Microsoft Deflects Responsibility Over Fez Patch Problems

#251 Posted by i8246i (119 posts) -
@dennisthemennis

That statement from Microsoft is nonsense. "They decided not to patch the game, they could have but they didn't want to." Yeah, right. And just because Fish knew going in what the cost would be to update the game, it doesn't make the price fair, especially not for a really small company. What was he supposed to do? You just have to release it and hope everything works. And if you can't afford the 80k bill of two patches then I guess you're F'd in the A.

1: Microsoft waived the cost of the first patch....so your cost estimate is bull.

2: Polytron has had all the time of development, in-house troubleshooting, Microsoft certification, and play testing to get it right the first time. They, instead, chose to put out a broken product.

3: Polytron was given another chance to fix their broken product, was given time to find and fix all the errors....instead they decided to not value the extra time and free development of this patch and released yet another broken product.

I understand that microsoft's price for patches seems steep, but this is because they don't want idiots releasing half-finished bug fests on their popular xbla service, and screwing Microsoft and the customer over with the costs related to storing and releasing patches. Microsoft wants their customers to feel safe and secure that they aren't going to have their game saves deleted, or their consoles lock up due to shitty software.

Phil should just keep his whiny mouth shut and be thankful that Microsoft gave his team all that they got. There are plenty of "indie" developers out there that would kill for the opportunity to sell their ideas to a large market.

Also, it costs good money to host and distribute patches to millions of people...why shouldn't the party responsible for the necessity of these patches pay part of that cost?

#252 Posted by dropabombonit (1490 posts) -

The statement from Microsoft is like a politician not giving a straight answer to a question, some of their policies are strange

#253 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@i8246i: You're right, I forgot about the first patch waiver. That doesn't change the fact that the patch price is high and insanely demanding for a small 2-3 person team. This is why indie devs are flocking to either steam of self sufficient release (if they have enough exposure). EA and Activision can throw 40k at a patch without losing sleep but indies can't.

#254 Posted by EXTomar (4724 posts) -

I don't think there is evidence that high fees and other hurdles improves the quality of software. The only thing high fees seem to do is keep the patching activity low.

I would rather see fees assessed more as risks like "number of things changed". Patches that fix spelling errors are cheap while patches that fix alter audio effects is more and ones that rewrite entire components is more expensive than that.

#255 Posted by Hooray2 (5 posts) -
@dennisthemennis: Then a 2 or 3 person team shouldn't have chosen to release their game on a platform designed for wide exposure, wide audiences, and wide sales figures.  The reality is, Polytron saw dollar signs and didn't think it through, and now they've stuck 100% of their customers with a broken game (not 1% as they claim). 
 
It's akin to someone opening a ramshackle amusement park without the funds to pay for maintenance and upkeep, and being surprised when half of the rides break.
#256 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@Hooray2: Yeah, it was absolutely crazy of them to try and get their game on the most visible and well known market for indie games at the time. Sheer madness.

#257 Posted by PandaBear (1371 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@PandaBear said:

So I guess Skyrim probably just broke even when you consider all the patches it's had and how much they cost... Obviously I'm joking, but geezus, the cost of releasing a broken game is massive. Take a game like Alpha Protocol... it badly needed patching, but the cost must have made it prohibitive. This attitude is probably why console gamers didn't get that new ending patched in Portal or new free updates for Team Fortress... how shit.

I wonder if Sony charge?

Once again, the first patch on XBL is free. Even if the game is broken as shit, if all of those bugs can be addressed on a single patch, the developer doesn't have to pay a dime.

I'm curious as to who said any updates are free? Tim Schafer said they cost money regardless of if it's the first or 100th link

#258 Posted by Amafi (767 posts) -

The best thing about the internet is how easy it is to pick out the people who have never touched any programming tools ever. Just release a perfectly bug free product the first time out and this insanely priced patching policy won't affect you. Funny stuff.

@i8246i said:

3: Polytron was given another chance to fix their broken product, was given time to find and fix all the errors....instead they decided to not value the extra time and free development of this patch and released yet another broken product. I understand that microsoft's price for patches seems steep, but this is because they don't want idiots releasing half-finished bug fests on their popular xbla service, and screwing Microsoft and the customer over with the costs related to storing and releasing patches. Microsoft wants their customers to feel safe and secure that they aren't going to have their game saves deleted, or their consoles lock up due to shitty software. Phil should just keep his whiny mouth shut and be thankful that Microsoft gave his team all that they got. There are plenty of "indie" developers out there that would kill for the opportunity to sell their ideas to a large market. Also, it costs good money to host and distribute patches to millions of people...why shouldn't the party responsible for the necessity of these patches pay part of that cost?

