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"It Meets Our Quality Standards" - General Rant About PR Nonsense

I saw some articles over the past couple of days talking about things like the new Assassin's Creed game coming out this year, Sony's DS4 controller issues, etc.. and a common phrase keeps popping up in my head. Whenever consumers voice complaints about the overall quality of a product, doesn't matter what the industry is, 90% of the time the PR response will be something along the lines of "We're sorry for any inconvenience you've had, this is a minor/isolated incident and we assure you that our products meet all of our standards for quality."

Now, I want to talk to you suits for a second. Your standards for quality are completely irrelevant. You're lying through your teeth and you know it. What you actually mean is "we did a cost/benefit ratio study and we found that our product 'works' at this minimum price for manufacturing it."

See, we aren't stupid. We've all seen that the quality of all kinds of products has greatly diminished over the years, while the price for said products has either remained the same, or increased. Every time we see this happen, it's met with the same message of said products meeting quality standards. Personally speaking, I can only conclude that either the company has lowered their standards, or they are just lying through their teeth. Probably both.

Look at the status of games today. While not yet an epidemic across the board, games like AC Unity are becoming more and more common. Heck, it started before AC Unity. Remember Skyrim on PS3? How about Dragon Age Inquisition? The Standards of Quality don't seem to be there, and if they are then they don't move beyond asking "does the character move? yes? sell it."

I saw an article saying that Ubisoft Montreal knew that Unity was broken and still launched it anyway because a delay would hurt the next game they were working on. This sounds like they are more concerned with the games they haven't released yet than they are the ones they are about to, but in reality quality is not something they care about at all. Timetable is. I've seen enough reused architecture and other assets across multiple AC games to know that they are cutting corners and phoning stuff in but still charging $60 plus now adding microtransactions for unfinished games.

You have people telling us that we should be paying developers more for games because they cost so much more to make. Barring the fact that that's not actually true, as if you look at the biggest games going back to the PS1 era, you'll see that after inflation the development costs are pretty much on par; and also not counting the fact that marketing and distribution budgets are drastically bloated for many games, there is a question that needs to be asked. Why is the gaming industry the only industry where consumers pay full price for half finished products or products that don't function to their fullest when released?

This wasn't even always the case with gaming. Anyone that owns a Super Nintendo knows that it's the Nokia phone of consoles. You could drop a nuke on that thing and it would still work. These days we have consoles you can't move an inch while on without worrying about it scratching your game disc, or consoles with such low quality solder that the chips inside shift and render your console useless.

Is that what passes for "quality" these days?

Returning to games for a minute, some people will say that games like AC need a break to get better. I'm sorry but that's not the problem. The problem with all quality issues is slightly about timing, but more about people. Say AC took a 10 year break. Say Ubisoft didn't change their staff much during that time. Do you think 10 years from now that that staff filled with people who have bad ideas and rush timetables will make a better AC game than they used to? I don't. Good games come from good ideas. Good ideas come from smart people. Smart people foster the good ideas of other smart people. Ubisoft, and other big publishers, are filled with too many people. There are too many egos and executives in the way. Poor communication and a rushed timetable will always mean a poorly made product, and then we get to hear the same answer when the inevitable complaints come up.

"This product meets our quality standards."

Well, I'm the one paying you the money for a game, that means it had better meet MY quality standards. Yours are irrelevant.

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TFJWM2228d ago

Good blog. Can't really expect more from PR people sadly. They are never going to say there is a manufacturing issue, I'm not sure MS even ever admitted with RRoD.

Unfinished games I see still releasing for abit. Even the ones like Unity sold well enough that we won't see a change till one of these broken games is a total flop.

The most expensive games thou are def alot more now even adjusted for inflation. Besides like FFXII and Shunmue pretty much all the others are "modern" games. I have nothing against DLC in general just bad DLC which they cut out just to make a few extra bucks.

barb_wire2228d ago

You could write an entire sequel blog on Bethesda's games on the PS3 - as totally broken products and their complete lack of interest in fixing them.

magiciandude2228d ago

If their quality standards are on par with cheap go phones sold at Walmart, then PR statements like these are right on the mark.

DragonKnight2228d ago

Pretty much. What we can say for certain is that their quality standards are fluid. They don't demand the best, they demand sufficient.

HonestDragon2228d ago

Nice rant, haha. I agree with you that the PR nonsense that gets regurgitated toward consumers is ridiculous. The number of games that have multiple performance issues at launch is unacceptable. You would think some companies know better, but it's like you said that companies, "are filled with too many people".

That sentence harkens back some old memories and experiences of mine when working at a hardware store in my college days. I used to be in maintenance with a crew of four people. We didn't really have a direct manager or crew "leader" to answer to. We just did our checklist of responsibilities for the day, decided who does what, and let the store manager know when we were heading on home. It was all simple.

Until the higher ups (a.k.a corporate) came by and started telling the people in charge of the store that some things needed to change. The release of one of our crew, the increase of responsibilities, the fluctuation of hours spent at the store per day, and the questionable tactics of cutting corners led to many of us quitting. The money was good, but not good enough to put up with being told what to do by X amount of managers and the poor communication that resulted from those decisions by corporate and the store head honchos.

So the whole "quality meeting our standards" bit does exist everywhere. In that example I gave, the quality wasn't being met by my team. Our interests and way of life was being tossed to the side to meet corporate's idea of "quality". Needless to say, many companies need to think about restructuring the way they do business because their strategies affect everyone.

DragonKnight2228d ago

I've always agreed with the idea of businesses becoming too big for their own good. It just causes way too many problems, and the people who go to school to be CEOs never understand what actually happens on a field level or how damaging their policies can be.

HonestDragon2224d ago

That is very true. The top dogs (if you will) aren't at the ground level. They don't know what managers with managers with associates are doing or how they are conducting business. It's like a neverending roller coaster of positions within a company. You have go through a lot of highs and lows before getting to the ground to see the effect. A company's initial vision can be severely compromised due to hidden agendas of other level staff.

DragonKnight2224d ago

Makes me appreciate shows like Undercover Boss, even though I'm sure that it's as fake as any other reality show. It at least shows an example of what a higher up could be experiencing if they saw how their companies actually worked on the working class level.

Lukejrl2226d ago

My response to their quality standards statement would be "so you admit you have low standards? because you know that is what we are discussing?" or "saying your standards are high when your product says otherwise tells me your pr company is also low standard"


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