Patch notes: The awful state of industry

shigeru-miyamoto flex
“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”

These days, with the advent of the always connected console, Shigeru Miyamoto’s quote may not ring quite as true; but for my money, I certainly wish it still was.

Just this last month I have been burned by numerous titles, that had they been released only a decade ago, would have been deemed broken and unplayable. Mind you, these aren’t just your run of the mill shovelware or children’s titles put out to make a quick buck. I’m talking big budget AAA games made by some of the biggest developers in the industry. Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Halo. All household names. All garbage, broken, games.

Now I certainly don’t mean that any of these games are terrible releases. They are certainly good games in their own right. Unfortunately for consumers, each one of these games are simply broken out of the box.

I’m certainly not the only person experiencing these issues. Take internet personality Christian Spicer for example:

I experienced a similar issue with the game on Xbox One and had hours of progress that simply vanished. Gone.

Halo: Master Chief Collection has a similar story. While all the single player content for the title works properly, if on day one you wanted to jump into a good old fashioned online match, it simply wasn’t possible for most people. Myself included.

Don’t even get me started on Assassin’s Creed Unity. Ubisoft released a game so buggy that they had to create a live blog just to let people know that they were aware of the issues and are working to find a solution. For a game they charged $60 for.

My point in all this? Too many developers rely on patches to fix their games post launch. There are many cases in which patching is perfectly acceptable such as adjusting balance in a fighting game, but more and more too many developers are using it as crutch.

Developers aren’t entirely to blame here. Most of the onus can probably be placed on publishers whom force developers to rush games out the door to make a deadline. It doesn’t have to be that way, and would you look at that, we’ve come full circle back to Nintendo.

Not that Nintendo doesn’t have their faults. Just last generation I can think of two instances in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid: Other M in which there where game breaking bugs. On the whole however, they have an excellent track record that can only come from a company that takes as much pride in their products as Nintendo does. It’s their mantra.

I sure wish it was for more companies in the industry.

7 Responses to Patch notes: The awful state of industry

  1. Colin Crompton says:

    I agree completely, Eugene. The heavy reliance on patches is killing the credibility of the video games industry.

    Patches are good to fix a few bugs, but releasing a half finished game that somehow made it past quality assurance testing to consumers only to patch it a few weeks later so that it actually works and charging full price for the privilege is unacceptable.

    Nintendo is one of the few companies you can rely on for a thoroughly tested product (even then a few problems arise like the ones you pointed out) and I hope they retain that reputation.

    Great article, Eugene

  2. MikeIsaPoet says:

    There’s SERIOUS irony in the title of this article, because Nintendo REFUSES to do detailed patch notes. Not for any Smash update, not for the Pokemon Bank update, nothing. We’re left to guess what changes.

  3. Eugene Allen says:

    @MikeIsaPoet
    While I agree with your sentiment, this is a different issue entirely. With both Smash Bros. and Pokémon, the games work regardless of the patch. Nintendo should be more transparent with their patch releases though, I agree.

  4. ENygma says:

    Wasn’t the problem with Skyward Sword, not Twilight Princess? Or was there a TP bug that I’ve forgotten about?

  5. Markus Lai says:

    Definitely share the same sentiment. Dropping $60-70 on a game that’s not quite finished is not what I like doing. It’s partially why I like buying the bulk of my games a few months to more than a year down the road; the patches are already out and the inevitable price drop to <$30.

  6. essel pratt says:

    Wait…A Wild Eugene Appears!

Leave a Reply