I remember the days when I used to beg my mom for money for games. My collection of PlayStation 2 games reaching upwards of 60 games, all because I kept begging my mom for more. Was it an addiction? Growing up in rural Nowhere-Town, New Hampshire, absolutely it was. Sure I’d explored the woods around my house and hiked up all the beautiful nearby mountains with friends, but nothing compared to getting lost in the fantastic and fictitious worlds of video games. That sense of realism in a fantasy can exert a sense of euphoria whenever something amazing happens in a video game that could never be recreated in reality.

Video games from a little over a decade ago weren’t the graphical powerhouses like modern video games, but at the time they were cutting edge and it was too easy to get lost in their worlds. Those were the days where PS2 games were typically $20 and they came in a case (gasp!) not just some digital box in the corner on a website. Not only that, but games were much more “pick-up-and-play” back then compared to modern video games.

That’s the problem with modern gaming: a quick 1-2 hour fix turns into a 4 or 5 hour obligation as you wait for that “Day One Patch” or that “Brand New Sparkly Shiny 50 Gigabyte Glitch Update” for hours on end to “enhance” your game before you even get to watch the opening cut scene. It’s ridiculous. There have been very few games released in these past couple years that have been steady, solid releases exempt from needing a glitch-buster update/patch for months (or even at all, for that matter). We live in a generation were it’s assumed that all American citizens have access to high speed internet and that online features to games need to be integral to the process rather than just being gateways to some extra content and multiplayer. Now this is an interesting future: A future where our games are ever-evolving ecosystems rather than one-hitter stints in a series of annual games slightly upgraded each year. It sounds promising: the problem is that not all gamers have the highest of all “high speed internet” services. In other cases, if consumers do have high speed internet, they sometimes have monthly data caps (per-month units that limit the amount of internet usage capable by the consumer) which prevent from downloading these massive games and updates. These patches and updates are unwanted nuisances, annoyances, and down-right deal breakers for consumers living on budgets or consumers with disabilities that are unable to leave the house.

Games Like Assassin’s Creed Unity:

I used to be a HUGE Assassin’s Creed fan before Unity came out. I had played every single game in the series from the start on the Xbox 360 and followed the story and lore religiously. When I migrated to PC, I was extremely excited to get the best graphical experience Assassin’s Creed could offer last year. I pre-ordered the game and opened it on release day to these awful connection problems (zero multiplayer games played to this day), glitches involving the player fall through the ground/objects in the game world, terrible visual problems, etc. I kept reading up for these terrible problems (Across all platforms; on Xbox One and PlayStation 4) seeing if any of these problems had subsided or been fixed, officially or unofficially. So eventually after a week of headaches and disappointment I gave up and haven’t played since. Even today I’m still so pissed off that I won’t even try playing

This pretty much sums up my experience with Assassin’s Creed Unity…

Further Reading

“Glitch Factory” is definitely a suitable moniker for Assassin’s Creed Unity: http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/12/7204745/assassins-creed-unity-is-an-amazing-glitch-factory

Developer trickery of hiding legal agreement within “Terms & Conditions” of free game giveaway: http://www.polygon.com/2014/12/20/7427437/assassins-creed-unity-free-game-lawsuit-class-action

Halo: The Master Chief Collection:

Master Chief Collection’s Servers on Release Day

I don’t have Xbox One, but I remember playing all these games in their original versions on Xbox 360 and not experiencing a single ounce of connectivity problems. I even had terribly slow internet speed at the time, but I always ended up being able to play. It’s unfortunate that possible newcomers to the series were unable to experience the game how it should be played.

Further Reading

Opinion piece detailing problems of Master Chief Collection and their relation to Microsoft (the developer): http://gamerant.com/halo-master-chief-collection-hurt-brand-microsoft/

Article detailing recent patch and beta program for Master Chief Collection that fixed problems plaguing the games since the November 2014 release date: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/04/long-awaited-halo-the-master-chief-collection-stability-patch-arrives

Driveclub:

I know for me personally, after hearing about how online connectivity was dysfunctional for a full month after the game’s release, I chose not to buy it. Don’t get me wrong, the single player portion is awesome and Driveclub itself is beautiful looking. Hearing about how broken the game’s online connectivity was forced me not to purchase the game at all, and I know I wasn’t the only one. They even cancelled a free demo version that was supposed to release alongside the main game. Unacceptable.

Further Reading

A report on the state of Driveclub one month after the October launch date: http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2014/11/feature_whats_the_status_of_driveclub_on_ps4_a_month_after_release

An update on the indefinite delay of the PlayStation Plus Edition of Driveclub (Free/Demo version of the game) that left on-the-fence consumers stranded and dissuaded: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/free-ps-plus-driveclub-not-cancelled-sony-assures/1100-6425482/

The worst thing about these broken games is that producers and developers are indirectly seeing consumer ignorance as acceptance of these large-scale updates that make gamers like us have to wait for multiple hours before we get to play our games. Developers try to make up for these hiccups by offering free games and/or free Downloadable Content that adds to the game, but why bother when the game doesn’t work. When gamers see the word “free” they tend to skip to conclusions and hop right on the developer-redemption-train. Developers are actually just showering gamers with gifts hoping that they forget what a broken state their game is in, but it shouldn’t work.

For Assassin’s Creed Unity and all of its problems, Developer and Publisher Ubisoft Entertainment gave away tokens for a free game. This may seem like a nice gesture, but in reality it’s a legal agreement-sundae with a free-game-cherry on top, because redeeming the free game also legally binds you to Ubisoft. The free game prohibits you the right to sue Ubisoft for damages based on any technical problems associated with Assassin’s Creed Unity (This disclaimer was hidden deep within those “Terms & Conditions” that we never want to read.) Gamers are unknowingly waiving their right to compensation for wasting their money on a broken game, which is unacceptable.

Gamers need to be proactive just as much as developers need to. Gamers need to understand when they’re getting ripped off and should demand redemption or compensation for any game that is riddled with bugs and other problems that render a game unplayable. Developers need to be more proactive in testing, more vocal with updates and problems being experienced, and (most of all) need to release their games in a stable and playable format that is double and triple-checked for functionality across all devices.

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