Last year was marred by a number of major video games releasing in varying states of disrepair. Whether it was online woes or hilarious bugs, it was not the best year for the developers responsible, nor was it for the consumers stuck with busted games.

Why, though, is it happening? Why are companies risking their credibility and consumer base by releasing expensive titles that are in some cases fundamentally flawed?

It's a question Alex Wawro tackles in this Gamasutra blog, one that's summed up perfectly by its use of this image, by consultant Clinton Keith:


That chart doesn't apply to every game — some major series' problems can be down to design decisions rather than technical flaws — but it gets the basic point right.

The point being that the chart doesn't have a beginning or end that can be neatly tackled. For businesses to improve on their end they'd need to free themselves from a reliance on shipping big games in the holiday season regardless of whether they're ready or not. For consumers to make their feelings truly known they'd need to stop falling for the same old shit every year instead of continually paying up then complaining on forums.


Let's get real: neither of those things are in danger of happening any time soon. Publishers run on money, and they make the most money in the holiday season. We all love video games, and to not buy the big video games we so often want to play is a pretty drastic step.

And so the cycle keeps on spinning. What's most depressing about it all is not how things currently are, but how things might end up in only a few years' time.

"Even the largest publishers aren't prepared to take a bath on today's mega-titles," says Keith Fuller in Wawro's post. "When I was at Raven Software we had an Activision C-level executive visit us and explain during a Q&A that, were it up to him, he never would've greenlit Uncharted 2 because there wasn't enough profit in it."