Open Letter to People Who Make Games

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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Open Letter to People Who Make Games

Dear Game Makers: The biggest current threat to the industry is in your mirror.

Read Full Article
 

Sevre

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Apr 6, 2009
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I find it very hypocritical for the industry to complain about piracy and the like when it can't even release a finished product. If the industry doesn't care about gamers, then why should gamers care about them?
 

skitskat

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Apr 14, 2009
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if they dont like piracy in the first place, dont call em pirates, call em paedophiles, no one would ever pirate a game again knowning they'd be refered to as a paedo :p
 

uppitycracker

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Oct 9, 2008
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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.
 

Tireseas_v1legacy

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Sep 28, 2009
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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...
 

Dorkmaster Flek

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Mar 13, 2008
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Amen, Mr. Pitts. The recent Fallout: New Vegas debacle is just the latest in a long line of broken-out-of-the-box games. I'm actually not interested in Fallout games personally, but the reports I've read are just unbelievable. The amount of flat out brokenness that is this game is unacceptable. Apparently this is par for the course when it comes to Bethesda. I may not play their games, but if they ever decided to make a game that really appealed to me, I'm going to have big red warning flags coming up going "Hey, this was made by those guys that ship broken games constantly!" and I'm probably not going to buy it. The era of online consoles with hard drives and broadband Internet connections has spoiled developers into thinking they can ship a broken game and then patch it later. This has to stop, period.
 

Cousin_IT

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Feb 6, 2008
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I, for one, am looking forward to 1982 mkII - if it comes. The internet tears will be oh so enjoyable as to make the misery it will no doubt cause hundreds to thousands of industry workers almost seem worth it.
 

fKd

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Jun 3, 2010
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good read. broken games are a shocker and you have to wonder about the beta testing part of game development... how are these epic bugs not seen? one big reason that games seam broken (pc) is hardware. with the ever growing sea of different hardware and driver configurations its no surprise. then there is code based errors. is this due to rushed deadlines? or some other issue.
the love has left the industry as of late due to the massive amount of revenue being generated. this has had the same effect as it has on all industries.. the quality suffers. the old line quality over quantity shifts and the end consumer is left with bad games.
i liked what the head of nintendo said, some thing like "we are not to worried about pirates, if you make a really good game it will sell" this is something devs need to think about...

oops rambling...

good read, keep it up escapist :D
 

Calamity

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Aug 22, 2008
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I wish my world worked liked these guys think theirs does.
"Oh don't worry professor, that report will be fixed, patched, and re-submitted in about a months time, I hope you can wait that long to grade it."

If you ship a broken game you can damn well be sure I won't buy it unless it's months later when it's been patched, fixed, and costs 5$ on steam.
The same way that report will have been marked down to nothing from all the late fees.
 

Raithnor

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Jul 26, 2009
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Great article Russ!

I've had similar feelings about the industry for a while. One other concern I've had about Big Business in general is the amounts of money they are making is relatively immune to basic quality control. These are products that don't suffer from catastrophic failure (they don't spontaneously catch on fire and burn your house down) and as long as they can move a certain number of copies they've made their money back. This is doubly true of games that can be used as advertisements for other products. (The EA logos on Dr. Pepper bottles come to mind)

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.

I have a feeling the whole damn system has to break before it changes, but it will be interesting to see if that's even possible. You'd need the failure of most of the major console manufacturers and quite possibly the failure of the biggest software publisher to have that perfect storm happen.

The only thing I could see is if there's a real game changer, a smaller company innovating something that can steal the market and at the same time not be co-opted by the existing industry.
 

Raithnor

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Jul 26, 2009
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The Gentleman said:
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...
If I had to hazard a guess: Fallout: NV, Civ V, and Halo: Reach Not sure about the last one though.
 

Matt_LRR

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Nov 30, 2009
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Russ Pitts said:
Open Letter to People Who Make Games

Dear Game Makers: The biggest current threat to the industry is in your mirror.

Read Full Article
Thank you. I couldn't have said it better, so I'm glad you did.

-m
 

Tiamat666

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Dec 4, 2007
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I'm thinking that perhaps releasing unfinished games is part of a strategy against piracy. Gamers always want the most recent, shiniest version of a game. One of the greatest advantages of owning a legitimate copy is the automatic update or otherwise seamless patching of a game. Pirates on the other hand are impeded from patching and usually will have to wait for weeks until a new crack is released, being stuck with all the old bugs for much longer than legitimate users.
 

Explorator Vimes

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Jun 7, 2010
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I've been a lurker here for a good long time, a lot longer than my account will show, and I've always been hesitant to have a first post of mine just be on some random topic somewhere. I just wanted to say that this is one of the best written and heart-felt articles I've seen on here in awhile. I know a lot material has a tongue-in-cheek aspect to it, and that's fine, but it really is nice to see an honest and direct commentary to the game's companies.

