It is well known that software and hardware, no matter how advanced, no matter how much it is tested will still release with possible issues. That is the nature of technology. So therefore it is the nature of any business nestled in technology, like gaming is. But because of changes to the business, the average consumer now suffers more and more.
Once in a far off time called the 80s, if a game released and it was broken in any way, that was it. A consumer might get lucky if a new version was released, but they would have to buy that new version. Otherwise games went through rigorous tests to try and ensure that a game was completable. Then the 90s saw an increase in PC gaming. This brought with it new issues in testing how things would interact with different system set-ups, but overall things were still tested well.
The internet brought more possibilities with patches to fix possible glitches and bugs post release. This meant developers could spend a little less time, effort, and money on final quality assurance tests as they could be a little lenient with fixing issues as consumers found them. However console gamers would still have more rigorously or at least assumed so tested games as they couldn’t have patches just loaded in. This would change as internet capable consoles became introduced and then popular.
Now these days, broken games are shipped more often than not, because issues can be “fixed” later on. That isn’t to be negative, because it is impossible to know every issue even through long testing. Sometimes there are glitches and bugs that slip through the cracks and only get found by accident by a small percentage of the community. The new problem becomes how long until those glitches get fixed, and the hoops that not only developers have to jump through, but consumers to get them.
With expensive costs to push a patch through along with size limits put on developers by console maintainers, it would stand to reason that developers would want to ensure they would deal with it as little as possible. It would also stand to reason that a developer would want to maintain a communication line with the consumers who have been hit by game crippling bugs and glitches.
This is something that is seen in multiple developers. Obsidian and Bethesda have trouble almost every game release with Fallout and Elder Scrolls. Often times these issues are with one particular console, but they are usually as vocal as they can be and make a point to release info when they can and try not to give the consumer unrealistic expectations.
With the recent game breaking freeze that has been hitting players, some since launch day, of the Gearbox game Borderlands 2 one would think that an effort would be made to show consumers that a fix is being worked on, give them info, as well as treat them with respect. Unfortunately this isn’t at all what is happening and it has players furious or depressed.
The game freezing glitch has hit both major consoles and has seemingly no explanation about how it is happening or why as those experiencing it are having such wildly different occurrences of when, how, and most likely why. The problems start to come in first with lack of communication. In Gearbox‘s own technical forums, there are topics concerning this with a combined post count of over 2000. Yet the representatives keep asking the same questions over and over that give no indication of actually being helpful. They do not let the players know how they can better help nor do they let players know what they think the issue might be.
This problem is so bad of Gearbox not being helpful that even their own technical support is providing incorrect answers to questions as well as closing open tickets and marking them as solved when a player still continues to have the problem that brought them to support in the first place. It is such an issue that some players have even begun doing their own bug testing and solution testing. There are even a handful of players who end up having even worse issues once following suggested “fixes” from Gearbox.
It would be assumed with the seriously expensive costs of pushing a fix through a company like Microsoft for their game, that they would be more open to discussing the issue and using any and all resources they can and effort from players. Instead they remain ignored and grow more and more bitter as more content for a game they can’t play is released. Content that many of them already paid for or ensured early adoption of the game to get and support Gearbox. At this point, all any player is really wanting is a little information or insight into what is happening beyond “being looked at” or a phrase along those lines.
Their frustration is understood, but in a small way perspective must be kept. Gearbox may have a reason for keeping information away from the players or for even keeping them locked out. It is hard for the average person to understand the development process as well as the continuing support process for a title. As mentioned studios have to deal with many hurdles and hoops when it comes to releasing a fix post release these days, most of which are unavoidable should they want to reach as much of an audience as they can. In the end a consumer must stay as active in the issue as possible, not let the developers forget they are there and have a problem. But developers must continue to let consumers know they are there listening and trying to find a solution.