Microsoft may have been quick to react to the negative feedback pointed at most aspects of the Xbox One, but it’s refusing to budge on the launch parity clause that underlines its hastily implemented indie initiative. For those out of the loop, the manufacturer will not allow titles to appear on its system if they’ve already arrived on a PlayStation platform in the past, essentially bullying smaller developers into releasing their software on the Xbox Live marketplace first.
The solution for studios is to release their titles on the Xbox One and, say, PlayStation 4 at the same time, but many indie outfits don’t have the bandwidth to do this. Due to the platform holder being late to the self-publishing party, it has provided companies that have already signed deals with Sony a get-out plan, but it’s unclear whether this will remain a viable option in the future. Crunching Koalas, the Polish firm behind upcoming Lemmings-esque puzzler Mousecraft, doesn’t even know yet whether its game can release on Microsoft’s machine. “We just don't know anything yet,” a befuddled Tomasz Tomaszewski told Official Xbox Magazine.
The problem for the team is that it plans to release a PlayStation Vita version of the rodent focused adventure in May, with a PlayStation 4 port set to follow later in the year. But why does any of this matter to fans of Sony’s systems? Quite simply because if developers want to release titles on multiple platforms but don’t have the resources to create two or more versions at the same time, there's a chance that you may end up having to wait to play them on a PlayStation platform.
We could swallow the delay if the developer really believed in the Xbox One release, but the way that Microsoft has structured this policy means that studios looking to repay the good faith that Sony has shown in the indie arena may actually end up being punished by the Redmond-based firm down the line. And while the Japanese giant could quite easily counter with a similar clause of its own, the only people that would lose in that situation are the small developers looking to find a home for their games.