An Email to 2K Games

Reborn of the Ocean

To: Christoph Hartmann, Managing Director, 2K Games.
Complaint concerning bad business practice; BioShock 2 PC 

Dear Mr Hartmann, 

I have been a player, and I must confess a fan of your company's video games for quite some time. Indeed, I have very fond memories of the games from your now consolidated developer PopTop Software, such as Railroad Tycoon and Tropico. Since the release of BioShock original in 2007, I have been most encouraged to see your company helping to publish and develop intriguing, entertaining and thoughtful video games, which help to stimulate and engage the player in different ways. 

However, it is with a deep sense of regret and disappointment that I must inform you that over the past year my positive feelings towards your company have waned and have alas been extinguished by the shambolic standard of customer service which has been provided to users of the PC version of BioShock 2. I am unfortunate enough that my copy of BioShock 2 does not function correctly on my PC, and frequently crashes to desktop after playing for approximately half an hour. Despite this major flaw, I very much enjoyed the game, although still prefer the original. Following lengthy investigation, through both contacting your support department via email and by my own diagnostic tests, I have been forced to conclude that it is your game which is causing the crashes, rather than an issue with my computer. Despite my numerous support emails to your company and despite promises of patches which might correct these issues, it has recently been announced that there will be no further updates to the PC version of BioShock 2, and therefore, no way for me to play the game I bought as intended. 

Furthermore, it has also not escaped my attention that the downloadable content for BioShock 2, "Protector Trials" and "Minerva's Den" previously slated for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, has only been released on two of these platforms. It appears to be the case that these will no longer be released on PC whatsoever; a retraction of the statement previously issued. Naturally my disappointment is tempered heavily with a sense of resentment, in the fact that your company made a commitment to bring content to the PC, and then have manifestly failed to deliver on this commitment. 

As far as I can see, such decisions as to no longer patch the PC version or to support it with DLC were made from a business standpoint: No doubt your accountants calculated that it would not be very profitable to continue to support the PC further. However, from a ethical standpoint, your company's decisions are almost the definition of bad business practice. Companies that fail to deliver on their commitments, or do not support their products fully are not acting in an ethical manner, and are not going to forge good relationships with their customers. I consider the relationship of trust which exists between company and consumer as an important one, from which brand loyalty and optimism bias can be obtained. Nonetheless, I'm sorry to say that in this instance, I feel like my trust has been broken. 

I regret to say that this fiasco has severely damaged my opinion of your company and affiliated developers, and I will likely be refraining from giving you my custom in the future. 

Yours sincerely, 

Gareth Brading. 
 
Giant Bomb Addendum 
I wanted to leave a copy of my email here as well, since I am currently seething with a righteous sense of purpose, and wish for it to be seen. Other than that, I don't have much else to add here, except for Rock On Giant Bomb! :)

21 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by gbrading
Reborn of the Ocean

To: Christoph Hartmann, Managing Director, 2K Games.
Complaint concerning bad business practice; BioShock 2 PC 

Dear Mr Hartmann, 

I have been a player, and I must confess a fan of your company's video games for quite some time. Indeed, I have very fond memories of the games from your now consolidated developer PopTop Software, such as Railroad Tycoon and Tropico. Since the release of BioShock original in 2007, I have been most encouraged to see your company helping to publish and develop intriguing, entertaining and thoughtful video games, which help to stimulate and engage the player in different ways. 

However, it is with a deep sense of regret and disappointment that I must inform you that over the past year my positive feelings towards your company have waned and have alas been extinguished by the shambolic standard of customer service which has been provided to users of the PC version of BioShock 2. I am unfortunate enough that my copy of BioShock 2 does not function correctly on my PC, and frequently crashes to desktop after playing for approximately half an hour. Despite this major flaw, I very much enjoyed the game, although still prefer the original. Following lengthy investigation, through both contacting your support department via email and by my own diagnostic tests, I have been forced to conclude that it is your game which is causing the crashes, rather than an issue with my computer. Despite my numerous support emails to your company and despite promises of patches which might correct these issues, it has recently been announced that there will be no further updates to the PC version of BioShock 2, and therefore, no way for me to play the game I bought as intended. 

