[2014] Xbox One Indie Parity Clause impacting number of announcements for system


y'all should be ashamed
"I'll be honest, the thing I worry about is I look at all the people who buy an Xbox and invest their time and money in Xbox One," he said. "Millions of people own Xbox One and I want those people to feel like they're first class, because they are.

"When a third party game comes out it comes out on all platforms at the same time. When indie games come out, I want them to come out and I want Xbox to feel like it is a first class citizen when an indie game launches.

"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.' I don't think that's right."

-Phil Spencer, Oct. 2014 on defending the indie parity clause

This generation has been amazing for game development. As a game dev working on two unannounced games, I'm thrilled that Steam, MS, Sony and Nintendo have revised their indie stances and have made game development easier and better than ever in making titles for their platforms. However, there is one remaining issue that is crippling game development on one specific platform: the Xbox One. I'd like to take a moment to explain what that issue is, how it has affected development, and what can be done about it.

What is the Indie Parity Clause?

The indie parity clause dates back to the Xbox 360, where MS mandated that you could not release a game on the 360 at a later date than any other version without having exclusive free content for Xbox owners.

Since the launch of the XB1, MS has revised that policy for the worse. Now that loophole is closed, and devs are not allowed to release an XB1 version of their game, period, if they have already released it on PS4. At the time of the indie parity announcement, MS allowed games that were already announced for PS4 to be released at a later date on XB1. Those games included Contrast, Warframe, and many other PS4 launch window titles. There are now no more titles that fall under this loophole.

There are three ways around this clause. The first is to release your game simultaneously on PS4 and XB1. The second is to launch first on XB1 and release a PS4 version later. Finally, the third is asking Phil Spencer for a free pass, which has NDA'd guidelines and specifics that I cannot get into, nor know the specifics of.

Why would this hurt developers?

Indie devs typically have small amounts of staff, and tend to "roll out" games gradually on a number of platforms. While the architecture of XB1 and PS4 may seem similar enough, it's incredibly difficult to simultaneously develop for both platforms at the same time. First off, each one has their own certification process and requirements. One build may pass on one platform, but fail on the other. You have to constantly revise release date estimates until both versions are in line with each other, and even then, you'll have platform specific bugs that you'll have to fix at the same time once both versions launch. It is a bit of a nightmare, to say the least. That's why many devs opt to focus on one platform, typically the biggest one (Steam), and then go from there.

Why not develop for XB1 first?

This is inherently why the parity program exists: to give XB1 exclusive games without the need for exclusive marketing or financial deals. But yes, that's a question that cannot be universally answered. Many devs have their own personal reasons. I can only share my own.

I applied to both the ID@Xbox program and the Sony developer program back in Feb. While both programs are fantastic and have great people behind them, I was able to get my Xbox One dev kit first by a few months. Theoretically this should have allowed me to get started on an XB1 port of my game except for one issue: the engine I use, GM Studio, would not be supporting XB1 until later this year. PS4/Vita support was already built into the engine. So, I started studying PS platform requirements, APIs, and GM Studio integration in preparation for my dev kits which I received last month. Through no fault of my own, I was developing first for Playstation because that's the engine that was available to me via GM Studio. My PS4 game will be ready much earlier than my XB1 version. And despite having an XB1 dev kit, MS doesn't want my game at a later date. They want me to delay my PS4 version until I can get the XB1 version out the door. And that's impossible for me to do from a scheduling and financial standpoint. And so, just like that, I'm unable to make XB1 games, even though I very much want to. Even though I'm an ID@Xbox dev. Even though I have a dev kit right here next to me.

I could talk to Phil and tell him my situation, and maybe, just maybe he'll grant me a pass. It is ludicrous that I have to plea with MS to slip me through the door. Hence why I'm creating this topic, so that MS will maybe revise the parity clause not just for me but for everyone wanting to make XB1 games.

Doesn't MS provide free dev kits and free engine licenses? Shouldn't they be able to call the shots in terms of releases?

Absolutely agreed. However, the option to purchase our own dev kits and have our own release schedule doesn't exist. There is no way around the parity clause. (Sony also offers a number of free engine licenses like MS, none of which tie into any sort of exclusivity or parity clause).

Is this really causing any issues? Won't indies come to MS at some point in the future?

