Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How Patches Are Ruining Games

Remember that game you've been anticipating for years? Maybe since the one that came before it was released? Remember how good it was to follow every story about it, to collect every scrap of information? Remember how excited you were when you queued at midnight to buy it, or went out and bought it the next day or had it fall through your letterbox? Then remember how you put it in your PlayStation 3/ Wii/Xbox 360 started playing it and realised it wasn't finished because it was full of bugs and glitches? Fun isn't it? I remember when Skyrim came out and it was a buggy mess and I remember having to wait for a patch and then, when I thought it was finally over, it wasn't and the bugs kept coming and then Dawnguard, it's first piece of DLC might not even make it to the PS3 because, you guessed it, it might well just end up being a bug laden mess.

Wouldn't it be nice if, just once, publishers waited until a developer finished a game before they released it? Now I understand that there is a lot of complex business stuff going on behind the scenes and that schedules, deadlines and budgets must be met but surely in the long run the game could be more successful if it was released as a completed package? This would mean more sales and more money because I bet there are a lot of people who haven't bought a game like Skyrim because they don't like bugs and with the DLC not necessarily launching on the PS3 the market for DLC sales is severely hindered.

I might be in a minority here but I actually don't mind too much when a game is delayed because it should mean that when it launches it isn't broken or isn't missing some awesome ideas that the developers didn't have time to introduce, if I had the choice between having a broken game in September or having a fully functional game in November (Far Cry 3 is my example here) then I'd choose the extra wait for a fixed game every single time because I hate my initial excitement being ruined by a broken game and the long wait for a patch that a) might not be coming and b) might not even fix the game.

Of course it isn't always that bad, sometimes a patch might get released quite quickly and add the missing content or fix the broken parts but even so this isn't perfect, I just want to buy a game and enjoy it, there shouldn't be a wait for the game followed by a wait for a fix, it should just be wait for the game, buy the game, play the game, enjoy the game but in too many cases it isn't this simple. The worst part is it seems to be becoming increasingly common because developers and publishers have realised that they can get away with it and why shouldn't they make it more common if people are willing to lie there and take it?

So please, for the love of my excitement for a game landing on my door mat, don't sell me a broken game, sell me a fixed game, even if I do have to wait an extra three months.

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