I like the thinking here. They CHOSE not to find a bug that affects less than 1% of people and only those who have completed or are very near to completing the game. Not a very hard to find bug that slipped through the net, Phil Fish and Polytron CHOSE TO RELEASE A BUGGY PATCH that deleted peoples' saves, and $40k patching fees does not cause buggy products to remain unfixed on the service, at all, it's just a nice incentive for those lazy good-for-nothing programmers to just make the games bug-free in the first place.

#259 Edited by EXTomar (4724 posts) -

But an unintended consequence of a $40,000 fee is that the developer leaves fringe and obscure flaws unpatched because it is too expensive to fix. If you released a game that is perfect except for this one flaw that effects a tiny portion of the customer base then it might not be worth $40,000 or the time and effort to fix it by itself because the work, software, and hardware are not worth that much money.

Decades of of general software development seem to show that fees like this do not enforce or insure quality. Suggesting that Microsoft puts this fee in place to make sure that devs that come to their platform release high quality software doesn't seem to be true where any number of high profile, very expensive games with a lot of resources behind them still require patches upon patches upon patches. I'm pretty sure neither they or Fish are being lazy when they go through the effort to push out patches on this platform.

#260 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2106 posts) -

Polytron: Ya farked up, now fix it.

Microsoft: Stop being money grubbing jerks and stop charging 10grand for a patch... a couple people working cert doesn't cost 10grand, otherwise everyone would want to be game testers.

#261 Posted by Amafi (767 posts) -

@EXTomar said:

But an unintended consequence of a $40,000 fee is that the developer leaves fringe and obscure flaws unpatched because it is too expensive to fix. If you released a game that is perfect except for this one flaw that effects a tiny portion of the customer base then it might not be worth $40,000 or the time and effort to fix it by itself because the work, software, and hardware are not worth that much money.

Decades of of general software development seem to show that fees like this do not enforce or insure quality. Suggesting that Microsoft puts this fee in place to make sure that devs that come to their platform release high quality software doesn't seem to be true where any number of high profile, very expensive games with a lot of resources behind them still require patches upon patches upon patches. I'm pretty sure neither they or Fish are being lazy when they go through the effort to push out patches on this platform.

Obviously. If I had some non-gamebreaking bugs (texture shit, audio queue not working, some ugly animation, whatever) I'm not going to pay that kind of money to fix it, and for anyone to expect me to would be almost as ludicrous as people expecting devs to just buckle down and not write bugs into their game. I can understand MS wanting to take a fee to cover costs on their end, it's not like they have their customers already paying a subscription to keep the service running, but to try and spin it as some awesome incentive that makes the devs making games for the service put out a better product is fucking retarded.

#262 Edited by EXTomar (4724 posts) -

What are you talking about? Fees like this seem to inhibit publishing patches which not enhance quality of anything which is all I'm saying. If you are talking pure market economics, fees like this have no value add where especially in this case you can see we now have a situation where we have a known issue but there won't be a patch due to monetary and effort consideration.

Bugs happen because systems are complex not because a developer is lazy where is foolish or worse to suggest developers can write flawless systems on a platform with billions of interfaces and interactions. Neither Bethesda or Fish goes through the arduous process of releasing a game with Microsoft because they are lazy. Bugs happen where having a platform that makes it difficult to push even minor fixes out is not a "value add" no matter how Microsoft spins it.

#263 Posted by corpulateguitar@gmail.com (38 posts) -

The only thing ill say to chime in on this story is that maybe just maybe your game should be properly built before you release it, i could be wrong though either way i love Microsoft and Fez both so to me i win anyway.

#264 Edited by Nethlem (413 posts) -

@dennisthemennis said:

@Hooray2: Yeah, it was absolutely crazy of them to try and get their game on the most visible and well known market for indie games at the time. Sheer madness.

Oh really? I didn't realize they released a PC version first, wait... they didn't.

They have nobody to blame but themselfs, nobody forced them to release on XBL or sign in for exclusive distribution. They made all these decissions. And if we don't assume they are totaly retarded, they have been well aware of the consequences would be for signing up with MS.

I also love the irony about all this.. this popular "indie" get's fucked over by the giant evil corporation, why? Because he signed a deal with them. Guess somebody seriously missunderstood what "being indie" actually means. It does not mean that you sign up with the big sharks to get an exclusive deal and a fat bag of money, but that's what happened here. But what goes around comes around...

