I have not played Fez myself, but the game released to considerable acclaim on the Xbox Live network. Then they updated it with a new patch that was quickly rumored to have a serious bug in it - one that could corrupt your game saves. Accordingly, that patch was pulled down and the team at Polytron began to investigate the issue.
I found the article on IGN interesting this morning, because Polytron is now placing that old, "broken" patch back on Xbox Live and will not be reissuing any other patches by the sound of things. Why? Apparently the developers have to pay a good deal of money every time they put a patch up like this, and this is the case for both Microsoft and Sony. I had not heard that before, but then I began to read up on it, with some sites and forum posts stating that patches can cost as much as 40k to make live.
Steam however, does not do this. The developer speaking on Polytron's behalf states that for a smaller house such as themselves, it makes no fiscal sense to push patches on Xbox live, and states that by comparison had they released on Steam instead, the game would have been fixed two weeks after release at no cost to them.
Of course, Polytron has to take some of the blame. They state that this patch fixes almost all of the launch problems with Fez, and the save-corrupting bug will occur for less than one percent of their users - generally those who have preexisting games and are near the end. Still, their QA let this bug through in the first place, so the entire problem cannot be put at Microsoft's feet, but I did find it quite interesting to see how the patch was handled. The parting quote in the article was particularly pointed I thought:
"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. 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."
Unfortunately it is the gamers who stand to lose the most due to this model, as they are not getting the ideal gaming experience because the developers have to weigh the cost of fixing a problem against consumer goodwill. What are your thoughts? Were you aware of this issue for patch updates? Sound off.
"Broken" Fez patch to be placed back on Xbox Live
Thursday, July 19, 2012 Bug , DLC , Fez , Fix , Microsoft Xbox 360 , Patch , Polytron , Sony PlayStation Network , Steam , Update , Xbox Live