Comment of the Week: Day 1 Patches Show Publishers Decide Release
Earlier this week, Game Front writer Phil Hornshaw published an article positing that it might be time to stop buying games on release day, which seemed to have resonated well with our readers.
This week’s top comment comes from R.J. (and it’s totally not because his name is similar to mine), with a trifecta of solid points:
“The trick of pre-order bonuses lost its appeal to me when it became common practice to sell said bonuses at a later date. Initially, the bonuses really were just for those who pre-ordered, but then the companies figured out that they could make even more money by selling this content later. When that bonus is sold for 99 cents, it should say a lot about how important it really is. Besides, if the game ends up being good, then it isn’t so bad to buy some DLC, especially if you’ve waited and bought the game at a lower price.
“Patches on release day just show who is deciding when a game comes out. It’s the publishers picking when it works for them (holidays, fiscal years, etc.) not the devs who would actually know whether their game is ready for the public. When a game has a big patch on the first day, I get very nervous about it because I’m left wondering how many other bugs there are that they didn’t test thoroughly enough to find.
“I also agree that the practice of withholding review copies are requiring reviewers to wait until release day is extremely shady. If publishers truly believe in their investments, why are so many of them afraid of informed consumers? If the game is actually good, then early reviews shouldn’t matter. Is it any wonder that the few games that do get advance reviews also get positive reviews? Even if the publishers are worried about reviewers deliberately low-balling their game, they can factor that into who gets a review copy of the next game. Presumably, review copies are only sent to reputable sources, so the only thing the publishers really have to fear is being called out for a lousy game.”
That last point, in particular, raises alarm bells for me, because I don’t — for a single second — buy the cop-out piracy argument. If you’re withholding review copies, it’s because you have something to hide, period.