'As a small independent, paying so much money makes no sense at all', says studio

Excessive XBLA dev fees block Fez patch

Independent developer Polytron cannot patch its XBLA platformer Fez because Microsoft is charging tens of thousands of dollars for it to do so, the studio has claimed.

Speaking on its blog, the developer said it was unable to fix a save file corruption issue due to the high costs of updating a game on XBLA, and that it made no financial sense for the small studio to patch a bug affecting less than one per cent of users.

The team added that had it released the game on Steam, it would have been able to patch the title for free and it would have fixed the bugs within two weeks of launch.

“The save file delete bug only happens to less than a per cent of players,” read a statement.

“It’s a shitty numbers game to be playing for sure, but as a small independent, paying so much money for patches makes no sense at all., especially when you consider the alternative.

“Had Fez been released on steam instead of XBLA, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release, at no cost to us. And if there was an issue with that patch, we could have fixed that right away too.”

Polytron added that another concern for the team was the potential for new bugs to enter the game after the patch, meaning the developer would have to pay again to update the title.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but in the end, paying such a large sum of money to jump through so many hoops just doesn’t make any sense,” read the statement.

“We already owe Microsoft a lot of money for the privilege of being on their platform. People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. We pay them.”

Fez was released on XBLA in April, and has since gone on to receive critical acclaim and has garnered more than 100,000 downloads.

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