Monday, November 20, 2006

The curse of updating

Today the NY Times had a review of the PS3, it wasn't nice. To sum it up:

"Measured in megaflops, gigabytes and other technical benchmarks, the PlayStation 3 is certainly the world’s most powerful game console. It falls far short, however, of providing the world’s most engaging overall entertainment experience."
I had a chance to play the system this weekend and it isn't a mind-blowing leap of technology either. We're all going to have to admit at some point that we've reached the point of diminishing return on pixels and graphics. Adding another million pixels here or there is just a drop in the pond and quite frankly, the graphics pond still looks kinda stiff. In the next generation, maybe we should spend some time on AI or god-forbid, gameplay mechanics instead.

Sorry, let me get back on topic. So the main criticism in the NY Times article is the feeling that Sony "settled" on the usability of the system. The interface, online features and hardware add-ons fall short of the competition (namely Xbox360). There does, however, appear to be hope as Sony can update the system at a later time. And here's where my rant comes.

We have settled for incomplete/terminally buggy games for a while now. We inevitably download the patch and cross our fingers because we had no choice; they didn't tell us on the box it was version 0.8. Now we have hardware guys telling us they'll fix it later, just use what you got for now. That's ridiculous.

The Internet is for porn (if you don't know this reference, YouTube it), not for missing deadlines and getting do-overs. It's shameful that we buy a piece of hardware and we still can't be certain we've got a finished product. (Speaking of unfinished, I'm still fuming from KOTOR 2) Updates should be reserved for additional content or for very peculiar bugs that developers just couldn't have anticipated (like that gamer that gets stuck behind a wall after spending 50 hours trying to figure out how to get stuck behind a wall). What they're doing is sloppy, I'm going to call it slopdating.

We can't allow this to keep happening. You don't buy a shirt and expect buttons to come later. You don't buy a car and hope the braking system is the most recent version for that model. We have to take a stand and start boycotting products. In fact, in protest, I'm not going to buy a PS3 for at least another 3 weeks. That'll show em!

(What? Did you really think there's going to be a solution? No one is going to boycott a game or a system because slopdating is what we do nowadays. That door is open and no one has the power (or willpower) to close it. I just wanted to rant.)

[If you think boycotting is for pussies: Go ahead and get your PS3, then smash it. Brought to you by the guys from that site that likes to wreck expensive stuff for your viewing pleasure. No, I'm not going to link them because every time they break something, an angel gets a hernia.]


Anonymous said...

This is exactly my problem with the new generation of gaming. In fact, I often muse on the topic with friends, co-workers, and family. With the advent of online gaming, it is just so much easier to release an unfinished book and patch it only as people notice them. Really, even if I had the money to get the PS3, I would still choose the Wii over it simply because of the small hard drive. I think by including a mere 512MB as oppossed to 20GB and 60GB hard drives, Nintendo has ensured that both patches and dowloadable content won't be abused. I mean, look at what EA is doing with some of their popular series, like Madden NFL 07. Really, nickel and diming people to death like that would be impossible on the Wii, unless they include it on the disc already...and by that point, they've already given it away once the hackers get a hold of it.

What bothers me most is when a game comes out and, within a day of being released, the developer reveals that they have been aware of the problem and are already working on the solution. While I am happy that they are at least working on it (in some cases) the fact that they would knowingly release a broken product is beyond my reasoning. Does anybody else remember when going gold actually meant the game was finished? I miss those days...and I fear the ones when we will have to start paying for those patches. I know it sound farfetched, but look at a game like Dead Rising, where Capcom is not working on a patch for the tiny text. They've deemed it unnecessary and, in the future, I can honestly see them charging for those nonessentials.

Oh, well, this is why I prefer my handhelds to anything else...

Anonymous said...

By "book", I of course mean "game." -_-

Ken said...

Charging for bug fixes. Wow, I didn't think it would come to that but what you're saying seem plausible in the future. Ugh!