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Other On the tolerance of bugs in games and pricing

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Pete J, 7 Dec 2013.

  1. Pete J

    Pete J Working from home?

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    There's an issue that's been bothering me for a while now: that of the fact that the latest and greatest games are being shipped with bugs that can be of varying magnitude, from mild irritation to outright plot stopping errors. However, it is not the bugs that concern me, rather how they are accepted by the gaming community. All too often now I see people ready to start ranting and raving about a buggy feature rather than thinking 'hey, they almost made it work flawlessly'. For example, on the Egosoft forums I read a thread by one disgruntled gamer who claimed he had thought about suicide when X Rebirth was released in the state it was. How are gaming companies supposed to handle zealots like that?

    I've been gaming on and off for about 23 years now and have seen the various trials the gaming industry has gone through. In the past, a team of two could churn out a game in six months or so and sell it for £30. For example, Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels, a game that actually ran off the CD, cost the same as Crysis 3. Should Space Hulk have been cheaper, or should Crysis 3 have been more expensive?

    Quite frankly, I'm amazed that games haven't shot up in price to £60 or above.

    In regards to bugs, consider this. The entire content of an older game (for example Wing Commander 2) is about the size of the .exe file for the latest games. The install directories are on the order of 100+ times larger. That is an absolute monster of a task to make sure everything is working as it should. Games are approaching the complexity demonstrated by sophisticated programmes such as SolidWorks or 3D StudioMax. A licence of SolidWorks will set you back ~£4,000 - and that's just for the basic package. At my place of work we have a package that costs £100,000 a licence, per year.

    Think about the sheer computing power required to run the latest games as well. Each second you play a game, your system does more calculations than the entire human race could do in a day*. Now imagine trying to do that for 8 hours straight without making a single mistake. I don't know about you but I make plenty of mistakes throughout the working day.

    So, in summary? Games are getting bigger and more complicated. It is inevitable that they will end up costing more to offset the development time and whether or not we like it, us gamers are going to have to act as beta testers as there is no way a small testing team can cover every eventuality and hardware configuration. It is a price I pay willingly.

    *Made up number but you get the point
     
  2. loftie

    loftie Well-Known Member

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    If that were the case, I'd be happier them releasing it as a Beta, labelling it and the community deciding what to do.

    Take BF4, the beta was massively more stable than the release. At least for the 6 people I know who played it. I'd rather them release the game as a beta, anyone who buys it during the beta period gets China Rising as an incentive and then you have people to test the game for you who don't get as annoyed because they understand it's still a work in progress.

    SoTS2 is another excellent example. The game was beyond belief broken on release, most of it didn't work, it crashed loads. IIRC they were forced to release it by Paradox because if they didn't then the game would have been scrapped. A couple of years on and it still has it's quirks but it's completely playable and enjoyable. They even released a 'free' expansion for it.

    TLDR: If they want to do it, it's fine, but I'd rather they be honest/man up etc and tell us. Then all crazies who spam forums saying it's broken can be shot down with the line "it's a BETA you F**KWIT!".

    Edit : Hmm, 1000 posts :lol:
     
    Pete J likes this.
  3. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    My tolerence for bugs changes based on age of game and who developed it.

    BF 4 + premium was alot of cash for most people to find it in a hugely unplayable state is not acceptable and I have since returned to bf3 till BF4 is patched and ready to play. If I wanted to be a beta tester id of signed up for beta.

    World of Warcraft had less bugs on launch than BF4 does now and its a MMO the most buggiest type of game due to developers having no clue what the community will do to there game once its live.

    EA games in general have become a bug trodden mess of late, Sim City was pretty broken on launch now its the way it should of been some 6 months later.

    Gerenal feeling on X Rebirth is one of avoid till its patched and pick it up on the cheap.

    Need for Speed Rivals was pretty much bug free though an example of it done correct.

    Pricing is not that relivent in most cases though, Enough I Think if Star Citizen is buggy or broken on launch and with people donating thousands of dollars on ships people are going to go crazy. Its one game that expectations are so high for that they will never satisfy everyone.

    What it does need to be is near enough bug free and playable on launch. No real excuse for server overlord day 1 either as they know exactly how many people have donated to the game.

    I also do not think developers should get a free ride just because game size folders have enlarged over the years. Plenty of games are released bug free and working as intended on release.

    Mass Effect 3 / Dragon Age 2 both big budget games that were fine on release.

