Xbox One Parity Clause Is ‘Brutal’, Dev Explains Why Their Game Is Not Coming On Xbox One

“Simultaneously shipping is very challenging, especially for small indie teams.”

Posted By | On 04th, Sep. 2014 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


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Microsoft has this policy wherein if indie developers want to release their games on the Xbox One, they would need to launch it alongside other platforms. If the developer has ever released the game on any other platform first, say the PS4, the game cannot launch on Microsoft’s console. However there have been a few exceptions to this case in the past but the policy is no doubt a deal breaker for smaller independent developers.

Speaking to Krillbrite Studios’ Adrian Tingstad Husby, GamingBolt asked whether there is a specific reason behind not launching Among The Sleep on the Xbox One.

“It’s mostly a question about resources. As a small indie team, developing for consoles can be very demanding, so we decided to focus our attention at the PS4 for now. Also, Sony have been very eager and pleasant to deal with,” he said to GamingBolt.

We also asked about his thoughts on the Xbox One parity clause for indie games and whether this will actually allow for better games on Xbox Live as the user won’t be simply overload with indie games good or bad. “Well, as a small developer working to release our first game, it’s [the policy] rather brutal. Simultaneously shipping is very challenging, especially for small indie teams. The clause (if enforced) means it might not be possible for us to release on Xbox One, even though we wanted to.”

Krillbrite Studios are currently working on the PS4 version of Among The Sleep.


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  • d0x360

    Ita an understandable clause that needs to be killed but at the same time is already seemingly nonexistent.

    There have been quite a few indie titles recently released on Xbox one that came out long before on PlayStation. The Xbox versions are identical. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 releases where the parity clause wasn’t used.

    So the question is does it still exist? When was the last time these guys spoke with Microsoft about the clause? It doesn’t make sense that they would enforce it for this team but ignore it for other teams some of which are bigger and some smaller.

    Perhaps some actual investigative journalism is in order here.

    • Counterproductive

      I think perhaps the question that should be asked is why does Microsoft still have the clause in place, since it has essentially had the opposite effect to what they’d intended.

    • d0x360

      Well yes that’s what I said in a nutshell but the fact that multiple games have come out call the current existence of the clause into question. It appears the clause hasn’t existed for at least 3 months.

    • Counterproductive

      It still exists as an intimidation tool to wield against small indie publishers. The problem is that Microsoft doesn’t have any teeth. The last thing they need is to turn studios away from their console, and have even fewer games on the Xbox One.

    • d0x360

      I disagree based on the simple fact that multiple games have been released by small teams in the past few months.

      The evidence which is on the xbl market place is there for anyone to see. None of those games have additional features over the PlayStation version and most of them were released at LEAST 4 months after the PlayStation versions.

    • Counterproductive

      You have literally just restated my point. The policy is still in place, but Microsoft cannot afford to enforce it because they’re already struggling to match the catalog of the PS4. The last thing they need is to put bullets in their competitor’s gun. Again.

    • d0x360

      You are thinking like a gamer not a business. Microsoft can afford to do anything they want. They could afford to buy Sony 20 times and have enough spare cash on hand to do it again.

      The policy is gone not ignored. An ignored policy…isn’t a policy.

    • Counterproductive

      Then you can go ask Microsoft why the policy is still in effect if they won’t enforce it. I’m still wondering why they thought the parity policy was a good idea in the first place.

    • d0x360

      It isn’t in effect.

    • Counterproductive

      The parity clause is absolutely in effect. It’s still in the contract language in black and white.

      That Microsoft chooses to make exceptions to the rule for certain games is not proof that the rule doesn’t exist.

    • d0x360

      Do you have the contract? I have presented evidence that it no longer exists. You keep spouting words.

      PROVE it.

    • Counterproductive

      You’ve made assertions, but you haven’t proven anything. Independent developers attempting to publish games on the Xbox One through the ID@XBOX program have made references to the parity clause all the time, as recently as *this very article*. When Phil Harrison was asked if Microsoft had considered dropping the parity clause, he stated unequivocally that the requirements will continue to be analysed on a case-by-case basis.

      If you’re looking for the text of the contracts themselves, I suggest that you go to http://www.xbox.com/en-us/Developers/id and sign up yourself. You will be be able to review a number of documents and guidelines that are only available to people after they have signed an NDA.

      A Non Disclosure Agreement would however prevent you from sharing certain information with the internet, even if asked directly.

    • d0x360

      Heres the last thing I’m going to say to you because talking in circles is idiotic and a waste of time.

      I have given you verifiable information that suggests the clause no longer exists.

      You have given no credible evidence to suggest otherwise. A link to the id@xbox website that has no information is not evidence.

      Until you provide credible evidence that proves me wrong we have nothing further to discuss.

      Telling me I’m wrong over and over without anything to base that on is silly. I have done my part and backed up my argument with facts. You have replied with your own opinion which is based on zero current information.

      Believe whatever you want.

    • Counterproductive

      You’ve given me no verifiable information that the clause no longer exists. I on the other hand have given you verifiable statements from Phil Harrison that indicates the clause is still in place and exceptions are decided on a case by case basis.