At one point earlier this year, I too thought that indies would eventually have to do a multiplatform release or exclusive XB1 release. Many said that the games would balance themselves out by 2015 and we'd see an even number of games being announced for both PS4 and XB1.

To see if that was indeed the case, I've compiled a list of games announced after September 1st, 2014. These are games outside of Gamescom (of which MS and Sony had more than two dozen new indie reveals) announced on various social channels. To make it on this list, the games must fit the following criteria:

-They should be making their debut and have NOT been already announced before 9/1 (for example, being announced in a big E3 spreadsheet, but showcasing the first video and screens in October, still prevents the game from being on this list. A majority of PS4 games were excluded because of this.)
-Official announcements, and not derived from PEGI ratings or retailer listings.
-Announcements for ports of games from PC or older gen consoles were included in this list (such as Thomas Was Alone for PS4/XB1).
-Japan only and China only releases were not included in both of these lists.

I made this list to see if, in fact, games announced for 2015 were indeed going to be multiplatform, or at least on XB1 first, thus proving that the indie parity clause was working. Here's the list of games announced from 9/1 thru 12/8 (and please let me know if I've missed any or have any incorrect listings):

PS4 Indie Game Reveals and Announcements (since Sept. 1st, 2014)
(compiled using the PS Blog and official developer sites. Does NOT include releases or more details on already announced games, only first time reveals of games with the few noted exceptions.)

-Flockers (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/1)
-Super Mega Baseball (PS4/PS3 announced on 9/17)
-Nova-111 (PS4/Vita/XB1 announced on 9/19)
-Thomas Was Alone (PS4/XB1 announced 9/19)
-RIDE (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/19)
-LA Cops (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/20)
-Peggle 2 (PS4 announced 9/24, XB1 version already released)
-Shu ("Playstation Platforms and PC" announced 9/24)
-Moon Hunters (PC/PS4/Vita announced 9/25)
-OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (PS4/Vita announced 9/25)
-Whoa Dave! (PS4/Vita announced on 9/26)
-Viking Squad (PC/PS4 announced 9/26)
-Spelunky (PS4 port announced on 10/1)
-Fluster Cluck (PS4 announced on 10/1)
-Once Upon Light (PS4 announced on 10/9)
-Rebel Galaxy (PS4 announced on 10/17)
-Lost Sea (PS4 announced on 10/24)
-Costume Quest 2 (PS4/XB1/PS3 and more, announced 10/24)
-Battle Islands (PS4, announced and released 10/24)
-Lost Sea (PS4/XB1 announced 10/25)
-Slasher: Summer Camp Volume 1 (PS4/XB1 announced 10/31)
-Retro City Rampage: DX (PS4/Vita/PS3, announced 11/3)
-Terraria (PS4/XB1 port announced on 11/6)
-Jackbox Party Pack (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/7)
-Henka Twist Caper (PS4 announced 11/10)
-Y2K (PS4/Vita announced on 11/10)
-Armikrog (PS4 announced on 11/10)
-The Banner Saga (PS4/XB1 port announced on 11/10)
-Kyn (PS4 announced on 11/10)
-Toren (PS4 announced on 11/10)
-Roundabout (PS4/Vita announced on 11/11, already announced for XB1)
-Lost Orbit (PS4 announced on 11/11)
-Speakeasy (PS4 announced on 11/11)
-RELATIVITY (PS4 announced on 11/11)
-We Are Doomed (PS4/Vita/XB1 announced on 11/12)
-Gunsport (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/12)
-Tinertia (PS4 port announced on 11/13)
-Capsule Force (PS4 announced on 11/13)
-Klaus (PS4/Vita announced on 11/14)
-Grave (PS4 announced on 11/17, already announced for XB1)
-Gianna Sisters Director's Cut (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/17)
-Aqua Kitty (PS4/Vita announced on 11/18)
-Wander (PS4 announced on 11/19)
-Gunship X (PS4 announced on 11/19, originally announced for Vita)
-ROCKETSROCKETSROCKETS (PS4 announced on 11/20)
-Hatoful Boyfriend (PS4/Vita port announced on 11/24)
-Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey (XB1/PS4 announced on 11/24)
-Ninja Pizza Girl (PS4 announced on 11/25)
-Close Castles (PS4 announced on 12/1, announced playable at PSX)
-Distance (PS4 port announced on 12/2, announced playable at PSX)
-Rocket League (PS4 announced on 12/2, announced playable at PSX)
-Miegakure (PS4 announced on 12/4, announced playable at PSX)
-Ultratron (PS4/XB1 announced on 12/4, announced playable at PSX)
-Blood Bowl 2 (PS4/XB1 announced on 12/4, announced playable at PSX)
-King's Quest (PS4/XB1, announced at PSX)
-Killing Floor 2 (port to PS4, announced at PSX)
-The Forest (port to PS4, announced at PSX)
-Darkest Dungeon (PS4, announced at PSX)
-Bastion (port to PS4, announced at PSX)
-Orcs Must Die: Unchained! (PS4, announced at PSX)
-Skytorn (PS4, announced at PSX)
-Shovel Knight (PS4/PS3/Vita, announced at PSX)
-Super Time Force Ultra (port to PS4, already released on XB1, announced at PSX)
-Wattam (PS4, announced at PSX)
-Enter the Gungeon (PS4, announced at PSX)
-What Remains of Edith Finch (PS4, announced at PSX)

