Microsoft Deflects Responsibility Over Fez Patch Problems

#51 Posted by OleMarthin (315 posts) -

So, what is the price on the competing consoles? I mean, if Sony takes as much or is somewhat close to the same amount it seems stupid to just blame ms. But I do agree, 40000$ sounds way to much.

#52 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2216 posts) -

I never actually stopped to think that releasing a patch for a 360 game would actually cost let alone in the tens of thousands, Indie developers would have have to be extra thorough in their bug testing.

#53 Posted by bchampnd (108 posts) -

Well if the game worked properly to begin with none of this would have been an issue. The game was in development forever and, while it is a very complex game to figure out, it really doesn't seem like an overly complex game to program. I have no programming skills whatsoever so I can't really judge that but Fez, while charming, isn't exactly Skyrim so it shouldn't be buggy after being in development for 5 years or more.

As far as the cost of patching a game, that's a known quantity up front. The fact that Fish doesn't want to dump money back into a game that probably won't make him much more money at this point anyway is a business decision and I can't argue with that. If you haven't bought Fez by now, you probably aren't going to unless you're the type that wants to wait it out for it to go on sale, at which point he's probably not going to make too much more money anyway. So following that logic, why would he dump time and money that could be spent working on his next project into a game on which he's already made pretty much all of the money he's going to make? Will fixing Fez really result in another huge rush of sales? I kinda doubt it because the people affected by the glitch already purchased the game so the only reason that I could see for doing a patch would be PR so those affected by the glitch won't resent him and boycott his next game. The annoying thing is that instead of admitting this or just moving on, he's trying to blame Microsoft for something he already knew about and accepted when he signed the deal.

#54 Posted by Kaiserreich (691 posts) -

Phil Fishes only talent is having the biggest mouth in the entire industry.

#55 Posted by Krelle (171 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

@Jazzycola said:

@Salarn said:

http://kevin-zhdcp.posterous.com/an-open-letter-to-polytron

Kevin Durst had a good post on this.

Imma be honest that post was not very good at all. For one, hitting enter after every freaking sentence is so annoying. There's more fluff there than actual substance.

While I agree that it's not the best piece of journalism, I think it touches on some important points. Namely, it calls Fish out for being a twat.

For me its the opposite. This Kevin Durst sums up all that is wrong with gaming.

#56 Posted by mbkish (245 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: Let's take the idea of bandwidth and server storage space into consideration for the majority of the cost. The game is only 69MB total, so even if you had to completely re-download the game, your bandwidth costs are still incredibly reasonable. I host a webpage with unlimited bandwidth and storage for ~$100 a year. I push over 20GB of data through that site each month and have no problem with it. How does this even cost them close to $1000 for a patch? What services are they providing that a version-checked file and a direct link to a hosted file couldn't achieve?

#57 Posted by wumbo3000 (960 posts) -

Real talk: how many of you guys ACTUALLY had this save file corrupted bug?

*Does not raise hand*

#58 Posted by ERoBB (160 posts) -

@Peanut said:

Make your dumb fucking game work the first time out. How do devs think this shit worked before you could instantly patch a game? And honestly, I prefer the small quick Live updates to the absolutely brutal PSN updates. I bought Modnation Racers a couple months ago, put it in and seriously spent over an HOUR downloading an absolutely ridiculous amount of patches, and if Microsoft's bullshit iron grip on the way patching works for their console is the reason for it, I don't give a shit how draconian their process is.

Make a game. Please. Make a flash game, even. You'll see. This isn't EA we're talking about. It's two guys.

#59 Posted by NaDannMaGoGo (338 posts) -

Man, those few guys here that demand a bugfree game must be the most clueless guys on earth.

Microsoft knows very, very, very, very well that Software Bugs occur no matter how much time you put into testing etc.

Their online network is a pathetic joke and less and less developers will favor Xbox Live over s.th. like Steam if they don't change up their shit.

#60 Posted by Deathpooky (1386 posts) -

The $40k to do a patch thing is a little ridiculous, though exactly in line with how onerous the Microsoft cert process appears to be. That and many other reasons are why Steam is now the indie dev platform of choice. I wonder how much they realize (or care) that they're rather quickly killing the XBLA golden goose.

If next gen consoles want to dazzle me, tell me how easily I can access new content and the efforts they're making to reduce barriers between developers and consumers in terms of selling, patching, and releasing games the way they want. Graphics are nice, but the rise of the $10-20 downloadable space has been the far bigger benefit of the last generation. When companies have to come up with weird hacks and workarounds just to release episodic content or free DLC, you've got a problem, so tell me how that's going to be fixed.

