Wired's Chris Kohler writes:
"Should game developers plan on patching promised features into their games instead of shipping them on the disc?
I don't know, so I'm fighting it out with myself.
Microsoft said Friday that its upcoming Xbox 360 game Fable II won't feature the game's cooperative online play mode at launch. Instead, the company will add the feature later via a patch, which developer Lionhead is hoping will be ready for the first week of the game's availability.
This news comes, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, immediately following Sony's announcement that its PlayStation 3 game LittleBigPlanet will not include its online cooperative game creation mode out of the box. It, too, will come in the form of a patch "as quickly as possible."
The news here isn't that developers are promising things that they cannot deliver before the game's release date. That's been happening like clockwork ever since videogames were invented. The news is that rather than delaying the games further, both Sony and Microsoft are choosing to release incomplete products early, on the assumption that they will be able to complete the games' development soon after the disc has been pressed.
Since I can't decide whether this will be overall good or bad, I have decided to hold a point-counterpoint on the issue, below. I will be arguing both sides."