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.