Even after diving into details of the Xbox One at E3, Microsoft has remained committed to the Xbox 360 with new games and a new console. It's obvious that Microsoft still sees value in the eight year old console and will continue to support it even after the launch of the One this holiday season. To continue their committment, the Xbox team also announced that they have stopped putting the $10,000 price tag on developers to update their 360 titles. The only problem is they forgot to tell, well, anyone.
In a story that further makes everyone scratch their head at the lack of explanation coming out of Microsoft lately, apparently they stopped charging fees to update games back in April, however nobody seemed to know about it except for those pushing updates since then. Many third-party developers had no idea that the five-figure charge was done away with, leaving many gamers and developers going through the same motions as they have in the past. A prime example is the developing studio of Fez, Polytron, who did not fix an issue last year that corrupted a small number of gamers' save files because the percentage didn't justify the cost. Had we fast-forwarded a year, the game would've been fixed immediately and everyone would've been happy.
The official statement from Microsoft explains it a step further.
Microsoft eliminated fees for Title Updates on Xbox 360 Arcade games in April 2013. We're constantly evaluating our policies and implementing feedback.
While our development policies are confidential, and will remain so, we're pleased to say that this is just one of many ongoing changes and improvements we've made to ensure Xbox is the best place possible for developers and gamers.
Of course, this is just for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One may or may not follow suit. If Microsoft really is trying to align themselves to compete against Steam (well, you know, before the whole policy reversal thing), then eliminating or cutting the cost on patch fees would be a great start. As it stands, however, that would seem less likely now that gamers complained about not being able to buy and play used games on a console for next-gen. I definitely do understand the need to include a patch fee for studios, as companies like EA have been known to rush products to market without fixing all of the issues first, so at least they have to pay each time they wish to push an update. Oh, and for those curious, Sony also had an update fee, but has since eliminated it when Microsoft did back in April.