Thank you Russ, for saying what most of us think and using your superior to leverage to maybe get them to listen to some small portion of it. A man can dream that they'll listen at least.
 

Loonerinoes

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Apr 9, 2009
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Nicely written. As always, good to read something that helps keep one's ego in check and hold back blaming anyone but yourself to see what you can actually do to aid yourself and the people you work with and for.

I'm thinking that perhaps releasing unfinished games is part of a strategy against piracy. Gamers always want the most recent, shiniest version of a game. One of the greatest advantages of owning a legitimate copy is the automatic update or otherwise seamless patching of a game. Pirates on the other hand are impeded from patching and usually will have to wait for weeks until a new crack is released, being stuck with all the old bugs for much longer than legitimate users.
If it is, then it's a very lousy one. You can be quite certain that a fair amount of pirates can be surprisingly patient if it means getting something for 'free'. Not to mention that new patches are cracked fairly quickly too, heck even DLC doesn't take that long to crack. So really, rather than 'hurting' people who don't even contribute to the industry with such tactics as DRM and such, it'd be far wiser for developers to instead focus on the part that *does* contribute, that *does* in the end purchase their games with...oh I don't know...making games that work upon launch for example?

This is exactly why Ubisoft's DRM for example was moronic. The pirates were patient enough to wait until the cracks eventually came through, whereas in the meantime the loyal customers who actually paid good money for the game potentially wound up with exactly what Russ Pitts describes in this article here - a game that did not work.

The reasoning for it may have sounded as a noble one - to combat the evil tides of piracy on the high seas of teh interwebz. But the result and effect was funnily enough very similar to what this article describes. A game that did not work when the servers hiccuped due to the authentication. Meh...sidetracked myself here with this line of thinking but...the gist is pretty much the same as the vibe I got from this article. Look to thine own yard before pointing out how much the neighbour's yard sucks.
 

3AM

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Oct 21, 2010
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Russ Pitts said:
The point at which you have to turn in overtime to create a patch that will fix a playability issue in a game that's been released and sold to the public is the point at which you will have sold a defective product.
We all understand that statement, why don't they? I just don't understand why we put up with this, why we continue to buy defective products. It's got to be because that's our only option - waiting for a patch to be released is unfortunately nothing new to us. Abysmal quality is exactly why I don't buy newly-released games. I always wait for a sale when I can pay closer to what the game is actually worth (and hopefully the patch for the patch will be waiting for me to download).
 

Latinidiot

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Feb 19, 2009
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uppitycracker said:
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.

Too bad you stopped reading, it's a quite interesting read, and you might get what he's getting at better.

Anyway, I think he should mail it to those guys. Would he have?
I wonder.
 

RvLeshrac

This is a Forum Title.
Oct 2, 2008
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Russ Pitts said:
Open Letter to People Who Make Games

Dear Game Makers: The biggest current threat to the industry is in your mirror.

Read Full Article
<a href=http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=113528>This rant should also be mentioned.

Tiamat666 said:
I'm thinking that perhaps releasing unfinished games is part of a strategy against piracy. Gamers always want the most recent, shiniest version of a game. One of the greatest advantages of owning a legitimate copy is the automatic update or otherwise seamless patching of a game. Pirates on the other hand are impeded from patching and usually will have to wait for weeks until a new crack is released, being stuck with all the old bugs for much longer than legitimate users.
It takes roughly the time necessary to upload the new build for a cracked update to be distributed.

Saying that selling a broken game deters piracy is like saying the sale of a car with no wheels deters auto theft.
 

Bruce Edwards

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Feb 17, 2010
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Hmm. I see Fallout:NV is clearly one of his examples, but what are the other two? Is CIV V really that buggy? And I've been playing Reach a fair amount and haven't seen any bugs thus far. Or are there other AAA's that have come from MS in the last few weeks?
 

Stevepinto3

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Jun 4, 2009
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uppitycracker said:
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.
There's only so far you can take the "It's the publisher's fault" argument, and some companies (Bethesda in particular) have hit the end of it. No one is disputing these games being fun. When they work, they're great. BUT THEY DON'T WORK. Like Russ said, being sold something that doesn't do what it's supposed to do, then not being able to return it, is essentially fraud.

That may be your definition of a quality game, but personally I would never call a game that crashed and became unplayable as quality. The games in question are known to have serious bugs. Bugs that should have been spotted with even a small test. Deadlines or no, if a game is shipped with bugs that can affect a significant number of players, it's the developers fault, not the publishers.

On this note, can we also add games that require such high-performance machines that even computers that meet the supposed system requirements on the box can't run them functionally? I'm of course referring to Crysis here. My friend got this two years ago, and after getting a new machine that could probably sequence the entire human genome in the time it takes to microwave a potato, he still can't make it run even remotely well. Maybe next decade he'll finally get to play it?