ID@Xbox: launch parity clause called out by Vlambeer

Thursday, 5th December 2013 13:06 GMT By Dave Cook

Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer has scrutinised Microsoft’s ID@Xbox policy. The studio has highlighted one clause in particular, which demands that any title releasing on Xbox One does so at the same time as other formats.

It follows the announcement of 32 developers signed up to ID@Xbox.

This is problematic for indie developers that often – due to team sizes or budget constraints – focus on one platform at a time. Speaking with Joystiq, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail explained that the clause can be broken if a developer has an exclusivity clause in place already. Upon learning of the ID@Xbox parity issue, Vlambeer sought a deal with Sony to loophole the simultaneous launch requirement

He said, “Microsoft was doing reach-out to certain developers back in the early days of ID@Xbox, and we discussed potentially bringing Nuclear Throne to Xbox One with them. There had been mentions beforehand that there was a launch parity clause in the contract, with the exception of games that were already signed to another platform during the announcement of their self-publishing program. Thus, before we signed with Microsoft, we e-mailed Sony that we quickly wanted to sign Nuclear Throne with them with a month of exclusivity.”

Ismail then suggested that the parity clause be removed from contracts. “Honestly,” he stressed, “we’ve had enough trouble with our promise for a simultaneous release for Luftrausers, so by getting rid of parity we’d be able to focus on one platform for Nuclear Throne first. We’d rather Microsoft allow us not only the freedom to self-publish, but also to publish in whatever order we prefer…. We’ll keep pushing for Microsoft to drop the clause, and we’d recommend any other developer to do the same.”

What do you make of the above? Should Microsoft ditch this policy? Let us know below.

Via CVG.



  1. pukem0n

    since Microsoft makes 180s all over the place, there is a pretty good chance this will go away

    #1 12 months ago
  2. ShakaCarnage

    In the interests of balance, I’d like to point out that Sony has the same clause.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. gamereck36

    Even if Sony does have this clause why does it seem some of the Indie developers are trying to use the loophole of getting out of their agreement to sign with Sony?

    #3 12 months ago
  4. jonnymelamet

    To me this sounds like Vlambeer decided to read the contract after signing it.

    Having realised that they have painted themselves into a corner regarding said contract, they are scrabbling for the public backing, as well as Sony’s to get them out of said predicament.

    The clause itself actually sound reasonable and is well utilised by both companies.

    In my opinion this is a case of a studio unable to fulfil its contract.

    This should also serve as a lesson for other indies to read contracts before they sign them.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. Dyno

    Seems entirely understandable that MS want this to be the case. Don’t see what the fuss is; if you can’t satisfy the terms of the contract don’t publish on that platform.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Zarckan

    A friend of mine spoke to them last week and this was still very much present in that conversation…

    #6 12 months ago
  7. Vlambeer

    Jonnymelamet, that doesn’t really make sense, does it now? We actually made a deal with Sony before signing with Microsoft. How do you think we signed it without reading?

    On another note, Sony does not have a similar clause at all.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @7 Thanks for clarifying guys, obviously this is the side of things we’re not able to see, so it’s useful to get this insight.

    Would you be keen on discussing the matter in an email Q&A?

    #8 12 months ago
  9. Vlambeer

    @8 Always feel free to e-mail us any time, Dave.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. Dave Cook

    @9 thank you :)

    #10 12 months ago
  11. MrWaffles

    Basically, they are certain indies won’t use their cloud, so there’s really nothing stopping anyone from buying on their other console….

    So this is Microsoft just accepting there’s so much overlap between Xbone and PS4 that the only thing for them to do is to force devs into these release parity contracts.

    “hey guys, remember all that talk about ‘value’? Well, it was BS, move along”

    This is just sad to watch…

    #11 12 months ago
  12. jonnymelamet

    Hi Vlambeer,

    Thank you for clarifying regarding Sonys contract, which I will concede as being wrong.

    However, as stated in an earlier article on this website, you have already signed onto the ID program.

    If this article is accurate, you signed a contract stating that you would release your game on both consoles at once.

    Therefore, assuming that the contract has been signed, you are liable for not fulfilling this clause.

    Assuming that all of this information is correct, your statement above appears as if you are appealing to the internet community in hopes that it will sway Microsoft to change their policy, as they have done before.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. ShakaCarnage

    Just to pop my head back in – Sony lead the way in clauses, asking for a percentage of new content for PS Vita and before that, PSP, if a game had been out on any other system prior.

    For PS4, I know each platform holder is pushing for their own exclusives if titles have been or are due to launch the same time on other systems. I don’t have access to the content, but do deal with them on exclusive and non-exclusive titles.

    @7 every developer is different, as far as Sony is concerned, which is a great thing for small to mid-sized teams that don’t have the time to jump through hoops. Perhaps Microsoft will learn from this, which is all you can ask.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. Henry

    So, instead of quickly signing with Sony to loophole the release parity requirement, why not release on X1 first? Problem (could have been easily) solved!

    But no, you choose to release on PS4 first, and then blame MS for hindering you to do so?

    How about blaming Sony for not giving you same clauses/conditions/contracts/whatever-you-got-from-them without a 1-month exclusivity?

    #14 12 months ago
  15. bradk825

    So this would only apply if you’re enrolled in the ID@Xbox program right? If that’s the case it doesn’t sound unreasonable of them to ask, but I see how the complications can arise for smaller studios. I guess the idea is if you’re going to enroll in ID@xbox and launch one platform at a time, any timed-exclusive deals would need to be done with MS.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. Gigabomber

    Certainly a massive corporation like Sony has nothing in common with a massive corporation like Microsoft.

    #16 12 months ago

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