View Full Version : can 1st parties FORCE 3rd parties?

13-12-13, 06:56
This is a legal / contractual question.
If Microsoft decided they wanted to increase XBox One sales by killing 360 support, could they tell third parties to no longer make 360 versions of their games?

Historically the answer would be no, I mean that's how Activision started afterall by being allowed legally to make Atari 2600 games without Atari's permission, but in the present day where games like Titanfall can be released only for one manufacturer's consoles, I'm just curious if Microsoft could give, let's say Ubisoft a pile of money to say "only make Assassin's Creed 6 for XBox One, no 360 version".

Regardless of how sensible such a notion would be (personally I think Ubisoft would be nuts to accept such a suicidal contract), is there a legal precedent for Microsoft to do that?

I'm not bad-mouthing the XBox One here, I just think in an industry that still creates season passes and paid premiums even on the newest generation is an industry that probably can't support a third part developer reducing their potential sales numbers by only making new-gen games if the manufacturer forces them to.

13-12-13, 11:55
Yes 100%, that's why the O.G. Xbox was dead overnight, as they stopped allowing games for the system, and made retailers remove stock from their shops, and would hold 360 stock at ransom unless they did.

They don't even have to give a publisher a load of cash to "not make a X360 version" as Microsoft controls the entire manufacturing, and a game has to be
A: approved as something that Microsoft wants on their system (a lot easier than it is with Sony)
B: Certified by Microsoft that it doesn't have too many bugs in it
C: Microsoft then adds their proprietary protection code and encryption onto the disc image, and makes a special disc that the publisher is then responsible for ensuring that it still functions as they had intended
D: A "print run" is then ordered e.g. 10,000 units, 1,000,000 units and paid for and Microsoft presses the discs, prints the manuals and ships them back to the publisher

So these days it is a process that is wholly controlled by Microsoft, so if they wished to stop games, they hold all the cards.

Pretty much the Dreamcast was the last system that allowed(ish) an unmodified system to run discs that could be manufactured outside of the hardware manufacturers control, which is why there has continued to be a homebrew retail market for that continuing, but with the modifications required to most disc based consoles to make them run homebrew it is not worth anyone trying to make any money by creating their own unlicensed software.

It was a lot easier with cartridges as you were essentially interfacing a rom chip directly to the CPU data bus, and especially with off the shelf, documented chips such as the 6502, z80, m68000 could then ensure that you could create the 'entry point' for the program buy sending the required start up instructions to the correct address on the memory/cpu/system bus

13-12-13, 12:02
That's a great answer Random Dave.

16-12-13, 10:55
thanks, i wasn't sure i hadn't got a bit ranty or rambly, so hopefully it makes sense

17-12-13, 04:52
Of course they could - especially as all games need to go through Microsoft and Sony certification. I have had games I worked on turned down multiple times, it wouldn't be much of a step to just say 'sorry... no more'. It wouldn't be prudent, but it would be possible.

17-12-13, 06:52
Not to mention "allegedly" clauses put out by some of the manufacturers that say "we only allow your games if they have feature parity, or better features on our platform vs. our competitors"

and there may or may not be similar situations where there may or may not be an attempt to enforce that "You cannot simply produce a new-gen version of a title that is the same as the last-gen version aside from higher rendering resolution. Titles should be made primarily for the new generation and then features removed for the last-gen version"

*or maybe I've umm, made that all up.... ;)

18-12-13, 12:57
You did. I definitely never heard that. Its all good :)