XB1 Indie Game Reveals and Announcements (since Sept. 1st, 2014)
Sources used: ID@Xbox Twitter, ID@Xbox blog, Xbox.com, PureXbox and ID@Upload twitter (not an official MS account)

-Flockers (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/1)
-Defense Grid 2 (PS4/XB1 announced 9/11)
-Nova-111 (PS4/Vita/XB1 announced on 9/19)
-RIDE (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/19)
-Thomas Was Alone (PS4/XB1 port announced on 9/19)
-LA Cops (PS4/XB1 announced on 9/20)
-Silence: The Whispered World II (XB1/PC, announced on 10/25)
-Costume Quest 2 (PS4/XB1/PS3 and more, announced on 10/24)
-Lost Sea (PS4/XB1 announced 10/25)
-Slasher: Summer Camp Volume 1 (PS4/XB1 announced on 10/31)
-Pier Solar (XB1 port announced on 11/6, already released on PS4)
-Terraria (PS4/XB1 port announced on 11/6)
-Jackbox Party Pack (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/7)
-The Banner Saga (PS4/XB1 port announced on 11/10)
-Gunsport (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/12)
-Gianna Sisters Director's Cut (PS4/XB1 announced on 11/17)
-Boom Ball for Kinect (XB1 announced on 11/20)
-Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey (XB1/PS4 announced on 11/24)
-Infinity Blade (Timed exclusive XB1 China release, announced 11/29)
-LIMBO (XB1 port announced 12/1)
-OlliOlli (XB1 port announced 12/3, already released on PS4/Vita, not an ID@Xbox title.)
-Ultratron (PS4/XB1 announced on 12/4)
-Blood Bowl 2 (PS4/XB1 announced on 12/4)
-King's Quest (PS4/XB1 announced 12/6)

Now let's break down these lists. There were 66 total games announced for PS4 since 9/1. Of those, 47 had no mention of an XB1 release on the developer's website or social media channels (one of them being first party/Sony published, bringing it down to 46). If we were to take out all Playstation Experience related announcements, if the argument were that those titles would only be announced for PS4 at that time since it was a PS exclusive event (despite the fact that two of those PSX announcements were also announced for XB1), that still leaves 33 titles with no XB1 release plans announced.

On Microsoft's side (which were considerably harder to get since MS doesn't have an official blog style channel for ID@Xbox, so I had to cross reference all titles announced on the PS Blog and use fan sites like Pure Xbox and others), 24 games were announced. Of those, four had no mention of PS4 release plans. We can most likely nail down two of those titles as XB1 exclusive as they're Kinect only (Boom Ball and Infinity Blade). How, exactly, is the parity clause helping to bring exclusives to XB1 again?

(EDIT: Numbers adjusted a bit. Grave was announced for XB1 at E3 (thanks Miles), Commander Cherry is also coming to PS4 (thanks Banjo), We Are Doomed is also coming to XB1 (thanks ID@Xbox), and the Banner Saga is also coming to XB1. let me know if I need to correct any more!)

Now I want to answer a few more questions:

From Monty Mole: "Microsoft has a tendency to stop indies from talking about their XBO games until the next big event, when MS will unveil them all on stage in one go, or in a big single press release."

