THE BUZZ: A number of developers have expressed their hope that the next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony will be more open, allowing on-the-fly updates and content additions.
PC games can be updated cheaply with relative ease, allowing for quick fixes whenever issues arise and speedy delivery of new content. However, on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 currently there is a lot of red tape to get through. Developers worry that this could lower the quality of console games and that gamers are getting a rough deal.
“It’s sometimes expensive, there’s an awful lot of bureaucracy, even when you want to do quite small things,” David Polfeldt of Ubisoft Massive told Gamasutra. “If I agree with [a suggested fix], I start to think ‘Oh yeah, to change that I would have to — oh s**t, it’s just too much work.’ And I won’t change it even if I think [the feedback] is right.”
“I think that’d be really helpful [if the consoles were more open], because certainly we’re seeing a change in models in games toward more freemium content, and a quicker response to your community,” agreed Crytek’s global business development director Carl Jones. “We’re always going to need quality control. We’re going to need a decent submission process, to get the first version of a game out, and make sure it’s solid and everyone gets a good experience. But during that period, if developers can be generating content that they know they can shoot out really quickly, on demand, well, I think the tail of that game becomes longer, the overall revenue from that game becomes higher, and everybody wins.”
EGM’s TAKE: One major problem that console gamers have is the long wait time for any new game patch, it can take up to two weeks from the time the patch is submitted until it finally being pushed live. This isn’t good enough for both players and developers. If the bug is game breaking then people will simply stop playing the game and move on rather than wait two weeks, pretty much ending that game’s lifespan. Instant patches and content updates would ensure that bugs are squashed quickly and the experience is up-to-scratch. There’s not much worse than a new game launching with major bugs in it, just ask the Test Drive Unlimited 2 development team.