Microsoft Defends Xbox One Parity Clause: "Xbox Owners Should Feel First-Class"

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Microsoft Defends Xbox One Parity Clause: "Xbox Owners Should Feel First-Class"

Xbox One Controller (official)

Microsoft defends its controversial indie parity clause, which forces indies to launch on Xbox One at the same time as any other platform.

If you're not aware, Microsoft has a special "parity" clause with indie devs it works with through its indie program, [email protected] Essentially, the clause states that indie developers must launch their product on Xbox One at the same time it is launched on any other platform. That means, they can't, say, launch a product on PC first, and then port it to Xbox One later. It has drawn some criticism from developers and journalists alike, but Microsoft is standing by by its policy, stating that it exists to make Xbox One owners feel "first class".

"The thing I worry about is--because I look at all the people who buy an Xbox, and they invest their time and their money in Xbox One, and, as millions of people obviously own Xbox Ones, I want them to feel like they're first-class, because they are," Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said on The Inner Circle podcast. "When a third-party game comes out, it comes out on all platforms at the same time, and when indie games come out, I want them to come out and I want Xbox to feel like it's a first class citizen when an indie game launches."

He added that, "So, for me, the parity thing is, if you own an Xbox One, I want to work for you to make sure that when great content launches, if it's coming to Xbox and another platform, that you kind of get it at the same time everybody else does."

Spencer insists that the policy is not damaging towards indie devs as critics claim, because Microsoft is constantly working to help indies hit their goals. "I have a lot of friends that run small indie studios, and I get that timelines around when--they just can't get both games done at the same time, all three games, all four games, depending on how many platforms they're supporting," Spencer explained. "So I always just say, 'Let's have a conversation.' And it's worked; today, I think we've done a good job of working with the indies on, when they've had parity concerns, if it's just a dev issue for them."

"But I don't want somebody to come in and just think 'I'm going to go do a special game on one platform and then I'll get to Xbox whenever I get to it,' because I don't think that's right," Spencer added, insisting that the true winners of this policy are Xbox One gamers.

Source: The Inner Circle Podcast via GameSpot

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Sometime in the past, someone redefined First Class...

I can't imagine too many indies have the money to release on Xbox before they have even proved that they have a real market for their game. PC seems like the best place to release as a small time indie developer, and then if you find success port over to consoles. Maybe I'm missing something, but this policy seems like it will mostly just keep the majority of indie games from porting to Xbox at all.

Good luck getting them to feel first class with a second class console. Unless the PS4 version gets dumbed down (looking at you Ubisoft), then the PS4 version will always be superior.

Calling anything by microsoft "First class" is like calling apple stuff first class.....any tech head knowledgeable in hardware can tell you that the devices are anything BUT first class........in fact, anytime a tech company claims "first class" status, replace "First" with "Hype".....that's about what it means at this point.....

LarsInCharge:
Sometime in the past, someone redefined First Class...

That... almost rhymes. And yes it seems someone redefined "first class".

Well, if you can't get parity because your approach to the market is flawed, might as well try to enforce it through contract clauses. It sucks that they've gone this route, but they chose this path when they decided to make a console with games as a lower priority (marketing, tv, games in that order).

Man, microsoft just can't do anything right with that console. Granted, it's probably the most anti-competitive, anti-consumer piece of tech to come out in years that didn't have an apple logo on it, so it's not surprising they can't get it right.

Did... did he seriously just pull a "no some best friends are *blank*" excuse to justify that line?

That's... Not how game development works. Most indie teams don't have the manpower or resources to even THINK about cross platform launches. When they do, it's usually after they've completed a game, found success, and now have the money and time to actually work on making their game cross platform. This strategy essentially locks out all those indie devs who decided to wait and see if they can even make a successful game in the first place before dividing attentions into what is basically nonessential development time.

You don't get to be first class by defining your own affirmative action laws.

You're first class on your own merits or you're not. And this kind of policy just proves to everyone that you're not a first class platform. If you were, you wouldn't need it.

First class, more like; 'no-class', because they won't get anything. Feel sorry for the Xbone users that are going to miss out on so much to this bull. Better late then never is not a philosophy M$ prescribes to obviously.

Does anyone but me see the massive hypocrisy to this clause since they bought out Mojang for Minecraft, y'know the game the went viral on the bloody PC?

Wouldn't this logic keep them from selling Minecraft on the XBox?

What a bad idea I can't even count the PC to Xbox/PS ports I've seen. The only logic I can see in Microsoft throwing all the money down the drain is if they think the companies that can't afford to make multiple ports will make the game for the Xbox first. Does XBox fund indies as Spencer implies? If they do this could be a quick and easy way to gain influence over Indies that want to release on a different platform and the Xbox and can't afford both by paying for the costs of a port and gaining influence over what the studio does by controlling part of their budget. But that guess is kinda tinfoily.

