The Xbox One Certification/Patching Process is Too Slow

An anecdotal experience based on zero inside knowledge

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I’ve been playing a fair amount of Dynasty Warriors 9 and Titan Quest lately, and I’ve noticed something across both games:

The PS4 versions are getting patches first, often about a week before the Xbox versions.

What’s going on here?

In the case of Dynasty Warriors, I speculated that it was because the PS4 and PC versions were more important to Koei.

But then, one of the developers working on the console versions of Titan Quest shed some light in a reddit post: basically, Microsoft’s certification process takes longer.

WHAT IS CERTIFICATION?

Console manufacturers have some oversight into every game that comes out on their systems. They don’t just blow open the doors and let you release whatever you want. Every game has to go through a process known as certification that, in theory, helps games to come out with fewer bugs and other issues for the customer.

In theory.

Most of the checks in certification are focused on basic usability standards. Does the game use your online profile correctly? Do saves work? Does a second controller function? Is the video output working? Stuff like that.

Not only do all new games have to go through this process, patches have to go through this as well.

Every time a game developer prepares a patch for a console game, it goes through the cert team at the manufacturer just like the full game had to.

SONY IS AS FAST AS STEAM

Sony seems to have their system down. Outside of these examples I’ve mentioned above, I’ve noticed several other cases where PS4 and PC players receive a patch on the same day.

Steam doesn’t make developers wait to push out patches, usually, so Sony must have a fast and streamlined patch approval process.

Sony also provides patch notes right through the UI of the PS4 so you can see what’s changed. That’s really neat!

Microsoft apparently takes about a week to sort through patches in cert…and doesn’t have any kind of native patch notes feature inside the Xbox interface .

I can therefore conclude, totally at random and with no real actual knowledge, that any time a patch does release simultaneously on all three major home platforms…it’s because the developer/publisher has held back the PS4 and PC patches for a week so that the Xbox team can get through all their checks.

This is no good.

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“A businesswoman sitting at a table with a laptop and a glass of water” by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

MICROSOFT NEEDS EVERY ADVANTAGE TO STAY COMPETITIVE

I’m not really a console fanboy any more. The more successful platforms there are, the more healthy the overall game ecosystem is.

But this seems like such a simple thing. And Microsoft, as one of the world’s largest and longest-running software companies, should be doing better.

It’s not like this extra week of waiting leads to the patches being improved, either. Updates for Dynasty Warriors 9 on Xbox One have contained the exact same fixes as their PS4 and PC counterparts…they’re just coming out a week later.

Microsoft should be trying to remove reasons for people to buy the competing console platforms. The Xbox One X was a great move in that direction. As were Windows Sonic and the Play Anywhere program.

But making people wait a week to get the same patches their friends have been enjoying? I don’t love it.

Written by

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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