#61 Posted by Brodehouse (9877 posts) -

@KoolAid said:

@IrrelevantJohn said:

I kind of missed the days where games came unbroken

When is this time you spoke of? I seem to remember some save files getting corrupted in my SNES and NES days.

I glitched my first game of Final Fantasy VI accidentally.

@vogon: Nailed it.

#62 Posted by tourgen (4475 posts) -

The first patch was free though, right? Maybe get it right that time around. Or even try getting it right on release day. It's a console game. They knew what that meant going in.

#63 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

Guess I'll have to wait for the PC version, if Phil doesn't kill himself over this crap.

#64 Edited by Hooray2 (5 posts) -

I'm concerned a little bit about how this is being reported and the comments:

1) Phil Fish probably isn't a reliable source on any numbers, especially the "less than 1% affected" number.  This is a guy trying to downplay severity of the problem.  It's possible those affected are anywhere from 25% to 100% of those who finish the game and get the title update.

2) If it's 1% of 100,000+ sales, that's only 1,000+ people affected - this doesn't seem to jibe with comments online - it looks like more than a couple thousand are affected.  I'd be interested to see what happens once the patch goes live again.

3) Phil Fish and Polytron have made hundreds of thousands of dollars on Fez already.  Quick napkin estimate:  $1,000,000 in sales minus $300,000 Microsoft's cut = $700,000 left for the two-man Polytron.  $700,000 for two guys for 5 years is $70,000 each per year.  Not too shabby.  These guys can afford a patch, even if it is "Tens of thousands" of dollars - they are choosing not to, and abandoning consumers.  It's not the first time this has happened on XBLA, but it's pretty rare to abandon your project so dramatically and unapologetically.

4) It's not being reported that this is the 3rd shot - Polytron had the 1st opportunity to release a working game and came up short.  For their second opportunity, they released a patch that corrupts save files - this patch opportunity was provided free by Microsoft.  For their 3rd opportunity, they claim to have the problem fixed but aren't interested in paying to release their second patch (notice they haven't said they can't afford it - this is their choice).   

Honestly - kudos to Microsoft for taking the high road with this and "remaining fans of Fez" - there isn't anything they can do at this point.  Phil Fish has basically just shot his career in the foot - from now on anytime he talks about a game or announces a game or works on a game, there will be someone there to point out, "Hey, is Phil Fish going to break this game and leave us all high and dry?"
#65 Posted by Lurkero (395 posts) -

Is it really that only 1% of players are affected or only 1% complained?

There are plenty of players who may have already been done with Fez and may never get the chance to see if they would have been affected.

#66 Posted by Demoskinos (14770 posts) -
@Krakn3Dfx If I could point you to a source I would I do remember reading an article last year sometime that covered this exact issue. That was the first time I heard about the costs involved with patching. Can't blame you if you dont believe me I dont have a on-hand source but I do remember reading that.
#67 Posted by JasonR86 (9657 posts) -

No matter how true he is or not, Phil Fish needs to learn when to shut up. Don't bite the hand that feeds.

#68 Posted by mrpandaman (864 posts) -

@Hooray2 said:

I'm concerned a little bit about how this is being reported and the comments:

1) Phil Fish probably isn't a reliable source on any numbers, especially the "less than 1% affected" number. This is a guy trying to downplay severity of the problem. It's possible those affected are anywhere from 25% to 100% of those who finish the game and get the title update.

2) If it's 1% of 100,000+ sales, that's only 1,000+ people affected - this doesn't seem to jibe with comments online - it looks like more than a couple thousand are affected. I'd be interested to see what happens once the patch goes live again.

3) Phil Fish and Polytron have made hundreds of thousands of dollars on Fez already. Quick napkin estimate: $1,000,000 in sales minus $300,000 Microsoft's cut = $700,000 left for the two-man Polytron. $700,000 for two guys for 5 years is $70,000 each per year. Not too shabby. These guys can afford a patch, even if it is "Tens of thousands" of dollars - they are choosing not to, and abandoning consumers. It's not the first time this has happened on XBLA, but it's pretty rare to abandon your project so dramatically and unapologetically.

4) It's not being reported that this is the 3rd shot - Polytron had the 1st opportunity to release a working game and came up short. For their second opportunity, they released a patch that corrupts save files - this patch opportunity was provided free by Microsoft. For their 3rd opportunity, they claim to have the problem fixed but aren't interested in paying to release their second patch (notice they haven't said they can't afford it - this is their choice).

Well you're not factoring in the development costs. They don't get 70k each year. It's not that simple. We don't know the circumstances, but it can be assumed that it is not that simple.

