Video games are a wondrous thing, no? I, personally can't live without them in some shape or form and chances are if you're reading this, here in the cblogs of Destructoid, you're of the same mind. Birds of a feather and all that jazz. As a gamer, I have amassed quite a collection of games, from early NES games all the way to the present era we now occupy but there has always been one constant with the majority of the games I have gotten. It is as common a thread as pressing start when booting those games up and it is simply this: That upon starting said games... they work. This is such a given I don't waste any time or effort entertaining thoughts of it. That cemented standard is so lodged in my brain that it is an intangible ethereal apparition, rarely seen, let alone heard.
It seems that even apparitions have their fifteen minutes of fame because here comes mine springing out of the shadows and getting ready to yell. What nefarious deed or action could have riled it so? For the answer to that first ask yourselves this: Since when was it okay for gamers to accept games that don't work day one as intended? When exactly did we cross that threshold where it became a way of life accepting unfinished games or glorified betas as full games with a blind eye because down the road it will get fixed. Or ironed out through patching. We have become so used to incompetence from developers that the standards that we have had for the video games of yesteryear are thrown out the window because of the internet era we live in where if it's broke now we can fix it later mentality.
It is getting to the point that day one buyers of games are essentially beta testers. The difference being that they are actually paying full retail price for it and they don't realize that they are indeed beta testing it for all parties involved. Nowadays it pays to not prepay for games. Logic should demand that you wait it out for a bit, hear if everything is kosher before plunking down your hard earned cash on an inferior product. Wait til the issues with said game get brought to the forefront and dealt with before you buy lest you catch a heaping of buyer's remorse.
This actual blog's very existence was in part due to my recent outing with Sony's online only multiplayer game SOCOM:Confrontation
I picked up day one. I had quite a few issues as my fruitless attempts of actually playing
the game netted little success, needless to say I never could get to actually play the game the day I got it. I was so infuriated I unleashed my anger by screaming at the rooftops to all who listened, how not to get the game. The networks failed to initialize, the servers wouldn't let you log in, and if by chance you could bypass all that and enter an actual game, it would bump you off as soon as you started a game. So I wrote this blog
about my experiences. What I found more surprising than purchasing a game that wouldn't functionally work the day I got it, was the responses that I received from most of my Dtoid colleagues.
Some of the things they said were the usual fare of stop crying. I mean how dare I expect a game to work, even if it's an online game only. The nerve!! But there were other comments that when I read were a little bit more enlightening. Here are two:
The days of online console games, "just working," at least right at launch might be coming to an end. You should know better jimbo. An online only game, at release, is bound to have problems. Happened all the time in WOW when it was in its infancy, and on my server a long time after launch, like months, and I was paying per month for that. Yes I know this shouldn't be an issue, yes game developers and server type people should overestimate server traffic so they can avoid problems like this, or offered an offline play mode. But as a lot of companies never "over" anything. Issues like this, at least to me, are expected. I know when you get a game, even if its online only, you run home, toss it in, and expect it to work. In an ideal world that would be the case, but it isn't, we're stuck with companies that do the bare minimum to get by, and it won't change in the near future.
This is nothing man, I mean nothing at all. The first week World of Warcraft came out the servers were down 50% of the time. That's pretty shitty when an MMORPG is down 3-4 days of the first 7 days it was out. Every time a new patch is released for the game, which happens about once every 3 months, the servers typically go down for another day or two because of problems.
Are the days of online only games and now games having both offline and online, "just working," at least right at launch really
coming to an end? I know that the main culprit I used here is an online only game, that being SOCOM and to a degree World of Warcraft but this stuff is trickling down to games that are not just online only. It's getting where a game ships and you can bank that in about a week or two some form of update or patch will be released and that's if it's a prompt reply by the developers. If not, good luck waiting for awhile. Look at Castle Crashers. That game still hasn't received a patch to fix its online issues and game save deleting ways. It was hailed a wonderful game yet it's broken. Remember when GTA IV came out with its glitches and online play screwy? It too was hailed a wonderful game and at the time of it's released was broken. The age of the internet and its being a tool that current consoles are using to give themselves a do over or a mulligan after the game has shipped, should be newsworthy. Not an act of crying over spilt milk or being a baby. These should be legitimate issues that should be addressed by either not buying these games day one, or having a further prerequisite that must be met in a review before handing it a favorable judgment.
To reiterate, I am enjoying Socom now. The servers are running well, there are still issues with it, yet I can see that the core gameplay is great. But just because the core gameplay is great, It shouldn't be where I dismiss the features the game is lacking because somewhere down the road, it will be fixed via a patch or update. Our standards are being lowered day by day by the Internet. Thank God I'm not a WOW player because paying for the game and the monthly subscription and
having the servers down would make me choke someone.
Bottom line is, it might pay to be patient. I already feel bad for people with small hard drive space and them having to waste said space not for game saves or music but healthy sized patches in order to make the games work the way they are supposed to. Maybe that's why lately there are more Happy Meal trinkets being injected in these so called special edition versions of games, which are never worth it. To get you to take the plunge and buy that game day one. I mean, can you imagine this happening before consoles were tethered to the internet? Seemed like before there were less incomplete games, less glitches, less fail. Maybe that's just my old eyes and memories pulling the wool on me but games would come out finished for the most part.
Lately it's like spinning a wheel of consequences and hoping you land on the "The game works as intended" instead of "Congrats! Your a Beta tester!"