Published on May 19th, 2014 | by Thinkbad Monkey

Game Delays – the new reality?

Console development has always been a good thing. Whether people think that the Wii U is a pile of rubbish or not, the fact that companies continue to innovate their technologies brings us more and more as gamers. One of the biggest developments in recent history has been the connectivity of these consoles to allow us to play our friends online and bring the world together to play against anyone. This is ultimately a great thing, but like many great things, their are side effects that can leave a nasty taste in your mouth, or give you a nasty rash.

Once upon a time, if a company released a game before it was ready then it was going to be a bad game, there was nothing that they could do about it. That’s why we saw games such as E.T produced in mere weeks and be realised to such criticism. The only option when that was the case was to bury them all in the desert. But not today, with our consoles constantly connected, the developer can release a buggy game and then fix it post launch. Take Battlefield 4 as the biggest case of this in the last year. EA would have known that the game was not ready to go out, but they did it anyway, creating an even worse name for themselves now than they already had. Thanks to our content connection DICE were able to fix many of the issues and actually give gamers the game they paid £50 for rather than a buggy mess.

It’s when moving on to some other high profile cases that we take a look at the ‘Delay’ of a video game. Of course we are all thinking of Watch Dogs here and on the verge of its release, we have to remind ourselves that this was supposed to come out months ago, a launch titles for the new consoles no less. Move forward a few months and we have another couple of hight profile games delayed, both The Elder Scrolls online (Console Edition) and Dying Light. In all of these cases, the developers have justified their decisions to delay that games as a needed move in order to make sure the game is as perfect as they can get it. Either features that they want to make perfect need some time or they just want to add some more finishing touches on what they already have. This trend of delays ends up giving me mixed feelings. It’s great that these developers are taking time to fix the game to makes sure that they don’t release a game with lots of issues, relying on post launch patches to make the game bearable. However, there is a trust issue what will start to emerge here. How do we know what they are really just ‘polishing’ and not trying to fix the complete mess that may be their game. The more and more developers that delay their games will just hurt the relationship they have with the gamers and while we may end up with better games, there will be a lot of mixed feelings in the middle.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this issue. STOP MARKETING THE GAMES SO HEAVILY BEOFRE YOU CAN GUARANTY THE RELEASE DATE! Look, we don’t mind too much if the game is delayed a little bit, especially if we are going to get a much better game because of it, but don’t tease us just to rip the toy away when it is in arms reach, that’s just mean people. Hype is important for a video game launch but unless developers and publishers can communicate to control the timing of that hype, it can not only damage the games chances but also the relationship the industry has with the gamers.

About the Author

Thinkbad Monkey

Like every self proclaimed gaming enthusiast, Alex has been gaming for most of his life. Starting with Spyro the Dragon on the origional PlayStation, dishing out all kinds of pain to Robots and Monsters alike, he has never looked back. As well as console you will most likely find Alex playing his Vita or iPhone having fallen in love with handheld gaming, making the morning commute fun.His favorite games include: TimeSplitters, Bioshock, Left 4 Dead and Bastion.

  • I’m not really worried about delays, I much prefer them to ‘rush it out and maybe patch it later’ because they don’t always patch properly e.g. Test Drive Unlimited 2 needs a minor fix or two but I don’t think the developer exists anymore.

    ‘Patch it later’ has become the norm for some publishers ever since they thought they could get away with it, which isn’t really fair on those that launch more professionally because I don’t buy at launch anymore, I have to wait and see what state any game is in before I’ll part cash for it and that can take a few days/weeks/months. Battlefield 4 still doesn’t sound up to scratch for me so I still haven’t bothered.

    Marketing tends to run on one fixed timetable, development on another continually stretching one unless the publisher is the developer, so marketing followed by a delay will impossible to avoid, you’re gonna have to live with it and just learn to ignore release dates. It’ll be out when it’s out. Even then sometimes it isn’t, I remember when the first container ship load of Two Worlds Two en route to Europe got damaged and a release date set in concrete had to be pushed back again. Fun times.

    • Alecs Pillik

      Delays have always been an issue for me. Nowadays it just seems as though they’re damned if they do or damned if they don’t. Get a buggy game out ‘on time’ and you’re criticised for the bugs (almost every EA game) push the date back on release because the game is buggy and you get criticised for not delivering.

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