Open Letter to People Who Make Games

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ezeroast:
Had no problems with Fallout:NV
Although I did get it 3 days after the USA and there was a patch, shock horror!!

Same here. I bought the game, applied the patch, and have been having a hell of a good time since. It's sad that people feel such a strong need to scream bloody murder over such trivial issues. It's especially sad when people gripe about "buggy" games that they haven't even played firsthand.

Just wanted to say, "Great job Obsidian! I'm having an awesome time playing your newest title."

And in the end, that's all that really matters.

Three cheers and a tiger for you, Mr. Pitts. I sense we have much in common regarding videogames when I read your letter. This is a grave problem affecting the videogame scene, and it warms my heart to see someone high-profile make a stand for so noble a reason; the love of our games.

Keep fighting the good fight, sir.

Go well.

I could not have said it better myself(guess that's why I'm not an editor of a gaming website). Fallout New Vegas, man what a disapointment.

Oh and The Force Unleashed 2, 4 hours for a campaign, with endings that are kinda fucked up? Fuck off...

Thank the Maker for Bioware :D

GoodApprentice:

ezeroast:
Had no problems with Fallout:NV
Although I did get it 3 days after the USA and there was a patch, shock horror!!

Same here. I bought the game, applied the patch, and have been having a hell of a good time since. It's sad that people feel such a strong need to scream bloody murder over such trivial issues. It's especially sad when people gripe about "buggy" games that they haven't even played firsthand.

Just wanted to say, "Great job Obsidian! I'm having an awesome time playing your newest title."

And in the end, that's all that really matters.

Ah yes the patch, you mean the one that doesn't fix the 30 to 60 second loading time(even with the game installed), or the random game freezes when too much shit is going on(like the final mission)?

magicmonkeybars:
I call bullshit Mr. Pitts.
If you're looking for someone to blame look no further than yourself.
(snipped the rest because my post was already far, far too long).

Strangely, It would appear that you at least grasp the relationship when you say ". . . everyone is interdependant[sic] on each other consumers on reviewers, reviewers on advertizing[sic] that publishers use to sell games to consumers". In spite of this apparent understanding of the basic relationship between the key parties involved (that is the consumer, the developer, the publisher and the reviewer), you choose to lay the blame entirely on the shoulders of one party: the reviewer.

Though there are certainly other parties in play, I will, for the purposes of this argument, agree that the key players in the game production and purchase relationship are the publisher, the developer, the reviewer and the consumer. In such a relationship, if examined in general, we find that the publisher often assumes an enormous financial risk when they agree to publish a game. The developer often assumes a personal risk when they start a project. Their livelihood is, after all, often hinged on the success or failure of the game. The consumer assumes a (significantly) smaller financial risk when they choose to purchase a game as such a purchase is, very generally, not refundable no matter what the condition of the product. The reviewer assumes a professional (and potentially personal) risk when they voice an opinion about a product. If the opinion is seen as unfair, they might lose future access to the publisher or developer. If the opinion is seen as little more than a pack of lies, they stand to lose the trust of the consumer.

As we can see, each party has something at stake in this exchange, be it personal, financial or professional. If each party has a stake, one might argue that the results of such a relationship ought to be generally satisfactory for all parties. Of course, such an argument is easily proven wrong and we need to do little more than trot out any of the more famous failures to demonstrate such a thing. Since we can demonstrate that this relationship regularly results in at least one of the parties being supremely unhappy about the outcome, it stands to reason that somewhere along the way something went wrong.

Perhaps a closer examination of the relationship between the parties is in order. The publisher, the entity that very generally has the largest financial stake in a project, wants to make money. Unfortunately, lacking the mystical ability to divine the future, they must instead make their decisions based on a personal calculation of risk. To put it another way, the publisher must weigh the known cost of a project against the theoretical revenue it could bring. If a particular kind of thing has sold well in the past, producing a similar product carries little risk. If a particular kind of thing has sold poorly in the past, funding a similar kind of thing carries enormous risk. If a particular kind of thing has never been made it carries exceptional risk as you have absolutely nothing to gauge the potential revenue upon. Reality generally demonstrates the truth of this concept. The Wii has sold incredibly well and thus Sony and Microsoft are producing new motion controllers of their own. Madden consistently sells millions of copies and thus we get a new copy each year. Guitar Hero was a smash hit and thus we get a new Guitar Hero every few months it seems. Publisher behavior, it would seem, is directly influenced by the consumer.

