Pachter Vs Gamers’ Voice

A few days ago I reported that UK pressure group ‘Gamers’ Voice’ was reporting Activision to the authorities for what they considered unacceptable amounts of bugs in Black Ops. Many of you posted your thoughts on the problem (in fact it’s the mosted commented item this week) so here is an update.

Shortly after Gamers’ Voice published their intention,s Michael Pachter waded in to the argument and described Gamers’ Voice as ‘crybabies’ and suggested that MP Tom Wilson should concentrate on running the country rather than moaning about Black Ops. Pachter’s comments could be summed up as ‘a bit bitchy’, arguing that the release of bugged games is neither rare nor unacceptable. Gamers’ Voice responded to Pachter with a new statement:

His comments are inaccurate and insulting to computer and video game consumers with his reaction describing Gamers’ Voice as little more than ‘cry babies’. This presents the gaming industry as both arrogant and uncaring to the audience it serves.

He hasn’t even bothered to do any research into who we are, or what we do. This is clearly evident in the final piece of the Inc Gamers piece in which Pachter refers to Tom Watson MP. Since founding Gamers’ Voice Tom Watson has not been involved in the day to day running of our group since he is far too busy doing his actual job of being a politician and representing the people who elected him.

Pachter has now responded again, obviously a bit miffed that Gamers’ Voice has suggested he does not do his research. He has said his original comments were based on information given by people requesting his point of view, hence the inaccuracies. He has now completed his own research and published another lengthy statement and I have highlighted some key passages below.

Please ensure there are no sharp objects nearby before proceeding. Suggest you also find an inanimate object to shout at.

Now that I have had the opportunity to take their comments into consideration, I think that I may have insulted all crybabies by using that word to describe Gamers’ Voice. They seem genuinely unaware about standards for product performance in the UK and elsewhere; products must perform adequately, not flawlessly, unless there are safety or health concerns.

As far as I am aware, none of the bugs in Black Ops cause people to have seizures, so I’m pretty sure that health is not a concern. I am also not aware of any issues with safety, unless the Gamers’ Voice organization is concerned that the overweight segment of the gaming population might suffer if they have to arise from the sofa to re-boot their PS3s when they seize up.

Deep breaths everyone, deep breaths.

I’m sure that more quality control could eliminate bugs ahead of time, but more quality control takes time, and could cause launch dates to be missed. The publishers are in the business of selling games at a profit, and they have clearly determined that it is more cost effective (and hence more profitable) to patch errors after the fact than to delay release dates and patch them ahead of time.

Is Pachter actually implying that Activision knowingly published a broken game to generate profit and they would fix the bugs in Black Ops after launch? Expect a response from Activision very shortly.

In his previous ‘unresearched’ comments Pachter had suggested it’s the job of ‘the specialist press’ (that’s us) to point out bugs during reviews.

I appreciate that Gamers’ Voice doesn’t agree with my view that the specialist press is responsible to point out errors, but their “laughable” comment is not only insulting, but plainly shows how ill equipped they are to represent their constituency.

The ONLY purpose of game review sites is to help gamers make decisions about which games to play, and they generally do a great job of highlighting problems with games.

Note to TSA Staff: Please remember to submit your bug reports to the relevant publishers when reviewing games. Pachter does (finally) make one sensible point:

It’s not my job to be concerned about the gaming audience, but it is DEFINITELY the publishers’ job to be concerned. If they alienate their customers, they won’t be as profitable.

Lets be very clear, Pachter is not speaking on behalf of Activision but he’s certainly doing a great job for their PR department. He ends with the following

Given the number of hours spent playing Black Ops, Gamers’ Voice faces an impossible task in attempting to convince regulators that the game is not fit for its intended purpose; in the absence of health or safety concerns, its plans to report Activision to government agencies is destined to go nowhere.

Sadly I’m inclined to agree with him, millions of people seem to be playing Black Ops without problems, if Gamers’ Voice had gone after a less popular title or smaller publisher they might have stood chance.

Whatever the outcome, Gamers’ Voice has certainly raised the issue of bugged games. It’s not just the readers of TSA who are angry, the story has been a hot topic right across the internet and with Pachter now suggesting British gamers are fat and lazy and that publishers should release bugged games and fix them later because it’s more cost effective, you can bet this story will continue to rumble on.

One final thought: Pachter doesn’t care what you (or indeed TSA) think about him and has stated many times ‘It’s my job to advise investors, and many of my clients are owners of Activision stock.’ If that is true why does he continually respond to requests from gaming websites for quotes and opinions? He even has his own ‘Pach Attack’  video show. Perhaps he should just shut up and get on with his job? I bet Activision PR would be very grateful if he did.

Source: CVG


  1. He clearly doesn’t care what people think of him, it’d be a very tough life if he did considering how much he clearly likes to make enemies of the media and the general consumers. Personally I don’t know what world this guy is living in, but I’d sure like to get a glimpse of it.

  2. Patcher is a financial analyst. His job is to advise large multi-national companies how they can capitalise on successful products (Case in point: Activision with the COD franchise). A shame though that he doesn’t have the same skills in public relations, as he seems to be further aggravating the whole argument now to a new level.

    • Then maybe he should advise them not to release big ridden messes, sure, COD has sold well this time but people will remember next time and may not bother for fear of getting the same results. Financial analysists like Patcher never seem to look to the future and are a ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, and divert the water (blame) onto someone else’ type of person. Which isn’t what I’d personally like from an adviser.

      • I can see one problem with your argument; we don’t know who else he works for, so he could be taking a different approach from this altogether with another company. Also, he’s an analyst, not a QA tester.