Absolutely untrue. Microsoft sometimes asks to look at formal press releases, but no where in the official ID@Xbox guidelines or provisions does it say that you should hold back announcements for any kind of event. Obviously if an event is coming up you'd want to hold back your announcements, but there were no planned major MS events through E3 2015 since September, the date when that could have affected announcements.

How do you know all of these titles are PS4 exclusive? Can't they announce their also coming to XB1 at a future date?

I don't know if they're exclusive, and they certainly can announce XB1 versions at a later date. That is not usually how game announcements are handled.

When you announce your game for the first time, you want to make sure you're getting the biggest possible audience. To include the XB1 is to double your coverage on XB1 media sites and channels. You want everyone to know about your game. Some pay PR companies to distribute their releases and try to get as much coverage as possible. To exclude the XB1, for no reason other than to make another announcement later in the future, makes no sense whatsoever, which is why so many devs don't do it.

Is it possible announcing on the PS Blog prevents devs from announcing an XB1 version elsewhere on the same date?

No. Again, many devs choose to also announce the XB1 version outside of the PS Blog using their own social networks. The reason devs don't post about the XB1 version on an official site is because one doesn't exist. Xbox Wire is only for major PR releases, Major Nelson's blog is only for releases and not previews, and ID@Xbox blog is used for ID@Xbox related news but not new game news. The only social channels MS has available for indies are retweets on their major accounts like Major Nelson. That's the reason why devs opt to use the PS Blog when revealing their newest game.

Is the indie parity clause preventing all these titles from being released on XB1?

I don't know. Certainly it is a major factor for many. If MS were to tear down the parity clause tomorrow, there's no guarantee that it would allow for all these games to make XB1 announcements. What I do know is that, for a large majority, the parity clause is preventing future releases on XB1. Whether that applies to the list of titles above I can't say.

I like that Microsoft is curating indie releases, saving the best for XB1, unlike PS4.

They aren't doing that. There's no curation whatsover, and in fact, they'll accept any game you want to put on the store, same as Sony (as long as it's at a minimum acceptance quality, on par for both PS4 and XB1). The idea that MS is cherry picking games to release on XB1 is completely false.


If there's anything to take away from this thread, it's this: the parity clause has failed. Many games have been announced for 2015 on PS4 alone without a mention of XB1. There will be more to come. It's time for Phil Spencer to do what he has done so well this year and get rid of a policy that is strangling the XB1's game release list and help foster game announcements for XB1 in the future. I'm tweeting Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) this thread in the hopes that he'll give it a look. Who knows if he will, but I certainly hope he does.

I want to make XB1 games. Many indie devs want to make XB1 games. MS has given us the tools to do so. The ID@Xbox program is a great service with a bunch of terrific people running the show. But the indie parity clause is preventing many of us from focusing on the platform. Phil, we clearly want to make games for your platform. Why do you continue to prevent us from doing so?

EDIT: Update from the ID@Xbox twitter regarding this post:

Fuck yes chubigans, I'm so glad you made this topic. I made one earlier in the year and there was less visibility and some concern it wouldn't impact XBO as seriously as it is.

But there is now a massive, insane disparity in the amount of indie developers confirmed for the platform and indie games announced for it. There is no longer any doubt.

This is fucked up for everyone involved

+ Fucked up for Microsoft, who receives less revenue due to less games on platform
+ Fucked up for XBO gamers, who have less great games to choose from
+ Occasionally fucked up for PS4 gamers, on the rare time a dev does choose to delay a game for parity release.
+ Fucked up for indie developers especially, who are already some of the most vulnerable devs in the industry and have to make impossible choices due to the parity clause.

There is no other side of this argument, so it's sad to see Phil Spencer try to hold so tightly onto it while others defend him. It's a huge joke.
I'll be honest, I was shocked when I got my XB1 and looked at the list of games in the store. It pales in comparison to what's in the PS4 one. Though that isn't to say it doesn't have its share of great titles (like D4).

Microsoft needs to dump this ridiculous clause and get more indie devs on board from the start.


y'all should be ashamed
Fuck yes chubigans, I'm so glad you made this topic. I made one earlier in the year and there was less visibility and some concern it wouldn't impact XBO as seriously as it is.

