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March 16th, 2007, 22:37
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Take Vanguard, big names involved, big publishers involved - still fairly unacceptable product quality. Of course, everyone will say that this is SOE's fault. To a certain extent sure, but indirectly it is also Sigil's fault. It's up to them to either stand up to their publisher and tell them that they won't release the game in such a state, or to look for another publisher - who else should do it? The customer?
I know that you were only using Vanguard as an example for big labels delivering bad quality (which does certainly happen from time to time) but in all fairness, I don't think that Vanguard is a good example because as far as I remember, SOE is only providing hosting and marketing for Vanguard but not full publishing (i.e. funding). That's why it would seem to me that the blame lies 100% with Sigil since they ran out of funding and decided to push the game live. Or did SOE take over more responsibilities in regards to Vanguard in recent months?

Anyway, I searched the internt for some studies about game quality, but couldn't really find much - if anyone knows of a quantitative study I'm very interested in it. It would be nice to know if this is a purely subjective impression that the quality of pc games is declining or if it is true.
You don't really need any studies if you happen to have some old print mags. I trashed mine the last time I moved but if you happen to still have some mags from the mid 90s, then feel free to grab a random issue and check out the utter crap and garbage games that were released in quantity back then.
In my subjective view, I have the impression that the quality of games has only become better over the years. Developers and publishers can't usually afford to fail. Back in the 90s when a game would cost a few 100K or a couple million $ max, it was much easier to take some chances. That doesn't happen that often anymore with the multi million $ budgets of modern games.
Of course, there are a lot of so-so mediocre games still getting released but the total stinkers (something like Dungeon Lords) are luckily few and far between now.

But drawing the piracy card on every possible occassion is pretty lame as well. Especially if you have no empirical proof. There are other possible explanations for a stagnating pc market.
Yes, but what "anti-proof" is there that piracy is not a major factor? The only "empirical" evidence that I have seen in that regard is people accusing publishers of pulling the numbers of downloads or of lost revenue out of their ass. Wow. That's some kind of proof…

BTW, what's funny in this whole context is that Funcom has just decided to go fully online (it's unknown what this means to Dreamfall episodes - the project might have been cancelled or maybe they'll make online activation mandatory).
That linked article states that Dreamfall was downloaded 200,000 times before the game was available on store shelves. Of course, Funcom might be pulling that number out of their ass, too, but what proof does anyone have who doubts their numbers?
There is a reason why publishers are so concerned about preventing "day zero" (day of release) availability of their games on Torrent sites/filesharing networks. Copy protection is not meant to prevent the copying (which is mission impossible anyway). It's just aimed at keeping the game away from the download sites for as long as possible. Every single day counts in that regard.

Funcom aside, I also find it interesting that MS Office 2007 is selling like hotcakes compared to its "prequels". That might have a lot of reasons like the revamped UI, the attractive price of the Home & Student edition etc but I have a sneaking suspicion that Microsoft's genuine advantage program might be a major factor as well. I haven't really done any extensive research on the availability of a free Office 2007 yet but I got the impression from comments on sites like Winfuture.de (a German news site dedicated to everything Windows) that tracking down a working version of Office 2007 with WGA permanently disabled is quite a pain in the ass.

Edit:
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
There's no guarantee the devs will ever come through with the fixes, of course. Some companies do a better job of that than others. Bethseda only came through with one little patch for Oblivion. Maybe someday they'll be able to afford better QA like some of the bigger companies, Atari and Lucas Arts for example.
Ummm so do we measure the quality of QA by the number of patches now?
Oblivion had a few minor annoying bugs at release but the game was fully playable out of the box. There's a reason why it didn't need a lot of patching. It was already in a very good and polished state at release.
I'm not so sure that the same can be said about some of Atari's (Boiling Point, ToEE) or LucasArts' (KotOR 2) games.
Of course, Bethesda could have and should have done a better job as well (especially with that Star Trek Legacy game from what I've read some other places) but to name Atari and LucasArts as examples of companies with good or better QA seems like a bit of a stretch to put it mildly.
Last edited by Moriendor; March 16th, 2007 at 23:16.
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