      • He does “It’s not my job to be concerned about the gaming audience, but it is DEFINITELY the publishers’ job to be concerned. If they alienate their customers, they won’t be as profitable”

        I read that as thinly vieled advice that Activion need to handle this situation, even if Gamers Voice don’t have a point, there is the perception that they do, which Acti need to handle, whether its by conceding to gamers, or making the best gaem eva… they need to do something to nip this anti-acti feeling before it goes any further.

  3. His last quote is probably the most sound.

    Given the millions or billions of hours sunk into BlOps on the PS3 it would very difficult to legally define it as not fit for purpose.

    Gamers Voice are on a losing wicket there and they would have been better off talking about it being inferior and trying to hammer that point home, not that I’ve seen any problems over & above any other cross-platform game.

    • On the contrary, if you add up my blops playtime and my blops playtime of matches that I managed to finish, there would be a major difference.

      I wouldn’t be bothered if the issues were slightly less bad and across all consoles, but it does seem that they developed for xbox and tried to make it work on ps3.

      • QUOTE “On the contrary, if you add up my blops playtime and my blops playtime of matches that I managed to finish, there would be a major difference.”

        So True. I think i just made my mind up concerning the new map pack and other COD releases!

    • My problem with this is obviously no COD is going to be absolutely unusable, and even if people got kicked out of games every 30 minutes due to some glitch they’d still play.

      My wife recently bought a digital clock and the backlight didn’t work. She was going to keep it anyway but i insisted she return it for one that works. But most people just wouldn’t bother. Does the fact that most people would still use the product mean companies shouldn’t be held responsible for faulty products?

  4. Haha lol, Pachter is a hero. That comment on obese gamers having to get up from the couch made my day.

  5. Patching Pachter prefers profit over performance.

  6. His comments stink of extreme arrogance and give the impression that because Call of Duty games are so popular that it shouldn’t matter sort of state they’re in, the public should be grateful that Activision let them play it :/

    While his ‘hours played’ comment makes sense, perhaps he should take into account that when people have spent a decent amount of money on something they want to feel it was worthwhile. If the game were bugless, the total hours played would be similar if not exactly the same, and its lifecycle will remain the same.

    What benefit do Acti get for pushing Treyarch to fix the issues, the game is over 1/4 of the way through it’s lifecycle now, and spending time fixing it won’t mean more sales.

    They could release a game-breaking patch tomorrow and it’d still be the #2 game in the chart the following week.

    Arrogance on the subject from those in some form of power is only to be expected when the game is figuratively bullet-proof.

    • I know you’re not, but its very easy to be angry at Pachter’s comments and attribute Acti which only adds to the anti-acti ‘noise’

      He does say: it is DEFINITELY the publishers’ job to be concerned. If they alienate their customers, they won’t be as profitable

      I read into that he is warning the financial bods (decision makers) at Acti that if they don’t take action either on a ‘implementing quality code’ or a PR level it will bite them in the ass by taking future earnings out of their wallets

      • I agree it’s all too easy to attribute Acti in with comments about Pachter, he just knows how to annoy people. In fact, I’m pretty sure he does so in order to better advise clients on their financials in the business.

        It’s just too difficult to talk about Pachter, Call of Duty, and customer relations without having an unintentional jab at Acti ;)

    • QUOTE “Arrogance on the subject from those in some form of power is only to be expected when the game is figuratively bullet-proof.”

      Correct, but it only means they fall further when no one buys the next title

      • Sales will still be astronomical though, that’s what makes it bullet-proof. It’s hard to see what will put a dent in the yearly Call of Duty sales short of them deciding that ‘war aint cool bro’, and make a game about rabbits instead.

      • If the quality of the games continue to fall, then it’ll cause sales to fall and hurt their wallets. That how it could happen.

  7. Maximum trolling right here. He has a fair point about reviwers jobs to point bugs out, and that it’s the publishers problem. The rest of it just makes him look like a nob though.

  8. He makes himself look very stupid with the comments about seizures, etc. This is about a quality of service. Sony have re-issued Blu-rays when they weren’t up to scratch (The Fifth Element). Recalls happen all of the time, sadly. However, the gaming industry lives in a highly privileged world where most things can be patched over the wire.

    Ultimately, the franchise is so massive that even people that find themselves turned off from forthcoming titles will barely make a dent in profits. However, reputation is a fairly powerful force and he’s right to surreptitiously warn them to do their best to release solid and (relatively) bug-free titles.

  9. i dont really give a toss about this w***er either, developers always make the ps3 version weaker cause they are lazy f***s thats why i am never buying cross platform games again unless they are superior on ps3, so cod can go f*** its self as far as im concerned.

    • Developers aren’t lazy (well, some might be). Sadly, the PS3 is trickier to code for with its custom architecture and getting a multi-platform game out on the Xbox (and something like the PC) is basically easier. Seeing as those developers need paying, the publisher/studio needs to call it a day when it comes to tweaking – regardless of platform. Frustratingly, PS3 titles get it in the neck more often than not.

      However, I share your sentiment with Pachter being a wanker. He really does come across as a complete pleb sometimes. :-)

  10. Pachter seems bizarrely hostile from the off, no wonder Gamers Voice retaliated. His comments about health warnings being the only way to get attention is fairly inaccurate though, there is a big difference between something not working as advertised and something blowing your hand off. There are a massive amount of people that play Blops online though, so I do agree that Gamers Voice haven’t got a strong argument. That said, it does help raise awareness that releasing broken games isn’t necessarily a practice we have to put up with, which is commendable.

    People have stated COD is bulletproof, which I would agree with for the time being, but ultimately fans will grow tired of even the most popular series if they feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth. Just look at once dominating series like Tomb Raider, all it takes is a few bad games for you to lose your grip on the market. Whilst this certainly isn’t a strong blow against Acti, it is certainly one they should take note of.

Comments are now closed for this post.