Also judging by internet comments is not a good way to gauge things. It's not the most reliable source. People tend to seem louder and more numerous on the internet than in real life.

Phil Fish may be an asshole, but he's not dumb. You've got to factor in amount of people affected against amount of time spent developing the patch + amount of money spent to create the patch to see if its worth it. If that number is a minor number than there really no point in patching it, especially if it costs that much, that's being sensible. Tens of thousands of dollars is still a lot of money to spend. You also cannot also really expect a team of pretty much 2 people to catch every bug in the game.

#69 Posted by championfetus (245 posts) -

tl;dr - Blame is rarely black and white. No business deal is perfect.

#70 Posted by Nardak (474 posts) -

It just seems that Phil Fish has a bit of an ego problem. The guy has made one game and acts like he is a big shot in the gaming world.

#71 Edited by ProfessorEss (7323 posts) -

There's plenty of blame to go around. 
 
Microsoft? I think Microsoft is hanging on to a set of policies that weren't written to last almost a decade. They need to do some serious updates to the system and to these policies (and I think they know it) but doing this sort of thing mid-stream is a pretty monumental task - especially for a huge, red-tape filled company like Microsoft. 
 
Polytron, well all I really care to say about them at this point is that frankly, I just thought Polytron (and Phil Fish in particular) would have more pride in their product.

#72 Posted by evanbower (1211 posts) -

@Superanos said:

What are Fez's sales numbers? If the game was a big success, they could afford the $40k easily.

If they have 40k, they can afford 40k. Insightful.

#73 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@pw2566ch said:

@Superanos said:

What are Fez's sales numbers? If the game was a big success, they could afford the $40k easily.

That's not the point. I understand $40k chump change to a high selling game, but no company should have to dish out that much just to upload a patch. Not even EA and Activision.

I wonder if it's the same amount to upload a patch on PSN and Steam.

Uh, why shouldn't they? If they don't, Microsoft has to eat the bandwidth costs (and remember, everyone who plays the game, at least with internet (which you need to get it..) get the update, so why should microsoft eat those bandwidth costs?

Especially given that they DO eat the bandwidth costs for the first patch.

Also, they need to run tests and make sure the game won't cause any problems to the system, so they have to pay employees to do that for every update, in addition to the bandwidth to send out updates, updating their servers with the new stuff, etc. Why should they be responsible because someone released a broken game? It's their responsibility to make sure it's not, and frankly it's generous of Microsoft to allow one free update.

I mean seriously, why should Microsoft be paying for someone elses mistakes? Especially when THEY SIGNED A CONTRACT ACKNOWLEDGING THESE COSTS AT THE START. They could have declined and moved to another system that wouldn't charge any fees (hint: they all do).

#74 Posted by laserbolts (5319 posts) -

The game shouldn't need a patch. No sympathy for Polytron at all.

#75 Posted by HydraHam (1338 posts) -

@Nardak said:

It just seems that Phil Fish has a bit of an ego problem. The guy has made one game and acts like he is a big shot in the gaming world.

After seeing the indie game docu it became clear what kind of person he is and i have 0 interest in buying anything put out by him, ego isn't his biggest issue.

#76 Posted by Dixavd (1353 posts) -

@Pinworm45 said:

Also, they need to run tests and make sure the game won't cause any problems to the system, so they have to pay employees to do that for every update

I just want to point out how hilarious that line is in context; if only Microsoft was actually successful at doing that.

#77 Edited by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

Companies distribute patches that without complaint about cost or bandwidth on PC. What is so difficult with XBox Live that it requires a premium? If there are costs it should be rolled into Microsoft's fee instead of something else.

#78 Posted by DickDanger (105 posts) -

@Kaiserreich said:

Phil Fishes only talent is having the biggest mouth in the entire industry.

I didn't know that was a talent. Seems commonplace nowadays.

#79 Edited by Peanut (953 posts) -

@ERoBB said:

@Peanut said:

Make your dumb fucking game work the first time out. How do devs think this shit worked before you could instantly patch a game? And honestly, I prefer the small quick Live updates to the absolutely brutal PSN updates. I bought Modnation Racers a couple months ago, put it in and seriously spent over an HOUR downloading an absolutely ridiculous amount of patches, and if Microsoft's bullshit iron grip on the way patching works for their console is the reason for it, I don't give a shit how draconian their process is.

Make a game. Please. Make a flash game, even. You'll see. This isn't EA we're talking about. It's two guys.