      Do you think that every single indie developer who discusses the parity clause does so because they aren’t informed? Do you think they don’t have the contracts in front of them to reference? Do you think they’re just lying? This isn’t a “believe what you want” situation. This isn’t a religion where you have to have faith when facts aren’t available.

      If you don’t believe Phil Harrison, a corporate Vice President of Microsoft, then I don’t know what kind of proof you need to admit your error.

    • d0x360

      I’ve given you examples of games. Which is evidence.

      An indie Dev might have a outdated contract especially the one in this article who’s contract is over 8 months old.

    • Counterproductive

      Again, for the cheap seats.

      Phil Harrison has confirmed that the clause is still in place and exceptions to the clause are decided on a case by case basis.

      Your “examples of games” are the results of those exceptions.

      Unless you are Phil Harrison, I think he knows more about this than you do.

    • d0x360

      So show me. Where and when did he say that?

    • Counterproductive

      Sigh.
      http://www.edge-online.com/news/indies-praise-self-publishing-on-xbox-one-but-microsoft-must-drop-its-launch-parity-policy/

      And since I know your next statement will be “why haven’t we heard about it recently from Microsoft”, it’s because they have prevented their employees from talking about it. They’ve literally ordered them to keep silent.

      Eurogamer asks “Speaking of basic games, and ID@Xbox, I wanted to ask you about the parity clause that governs if games can launch on Xbox after other platforms. Several indies have come out and criticised the fact it still exists. To what extent is it being enforced, and why?”

      Chris Charla, id@Xbox Director replies “I can’t talk about it… one thing we do is we don’t talk about publishing policies publicly. If a developer has a question then they can just give us a call and we’ll explain everything. We’ll talk through everything. But I can’t comment on it publicly.”

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-07-10-whats-going-on-with-microsofts-xbox-one-dev-kit-and-launch-parity-policies

    • d0x360

      Sorry bud but no. Like I said these games came after march. Find something more current than the released games.

      One of the came out last week. Your information is outdated.

      Ordered them to keep silent huh. Seriously? You have some inside track with Microsoft? Sony call you up on the phone and give you the email address of a corporate spy?

    • Counterproductive

      Follow the link, and read the interview with id@Xbox director Chris Charla.

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-07-10-whats-going-on-with-microsofts-xbox-one-dev-kit-and-launch-parity-policies

      More recent? How about TODAY:

      http://gamingbolt.com/yet-another-game-may-not-come-to-the-xbox-one-due-to-parity-clause

      “Microsoft’s policies still have parity clauses which mean if we release it on PS4/Vita first, we can’t bring it to their console later so it probably won’t be on Xbox,” he said.

      Statements from Phil Harrison, Chris Charla, and multiple developers from May 2013 through to this morning. There is no possible way you could still be in denial about this without a hidden agenda.

  • TristanPR77

    Warframe and outlast were indi released first on PS4 and almost a year later on Xbox.

    • Alan Espinoza Orozco

      I think the point is if they release first on pc there isnt any problem if the game later come to ps4 and then xbox one the problem i think is when the games hit first Ps4 and then Pc, but i dont really know if thats the problem about microsoft parity problem

    • andy

      That’s just it. There seems to be some special rule. I’ve noticed so far that games, like Outlast and Stick it to the Man for instance, get a tiny little tweet from Xbox’s channels literally 12 hours before they launch….. and then that is it. Did you see Microsoft making a big deal about Outlast at all even though there hadn’t been a new digital game on the Xbox One since Trials Fusion?
      They will release the game but leave any kind of marketing or fanfare to the indie dev alone. Makes you wonder why a studio like the Limbo guys still sold their soul to Microsoft with their next title.

  • albatrosMyster

    Some people do not want to have to explain themselves to MS for not releasing their game at the same time on the XB1/360… just putting it there in the contract will rub some people off the wrong way, which is understandable.

    Let’s look at the other places people are likely to download games/apps:
    Sony does not seem to be doing this
    Steam certainly isn’t
    Neither is Apple
    Google doesn’t
    Amazone certainly not
    Ouya doesn’t
    MS is not even doing this on their phone or windows store, where you could publish games…

    Right now I don’t think MS is in a position to hold that kind of policies as they are not in a leading position in any gaming related market.

  • Goodacre

    the clause seems to be waived for the games that garner hype and a following. even more of a slap in the face to the less known studios.

    the more the Xbone division changes the more it stays the same. I can’t believe people were so sure that Spencer was going to bring some real changes to the way the division was run.

    • andy

      Tell me about. Look at all the bullshit hoops that the Joe Danger devs had to jump through to get the original Joe Danger on 360 (after refusing the day 1 parity rule) and then getting the sequel on Xbox 360 exclusively for one month to make up for the first game. They weren’t even allowed to mention that it was coming to PS3 soon too due to this rule.

      Of course these are the same guys who are now making a little game called NO MAN’S SKY. Oh SNAP, you screwed with the wrong people big time Microsoft and now your, what’s left of them, fans suffer for it yet again.

    • Red Harlow

      too bad no mans sky isnt exclusive to ps4 HA!