"I have a lot of friends that run small indie studios, and I get that timelines around when--"

^Translation: "I'm not racist against indie developers. Hell, some of my best friends are black indie developers!" :P

Seriously though...isn't XBox hurting itself more than anyone with this policy? Doesn't this encourage more indie developers to say "Well fuck that, guess I won't make games for the XBox then."? And doesn't that, in turn, lead to few games being available on the XBox? Which thereby reduces the number of reasons to get an XBox in the first place? Seems like their breaking their nose to spite their face. :P

Meanwhile, at Sony...

Right... You want Xbox owners to feel they're first class.. by denying them indie games from devs who basically tell Microsoft and this policy they can eat shit and just release it on other platforms that actively encourage porting to their platform.

This just doesn't make sense, this policy works for a subset of indie devs who were planning on releasing to all platforms and don't mind delaying the launch of their game to have enough time to port it to all the other platforms.

This doesn't work for indie devs who planned on developing their game on PC (or PS4), releasing it, and then porting to other consoles when they have more resources; or indie devs that weren't planning on releasing their game on all platforms but, after success on their platform of choice, want to (or are requested by fans to) port it to other platforms.

Then there are obviously going to be devs who see this policy and tell Microsoft to go fuck themselves.

Any way you slice it, this policy means Xbox owners get LESS indie titles, not more, and that shouldn't make Xbox owners feel first class.

Gdek:
I can't imagine too many indies have the money to release on Xbox before they have even proved that they have a real market for their game. PC seems like the best place to release as a small time indie developer, and then if you find success port over to consoles. Maybe I'm missing something, but this policy seems like it will mostly just keep the majority of indie games from porting to Xbox at all.

FliedLiverAttack:
Wouldn't this logic keep them from selling Minecraft on the XBox?

What a bad idea I can't even count the PC to Xbox/PS ports I've seen. The only logic I can see in Microsoft throwing all the money down the drain is if they think the companies that can't afford to make multiple ports will make the game for the Xbox first.

This isn't the first time that question has come up. From what I've seen in the past, Microsoft doesn't count pc as a platform. I'm not sure that they even count handhelds. They seem to really just be concerned with competing game systems. Not that that makes Spencer's argument any more valid. If a developer does choose to release on a different platform first, or just chooses not to work with Microsoft because of this policy, that means people who exclusively own an Xbox One will never get the game. It still looks like the parity clause would hurt their user base, rather than help them.

"We want to make things harder for indie devs. In doing so, we will give value to one of the greatest systems currently on the market *Cough* PC *Cough*!! Sorry about that, I really should get the checked out, but my doctor still refused to do a house call."

Oh dear. So much for Xbox doing consumer friendly things after Phil Spencer took over. The only way I see this working out "well" is if the indie game is developed primarily for the Xbone, otherwise the indie devs are going to slow down releasing other platform products until they finish the Bone build.

I keep drawing a blank when i read "Xbox" and "First Class" in the same...

...uh? Moving on.

The partiy clause is just plain stupid. Indes have no reason to launch on the console with the smallest install base over the other two. Or even PC, for that matter.

Roander:
From what I've seen in the past, Microsoft doesn't count pc as a platform. I'm not sure that they even count handhelds.

If MS does count PC now then XB1 automatically loses out on a number of quality inde titles already on Steam since XB1s release. And in the long run itll just accumilate into a backed up wad of reason to not buy the XB1 over PS4, or even PC.

All because they think its sparing thier customers feelings.

But then again, Warframe flagrantly broke this parity clause by releasing on XB1 nearly a year after its PS4 release, and on PC before XB1 was even announced.

As for handhelds, a game originating on 3DS or PSV would likely have some fundamental differences with a non-handheld release, if Resident Evil: Revealations is anything to go by, at least.

"But I don't want somebody to come in and just think 'I'm going to go do a special game on one platform and then I'll get to Xbox whenever I get to it,' because I don't think that's right,"

But of course, when we pay to make a game exclusive to Xbox One at the expense of other platforms that's perfectly fine.

Hey, it's not like we NEED those smelly indies on the X-bone. Instead of playing Minecraft, they can spend their time on Destiny and Titanfall, two games which are in no way similar!

When a third-party game comes out, it comes out on all platforms at the same time

Except for when MS ponies up a chunk of cash for timed exclusives...

Because if people don't like your product, force them to like it.

Although this clause I feel like would be good if there were a few more xboners out there...

I fail to the see the problem. Good on him for making sure people that bought into his console to feel like they've made a sound investment.

