The [email protected] parity clause says that if a developer wants to release their game on Xbox One via the [email protected] program, the Xbox One version has to be released at the same time as the other platforms (more specifically, the PS4). This has caused some heartburn among indie developers who, in an effort to stagger the workload and use of limited resources, will often release on one platform at a time. Xbox boss Phil Spencer commented on the clause recently during an episode of the TiC Podcast.
Taken from Xboxmad.net:
“…I’ll be honest, the thing I worry about is I look at all the people who buy an Xbox, who invest their time and their money in Xbox One, and as millions of people own Xbox One I want people to feel like they’re first class, because they are.”
The parity clause is not always set in stone, according to Spencer, as there have been cases where the clause was waived if the developer made a case.
“That said, I have a lot of friends who run small indie studios, and I get that time lines around done, or 3 games, 4 games depending on how many platforms they’re supporting. So I always just say let’s have a conversation and it’s worked. I think we’ve done a good job working with the indies that had strict parity concerns.”
The [email protected] program is considered much more developer friendly than Microsoft’s previous program, but the parity clause remains a controvertial element of it.