    • Mike

      It’s console exclusive though, I consider titanfall an exclusive, along with other games only available on one console or the other. I myself don’t consider pc when it comes to gaming. Alot of other people are the same way. PC is superior but only if you have alot of money or the ability to do it yourself, most people can’t do that.

    • Anders

      No Man’s Sky is coming to PS4 first and later to PC, no of any other platforms.

    • Daniel Lawson

      who has been refused?

    • Goodacre

      we’ll never know because those deals are done in private. also, why have the clause in the first place if your not ready and willing to enforce it.

  • RA3030

    The parity clause for Microsoft is another reason in a long list of reasons Microsoft is just bad for gaming. I bet behind the closed doors now at Microsoft HQ their working on a “owner parity clause” where if you purchase a Xbox One Cable Box you can’t purchase any other console and if you own another console then you can’t purchase the X1 cable box.

    • Mark

      I hear u, but can u mention this same thing in the PS Now articles too?

  • GHz

    They need to just eliminate that clause already. They already know that small teams cant afford it, @ the same time they say that there is a work around? MS addressed this months ago by issuing a statement that reads,

    “”Our goal is not to limit developers who are interested in Xbox One. In instances where games have signed a timed exclusive with another platform, we’ll work with them on a case by case basis. We encourage them to get in touch at id@xbox.com.”

    http://www.edge-online.com/news/first-wave-of-idxbox-games-incoming-this-month-but-the-issue-of-launch-parity-needs-resolution/

    Anyways, it sounds like some sort of quality control at this point. Remnant of the now extinct “no you cant self publish rule”.

    • Mark

      This is my thought too. Question is, SHOULD they do this now? I don’t think so. Reason being is that last gen, 360 had a ton of ugly XBLA/Indie games, that didn’t go well, in the words of Phil Spencer. BUT, this time around, there’s more talented indie studios working with not only more powerful consoles (bigger games), but they’re getting Unity 5, UE4, CryEngine etc. Microsoft already admitted to losing Rime. And now No Man’s Sky devs don’t have a conclusive answer for the Xbox 1 version. They did at first, but Sony grabbed the timed rights. Point is, although I’m loving my Xbox, us Xbox owners will be missing out on some rather good indies. I guess for now, the parity clause is relaxed a bit, but who knows what MS’ agenda is. Quality control? That isn’t the best idea imo.

  • iMan

    hey gamingbolt, why don’t you ask warframe devs how did they make it through the clause?

    • GHz

      “we’ll work with them on a case by case basis. We encourage them to get in touch at id@xbox.com.” – Microsoft

      Me thinks its quality control of some sorts.

    • Guest

      ..

    • GHz

      “we’ll work with them on a case by case basis” <——- Why all the hassle then?

      Is it give us a call 1st and we'll work something out and have your game on Xbox despite the rule, or is it maybe, give us a call 1st and then we'll see?

      The rule is to pressure devs to get games on the XB1 on day 1 too right? I'm pretty sure MS knows for a fact not all small devs will be able to handle that. I say quality control to ensure that XB1 don't turn into an android app store. Its just my guess now, my POV. I can be wrong.

    • Anders

      How can it be quality control if they would have allowed the games on xbox (if the same games had been first on xbox)?

    • Jessika S.

      (If the developer has ever released the game on any other platform first, say the PS4, the game cannot launch on Microsoft’s console. However there have been a few exceptions to this case…)

      Did you not read this.

    • Anders

      I can tell you. It was a PS4 launch game and they signed the that deal with SCE before the id@xbox program began that’s also why Contrast is on xbox.
      Developers who signed a deal with Sony or Nintendo before a certain date (last year) do not have to comply with the parity clause.

  • Clause or not. It’s still a matter of resources that some of these devs don’t have. Some are too small to develop for both consoles at one time regardless so this in itself negates the clause. If developers don’t have the resources to begin with stop blaming MS for not being able to release your game. Some indie devs chose the Xbox first to develop for others are able to do both at once so there’s no excuse for some to use the clause as the reason when they know its their own development issues.

  • Whatthehecklol

    No loss.

  • Elsie Paroubek

    Microsoft are in no place to have a “you need us more than we need you” attitude.

  • If the consoles are so close, it’s just a matter of tweaking on each console, so resources or not it’s possible to release on both consoles at the same time. That’s my understanding. If you dev on PC first and it takes literally a day to port to each console, what’s the fuss about?

  • Simultaneously shipping a digital version for two consoles it’s really hard… Wow its not like they have to ship thousands of games to stores.

  • crizz1066

    M$ don’t care about gamers they just want the dollar, now all their bulling and stupid rules are pushing x1 into 3rd place. Shame for anyone who brought the 80s vcr day 1. But anyone who brought it since is just a fool. This is only the beginning of the x1s slide into obscurity

    • demfax

      All 3 consoles have good exclusive games, and pros and cons, it’s only fanboys blindly hating one or the other.

      Xbox will continue getting strong 3rd party support, it’s not going to be obscure.

    • crizz1066

      Not aware of any cons for ps4. If x1 continues as it has with things like Japan it’ll have even less 3rd party support. It’s gona sit in 3rd place for all this gen


 

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