But there is now a massive, insane disparity in the amount of indie developers confirmed for the platform and indie games announced for it.
This is pretty much my last final push in getting Phil Spencer to say something about it. I hope he does, I'd love to hear what he thinks at this point.

Again, I wasn't counting any ESRB related announcements as they're notoriously unreliable. Once a dev announces it, it's announced. Otherwise I have a lot of PS4/XB1 titles to add to the lists.

Ifigure most of those indies announced are coming to X1 after an unspecified date
You should probably read the OP. :p
It's always been ridiculous when people say the PS4 has no games.

The Xbox One having "better" games is opinion.

The PS4 having more games is fact.
The parity clause is so stupid. But.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I really don't care about well over half those games.

Almost all of them are gonna come to PC and I'm gonna ignore almost all of them. Might as well be iOS games (a lot are!). Just nowhere near my radar.

Just not my thing.
Thanks for the great OP!

This indie parity clause is not helping MS out at all and they should internally review their policies.

For the betterment of their console and for their fans, it should be revoked.

Time to move on MS.
Ifigure most of those indies announced are coming to X1 after an unspecified date
What's the unspecified date? Because unless they all get passes, none of them can come out due to the parity clause.

It is likely that many of them may get passes. But this raises another issue. If 'good', or 'desirable' games (by MS' measure) get a waiver for the parity clause because MS want them, that creates exactly the same non-level playing field that was being fought against. Self-publishing becomes a joke if MS can still cherry pick the games they want and effectively block others from the market.
Great write up! Really gives a detailed and inside look into the process and how the parity clause has been nothing but detrimental. They really need to get rid of it ASAP.
Nintendos done some great changes to especially, I remember when Wiiware was around you had to have an office, you only got paid after a certain sales threshold and you needed to work under a certain size limit, it was terrible.
Thanks for the great OP!

This indie parity clause is not helping MS out at all and they should internally review their policies.

For the betterment of their console and for their fans, it should be revoked.

Time to move on MS.
Forcing position only works well if your the market leader.

MS are not.
And that is just since September.

Not many of the current indies on the PS4 have been announced for the X1 and we are going into a year now.

The PS4 is basically a steambox at this time. I don't see many indies on the PC outside of keyboard/mouse games that are not on the PS4 or atleast announced. Most future indies seem to be hitting the PS4.

Of course, there are a TON of indies on steam that are a bit lower profile that won't ever hit or haven't been announced yet. But the current indie production on the PS4 on all levels is incredibly impressive.
The parity clause is so stupid. But.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I really don't care about well over half those games.

Almost all of them are gonna come to PC and I'm gonna ignore almost all of them. Might as well be iOS games (a lot are!). Just nowhere near my radar.

Just not my thing.
I buy indies for pennies on Steam sales. I could not care less if they ever show up, likely overpriced, on my Xbox.
The two of you are missing the point. Your personal tastes aren't in question.
Good read, chubigans. How this ridiculous clause is still there is beyond me. They are alienating tons of developers, possibly long-term.
Opening up the platforms for self-publishing and cool indie titles is great, but as someone who owns both a PC and an iPad, I have no interest in playing these games on my PS4. It's honestly quite disappointing that they get used so much to fill PlayStation Plus Freeplay spots.
PS4/Vita is the first world of indie games

XB1 is the third world of indie games

It's all because Microsoft insists on the idiotic parity clause. From most accounts they deal with indie studios just fine, it's just that they rarely deal with indie studios.
The clause is already archaic in the new marketplace. It made more (greedy) sense when an indie game wasn't announced every other day. Digital distribution is already becoming much more of a norm than when this clause was originally established.

These aren't random download games anymore that a small number of people take a look at or have access to.
Yeah, I think we can all agree the parity clause isn't doing MS any good. Considering the effect has essentially been that PS4 gets a console exclusive (even if timed), which is exactly what the clause is attempting to prevent, it's basically a failure. At this point, they'd probably have a larger lineup if they dropped it. If you really want some indie exclusives, partner up with some devs.
Opening up the platforms for self-publishing and cool indie titles is great, but as someone who owns both a PC and an iPad, I have no interest in playing these games on my PS4. It's honestly quite disappointing that they get used so much to fill PlayStation Plus Freeplay spots.
LOL. This guy thinks that by removing an indie game they're going to magically insert a AAA game instead.
Wow. Very interesting read. Thanks for that. The numbers scream that this policy is failing in its intent. MS does need to drop that parity clause. PEACE.
I'd love for this topic not to turn into a "I don't like indie games so I don't care" thread.
Didn't say that at all, I just don't generally value them as much as middle to high end game projects. They're not worth the asking price on PS4, and I only ever get them for the system when they're ps+.

