Responding to the complaints of Xbox 360 Tales of Vesperia beta testers, a developer has laid bare the not so shocking truth of just how Namco was paid off by Microsoft to secure an “exclusive” release, but instead merely used the Xbox subsidy to reduce development costs on the PS3 version, which it expected to sell better.
However, Sony intervened and blackmailed them into adding massive amounts of new content if they wanted to be allowed to go ahead with the PS3 release at all…
He goes into considerable detail on his blog:
“First off, it was easier developing for the Xbox 360. This is to do with the games I was involved with, but basically if you sign an exclusive contract with Microsoft (you won’t release it on other hardware for a year or similar), they will give you a lot of cash for development.
Their support is also very fast and complete in these cases.
SCE don’t really give much cash out (any at all perhaps). Their support is confused and unreliable. When I was doing it at least, the 360 was easier to develop for, which lowers costs.
As a result, first you develop for the Xbox, reducing development costs. But the Xbox version won’t sell [in Japan], you can’t recoup even those lowered costs at all.
So they ported to the PS3, it’s cheaper as you already have the game done, but then Sony came back and told them ‘We won’t recognise it if it’s the same as the Xbox 360 version. Make sure you put in a lot of extra stuff!’
If we didn’t then they wouldn’t have let us pass their check…”
He claims that the developers all wished to produce the best possible game with this opportunity, and had no intention of deliberately putting out an incomplete game; they were instead keen to produce a version that “even Xbox 360 players could enjoy again.”
He also claims traces of later additions found in the Xbox code merely fell victim to pressures of scheduling…
He goes on to pour cold water on the notion of a DLC Xbox 360 version, saying that it could take another year to convert all the development resources back onto the Xbox, making it impossible in practical terms.
This news seems to suggest that Microsoft has been cunningly funding the development of PS3 games by allowing developers to develop cheaply on its platform, accompanied by a huge grant paid for each “exclusive” release, with the developers then cheaply porting onto the PS3, with additional features as required…