2014 Takeaway: Just Give Me Games That Work
I understand the benefit of being able to fix, adjust and add onto games after they're released.
Anybody who says there's no benefit to this is voluntarily blind. Imagine all the broken games from yesteryear that had great concepts but shipped with a lot of problems. How many times did we say, during the often-times comical 8-bit and 16-bit days, "awesome idea; they just need to fix it"?
Yes, the benefits are obvious. However, the dangers should also be obvious. The more developers understand that they can continue to manipulate - and let's face it, continue the development process - after the game is on store shelves, the more it's going to happen. Sure, there's always some backlash but it never seems to be a serious enough backlash. In other words, I'm not sure there are many instances where an initially unimpressive game (that needed multiple patches) caused the publisher to lose a lot of money in the long run. Essentially, we're telling developers with every passing day that it's okay to release an unrefined product.
But maybe they're learning. If there's one takeaway from 2014, it's that I'm tired of games that needed a bit more polish before they ever released. We're all tired. A new generation of hardware is bound to cause some problems, but maybe not to this scale. We've had new hardware before; I don't recall seeing such continuous, repeated disappointments on the stability side of things. Too many games simply haven't run the way they were supposed to. If this keeps up, consumers might finally hold off on buying games day one, because there's no guarantee the game is even finished. That's when developers and publishers will start to feel the sting.
While it's great that they can fix a few issues after the game comes out, can we please attempt to produce more finished titles? That's all I ask.
12/19/2014 Ben Dutka