Gamers plagued by broken product

Game industry rocks trust between costumers over rushed games

Gamers plagued by broken product
Possibly the most famous glitch ever, the Missingno glitch from the original pokemon games.

The air is getting colder, snow has started to fall, and the carols are already playing, yes, it’s that time of the year again, a time of holiday and cheer.  But for the avid gamer the end of the year marks the date that all the biggest games are released. With several companies already getting their games out in time for the Black Friday rush, there are bound to be a few rushed titles, an accepted fact for most gamers, but this year the largest and most popular games in the world have all suffered major problems with rushed and haphazard work. Titles like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Halo: Master Chief addition, and the new DLC for World Of WarCraft have all been rushed to launch and show it, much to the chagrin of gamers worldwide.

This is a more recent trend in the games industry, because back in the days before every console had an internet connection any professional would only sell completed and tested games. Those who sold incomplete games didn’t sell many and severely damaged the relationship with the consumer that the video game industry relies on. This was a given fact for the industry following the fall of the console gaming industry in the early 80’s due to the release of the completely broken and hated video game tie-in to the popular E.T. movie that was released on the Atari 2600.

From that point onward game companies who wanted to keep their doors open only released games that were heavily tested and re-worked to remove any bugs and issues, but recently with the xbox 360 and ps3 having internet capabilities many games were sent out with severe issues with the developers later patching any bugs or glitches with a patch.

This let games be released on a pre-set date instead of when they would be completely finished, allowing the company to make a mountain of cash and have no responsibility to fix any of the issues that could plague the product. This system has been avoided by some of the larger names in the industry to keep the support of their long-standing customers like Nintendo, Rocksteady, and Valve. But, unfortunately, if there is an easy way to make cash then there will be companies to take full advantage of the audience, companies like Ubisoft, Microsoft, and more notably (and more often) EA have all had terribly “broken” games sold that serve as nothing more than a slap in the face to fans of the games.

Recently Ubisoft came under fire for the multiple glitches and bugs in the heavily anticipated Assassin’s Creed: Unity upon its launch. With games breaking, the ground becomes nothing more than a picture as the player falls to oblivion.  And the now infamous face-melting glitch that causes players’ and characters’ faces to fall off, leaving only the eyes and teeth floating where King Louis XVI should be.

ac glitch
A screenshot from Assassin’s Creed: Unity of the famous face-melting glitch.

The reaction to this broken game was also fumbled gloriously by Ubisoft, with the developer telling it’s fans to uninstall and reinstall the game to help the game play with less bugs, but somehow that has gone awry as I myself have received a re-downloaded copy of the game without ever buying it, leaving someone in the world very very mad.

Halo, the pinnacle of consistently entertaining and fun first-person-shooters has also fallen into bad habits, releasing the new Master Chief edition of the first four games to the Xbox one with a broken online multiplayer function, a surprising lack of forethought from a company that made a name for itself with the online multiplayer of the original Halo games.

In conclusion I want to share a story about Donkey Kong Country 64 that was released for the Nintendo 64 by Rare in 1999. After Rare had finished with the game they discovered a game-breaking bug in the game’s system that was only solvable by owning an expansion pack, which was not common for the systems owners. But instead of releasing a broken game and risk fans being angry Rare gave a free expansion pack with every copy of the game. This fixed the problem and the bug was avoided, but the unexpected expense of the expansion packs ended up costing the company money.

This is an example that game developers should look to emulate going into the future, because as we sit today there are two types of companies making games today, those that make games for money and those who make them because they love the art form. Because games can be art and are important,  companies will treat them like this than there will be a stigma that surrounding games that will drive people away. As consumers we must be smart and companies have to put in the work so that this kind of thing never happens again.