No love lost for MS here as they are ripping off developers and customers alike, but that's how they business runs and they have been always doing it this way. They also won't change their ways as long as Xbros keep throwing money at them for basic multiplayer functionality.

But also no love lost on Phil Fish/Polytron, it's not like MS tricked them into this deal by lying or anything. MS offered them money and publishing at certain terms, they accepted these terms with full knowledge of the consequences (yes this include title update costs) so they have to deal with this situation now instead of pointing fingers.

#265 Edited by admanb (225 posts) -

This is the worst deflection ever. "It's not our fault because they decided not to do it."

@PandaBear said:

I'm curious as to who said any updates are free? Tim Schafer said they cost money regardless of if it's the first or 100th link

As I recall, the first Fez patch was free because Fish was able to make a deal with Microsoft, but when the first patch launched with one big issue it caused this problem.

#266 Posted by mrpandaman (866 posts) -

@Nethlem said:

@dennisthemennis said:

@Hooray2: Yeah, it was absolutely crazy of them to try and get their game on the most visible and well known market for indie games at the time. Sheer madness.

Oh really? I didn't realize they released a PC version first, wait... they didn't.

They have nobody to blame but themselfs, nobody forced them to release on XBL or sign in for exclusive distribution. They made all these decissions. And if we don't assume they are totaly retarded, they have been well aware of the consequences would be for signing up with MS.

I also love the irony about all this.. this popular "indie" get's fucked over by the giant evil corporation, why? Because he signed a deal with them. Guess somebody seriously missunderstood what "being indie" actually means. It does not mean that you sign up with the big sharks to get an exclusive deal and a fat bag of money, but that's what happened here. But what goes around comes around...

No love lost for MS here as they are ripping off developers and customers alike, but that's how they business runs and they have been always doing it this way. They also won't change their ways as long as Xbros keep throwing money at them for basic multiplayer functionality.

But also no love lost on Phil Fish/Polytron, it's not like MS tricked them into this deal by lying or anything. MS offered them money and publishing at certain terms, they accepted these terms with full knowledge of the consequences (yes this include title update costs) so they have to deal with this situation now instead of pointing fingers.

He said "at the time" and XBLA was the most visible market for indie games at that time he signed the deal. He signed it in 2009, I think or I may be wrong and it was 2010. Summer of Arcade were big those few years as games like Trials, Shadow Complex, and 'Splosion Man in 2009 and Limbo and Monday Night Combat in 2010. Steam was big during those years too, but XBLA was appearing a lot bigger then and it seemed like the place indie game makers should go.

#267 Posted by Amafi (767 posts) -

@EXTomar said:

What are you talking about? Fees like this seem to inhibit publishing patches which not enhance quality of anything which is all I'm saying. If you are talking pure market economics, fees like this have no value add where especially in this case you can see we now have a situation where we have a known issue but there won't be a patch due to monetary and effort consideration.

Bugs happen because systems are complex not because a developer is lazy where is foolish or worse to suggest developers can write flawless systems on a platform with billions of interfaces and interactions. Neither Bethesda or Fish goes through the arduous process of releasing a game with Microsoft because they are lazy. Bugs happen where having a platform that makes it difficult to push even minor fixes out is not a "value add" no matter how Microsoft spins it.

Sorry, I just reread what I wrote and I was very unclear. I agree that the policy probably makes games worse, not better. The thing about lazy devs not just writing perfect code off the bat was me being facetious, more of a jab at the people earlier in the thread talking about how the policy wouldn't have been a problem if the code wasn't buggy, as if not finding a late game bug in a game as insane as Fez that affects 1% of players was some kind of indictment of the QA process or the willingness of the devs to write working code.

It should be obvious to anyone who's ever written a project beyond hello world that until you have actual users hammering the code you simply can't get rid of all the bugs, even if you have awesome test coverage and fantastic QA people, you just can't replicate thousands of people doing dumb shit you never thought of to the game/whatever the product is.

#268 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@admanb: I think I read somewhere that their policy is to give one "freebie" patch, and anything after that is up to 40k. Some devs (or at least this guy https://twitter.com/hippiemanx/status/226022885133807616) have gotten more than one free patch, but I think it takes the ability to bargain with Microsoft, and anyone who's seen "Indie Game: The Movie" knows Phil Fish probably isn't the most amenable guy.

#269 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

@evanbower said:

@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.

haha. you're flying!

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