    Starcraft 2 / Football manager 2 big pc sellers both working fine on release. It can be done correctly but they are rushed by publishers in 90% of cases.
     
  4. erratum1

    erratum1 New Member

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    A game these days cost as much as a blockbuster film I think it's more having a tight deadline to meet.

    The Tombraider beta code Nvidia were sent was ok but changes to the final release code which Nvidia claimed they were not given had compatibility problems with Nvidia hardware.

    Again rushed out to meet a deadline set by the publisher I guess.

    But for your hard earned £40 is this acceptable?

    When a product is faulty it gets recalled...a game gets patched.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2013
  5. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Its all about what your customers expectations are and being honest when you communicate with them IMHO. Yes games have become more complex over time, and bugs are to be expected but that doesn't excuse not being honest with your customers.

    When something goes wrong you expect the company dealing with it to put their hands up, admit there are problems and that they are working to resolve them in a timely manner.

    Its understandable that some people will overreact when a game is released and they are prevented from playing it due to bugs, just like a child at Christmas the anticipation of great things can be ruined if they don't get all they were hoping for.
     
  6. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    Just because games are more complex than they were years ago is'nt a valid excuse for releasing a buggy game imo. The problem is that it's becoming the 'norm' rather than the odd exception, I wouldn't stand for it with any other item/product I bought so why should games be any different?
     
  7. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    I would respectfully disagree. :worried:
    As things become more complicated the likelihood of errors increase, even big company's have problems dealing with all the possible hardware variants on the market.
     
  8. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    Corky go ask people who have donated $1000+ on star citizen if they will accept a buggy launch of that game. As you will find they would not and that's a complicated game.

    Think the whole launch it and patch it later culture needs to end.
     
  9. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    No software is bug free so it's not if a game will have bugs, but how many and how severe they are. After release its a matter of how the problems are dealt with.
     
  10. Veles

    Veles DUR HUR

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    They don't deal with all possible hardware combinations though, you don't program something that will work to work on a piece of kit 10 years old. They make their games for a selection of hardware, the better games having been tested on a broader scope.

    I think 13eightyfour's comment stands, I've seen very complex games run nearly flawlessly, and I've see games that are less complex, being released in a shoddy mess that some people would consider to be barely an alpha. It's just some companies don't leave enough time to get proper QA done.

    Customers shouldn't accept shoddy goods, they shouldn't be understanding of the difficulty in making a product work. If a company thinks it's acceptable to think otherwise, they deserve to go under, because that's bad business, that's how you lose customers and damage your reputation.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2013
  11. tuk

    tuk Don't Tase Me, Bro!

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    Exactly right,

    Also, if there's no excuse for releasing a buggy game then there is even less excuse for buying a buggy game, why not wait a few weeks/months to see how it lands & after a few patches have been applied, you would have to wait longer anyway in the ideal world were games are not released until bug free.

    & as for BF4 beta being more stable than the initial release, I didn't find this myself, but the beta was much smaller and less complex with only 1 map.
     
  12. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    For instance the TellTale LEGO games.
    They run like a dog in the PC version...we're talking WII / nintendo DS games here.

    All of the PC-versions I own have bugs, they all crash randomly, in Indiana Jones one of the levels cannot be finished, breaking the game (no progress possible)

    The WII versions also sometimes crash, but not as often.


    The main concern is the amount of patches...None.
    TellTale does not do patches, not a single one for any of these games.
     
  13. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    No just 5-6 year old hardware and then take into account the thousands of different version of software that can cause problems, you would be there for years just testing the millions of different possible combinations.
    If you expect games to be bug free when released your living in a different world than the rest of us, even Microsoft cant release a simple game like solitaire on their own OS without bugs.
     
  14. Pete J

    Pete J Working from home?

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    Perhaps this is the way it should be approached. A simple statement of 'we've tried our hardest to make sure this runs okay but our test group was small' or something.
    I'm not saying that developers should get it easy. It would just be nice if they knew that they aren't going to get chewed to pieces due to a missed bug.
    For £40, probably. What if they charged £60 though?
    This is exactly what should happen, and people should treat them kindly while they go about fixing things.
    Again, completely agree.
     
  15. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    If all devs would treat their games like Valve treats Dota2 then the tolerance for bugs on release would be much higher.

