Love And Hate In Gaming or "How I Wish I Had A Spine."
I usually don't go for this blogging foolishness but since I can't seem to satisfactorily take out my frustrations on the objects of my ire, then I will simply post this rant, if you will. My frustration deals mainly with the complete disaster that Grand Theft Auto Online is, but it all comes back to the ridiculous amount of BS that game developers and publishers get away with in the industry and how we as consumers are simply enabling more of it.
So before anyone starts mouthing off in their head about my rant being "immature" or that I'm "crying" about something, let me inform you that I will be 40 years old next year, I have a family and I work hard for my own money. I think I have every right in this world to gripe when I feel my money is not being valued as highly as I value it. I'm also a believer in the "the higher the highs, the lower the lows" type of thing. If GTA Online wasn't so good when it's good, I don't think the low points would be nearly as frustrating. Before anyone says something to the effect of "Well, they told you there would be problems so you should have expected it.", the very fact that we as consumers would accept such a foolish notion is precisely what I am ranting about.
With that said, let's look at the issue at hand. How many times have you bought a game that claimed one thing or another and yet did not meet that standard for one reason or another? How many times have you seen blatant false advertising? How many times have you felt like you paid $60 for the privilege of being a beta tester? How many games can you think of that were quite simply, broken when released? I can think of quite a few.
SOCOM Confrontation is probably the first I encountered this gen. It advertised things on the box that were not implemented for months. I don't recall the exact timeframe but it seems to me it was over a year before everything was accounted for. The other one that sticks out in my mind was my purchase of Flashpoint: Dragon Rising with it's claim of "Wage open warfare across all 220 KM2 of Skira." That simply was not in the game as there was no open world or "free roam" mode in the game. When people raised hell about it, they finally released a free roam mode but you had to pay for it as DLC and the map was basically empty with no way to "wage open warfare" on anything. How many people were disappointed with Borderland's 2 and their "Season Pass" that didn't quite last as long as what other season passes had set a precedent for? Anyone buy Gearbox's Colonial Marines? I'm sorry if you did. And just so I'm not picking on consoles only, how many of you have bought games from Steam that simply do not work even though your system meets the minimum specs only to get blown off by their tech support?
These are the type of things I am upset about. Why is it in the gaming industry that we have pretty much accepted the fact that games are going to release with bugs and need a patch day one, day two and/or day three? If these were toaster ovens that would require repairs before we could ever use them, no one would ever buy them, so why does gaming get a free ride? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a company making good on a product and patching things wrong with a game is fine, but the fact that we accept this as "normal" that every game released today is expected to need a patch and it expected to "have a few bugs" and that the online launch is going to be a crap-fest is simply sad. If this were any other industry consumers would not put up with it for long but with gaming, it seems to be getting worse with consumers and developers fighting for the title of "Most Apathetic" about these issues.
So why do we do it? Why don't we take a stand? I'll tell you why, because we love gaming. We love running around in our favorite military shooter and getting kills and having those awesome moments that you can't wait to tell your friends about. We love playing as Trevor in GTA5 and listening to him rant and rave about things that probably should turn our stomach. We love the sights, the sounds, the experiences and we can't get that anywhere else. So where so we draw the line? Will a developer stand up and say, "No! We will no longer release games that have major flaws and we will not advertise features that are not in the game on release." Somehow I doubt it. Will gamers take a stand and refuse to pay for things not in evidence? Well some have but not nearly enough to make a difference.
So there is my rant. I know some of you will blow it off and some may not have experienced many of these issues so it may not seem a big deal but for those like me that feel like every time we preorder a game or buy on new near release, so we can experience everything along with our family and friends, we get that, "Crap, I should have waited until this came down in price or was patched up into something worth playing" feeling. Or maybe the "Why in the hell do I support these people with my money?!?!?" feeling. At the same time I myself am conflicted by the fact that I have BF4 and a PS4 preordered and I can't quite bring myself to cancel either even though somewhere deep down I know that all that hype has a cold, black heart at it's center just waiting to seemingly bring it all down. So where does it all end? I for one, have no answer.