After years of charging game developers to issue updates for their games, Microsoft has officially changed its policy and is now letting developers patch their games for free.
Microsoft charges a certification fee when developers submit their games for release on the Xbox 360. In the past they have only granted one free title update, with subsequent updates costing the developer.
This has sometimes caused problems with game quality, particularly with indie developers that couldn’t afford the update fee. Most famously the fee prevented indie developer Polytron from patching their hit platforming game Fez, forcing them to stick with a version of the game containing a bug that corrupted some players’ save files. Owner of Polytron Phil Fish said that releasing the fix would have meant paying Microsoft “tens of thousands of dollars” to re-certify the game.
Though this is something that should have happened years ago, changes like this show that Microsoft is willing to make the Xbox a more open platform, meaning more content for the consumers. Hopefully this openness continues with the transition from Xbox 360 to Xbox One.