The consumer is the party who, very generally, assumes the least amount of risk. Most are sensible enough that they will not purchase a game if such a purchase would obviously lead to financial hardship. Because of this relatively small amount of risk, we can divide consumers into two categories: those that make an informed purchase decision and those who do not. Since those who do not make an informed purchase decision represent little more than a random force in the market, it is safe to say that we can focus entirely on the consumer who makes a fiscally reasonable purchase based upon some quantity of information. There are, of course, numerous sources of information. They can solicit the opinions of others for example. This could include asking a friend, having a friend volunteer the information freely, or seeking the opinion of a professional. They can rely on their preconcieved notion, a product of past experiences with similar products, products by the same developer or publisher, or even an advertising campaign. They could rely on some sort of objective source such as units sold. The informed and reasonable consumer has plenty of sources for information.

In my opinion, it is the users personal experience more than anything that leads to a purchase decision. If a consumer has had a positive experience with a franchise, it is reasonable to assume they are likely to buy a new iteration of the franchise. If a developer regularly produces games a consumer enjoys, they are likely to purchase some new idea produced by the developer. The opinions of others can, of course, influence the consumer. If a trusted source gives a damning review regarding a game the consumer was interested in, they are certainly less likely to purchase the game. Likewise, if a trusted source gives a favorable opinion regarding a game the consumer was unsure of, they are more likely to purchase it.

So, what part does the developer play in all of this? Truth be told, their part is simply to produce a product that a consumer is going to be satisfied with. No more, no less. If they play their part well, they are all but assured a measure of success. If they do poorly, they will quickly crumble.

That leaves only the journalist. The journalist, if one wants to be an idealist about it, serves but one simple function: to seek the truth and then report it. "But WAIT!" comes the cry from the audience. "Game journalists review games by giving an opinion! What truth can be found in such a subjective endeavor"? Even in this case the duty of the journalist is clear enough: they must report their opinion in its entirety, without omission or alteration for any purpose. Simply put, the Game Journalist upholds the basic duty of the journalist simply by being, themselves, honest and forthright in their opinions. Certainly there are those that violate this, and such scoundrels are entirely unworthy of their station or title. Perhaps it is these villains who are responsible for the breakdown in the aforementioned relationship? One could certainly make that claim, but then they would forget that the consumer, if they wish to be informed, has a duty themselves to make a reasonable effort to ensure the information upon which they make a decision is accurate. If a journalist is honest in their opinion, if they are forthright about their various biases and influences, they would indeed be worthy of the title.

Such honesty has always come with a price tag attached. Journalists are people who seek to know the truth and then report it, but more than that Journalists are people capable of finding the truth in the first place. This fact and nothing more is what stand between the eager amateur and the professional. By speaking the truth, the game journalist risks the very access they need to be relevant and timely. By resorting to lies, the journalist undermines the credibility that draws people in to listen. The journalist therefore has always served two competing masters, both of whom have the capacity to destroy them: the public (in this case the consumer) and their source (in this case, the developer and publisher). Does this somehow excuse the journalist if they choose to spread lies? Certainly not. But it remains the duty of the audience to recognize when they have been misled in the past and to seek out a better source themselves.

Thus the relationship becomes even more simple. The publisher seeks to make money and will therefore seek to mitigate risk. The developer seeks to remain employed and thus attempts to make the best product they can. The consumer wants to exchange their money for enjoyment at a fair ratio. The journalist tells the truth as best they can so that the consumer has accurate information when it comes time to make the exchange. In a perfect world, this system would always yield a perfect result. The developer would pitch a product the consumer wants, the publisher would fund the product the consumer wants, the journalist would report on a product the consumer wants and the consumer gets precisely what they want.

And yet, we end up exactly where we left off so very long ago because we all know the relationship is rarely so perfect. So, who in the end is to blame? It turns out, if the journalists upheld their prime directive, it is all the parties except the journalists. There are, after all, but two possibilities for an unsatisfactory outcome in this relationship. Either a game is made that the consumer should want but, for some reason, choose not to purchase or a game is made that the consumer should not want but for some reason does purchase.

