Topic of the Week: Are delays for the best? | PCGamesN

Topic of the Week: Are delays for the best?

Topic of the Week: Are delays for the best?

So a little game called Street Fighter V came out recently, and it’s got quite a few people annoyed. Despite scoring very highly among professional critics, many areas of the game are, quite simply, broken. Here on PC, we’re seeing issues with matchmaking, arcade stick support, and even basic things like screen resolutions. It’s all very frustrating.

Perhaps some of the titles in our list of upcoming PC games could do with a delay?

After chatting with Ben, we both agreed that Street Fighter V could have done with a hefty delay. If it took them six months - a year even - the condition it launched it would have been significantly better, and the public outcry wouldn’t be there to tarnish the game’s otherwise solid reputation. 

But are delays the way to go? Is spending six months in an isolated environment the best way to find bugs and squash them, when you could have untold thousands of players finding them for you? If you make sure you’re well-connected to the community and issue patches swifty, is getting the game out there in the wild actually the best thing for it? Afterall, a full retail release is going to draw more people than your specialised beta test…

Then of course there’s impatient players who just need to get their hands on the game as soon as possible. They’re an important demographic too, right? 

So what do you think? Are teething bugs just something we have to deal with in this modern age of ambitious game development, or should games be permanently held back in the dark until the day they’re guaranteed to work flawlessly? Fire your opinions at us in the comments. 

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Shriven avatar[GM] SocietyX avatarJoel Gregory avatarEl Burrito avatarPhil Iwaniuk avatar
Shriven Avatar
2 Years ago

For the customer? Yes,

[GM] SocietyX Avatar
2 Years ago

Difficult to really say. On one hand bugs that crop up in these environments can be things that you wouldn't have found after months of internal testing and beta's. Customers break code faster and harder than a programmer ever could.

So it leaves you in a position of how much of this was KNOWN problems? That's always the big one. How many of these issues did people report in Beta and were never fixed and game released anyway. I find this happens OFTEN with like MMORPGs, bugs known for months still exist at release. Some of them quite major.

In those cases.. there's no excuse in my mind. You put on a beta, you ask people to report problems, and then you don't fix them. No game will ever be 100% bug free but sometimes they're blatant bugs that should never have made it to release.

The kind of 'teething' bugs you're eluding to however likely will never go away. Some bugs just appear you never planned for or foresaw. But as long as they communicate well (most companies don't) and issue patches swiftly (varies greatly) then I think people are pretty good about it. Especially for games like SFV that have huge esports ramifications and getting in hands of players faster before major tournaments makes a big difference.

Joel Gregory Avatar
2 Years ago

Delays get consumers irritated, give developers/publishers a bad reputation, and sometimes lead to share prices falling and people getting laid off.

What would be better is if publishers held off announcing firm release dates, or even windows, until they know for sure that they're going to be able to deliver a properly finished product by that point.

El Burrito Avatar
El Burrito(5 hours played)
2 Years ago

With SFV it's a whole other bag of tricks, since they want to get it out early enough that people going to EVO can practice it. They really couldn't delay it without screwing over a lot of people. For people who aren't desperate to play it, there's no point in delaying it since they can just hold off buying it until they know it's in a good state. And for people who are desperate to play it, they can play it. It's got issues sure, but it's in a playable state which is all that really matters for people desperate to play it.

Phil Iwaniuk Avatar
2 Years ago

The industry's worked itself into a bit of a corner by placing so much emphasis on preorder sales.

It means that games are announced years before they're in a playable state, and they're marketed at a cadence that doesn't match the rate of development. Delays, and premature releases, are both symptomatic of that.

It's obviously preferable to the end user to receive their game in a working state, but there's already an established culture of day one patches and months of bug fix updates which makes releasing a half-cooked game easier to get away with.