Releasing Broken Games is Now Acceptable For Some Reason

Sell it now, fix it later

By Grayshadow, Posted 06 Apr 2021

In the last couple of years, the release of broken games to the public has risen dramatically. Gamers constantly voice their vexation of this process but it seems to fall on deaf ears. With more and more games launching with major technical problems or network issues that would classify them as early access games. Yet publishers charge full price for these titles, offer excuses about fixing it later, and force their customers to wait for fixes that sometimes prevent them from even playing the game. After so many games launching this way including the recent release of Outriders it's become clear. Releasing broken games and fixing them later has become the norm.

Outriders,NoobFeed,Square Enix,

This isn't anything new and has been going on for years now. The most recent infamous example was Fallout 76. A game released in such a terrible state that it collapsed Bethesda's once glorious reputation. It was plagued with constant server issues, massive glitches, unbalanced gameplay, and lack of content. Yet this practice was a growing trend among publishers as titles like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel's Avengers, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, and so many other titles released in such a manner.

Of course, the accountability is pretty low. Often customers are given PR statements apologizing for the issues, promising to do better, and updates coming soon. With the patches for recent games titles like Marvel's Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077 looking like a novel from A Song from Fire And Ice. Serving as an outline of how unfinished these games actually were. It's become so bad that gamers are praising titles just for actually working similar to how not including microtransactions or Loot Boxes is now a marketing feature. Gamers have come to expect early access quality from AAA publishers, that's just sad.

Cyberpunk 2077,NoobFeed,CD Projekt RED,

The most recent example of this is Outriders. A game that has soared in popularity but has largely mixed reception. Many agree the looting system is one of the best but the technical qualities are simply abyssal. With gamers unable to access the game at launch because it was only online for some reason. It's not just the server problems, issues with the game's balance, crashing, and other problems are constantly surfacing. Yes, game development is hard and an extremely skilled job that takes years of dedication but is that an excuse to release a game that clearly wasn't ready for release? The answer is no when the game is not advertised as early access. The customer purchased the game expecting a finished product. Yes, games are going to have issues but when they're paramount to the game itself, like logging in, then there's no excuse. What's more confusing is the people defending these practices.

You'll constantly hear heavily biased information from some of the most dedicated buyers. Often they completely negate the criticism citing they never experienced any issues, the developers are working hard to fix the problems and even attacking those who criticized the game. There are also people from the other side who go too far and send death threats to the developers and that inexcusable as well. There's a middle ground here, where you can understand the plight of the developers working hard on resolving the issue but on the other hand annoyed that the product released in such a poor fashion. Especially when it comes from a AAA publisher who has access to tool likes testers that indie developers do not. Yet the indie market somehow is able to release more stable games than AAA companies with massive resources to test, resolve, and ensure a game's stability.

Now, there are prime examples of games turning into something great after a horrible launch. No Man's Sky is the best and most acclaimed example, a game that launched in the worst possible way but became one of the best live service titles in gaming history. So much that many point to this game's success as an example of hope for any game that releases in a similar way. This is a horrible mindset as a creates a dynamic where the hope of the future shadows the current state. That hope clouding the judgment as it manifests into things like roadmaps that promise things but do not guarantee it. Look at Anthem, the promise of a huge set of content with a roadmap after a horrible launch, canceled post-launch content, the promise of a revival like No Man's Sky, and it led nowhere.

Anthem,NoobFeed,EA,

The mentality of "Fix it Later" needs to stop but the release of Outriders coupled with the last several major releases shows it's not going to. Gamers are now being charged the full price to test early access games, given a standard apology, and forced to endure the process. Most have given up even buying games on day 1 because of this norm and perhaps that how things should be. For now, any AAA game that releases I'm just going to expect it to be an early access experience.

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Outriders

55/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): People Can Fly
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Science-Fiction
Release Date: 2020-04-01

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