Can one blame a publisher for not making a new version of a game that sold poorly? Not really. They didn't earn their billions by reinforcing failure; they earned their money by reinforcing success. Can you blame them for making and releasing a game they knew would be bad? Again, not entirely. There comes a time when losses must be cut and you salvage what you can from the wreckage. Can one blame a developer for making a great game that doesn't sell? Not really - the market is a difficult thing to judge. Who would have suspected that a silly little game with terrible graphics that involves incredibly repetitive game play like Minecraft would be so successful? Are they to blame for making a bad game? Perhaps, in the sense that such an eventuality is generally reached when they misjudge their limitations, be it time, talent, money or willingness to carry on, but even then it isn't often the developers decision to release their failure to the public as this decision is generally made by the publisher in accordance with the publisher's basic purpose and governing principles. Is the consumer to blame if they do not purchase some excellent game or another? Not entirely as there are countless reasons why they might not do such a thing. What if they purchase a bad game? The same goes if they purchase a bad game.

These publisher, the developer and the consumer are all together in this relationship. They share responsibility for the failures as well as the successes. If the journalists are worthy of the title, they share neither glory nor shame. Such is the burden of being a mediator of information and truth.

Is this the superman... looks like a depressed superdork.

Greg Tito:

That being said, Russ's point stands. In a perfect world, Civ V should not ship with any bugs.

In spite of the post I just made, I take issue with this point. Any argument that relies upon the phrase in a perfect world is flawed from the start because, you set as a condition, something that cannot be achieved. Would I like to see this perfect world? Certainly but I won't for a moment lament that I'll never see such a thing. What I will demand is that everyone involved does their damnedest to make sure we approach perfection.

For example, in a perfect world, my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt would not have shipped with a defect that caused the electronic power steering to fail under certain conditions. Somehow it did. In a nearly perfect world, this issue would have been fixed quickly as it was not only my money on the line but the health and safety of me, anyone who happened to occupy my car, and anyone who shared the road with me. In the world in which I live, there was a recall issued in 2009, four and a half years, 56 thousand miles, 48 monthly payments and two other in warranty major mechanical failures after I purchased the car.

In the real world, I have bought a product that put lives in danger and spent thousands of dollars for the privilege. My response? I'll probably never purchase a Chevrolet again because that is my little part in helping shape a better world.

nipsen:

What we have now, though, is different. Reviews don't talk tech any more, they certainly don't go for story and narrative build-up, they don't explain game-mechanics, etc. Instead, they are the reviewer's opinions and instant feelings as they pick up the title. So the initial buzz on the game is typically just put down in writing and pushed.

What precisely does "tech talk" tell the reader that a forthright opinion does not? It matters little how grand the developers vision, how amazing the technology under the hood, how hard people worked on it. It doesn't matter what fortune is at stake or what lives hang in the balance. These bits of information are of academic interest certainly. They might even be worthy of being widely known. But the information a reader wants to know before buying a game is simple enough: will they enjoy it?

The only way the journalist can meet this need honestly is to give their own opinion complete with prejudices. The rest of that only tells the reader of the potential the product might have had when what they really need to know is what the product actually is.

If you sold someone a dud in the illegal drug trade you could probably expect to be shot, if the receiver of the dud was important/mad enough. I guess there just isn't that same pressure in the games industry (and no, I don't support the shooting of people who release dud games).

How do you create a pressure system like that for these people, to make them tell the publisher to stfu long enough to make the game good enough that people who aren't impatient/gullible enough to buy on day 1/preorder, will want to buy it once the reviews come out?

So.. Russ Pitt's fallout new vegas game isn't working I guess?

Crunchy English:
The fact is, Fallout:NV had some awful bugs and this is making a mountain out of a molehill.

To be fair, off the top of my head, the following major games featured major bugs that impacted a large number of players in the last few years:

Fallout 3
Alpha Protocol
Fallout: New Vegas
Modern Warfare 2
Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl
Mercenaries 2
Gears of War
Gears of War 2
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
APB

I'm sure there are plenty of others. Hell, some of these games had bugs so bad I had to stop playing (Gears 2, Operation Flashpoint, MW2).

That represents 8 different developers, and four major publishers. More than a few of these were AAA games, and most of them were enormously expensive. Hell, in two cases, the games were so bad that the developers responsible quickly folded!

Well said sir.
I'll take your letter for my marketing/marketing research class. I hope there will be some discussion regarding cases of selling broken products to customers.

Raithnor:

*snip*
It's not just games either, the Movie industry has the same problem and any line of business where the barrier to entry is so high there is very little competition usually operate this way.

