Bugs Have Ruined the Holiday Season

Bugs Have Ruined the Holiday Season

This November probably cleaned out many pockets and bank accounts of cash originally earmarked for Christmas presents. Now family members will get a card and a pencil thanks to your gaming addiction. But hey, it was a big month with big launches, arguably the most robust month of releases in the history of video games. Many of the games received favorable reviews, solidifying the decision to pick them up on day one. Then as the days and weeks trickled by, and millions played their games while forgoing sleep, something annoying started to itch, then bite. And as we now live in a world of instant information, the posts started swarming, “This game is bugged!” Some of these bugs were minor annoyances, while others had (and still have in some cases) a major effect on the integrity and stability of the game. Let’s catalogue some of the big bugs this November has unleashed. Assassin’s Creed: Unity got the biggest slap in the face, somewhat literally actually, as graphical bugs caused character faces to simply vanish, showing off only a pair of eyeballs and a mouth. And this is only a superficial bug compared to the game crashes, delays at the menu screen, and our poor hero Arno getting trapped in hay carts.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has the biggest and most serious “collection” of bugs, with the granddaddy being the multiplayer matchmaking debacle that yields unbalanced teams, severely long wait times, and a slew of smaller issues that compile into endless headaches. Developer 343 Industries has been working around the clock and has provided several patches already, but fixing the old problems appears to be introducing new ones. And for a game with a huge and vocal multiplayer community, there will be a lot of shouting in the forums until these issues are fixed. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has also had issues with multiplayer lag and disconnections. Dragon Age: Inquisition is having issues with lacking party banter, which does nothing to affect the stability of the game but is a serious crime considering how good the script work and character exchanges are written. We want the banter!

Some Far Cry 4 owners have reported problems with corrupted data files, crashes in the PC version, and the inability to redeem pre-order bonus swag.

Even Sony’s cuddly mascot Sackboy floundered in the technical department, with LittleBigPlanet 3 players encountering issues of crashes, framerate stuttering, the inability to respawn at times, and other procedural issues.

Though Sony’s biggest exclusive launch failure has to be #DRIVECLUB, which saw server and connectivity issues across the board after its launch. Despite the release being back at the beginning of October, the game is still struggling to get its engines revving. Patches are continually cranked out, but it’s still a work a progress, to the extent that Sony has postponed the PS Plus version of the game until the problems are solved, much to the chagrin of the Sony faithful.

Bugs Have Ruined the Holiday Season

I had originally intended on promoting Nintendo through this article, with the Big N sporting a sparkling record of technical stability with their games. However, their biggest title, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has tarnished that reputation slightly, with some gamers reporting error codes upon loading the game that renders the game, and for some even their Wii U system, unplayable.

And yet for the most part we have become complacent with bugs littering games in their first weeks and months of birth. Patches are commonplace, and with consoles now practically required to be online, distributing these patches is a simple process. But should that really give game makers an excuse to be lax during a game’s quality assurance testing period? When games were cartridges, there were no such things as patches. If there were game-breaking bugs after mass production of the game, fixing the problem would be a monumental expense, not to mention the lack of forgiveness on the consumers part. But now we simply shrug our shoulders, bite the bullet until the issues are resolved, and wait five to ten minutes while the patch downloads and installs.

Yet this is spawning a foreboding problem in the gaming industry. More and more often we hear people who were at first eager to snatch up a new title now opting to hold off for a month or two while any bugs are ironed out. A typical gamers’ interest is fleeting nowadays. Give a game a month or two and it’s practically forgotten about. So now those same people may simply move on to the next game. I doubt this is a serious concern at the moment, but for publishers who look at the bottom line, those potential purchasers who hold off can add up, and that’s a sale lost simply because of bugs.

Where do you stand on the issue? Have you been lucky and bug free with your gaming experiences, or are you the victim of a rage inducing broken game? Are you sick of constant patches, or have you accepted that it is a part of gaming life now? Let us know in the comments below.

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