Opening up the platforms for self-publishing and cool indie titles is great, but as someone who owns both a PC and an iPad, I have no interest in playing these games on my PS4. It's honestly quite disappointing that they get used so much to fill PlayStation Plus Freeplay spots.
Exactly. They've been a talking point crutch for the PS4, nothing more.
Do indie games every drive console sales? Sales wise, I personally don't think any of those games would be anything to push consoles off shelves.

Content wise, that's great! I'm excited to see all these games come out for PS4. 2015 is looking great!


y'all should be ashamed
Fantastic thread.

One point, Grave was announced for X1 back at E3. It was part of their ID@ blow out. You're also missing quite a games from your list.
Let me know and I'll add them to the list, so long as they fit the criteria and were not announced prior to Sept. 1st. (I'll add Grave as well)
By the way, obviously many indie devs will not go on the record because Microsoft is a huge corporation and they don't want to shit the bed on the chance Phil Spencer does the right thing finally.

That doesn't equate to it not being an issue. Because every indie dev who has commented about it on GAF said it's seriously awful.



Here's just FIVE from the PHIL SPENCER defends ID@Xbox Parity clause thread (edit: and two from this topic):

A few of my friends and I have come together to try our hand at developing games. We're all really excited and every time we move closer to finishing the game, it's like we're kids at Christmas. It's such an amazing feeling, but when you're so wrapped up in it, it's easy to forget the kind of bullshit that goes on in the "big leagues."

That's why we've all agreed that we want no part of it, regardless of whatever financial hit we take. If there are inane politics like this parity clause (unless you're big enough or important enough) involved in getting on a platform, fuck it. We don't exist to serve them.

We're all definitely a lot happier since we stopped worrying about this stupid parity thing and decided not to release on Xbox.
We are a couple of guys making things. This was the only thing holding us back from X1 development. It was considered straight out of the gate for us. We have been approved for one of the big 3 and are in the process of courting another. MS isn't on our list. We don't have that kind of manpower or funding to push several builds at once. As it is, we are spreading them as lightly as possible but it is rough.

Not that we are amazing or any of you should care about us but I hope MS changes their tune in the future. It would help us little guys out big time to get that extra bit of help and exposure. Right now its just a pipe dream.
BlastProcessing said:
I am actually half of a two man indie team. We work out of our apartments, not basements so you got us there. I will say that Microsoft's policy absolutely affects us negatively. We are in the prototyping stages for our next game and it sucks that we have to waste any of our bandwidth on platform decisions at this point.
LestradeTCQ said:
Thanks for the thread, Chubigans. I'm an indie dev as well as a fellow GM Studio user. I made Home for Steam/iOS/PS4/Vita (it was the very first GM Studio game on a PlayStation console, I was told). I announced with Sony my next game (Alone With You) as a PS4/Vita exclusive at PAX this year.

All that is to say I agree with what Chubigans is saying, from a developer point of view. Interesting note: to date, not a single Microsoft rep has ever reached out to me at events or online, and I've never seen one here in town (Toronto). To contrast that, reps from PlayStation have been coming to Toronto for years to sniff out talent and talk to small studios (I spoke to them two years ago about Home).

Now, I know some local devs who are launching first on Xbox One, and speak well of MS. I wouldn't doubt it; they were in that spot where they hadn't launched yet, hadn't announced anything, and could make those decisions.

But for someone mid-project, something like the parity clause (if enforced) is brutal. Home is now on multiple platforms (Steam - Windows and Mac, iOS and PS4 and Vita) and if I had to deal with even two of those very different platforms at launch I would have lost my mind. At least with PS4/Vita at launch, you're dealing with some similar situations; PS4 and XB1 would be really tough for me (I'm a one-man shop).

I love my Xbox One (seriously, it's great; I use it every day), and would certainly love to make games for it. But sometimes as a developer new to a platform, the best way to join the party is to port something you already know and learn your way around before you commit to something new. A parity clause makes that impossible for tiny studios like mine.