Maybe this has been said already but when you buy a DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS/Cinema ticket/what ever you get the full film you bought. You sit down and baring any major manufacturing defects you get to see the whole movie start to finish, and if there are major defects with the disk you take it back they give you a new one. You might not enjoy the film but you get to not enjoy the whole thing.

If you buy a game with bugs that make it unplayable then you don't get the full experience you pay for and you can't take it back for a refund, you can't exchange it, you are stuck with a broken unfinishable game and a large sum of money no longer in your pocket.

Although New Vegas has no excuse to be as broken as it is, it is based on the engine of Fallout 3 and seems to use most art assets yet still has the same bugs that Fallout 3 had at launch and more. It's appalling.

uppitycracker:

I'm talking about companies like Bethesda, 2K and Microsoft. These are companies with reputations for quality.

I'm sorry, I stopped reading right there. These are companies that are known for putting out quality games. When people say quality games, they mean REALLY GOOD games, not BUG FREE games. If anything, these companies have reputations of putting out initially VERY BUGGY games. And yes, while this is an issue, don't point the finger at game developers. Point it at publishers, because they are the ones setting the release dates and pushing for faster releases without as much time for QA.

They are the publishers he's talking about, buddy. Bethesda published that Obsidian studios... thing, 2K is primarily a publisher, and Microsoft is, uh, Microsoft.

Where can i co-sign this letter? ^.^

The Gentleman:
Okay, now the minimum question that is burning deep in the back of our minds: what three games were you specifically referring to? Telling us they were AAA titles and from reputable studio's is kind of like saying it was a fish from a lake. Plus, there's been a shitload of poor games out this year, so you're going to have to be very specific...

So you can't get the message he trying get trough without first hearing what games he referred to?

On topic:
He is right, I as calculating customer, I always buy my games in the after train, soon as I have heard from the community that they work. ANd I haven't been buying much games lately...
There's one company I do trust dearly, they might not be the most straight forward, ethical or moral, or what not. Neither are their decisions always the best but their games are reliable to work and get fixed really well (In my perspective) and have excellent customer support (In my experience). And that game is Blizzard. (Let the nerd rage begin, prove my own opinion wrong that is based on my own experience -.-' )

I am afraid I am lacking major contribution, but other than that, I fully agree with this letter and article and hope to read more from you in the future.
All the best.

GoodApprentice:

ezeroast:
Had no problems with Fallout:NV
Although I did get it 3 days after the USA and there was a patch, shock horror!!

Same here. I bought the game, applied the patch, and have been having a hell of a good time since. It's sad that people feel such a strong need to scream bloody murder over such trivial issues. It's especially sad when people gripe about "buggy" games that they haven't even played firsthand.

Just wanted to say, "Great job Obsidian! I'm having an awesome time playing your newest title."

And in the end, that's all that really matters.

I would agree with you, except there is actually a large population that plays games but doesn't have regular Internet access. For those people, Fallout: New Vegas is a $60 Christmas ornament.

TheXRatedDodo:

cloudcover:
Russ, fairly good article, but you actually skimmed over the real fix. You said yourself you "could and probably should" write rants on those broken games. Absolutely you should, I would go so far as stating in no uncertain terms that as a reliable source on gaming, and the editor-in-chief of a gaming site, it is actually your responsibility to do so. I would suggest that you dedicate part of this site to naming and shaming such broken games. Currently you have to trawl through the unreliable and often rabid forums on many sites - not an ideal way of getting information. I appreciate this might mean extra work for you or your staff but I think it should be a high priority for you guys.

If Russ doesn't want to do this, I will gladly do so, for goddamn free.

For what it's worth, I think Shamus Young has got Fallout: New Vegas pretty well covered in his last blog post for this site. He gave it a good ( Deserved, I feel ) calling out on it.

Frankly, if and when I ever do buy Fallout:New Vegas, it'll be after massive patching, and I will likely buy Used.

That may not sound like a big deal, but my personal beliefs are when I buy a game, I want the guys who worked on it to get paid for it, not people running a second hand chop shop. I take this opinion with any creative venue, the artist should be paid for their work. But I've followed Obsidian for years, and I refuse to give them another dollar while they continue to have such a deplorable additude towards quality control in their work.

After four major releases of unplayable bugs, I'm just not buying it anymore, literally or figuratively.

