I’m seeing an alarming trend of games arriving on the shelves in a terribly unfinished state. This has been an issue with PC games for a while, with patches arriving almost immediately after release. The problem seems even worse on Xbox 360 however. Three of my favorite games so far have all had horrible problems out of the box, and releasing patches on Xbox Live takes a lot longer than for PC, where the developer can just post it on their own site for download. Everything has to go through rigorous certification etc before it will make it onto the Live servers, so in the end, the gamers (like me) suffer for much longer. It would be nice if part of this certification process included basic bug checking.
I’m not refering to small problems here that only a small percent of users will ever notice. The two worst examples so far are to be found in Call of Duty 2 and MotoGP 06. CoD2 was pretty much unplayable on multiplayer until the patch came out about 4 months after release. It was VERY laggy, there was no game lobby etc, it was aweful. Thankfully, the patch fixed all that, but this was a terrible problem. Maybe Activision thought everyone would be so involved in the single player campaign they wouldn’t notice that multiplayer didn’t work?? I don’t know, but that was just plain shoddy. MotoGP 06, which is also a great game, just locks up the console whenever you try to see your friends lap times. Full lock up. You have to cycle power. How did it get through QA like this? Apparently it only happens if you have more than 25 people on your friends list, but still! Really pathetic. This is made even worse because the actual game is so good.
I might have to start waiting until I see that Service Pack 1 is out for each game before buying it. Sad!
-EDIT- I sent an email very similar to what I wrote above to Major Nelson, and he said he would pass it on to some folks around his office. Hopefully this problem will get better in the future.
-UPDATE- A patch was released for MotoGP 06 which has fixed the Friends Lap Time issue.