Sony won with the PlayStation (among other things) by being incredibly developer-friendly compared to Nintendo, and obviously it was the smart move. Every platform generation has had a similar story; make a good home for devs and everyone does business. I can't say nicer things about the folks I know now at Sony; hopefully MS will, as many have said here, cotton on to their friendlier tactic.
TrebuchetGames said:
One of the biggest issues which was mentioned in the first post, was that indies don't have massive budgets, they are trying to keep costs down and a staggered release can be the easiest method to get their game out and start getting cash in... they can get some good early PR and it helps them build momentum.

We are currently making a game, and there are so many platforms vying for attention. You have to decide which platforms you can release on from a technical point of view, such as the tools that you have available but also the staff you have to make the game and when you need to get the game out. With so many platforms, resolutions and control methods, indies don't necessarily have the time to do all this at the same time if they want to get a game out. Most indies are living with very small budgets or working full time, so it's a fine balancing act.

We want to release on VITA first (because we love the device and designed the UI initially based on it)...Once we have completed this version we would then know how to publish via Sony and we would then go straight onto a PS4 version before doing other platforms.

So because we are trying to be sensible in what we can make and in what order, the decision to release on XBO later has already been made for us by the clause, so we're not even considering it as a platform now...personally I think that is the wrong way to do things. In the end most indies are trying not champion a particular platform but just make great games on as many platforms and turn a profit so they can make bigger and better games.

Anyway it's all good fun. :)
FIVE indie devs up and coming, FIVE examples of the parity clause being harmful. + you chubigans makes SIX!



And almost every indie dev who has commented about it on the record has said it's bad.

“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

That’s the one thing that’s still there and a problem at the moment, because like you said before, a lot of indies simply don’t have the resources.

“You can’t just launch on all platforms at once, because no, we can’t. It’s hell getting a game to work on PC, it’s awful getting it to work on PC, Mac, PS4 and Vita. Adding another format on top of that is insane. With Nuclear Throne, we’re launching on PC first, then focusing on other computer, platforms, then focusing on PS4 and Vita. Then after that, Xbox One after we dodged the parity clause by being jerks [laughs]. That was funny by the way, I had so much fun doing that. When I figured out I could play around with the contract that way, I had a good time.”

Rashid K. Sayed: What are your thoughts on the Xbox One parity clause for indie games. One can think this will actually allow for better games on Xbox Live as the user won’t be simply overload with indie games good or bad. What is your take on this?

Well, as a small developer working to release our first game, it’s 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.

Curve's managing director Jason Perkins confirmed that...

"Unfortunately, all these titles here get ruled out by the parity clause,"

"We feel like it's unnecessary handcuffs really," … "but that's the way they've decided to run that."

"We're platform agnostic. We'll support everyone. What works for us is having many as healthy competitors as possible.

"They'll all try and promote the games they've got, and that's what we want. We want a healthy ecosystem, so we want everyone to do well."

Warsaw, Poland-based Crunching Koalas is now a registered ID@Xbox developer, but the company's Tomasz Tomaszewski isn't sure whether its current projects will ever appear on Xbox One. The reason? That day one release parity clause

As Gaynor explains, developing games for a multiplatform, simultaneous release can be a huge undertaking for a small (read: indie) developer. As problems inevitably arise, it’s easier to approach them with one specific platform in mind, rather than having to juggle several. He doesn’t outright say it, but Gaynor suggests that a staggered release is more beneficial to indie developers, as it gives them the ability to release quality products on every platform.

“If you’re talking to Sony and Microsoft, and Microsoft is like, ‘well you can’t be on Xbox if you’re on PlayStation first’, but it’s easier to be on PS4 because they have better terms, then you’ll be like, ‘okay lets just be on PlayStation.’”



And to the "it's just shitty games folks"

games by metascore NOT available on the other console (from back in October, there's more now):

score   PS4     Xbox
90+       3        2
80+      21        3

That's just for those games 80+ too.

See that gap? That's mostly all indies. That have not come to Xbox One. Partly because of the parity clause.

Who wants this again? Who? Any takers?
It's tough to say which announcements are simply not mentioning that it's also coming out to XB1 on the same day -- I suppose the ones announced as "console first" are safely in that category.

The exceptions aside, that clause is some hot bullshit. Stop it man.