*applause*

simply put. its a terrible state of affairs.
and something i miss in games, are cheats, that you can use in game, because sometimes, cheats made a game more fun, like in goldeneye on the n64. where you could blow all the computer monitors in a room and after that, all your ammo would suspend mid air until someone walks into it.

Cheats also can make a game easier for someone who finds it simply too difficult. not always a problem, but its like the concept of an infinity mode in some online games, where you get infinite ammo and supplies, and you can just go to town, destroying anything and everything, todays games are missing these because some think its wrong, and it doesnt work with online gaming, which is fine, just remove cheats from online. but otherwise, cheats made a game more interesting. which is lost in todays market.

Sober Thal:

Susan Arendt:

Sober Thal:

Susan Arendt:

Sober Thal:
OMG... Games have bugs and glitches!

Check the sales numbers, then tell me if these games are hurting the industry.

Russ actually buys these games? They don't give them to him for free? Now that would be a good
story.

Yes, this may come as some surprise to you, but all of us here at The Escapist, even the EIC, have to buy games sometimes.

Sometimes I understand. But when you get these games for free a week or so in advance then wax poetic about them on a review only to, a week later, call them broken and unplayable is what has me a bit perturbed.

For the sake of argument, let's say you're dead-on right about Fallout New Vegas. That's one example out of three. Hardly invalidates the point being made.

For the sake of argument, you guys get no games for free, I can get that. But as I said in another post:
'I just reread the Civ V, Fallout NV, and Fable 3 reviews. For Fable 3 Susan did devote a paragraph to the glitches, yet never says it's unplayable. The Fallout one mentions glitches in a sentence at the end of review, following paragraph after paragraph of praise. Finally Civ V sounds like Gods gift to gamers (fans of the series at least), no mention at all of game breaking folly.'

Why would you tell us to buy these games to later say they are broken/unplayable? Fable 3, Civ v, and Fallout NV are called better than the previous versions even!

Before I answer, I want to make something clear: I'm not speaking for Russ, and I haven't played Fallout NV or Civ, so I can't personally speak to any bugs in those. I also have no idea if Russ is referring to Fable or not in his article.

My personal bug experience with Fable was aggravating, and in one case game-breaking, but it could be worked around. Not everyone I know who played the game was so lucky. The game saves automatically, and you only get one save slot. If the game happens to save you when your game is in a game-breaking bugged state...well, you're screwed. It's a gamble. As I said, that didn't happen to me personally - I was fortunate enough that I had only just started up the game when it broke that badly, so simply restarting was enough to solve the problem. I recommend you play it because, based on my personal experience, overall I find the good to outweigh the bad. My job as a reviewer is to give you all the information so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to pursue the game. I've told you its good points, I've told you it's buggy. It is worth playing, certainly, no question. Is it worth paying full price for? That is very much up to the individual. My personal recommendation would be to either wait or, if you can't wait, then rent it so at least you're not out $60 should the technical issues prove too frustrating.

jtesauro:

TheXRatedDodo:

cloudcover:
Russ, fairly good article, but you actually skimmed over the real fix. You said yourself you "could and probably should" write rants on those broken games. Absolutely you should, I would go so far as stating in no uncertain terms that as a reliable source on gaming, and the editor-in-chief of a gaming site, it is actually your responsibility to do so. I would suggest that you dedicate part of this site to naming and shaming such broken games. Currently you have to trawl through the unreliable and often rabid forums on many sites - not an ideal way of getting information. I appreciate this might mean extra work for you or your staff but I think it should be a high priority for you guys.

If Russ doesn't want to do this, I will gladly do so, for goddamn free.

For what it's worth, I think Shamus Young has got Fallout: New Vegas pretty well covered in his last blog post for this site. He gave it a good ( Deserved, I feel ) calling out on it.

Frankly, if and when I ever do buy Fallout:New Vegas, it'll be after massive patching, and I will likely buy Used.

That may not sound like a big deal, but my personal beliefs are when I buy a game, I want the guys who worked on it to get paid for it, not people running a second hand chop shop. I take this opinion with any creative venue, the artist should be paid for their work. But I've followed Obsidian for years, and I refuse to give them another dollar while they continue to have such a deplorable additude towards quality control in their work.

After four major releases of unplayable bugs, I'm just not buying it anymore, literally or figuratively.

Good on you.
As the old adage goes:
"Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you."