Furthermore, it has also not escaped my attention that the downloadable content for BioShock 2, "Protector Trials" and "Minerva's Den" previously slated for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, has only been released on two of these platforms. It appears to be the case that these will no longer be released on PC whatsoever; a retraction of the statement previously issued. Naturally my disappointment is tempered heavily with a sense of resentment, in the fact that your company made a commitment to bring content to the PC, and then have manifestly failed to deliver on this commitment. 

As far as I can see, such decisions as to no longer patch the PC version or to support it with DLC were made from a business standpoint: No doubt your accountants calculated that it would not be very profitable to continue to support the PC further. However, from a ethical standpoint, your company's decisions are almost the definition of bad business practice. Companies that fail to deliver on their commitments, or do not support their products fully are not acting in an ethical manner, and are not going to forge good relationships with their customers. I consider the relationship of trust which exists between company and consumer as an important one, from which brand loyalty and optimism bias can be obtained. Nonetheless, I'm sorry to say that in this instance, I feel like my trust has been broken. 

I regret to say that this fiasco has severely damaged my opinion of your company and affiliated developers, and I will likely be refraining from giving you my custom in the future. 

Yours sincerely, 

Gareth Brading. 
 
Giant Bomb Addendum 
I wanted to leave a copy of my email here as well, since I am currently seething with a righteous sense of purpose, and wish for it to be seen. Other than that, I don't have much else to add here, except for Rock On Giant Bomb! :)

Posted by Tennmuerti

Bioshock and Bioshock 2 had diferent developers.
Bioshock 2 was a pure cash in, hence the support for it especially the PC version is minimal.
If you are ticked off to write an email to them regarding such a small matter what do you do about all the games from EA and Activision since they have simmilar policies regarding releases very very frequently, do you not buy their games either?

Posted by Pinworm45

I totally get where you're coming from and agree with you, but I can't help but wonder why you've picked out this one small wave in the ocean of injustices that happen to PC games. I guess because Bioshock is a game you cared about and purchased, but still, all of that effort to form a well-written email and it's unfortunately not only going to go to waste, but even more so considering all of the many, many other problems and bad business practice that goes towards the PC. 
 
I guess what I'm saying is, I agree, but get used to it.

Posted by InfamousBIG

George Bush doesn't care about PC games!

Posted by HitmanAgent47

Good letter, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by InfamousBIG
@HitmanAgent47 said:
"

Good letter, I couldn't have said it better myself.

"
You could have mentioned that 2k is really Illuminati.
Posted by HitmanAgent47
@InfamousBIG: Well I don't see the connection.
Posted by endless_void

Had the same problems with the game over here too. Props for writing this man.

Posted by Hamz

A well written and strongly worded letter! 
 
Unfortunate to hear that the PC version of the game is essentially broken. Perhaps you can angle for a refund or maybe they'll reconsider a patch if this is a widespread bug. 
 
It's stuff like this that makes me really appreciate renting and playing games on my PS3. If they don't intend to release the DLC or provide further PC support they could have at least made sure that specific version of the game was running efficiently and effectively a working piece of software. Reminds me of KOTOR2 all over again.

Posted by Jimbo

I recommend signing off with 'Good day, sir!', then if they reply to your email, you can simply respond with 'I SAID GOOD DAY!'.

Posted by skadbob

Hey, Gareth Brading! Demand a refund!

Posted by DrPockets000
@HitmanAgent47 said:
" @InfamousBIG: Well I don't see the connection. "
That means the Illuminati is doing their job. 
 
