody to pay the license money to as Microsoft do not charge to have software run on Windows)?

Where as Fez being exclusive means they get a good slot on XBLA release window and free advertising done by Microsoft etc?

This is how I am reading this but I could be very much in the wrong.

#28 Posted by DeF (4695 posts) -

@mrpandaman said:

I think you're taking it out of context.

They, the developers, have to pay MS approx. $40000 according to some developers to be able to patch their game. Patrick had a story just a few days ago that talked about this kind of.

read THIS comment above. this is what the whole article was about.

Phil is not emphasizing the exclusivity factor, he emphasized the paying MS part of the sentence.

what he is saying paraphrased:

"Microsoft does not pay us more/better (because we're exclusive), we have to pay them (referring to the certification costs of $40k)"

#29 Posted by iAmJohn (6091 posts) -

@SomeJerk said:

"Fez is a console game, not a PC game. It’s made to be played with a controller, on a couch, on a Saturday morning. To me, that matters; that’s part of the medium. I get so many comments shouting at me that I’m an idiot for not making a PC version. ‘You’d make so much more money! Can’t you see? Meatboy sold more on Steam!’ Good for them. But this matters more to me than sales or revenue. It’s a console game on a console. End of story." It doesn't make sense because he's probably suffering from a disorder in the head. Given how he rarely seems to think before acting it's probably a form of autism that poor guy Fish has. Hope he can come to terms with it some day.

@mandude said:

@SomeJerk: That seems kind of silly to me. I mean, it's not as though releasing it on PC would just fizzle all the console versions.

It's probably more than likely a (really lame) excuse for their signing that publishing deal with Microsoft way back when (and when XBLA sales figures were much stronger).

#30 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

publishing giants bullying the little guys..

#31 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

Don't you have to pay for a slot on xbla. Probably more for summer of arcade

#32 Posted by mosespippy (3757 posts) -

@Shivoa said:

note that the average salary consideration in the gaming industry is $100k a year so those sales would only cover a single person's typical salary if they were being adequately financially compensated for their time/expertise on a 5 year project).

No it isn't. Only business and legal employees average over $100k/year. QA employees are the lowest paid at an average of $48k. The rest of the positions in the industry have an average between 70k (designers) and 93k (programmers) depending on the position.

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/167355/Game_Developer_reveals_2011_Game_Industry_Salary_Survey_results.php

#33 Posted by Shivoa (595 posts) -

@mosespippy: Yep, those were to results I was approximating.

The average salary across the entire U.S. 'mainstream' games industry was $81,192

So cost to employer of that salary (not gross salary to employee but rather including taxes incurred by the studio employing the person - my language could definitely have been clearer, I apologise) can be estimated around $100k per year (which is really rough due to regional tax differences and may be a slight lowball - the more common figure given includes the share of rent and hardware cost the employee uses and comes to $10k/month in the back of envelope numbers you often see from a dev pitch).

The cost to employ is the more useful figure when looking at (micro-)studio finance (which is where the $40k needs contextualising, along with my spitballed figures for a small sales success product release).

#34 Posted by SagaciousJones (143 posts) -

The most interesting part of the quote is this:

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,"

Oh, now you're lamenting not putting your game on Steam? But I thought PCs were only for spreadsheets!

#35 Posted by mscupcakes (610 posts) -

@mandude: Not to mention you can use controllers on PC games, and some like Super Meat Boy even recommend that you use one beforehand.

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