"You can't seriously believe that using the funds derived from the sale of a broken game to continue working on that game and hopefully make it playable at some point in the undefined future to be a reasonable way of doing business."

Preach, brother! So sick of this happening.

This was a great article. I wouldn't have been as nice about it as you were. Then again, I don't have a professional need to stay on amicable terms with the game industry.

Eclectic Dreck:

nipsen:

What we have now, though, is different. Reviews don't talk tech any more, they certainly don't go for story and narrative build-up, they don't explain game-mechanics, etc. Instead, they are the reviewer's opinions and instant feelings as they pick up the title. So the initial buzz on the game is typically just put down in writing and pushed.

What precisely does "tech talk" tell the reader that a forthright opinion does not? It matters little how grand the developers vision, how amazing the technology under the hood, how hard people worked on it. It doesn't matter what fortune is at stake or what lives hang in the balance. These bits of information are of academic interest certainly. They might even be worthy of being widely known. But the information a reader wants to know before buying a game is simple enough: will they enjoy it?

The only way the journalist can meet this need honestly is to give their own opinion complete with prejudices. The rest of that only tells the reader of the potential the product might have had when what they really need to know is what the product actually is.

I disagree. If I have no idea how you think, and what you base your opinion on - then your opinion isn't worth anything to me as a recommendation.

Therefore, your honest opinion needs to be qualified and explained. If it's not, then I simply know that you apparently dislike or like something - but I cannot connect to it as a reader, and have that preview of the - in this case - the game I am perhaps buying.

Let's do a less complicated example. If you stand on a corner beside a shoe-store, saying "I like it, I like it!" to anyone passing by while holding up a shoe. Then we call that "advertisement". If you take a more circumspect approach to illuminating your extremely personal opinion of a brand of shoes, colouring it in with flowery images of your walking artistry - we call that "painfully embarrassing advertisement".

But if you were to create something on your own, about the soles of shoes, the materials and the way they feel when you walk - then it might be possible for a reader to learn something and buy the shoe with the good sole.

Even if it was just about the look and appearance of the shoe - that too might be interesting to some people. But that as well would not simply be "I like it". There would be reasons, and ways the shoe appeals to you - and if you didn't describe that, then your opinion would be truly and utterly useless.

Let's go back to the shacknews example again. This writer insisted that even though he would give out blanket recommendations in a weak moment for games that were - broken, didn't play well, and certainly was not as good as advertised - this would not impact his credibility. Because he always said his opinion, at all times.

There's a reason why this credibility question comes up. And that's basically my opinion of "honest opinions" as blanket defences when it comes to game-reviews.

By releasing unfinished buggy games publishers are shooting themselves in the foot. Who wants to pay full game price to be a beta tester? Not I.

Stardock's Elemental: War of Magic is a good example what happens when "we will fix it after the release" mentality defeats common sense.

Releasing a game unfinished gives it bad reviews, which makes public less interested to buy it.

After getting burned few times by unfixed games, people will just start buying the games later. After when they are updated or maybe even released as GOTY version, can be found from the bargain bins or used games shelves. Publisher gets less revenue and the money spent on advertisements is wasted or is at least less effective.

Sometimes the bug fixes and updates never get released, either the publisher tells the game maker to focus on something else, or they just go belly up due to bad sales.

magicmonkeybars:
I call bullshit Mr. Pitts.
If you're looking for someone to blame look no further than yourself.

Don't blame the people trying to make a dollar when they take advantage of an all to eager and spoiled fan base.

Minecraft is a perfect example of this, people are more than willing to buy a game that's still in the alpha phase of it's development.
The only difference between say Civilization 5 and minecraft is that 2K isn't willing to admit that they're selling a barely beta version of their game.

Who to blame is the consumer who pays for games and supports the diseased industry letting it continue on as it has.
Every copy of Madden 2011 people buy is a nail in the coffin of gaming industies creativity and honesty towards its customers.

I dare say it's your job as a gaming journalist to help the consumer make a educated purchase.
The industry is dying because everyone is interdependant on each other consumers on reviewers, reviewers on advertizing that publishers use to sell games to consumers.

The industry will only fix itself when people STOP BUYING THE GODDAMN CRAP THAT IS BEING PUBLISHED!

Indeed.

It's a very easy problem to help solve. People will keep buying Civ or COD or whatever really just because of the franchise, but that's OK. It's the same as with the food or car industry.

