Is Releasing Broken Games A Business Model?

It’s no secret that I was less than enamoured with the most recent Gears of War game. It’s fair to say that I was a bit underwhelmed with the title. However, to give the devil their due Gears has been patched and I actually enjoyed a couple of hours on it recently and it’s not the horror show I insisted it was (no I’m not using that in the style of Clockwork Orange.)

However, it seems that this game is not alone and indeed we covered recently a few games that came out less polished then we would like. But is this becoming more widespread? Is it just part of game dev policy now? Or is it the strategy for certain games? Let’s investigate.

No new thing

Almost as long as there have been video games there have been disappointing efforts. If you pick up a copy of the excellent Game Dev Story you will quickly see that game developers can, if they so choose, put out games that are buggy. Of course in the game, there are punishments for such actions but can the same be said for real life?

Notable cases

I know we are treading old ground but let’s talk for a second about when a game just outright fails. Sim City 5 was a classic example. It was a game fondly remembered by its hardcore player base. A game that seemed to improve with every new entry into the franchise and a game that hadn’t been seen in years. All that needed to be done was for them to take sim city 4. Fix the traffic algorithms and attach shiny new graphics and they would have had a hit. Sadly this is not what did happen.

The game had some novel Ideas but much in the way that Microsofts Xbox one was hampered by the idea of it needing to be always online, so was the case with sim city. Fortunately, Microsoft quickly atoned for this oversight. EA did not. It wasn’t just that either. Traffic was bugged. The maps were tiny. The servers were ropey and for many, the game was simply unplayable. The game was a disaster and now, sadly we may never see another one.

A 2K disaster

But that was EA. Most people hate them by default and as a result, have a lot of love for their rivals, 2k. 2k produces a lot of similar games to EA, basketball franchises, NFL games…and usually 2k does sports right. Except for this year, when it came to wrestling, they didn’t. To be fair to WWE 2k20 it did have upheaval midway through the development cycle. But what it has led to is one of the most disjointed wrestling titles we have seen in maybe half a decade.

The game has taken a huge step backwards. There are glitches, removed features, shoddy animations. The game is so bad that Sony is offering no-questions-asked refunds on the title. I mean sure, they may just patch it and it may end up being an acceptable product down the line. But when we pay, sometimes in excess of 70 quid on a game do we not deserve something that plays perfectly out of the box?

Image Source: Twitter

The future

This is becoming more commonplace. Another trick is for devs to include future Downloaded content embedded in the game. If its created, ethically shouldn’t they just put it in? Games shouldn’t be rushed for in our opinion. And if games are to be substandard then we shouldn’t have to pay full price while we wait for them to be fixed. Steam gets around this beautifully with their elegant system. Why can’t consoles follow suit, or better yet, why can’t devs just test games before releasing them?

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