Random Babblings: Quality Control Pt.2


posted 3/17/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
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Awhile back, I wrote an article called Random Babblings: Quality Control which addressed the recent patching craze that has been hitting the PC scene as of late. While today’s article will focus on many of those same aspects it will embark upon an entirely new realm, the console realm.

That’s right, the console realm.

When Infogrames’ announced that its PC-to-Xbox port, Unreal Championship, was to ship with Xbox Live capabilities it was a double-edged sword. The good news was that it allowed online play amongst peers and for the developers to update the game with new levels, content and updates. Then there’s the bad side, it allowed the developers to release patches to fix and update their incomplete game.

Can you imagine the floodgates that have been opened? Console gamers generally expect a full and complete game when they plop down 50 of their parent’s hard-earned dollars. They don’t want to see fifteen patches released for Panty Raider, they want some hot panty action and they want it now.

Thankfully other companies have yet to follow Infogrames’ lead but can you imagine the hell that would break loose if they did? It would give companies another excuse to push more games out to retail that are horrifically incomplete or lacking in promised features. Mainly because they know that they can just push the game out now and then finish the promised features at a later date. Not good business practice if you ask us.

PC gamers have come to dread and hate patches in recent years, mainly because it gives developers an excuse to hotshot their games to retail without thoroughly testing and scrutinizing their product. The recently released Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is a perfect example of this. On the week of the game’s release, a developer logged on to the forums and announced that a patch would be available on the day of the game’s launch. Alright we’ve come to accept and maybe even expect that, but what happened next was both unexpected and unprecedented.

Our resident hardware guru, John Yan, received the review product a few days later. He downloaded the aforementioned patch and booted up the game only to be faced with: A)an excellent and compelling game b)a rushed PC to Xbox port or c)a random crash that even the tech geeks at Ubi Soft couldn’t diagnose. If you chose C then you’re absolutely right. After spending numerous hours on the phone with the tech geeks at Ubi Soft, John decided to take matters into his own hands.

He was forced to take out his Abit Motherboard and GeForce4 and replace it with a lesser Motherboard and an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 9700. You’d think that someone would take the time to test the game with a hardware configuration mentioned on the box right? I mean the nVidia logo is plastered all over the box and the GeForce4 is in the recommended hardware box. Apparently there’s not enough time to assure that gamers won’t run into problems with the company’s own recommended configuration.
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