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Xbox One's launch parity clause looms over self-publishing program
Xbox One's launch parity clause looms over self-publishing program
March 11, 2014 | By Kris Graft

March 11, 2014 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

Microsoft’s self-publishing efforts are full-steam ahead, but a problematic clause is still causing headaches for some game developers, according to an Edge Online report.

The caveat in question is the launch parity clause — a request that ID@Xbox developers launch the Xbox One version of their games at the same time as other platforms. This clause tends to be a thorny issue for developers making a game for multiple platforms.

"Sony still has the better deal, since they don’t have launch parity requirements," said Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, an outspoken critic of the rule. “I also think Sony has won a lot of loyalty by having been approachable for the past few years, while Microsoft sort of needs to fight back an image of being terrible to work with." Ismail and other developers said despite the clause, ID@Xbox is still generally heading in the right direction.

The rigidness of the clause is still in question. While some developers claimed Microsoft was firm on the clause, others, namely Zen Pinball developer Zen Studios, said they had no issues with plans to launch its upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games around the same time.

Microsoft told Edge Online in a statement, "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"

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Kevin Clough
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If it isn't feasible to launch on both platforms at the same time, I'm curious whether developers will choose to only launch on PS4 or choose to launch on XB1 first and then PS4 second? I'm sure Microsoft would like developers to choose an XB1 launch first, but it seems like an underhanded way to get that result.

Robert Green
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I understand what MS is trying to do here, but it honestly seems a bit spiteful in practice. What the clause seems to say, in effect, is that if you don't launch first or simultaneously on our platform, then we'll sacrifice our cut of your sales and deny our customers your game as retribution.
If they've run the numbers and come to the conclusion that this benefits them, so be it, but it'd be nice if they could find a reward-based approach instead of a punishment-based one.