    But the very poor handling of bugs post release by certain developers / publishers especially when coupled with the constant reminder to give them more money for dlc does massively lower the tolerance for bugs in the first place.
     
  16. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    I remember buying Predator for my Acorn Electron from WH Smiths way back when. I was so excited that an "A list" title had been released for my "lowly" computer since all my friends had C64's, Speccies, ST's and Amigas. It was £9.99 on cassette (Superior Software as I recall) and was as buggy as hell, in that it caused the machine to freeze regularly. So I'd hit "Break" and reload it, which took around 10 minutes.

    That really annoyed me as a tenner was a lot of paper-round money back then (around 25 years ago I reckon), however I was still elated that the publisher had released such a mainstream title for the Electron.

    Since then I've never really begrudged paying full price for PC games, though now I play less often I tend to wait for the Steam sales. The added benefit of that is that most problems will have been ironed out with patches.

    I do feel that this is the "golden generation" for PC gaming, in that the audience is reasonably affluent and mature, hence willing to persevere and workaround problems. I can't see the next generation being so patient so I'd expect QC to tighten or for PC gaming to become more obscure.

    Just my $0.02...

    Cleggy.
     
  17. Veles

    Veles DUR HUR

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    I never said anything about bug free, but a game should never be released in such a buggy state that some games have been where it's unplayable for many people.

    Lots of complex games are released all the time that run really well on many systems, then still have patches after release that make them even better. So why is it ok that other games are released in a terrible state?

    I also didn't say about testing every combination, yes, there are a lot, but why do you think Valve does those hardware surveys all the time? To see what the majority of people are actually using so they know what hardware they need to do the majority of testing on.

    A lot of companies seem to spend about a week doing QA on whatever systems they have in the office, which essentially makes the release a paid for beta test to see how the game actually works in the real world.

    I don't know about you, but I already have a job, and it's not a beta tester, if I wanted to be a beta tester, I'd go and find a job being one. I don't want to spend what little time I have to play a game that is unfinished and buggy, when it's supposed to be a full release. This is the reason why I tend to not buy games when they're released any more. I wait until the bugs are fixed, and I wait until they cost pocket change, rather than a weeks worth of shopping.
     
  18. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    IMHO many people moaning on forums normally equates to about 0.1% of a player base, I'm not saying these people should be ignored or that some games are not released in an almost unplayable state.

    Its just the different ways in which some company's operate, some have a bad reputation when it comes to dealing with problems while others generally do a better job. The same holds true for game developers and publishers, some will sell you a bad product and wont care, some try hard to make that product better over time, and some sell you an almost perfect product.

    Eventually if company's release to many bad products or have poor customer service word gets around and people start to avoid their products, my self and probably many others have had bad experiences when it comes to EA games (among others) so i would never buy another of their games until word of mouth says they have improved.
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2013
  19. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    EA is a pain in the arse they have 2 of the biggest franshise in the gaming industry.

    a few missed bugs is part and parcel of gaming, The Beta been more stable than the launched game is a very bad sign. ( BF4 and Star Trek Online 2 main contenders for that award) It makes you feel like all you tested in beta was server stability which in reality was 100 times more stable than the launch game servers were.

    Theres been a few major releases though that have been broken look at final fantasy 14 they basically remade the game it was so broken. X3 is a totally different game to the one it launched as. X rebirth will likely be the same.

    Not every game gets patched though, so if you have a big developer likely is they will fix the game. Not every one does though.
     
  20. Jedra

    Jedra Supermodel

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    In the old days, they had to get a game working fully at launch because there simply was no reliable way of getting updates. These days, getting updates out is easy so there is less of a focus on a 100% finished game at launch.

    Also, games are now a corporate concern. Share prices depend on the day one sales figures and markets are pre-informed of release dates. Missing a release date has implications beyond what it used to mean. So, when a date is decided, the game is going to be released whatever state it is in - huge advertising budgets ensure that sales for day one are in line with expectations and no-one really cares about the consumer reaction.

    Personally, I don't mind so much if a game is buggy on day one - as long as the developers and publishers are committed to fixing it. There are some games that I expect to be buggy (Arma for example), but I am comfortable investing in the game because I know that it's life-span is long and it will get better.

    Having said this, my game purchases this year have been a tiny fraction of previous years as I am getting fed up with the same old junk being turned out time after time. I would rather have a buggy ambitious game than a perfectly coded clone of a hundred other games.
     

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