I don't give a fuck. People pay me money to be a contractor. I work with 1-2 other people in my line of work and we do jobs typically done by 5-6 people, or 8-10 if we're talking city jobs. If the job I do is kinda shitty I don't say "Well, it was just me and one other guy! You have to expect SOME issues." That's not how shit works. You make a game and then put out a game...and your game has issues, that's on you. Don't place blame on anything and everything else. I'm not saying every game needs to be entirely bug free and have zero issues, because that's impossible, but these indies bitching and whining and expecting special treatment because they decided to go it alone are obnoxious.

#80 Posted by ApolloBob (570 posts) -

Better with Deflect

#81 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@Jazzycola: "He should have tested more" is not really a solution though. People make mistakes and bugs get sent out. It's unavoidable no matter how diligent you are. How many triple A titles come out with bugs? Maybe not a lot but it happens. And this is a company of what, 2 or 3 people?I think he/they made a decision to go with Microsoft solely, perhaps unwisely, and now he's paying for it, along with whoever the bugs affect. I agree they are both to blame, but I epathize more with Fish because I think he was desperate to get that game out and Microsoft's policy of "Your game has to be perfect right away or you're going to have to pay the price of a sports car for every patch after the first" sounds like it's not conducive to independent games at all. I think Fish is a bit of a risk taker and acts without thinking thoroughly a lot, and it's hurting him now.

#82 Edited by Hooray2 (5 posts) -

It's also worth noting that Polytron has removed yesterday's rant about the patch (and accompanying 300+ angry comments) 
http://polytroncorporation.com/were-not-going-to-patch-the-patch (404)

#83 Posted by Xeirus (1298 posts) -

@Peanut said:

@ERoBB said:

@Peanut said:

Make your dumb fucking game work the first time out. How do devs think this shit worked before you could instantly patch a game? And honestly, I prefer the small quick Live updates to the absolutely brutal PSN updates. I bought Modnation Racers a couple months ago, put it in and seriously spent over an HOUR downloading an absolutely ridiculous amount of patches, and if Microsoft's bullshit iron grip on the way patching works for their console is the reason for it, I don't give a shit how draconian their process is.

Make a game. Please. Make a flash game, even. You'll see. This isn't EA we're talking about. It's two guys.

I don't give a fuck. People pay me money to be a contractor. I work with 1-2 other people in my line of work and we do jobs typically done by 5-6 people, or 8-10 if we're talking city jobs. If the job I do is kinda shitty I don't say "Well, it was just me and one other guy! You have to expect SOME issues." That's not how shit works. You make a game and then put out a game...and your game has issues, that's on you. Don't place blame on anything and everything else. I'm not saying every game needs to be entirely bug free and have zero issues, because that's impossible, but these indies bitching and whining and expecting special treatment because they decided to go it alone are obnoxious.

People always think they can do better than someone else. Trust me, you can't.

#84 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@Peanut: How would you like it if you had to pay 40k for touch up on you contract work? I guess you just never ever make mistakes then?

#85 Posted by Fobwashed (1985 posts) -
@bchampnd Finding the problem is the difficult part. The programming itself and what the program does can be simple as all hell but you can't fix what you don't know is there. When I run into bugs, as long as I know how to recreate it, it's not that difficult to fix but it's the initial finding and recreating the bug itself that's the difficult part. Especially if it's something really obscure that only effects 1 in 100 people. All it takes is a typo or a > instead of a
#86 Posted by _Horde (839 posts) -

Maybe don't ship broken games.

#87 Edited by R3DT1D3 (176 posts) -

Meanwhile Valve lets people update their games as many times and as often as they want (within reason).

#88 Posted by LordCmdrStryker (346 posts) -

@_Horde said:

Maybe don't ship broken games.

Are you fucking kidding me? Way to be a bullshit reductionist. If only the world were that simple.

#89 Posted by ERoBB (160 posts) -

@Peanut said:

@ERoBB said:

@Peanut said:

Make your dumb fucking game work the first time out. How do devs think this shit worked before you could instantly patch a game? And honestly, I prefer the small quick Live updates to the absolutely brutal PSN updates. I bought Modnation Racers a couple months ago, put it in and seriously spent over an HOUR downloading an absolutely ridiculous amount of patches, and if Microsoft's bullshit iron grip on the way patching works for their console is the reason for it, I don't give a shit how draconian their process is.

Make a game. Please. Make a flash game, even. You'll see. This isn't EA we're talking about. It's two guys.