There was a youtube video but I can't find it now :(
Posted by baron_calamity


Well said! 2K had terrible pc support for a long time. The delayed and spotty support for Rockstar Games is a huge example. So is their history of putting out games for the pc with a UI that wasn't meant to be used on a computer monitor. I tried to support them and ignore their faults since I really wanted to play those games and often it wasn't the developers who decided those things. Well I'm done. Between this, being completely mum on Red Dead Redemption, and the terrible Xcom game in the works (any bets on how bad the pc version of that will be?) has shown me the light.
Just off the top of my head I spent around $700 on copies of Bioshock 2, collectors’ editions and action figures. I spent about half that amount for the original Bioshock games and stuff. I loved Bioshock 2. Guess they don't like my money. Because of my disability, having only one working hand and arthritis getting significantly worse this past year, my days of being able to play first person shooters on a game pad are coming to a close. So I can't finish the story that I love so much. Just playing it on the 360 isn’t an option. I won't be buying any future Bioshock games and 2K will be seeing far less of my money in the future. I know it doesn't really matter. I'm not the 12-24 year old target demo for these 2k but I needed to get this off my chest.
   
Posted by Von

A simple "would you kindly fix BioShock" would've sufficed.

Posted by Cube

Right on brodda.

Posted by Azteck
@Von said:
" A simple "would you kindly fix BioShock" would've sufficed. "
Boom!
Posted by gbrading
 Cheers everyone for your comments; I'm amazed it got such good feedback. I shall try to address any questions you had: 
 
 @Tennmuerti: I felt compelled to write this email simply because this is an issue which has affected me. Unfortunately I can't feel as irritated with EA or Activision since so far, my dealings which them have been reasonably good, but that might be just blind luck.
@Pinworm45: I understand that my email won't change anything, but nonetheless I felt better for writing it. If even one person reads it, just a secretary, then it would have been worth it. 
@Hamz: Issue with the PC version is that whilst a lot of people have problems with it (around 50-60% I'd guess), some people can play it fine, and so of course 2K focus on those who are alright whilst ignoring everyone else.
@Jimbo: I'm tempted to do that. ;)
@UncertainOtter: Other people have tried, and failed so I decided against it.
@baron_calamity: My hopes for a PC version of Red Dead Redemption are fading by the hour, and even if it did come, there's no guarentee it would work... :(
@Von: Ha, a lot of people tried that on the 2K Forums: No dice. :(
Posted by nail1080

Stop your complaining, you can pick up Bioshock 2 on the 360 in the bargain bin for 10 bucks at the most.

Posted by President_Barackbar

I totally agree with everything you said and I was EXTREMELY disappointed to hear that after all the stalling, 2K just decided to quit supporting the PC. I can assure you that I will NEVER purchase another product with the 2K Marin logo on it.

Posted by Artigkar
@gbrading:  You read this? 
http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1254568#post1254568
"
Hey guys,

I have some good news concerning the BioShock 2 PC patch as well as the development of Protector Trials and Minerva's Den for the PC. Not to keep you in suspense any longer, I'll sum it up with one sentence: We have resumed development on all three and they will be coming to PC."
 
What is your thoughts on this?
Posted by 234r2we232
@Tennmuerti said:
" Bioshock and Bioshock 2 had diferent developers. Bioshock 2 was a pure cash in "
Not quite true. But you sound like you're only 10 years old, so I'll cut you a break. There were quite a few important people who factored into making BioShock 1 what it came to be, most of those people were on board for 2, and consequently made a fantastic game (one that I actually had more fun playing than the original).
 
If you're looking for the definition of a" cash in", maybe you should be looking at Irrational for their effort to loosely attach fiction to the BioShock name for cheap effect. But hey. People will buy/buy into anything these days, especially if it looks like a bandwagon.
Posted by gbrading
@Artigkar:
I can't believe it. I'm rather shocked. It's amazing and crazy at the same time. They cancel it and then they uncancel it? I'm lost, but nonetheless very pleased.