Microsoft has stopped charging Xbox 360 game publishers to update their games.
One of the reasons that Xbox 360 publishers have always hesitated to come up with updates to their games is that Microsoft always charged a few thousand dollars for everything they had to add after the initial disc was finalized. Thanks to a recent change, however, the charge has nearly vanished, and this could mean good news for Xbox 360 gamers.
Without the need to pay to update their games, publishers can now update the games and pass the savings on to the gamers if they wish. Of course, with the flagging economy and the constant changes in staff throughout the gaming industry, we probably won't be seeing too many free DLC updates any time soon. On the other hand, indie developers will be much more apt to make games for the console, as updates won't break the bank as hard.
The developer for Fez is hopeful about this change and is said to be looking into whether or not Microsoft's new policy change is retroactive. Beforehand, Microsoft granted only the first update free of charge, and, after that, each update would cost the publisher tens of thousands of dollars apiece. This might explain why a lot of Xbox 360 games had enough DLC over time to ensure you paid almost twice as much to get all of the content for it.
However, if a submission for an update appears to be done too often, Microsoft reserves the right to charge for each submission. Basically, if they don't get it right the first time, they need to be sure it's right soon after. It keeps the publishers responsible enough to not abuse the system just because Microsoft is getting lenient. They can't release an unfinished game and then just release the rest of it in several parts.
What do you think of Microsoft no longer charging publishers to update their games? Could this mean future DLC will be cheaper?