I don't give a fuck. People pay me money to be a contractor. I work with 1-2 other people in my line of work and we do jobs typically done by 5-6 people, or 8-10 if we're talking city jobs. If the job I do is kinda shitty I don't say "Well, it was just me and one other guy! You have to expect SOME issues." That's not how shit works. You make a game and then put out a game...and your game has issues, that's on you. Don't place blame on anything and everything else. I'm not saying every game needs to be entirely bug free and have zero issues, because that's impossible, but these indies bitching and whining and expecting special treatment because they decided to go it alone are obnoxious.

I give no fucks about your contracting job. Games have bugs. Always have and always will. Phil tried to patch it, paid a lot of money to do it, there was an unforeseen 1% problem with the patch, which he would have fixed. But Microsoft's shitty policy stopped it. If not for some weird ass $40k fee, the game would have been totally fixed within the first few days. Imagine if you were mid-contract, something broke, and your company pulled you off the job unless you paid an insane amount of money just for the chance to fix the problem? That'd be a better analogy you dolt.

#90 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@mbkish: Majority? I never said majority at all. And the scale is a little different when you are talking about a very popular XBLA game. And there are plenty of other things that have to be done than throw it up on dropbox, even just in getting the data to the people who bought the game.

#91 Posted by jasondesante (603 posts) -

Anyone remember (or watch) Indie Game The Movie. When Team Meat were talking about how Microsoft promised them something, then totally went back on their word in the last minute. The promised promotion spot was a lie, and they asked Microsoft, if the game does well can they have their promotional spot back, the thing they were promised by microsoft. Then Microsoft tells Team Meat, give us XX Thousand dollars and you can be put on the front page of xbox live. Where originally it was "crunch to have the game done in time, and in return we'll promote it for you".....now it is "give us money if you want the promised promotion"

They're CROOKS

#92 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

Hmm, on one hand, I don't like Phil Fish. On the other hand, I don't like Microsoft.

But I do like Tim Schafer.

#93 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1091 posts) -

A programmer from Bungie noted that Microsoft was actually generous enough to give them two free patches over the XBLA release of Marathon with a little sweet talking.
 
But then again, "sweet talking" might not be Phil Fish's strong suit.

#94 Posted by wafflez (525 posts) -

I get the feeling that Fish and the people around him just said forget about it.  I'm not saying its all his fault, but if the price of updating the game were in the contract, that's on him and not microsoft. 

Online
#95 Posted by Dan_CiTi (3261 posts) -

@BlazeHedgehog: I have heard it was 1 free patch, after that it is like 40k; and I am pretty sure Bungie's sweet talk was "hey we are making Halo 3".

#96 Posted by pweidman (2326 posts) -

This strikes me as a bit of biased reporting on Alex's part here. The MS statement seemed much more like an explanation from their perspective than a deflection. I was expecting much more short, and pointed statements. Fish has taken risks and chances and they haven't all panned out and he's bitter apparently. I would love to hear what Greg Kasavin would have to say about all this based on his experiences with Bastion.

#97 Edited by mbkish (245 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos: I know you didn't mention majority, but I did. Do you really think that patch certification would be more than 50% of the cost of this patching process? Unless they pay the cert people hundreds of dollars an hour I can't see this passing the hosting costs. Also, look at other digital distribution services with patching systems, like Steam. Their patch hosting is part of the total cost of hosting the game on their service; a percentage from each sale of the product, as it were. So in other words there are no additional costs besides what they were already taking from each copy sold. Regardless of whether Fish is exaggerating or fudging the numbers, it is a bit ridiculous that patching your game costs any significant amount of money.

#98 Edited by buemba (90 posts) -

No game is bug free, sure, but a bug that corrupts save files? That is intolerable and needs to be fixed period.

While Microsoft's policies are abusive Fish should not get a free pass here. When he signed the contract he knew he'd be charged a ridiculous ammount for every patch after the first one yet still went ahead despite having alternatives (Releasing the game on his own site or going to Steam, D2D or any other pc digital distribution channels, as none of them require certification). He wanted the perks of Live exclusivity, but now wants to avoid the crap that comes with it.

Maybe he doesn't have the money to cover the fee or maybe he does but refuses to pay. Neither excuses him and Microsoft abandoning the people who bought the game and lost their progress.

#99 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Unless they made zero money on Fez than Fish is a prick for refusing to patch a game. But we already know he's a prick.

#100 Posted by Hurricrane (129 posts) -

Another reason why I've just stopped playing my xbox and moved to pc.

I can see both sides of the issue, the cost is meant to prevent broken games (like New Vegas, that worked out) but is easily circumvented if they have enough money (like New Vegas).

In the end, I don't care. I'll go back to playing on steam and not worrying about this shit anymore and being dicked over by M$ at every turn

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