Full disclosure: PC gamer. Haven't owned a console since 2010, which I hadn't booted up since 2008.

So what does this say he think of his customers if he feels that making sure an indy title isn't released to Playstation before it gets to Xbox will help them feel 'first class'. I mean seriously that's like playground level maturity. He's basically saying Xbox owners are childish brats.

ticklefist:
I fail to the see the problem. Good on him for wanting people that bought into his console to feel like they've made a sound investment.

Full disclosure: PC gamer. Haven't owned a console since 2010, which I hadn't booted up since 2008.

That doesn't make sense. I would rather get the game later then never. Honestly most Indie games are not going to be huge blockbusters in sales. What they do is fill a niche when people want something new to play, but maybe don't want AAA games or nothing new is out yet. Well look at the market and see what Indie games are there to kill a few hours. I would wager a lot of Indie games sell better later after word of mouth is out. So now if a game comes out on ps4 first it will never be on xbox. How is that a sound investment in a system?

Kajin:
That's... Not how game development works. Most indie teams don't have the manpower or resources to even THINK about cross platform launches. When they do, it's usually after they've completed a game, found success, and now have the money and time to actually work on making their game cross platform. This strategy essentially locks out all those indie devs who decided to wait and see if they can even make a successful game in the first place before dividing attentions into what is basically nonessential development time.

either that, or force them to make it an xbox game first and then port it to other places first. Which is really the reason this clause exists to me.

I'm sorry all I read was Microsoft saying they're whiny little brats who don't want to play with toys some other kids got to enjoy first, and if that means their customers, who just paid possible more for their new box than the other two, can't get a chance to enjoy them either, screw them and the indie game in question.

It's quite a stark contrast to these "definitive edition" last gen games that have had a chance to sell a million or more copies and get another go at your money. I'm surprised that Microsoft never said, "We want our customers to have the freshest gaming experience. So we are focusing on new titles and not re-releasing last gen games on Xbone ,er, Xbox One." Oh, wait, I'm not surprised at all. AAA games make them wheelbarrow loads of cash, compared to indies, even if they're rehashes of a less than 2 year-old game.

This is nonsense. He's basically saying any port is an insult, and that gamers feel insulted by ports. Nobody likes delays, but to be insulted by them, to feel like second or third class players because of it?

Ryse and Dead Rising 3 just came out on PC. Because of the lack of parity, they were an insult to PC gamers, by his own admission making us second class gamers. Is he seriously applying this argument to all exclusives, timed or delayed releases?

Or is he just a hypocrite, championing parity except when it's someone else who doesn't receive it.

The definition of parity is not, 'Equal with everyone else, except when it suits us not to be'. You cannot be for parity, and for exclusives at the same time.

If you like parity so much, Mr Spencer, put your money where you mouth is, and force the industry to abandon exclusives. Fight to get games release at the same time around the world. Talk to the German and Australian governments and make the case for not censoring games.

At the very least, learn how to suck up to XBone users without insulting everyone else in the process.

EDIT: Rambling and unfocussed. Need coffee.

how pathetic must you be to feel "First-Class", just because you didnt get to play a game after someone else did?

Fine. Enjoy not having anything on your fucking console.
If I was an indie dev who could only afford to make one console version at a time, I'd go for the one that sold the most units. That's basic math. If MS then doesn't want the game on their system because I went PS4 first, it's their problem.

The parity clause was a reasonable (if still profoundly vile) business move back when the 360 was the most popular console - make it on our system first or lose that entire market - but now it's vile AND dumb.

Also hard to "feel first class" when you're playing your 900p game that's 1080p on the other system.

Couple of months later Xbox is going to drop the parity clause and Mr. Spencer will say something like "best thing for consumer", "choice for the developer" with his unearned arrogance.

My god, these guys are so pathetic. This is sad.

Really?

So, I guess I'm suppose to feel all confident and badass in my new decked-out Pinto?

Am I basking in luxury by flying first class in the baggage compartment (with the snakes)?

Do I feel tantalized by an imported gourmet coconut...when I can't stand the fucking things?

NO.

Keep your ridiculous backwards contradictory double-talk out of my english language, you soup-brained idiots. Not only are you constricting the developers AGAIN, but you're trying to sleeze and trick the average user into thinking you got game. Well, fella, you don't. Sony got game and Nintendo got game. Nintendo don't have quite as much as Sony, though, and you've been handing Sony ALL the keys to the liquor cabinets. They're getting it EASY this year. You wanna talk about class? Lemme tell you how I feel sticking with them...

Want parity?
Kill Exclusivity. Introduce modding to your console. Slash its price to 350 (weaker the PS4 must mean it is cheaper). Give it backwards compatibility and software emulation.

Now its parity.

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