Patch This

When was the last time a big game released and worked perfectly out of the box on all systems? I’m not too certain, actually. However, when was the last time a big game released and didn’t work perfectly out of the box on all systems? Yesterday. Modern Warfare 2 was that game, and it had a couple of problems in the PS3 version (predictably) – the trophy list didn’t always appear in your trophies (so you couldn’t earn any silverware) and the game invites just plain didn’t work.

The trophy list bug has already been patched, whilst the game invites should be patched ‘by Friday’, but that isn’t the point – this shouldn’t have happened anyway.

Yet it continues to happen, as sure as the sun rise is followed by my morning dump, big games continue to be a little bit gimped when it comes to the PS3 versions. And it’s not just multi-platform titles either, even first party mega-releases manage to be a little bit broken, such as Uncharted 2’s matchmaking taking somewhere in the vicinity of an era to actually make some matches, and Fat Princess being so laggy it made everyone teleport around like Nightcrawler, it’s all too common and completely unacceptable.

The Playstation 3 has been out for a long time now (it’s definitely been at least a week), so surely developers should be proficient enough by now to make everything work properly when their game releases? Server overload when a game releases just shouldn’t be happening any more, yet when these online games do release we get told that the demand for the game was unexpected, so the servers have gone tits up. They might not phrase it like that.

This isn’t exclusive to games, either – Microsoft botched their release of the Sky Player for Xbox 360 last week, which resulted in the service being taken down (with the exact reason given above) and rolled out to progressively more people over the following days.

We’re living in patch-heavy days, and I’m not happy about that. If I’ve just bought a game I shouldn’t have to patch it a day after I’ve bought it. In fact, the ideal situation would be that I don’t have to patch it at all. Sure, games these days use so much code and everything else that it’s pretty much impossible to iron out every tiny bug before release, but when a game just plain doesn’t work online, I begin to wonder if these games are being subject to anywhere near the amount of testing they should be before release.

This is unforgivable, Microsoft. Yes, Sony, you’re unforgiven too (was that a Metallica reference?). Third parties may have an excuse, even if it is a flimsy one, but first parties do not even have that tiny defense. Sony; Microsoft; sort yourselves out, we are not here to be post-release QA.