This letter to me looks like an annoying attempt at being smart. Everybody knows... (And that picture, dude...)

Or in short: *slap* Don't fuck it up next time, douchebag!

Seriously, it sounds like another 'chrome coated' threat. If I were a game developing company and read this, I'd check my recent games right away. In fear that more of these letters will come before they crumble the company into dust.

Also I'd go like: AAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWW!~ We need to get to that game AGAIN! We've done that so many times already! I wanted it to be finished!

Well spoken, sir,

Susan Arendt:

Sober Thal:

Susan Arendt:

Sober Thal:

Susan Arendt:

Why would you tell us to buy these games to later say they are broken/unplayable? Fable 3, Civ v, and Fallout NV are called better than the previous versions even!

Before I answer, I want to make something clear: I'm not speaking for Russ, and I haven't played Fallout NV or Civ, so I can't personally speak to any bugs in those. I also have no idea if Russ is referring to Fable or not in his article.

My personal bug experience with Fable was aggravating, and in one case game-breaking, but it could be worked around. Not everyone I know who played the game was so lucky. The game saves automatically, and you only get one save slot. If the game happens to save you when your game is in a game-breaking bugged state...well, you're screwed. It's a gamble. As I said, that didn't happen to me personally - I was fortunate enough that I had only just started up the game when it broke that badly, so simply restarting was enough to solve the problem. I recommend you play it because, based on my personal experience, overall I find the good to outweigh the bad. My job as a reviewer is to give you all the information so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to pursue the game. I've told you its good points, I've told you it's buggy. It is worth playing, certainly, no question. Is it worth paying full price for? That is very much up to the individual. My personal recommendation would be to either wait or, if you can't wait, then rent it so at least you're not out $60 should the technical issues prove too frustrating.

Thanks for the explanation. I do enjoy your reviews. Because of you I bought Enslaved, and I loved that game, even tho it was short. Thanks too for explaining the Fable 3 glitches more.

P.S. Thanks for your time.

SachielOne:
This was a great article. I wouldn't have been as nice about it as you were. Then again, I don't have a professional need to stay on amicable terms with the game industry.

Professional considerations had very little to do with the tone I took for this piece. The fact is, you get to know people in this business. Which is why a lot of people who review games might not have written this kind of letter, or said some of the things I have said. I very genuinely know and like a great many of the people who might read this, and consider them friends. But sometimes you have to say things to friends that they don't want to hear. That's life. For that reason I wrote it as I would write to a friend. Because I was, in fact, writing to friends.

I don't know about you guys but, I haven't touched a published game this entire year, since their equivalent to a pile of crap. I've been playing fan made mods and remakes, which are 100 times more fun than anything out on the market right now. http://www.mechlivinglegends.net/ - http://ufotts.ninex.info/ - http://ufo2000.sourceforge.net/

1. Microsoft should get out of the gaming industry. period!

2. Games for windows Live sucks

3. Steam sucks

4. DRM sucks

scarbunny:

Raithnor:

*snip*
It's not just games either, the Movie industry has the same problem and any line of business where the barrier to entry is so high there is very little competition usually operate this way.

Maybe this has been said already but when you buy a DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS/Cinema ticket/what ever you get the full film you bought. You sit down and baring any major manufacturing defects you get to see the whole movie start to finish, and if there are major defects with the disk you take it back they give you a new one. You might not enjoy the film but you get to not enjoy the whole thing.

If you buy a game with bugs that make it unplayable then you don't get the full experience you pay for and you can't take it back for a refund, you can't exchange it, you are stuck with a broken unfinishable game and a large sum of money no longer in your pocket.

Although New Vegas has no excuse to be as broken as it is, it is based on the engine of Fallout 3 and seems to use most art assets yet still has the same bugs that Fallout 3 had at launch and more. It's appalling.

I'm referring to the notion that if your sales are large enough then failure becomes irrelevant and the incentive to produce a quality product slips. For a movie the quality is reflected in the writing/directing/acting of the film. The process of distributing that film has become standardized (usually after an obligatory format war).

I get what you're saying though. My point is "If X property can make us 300 million dollars no matter how stupid the story is or how bad the acting they're not going to make it a priority for the movies to do better, they're going to make them cheaper." This is something that happens to companies that don't think they can grow their customer base and at the same time take that customer base for granted.

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