Should there be a Game Developers Standards Board?

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#1 Posted by JBird (489 posts) -

I've been thinking about starting a new play through of Skyrim on my PS3, and as part of this I wondered if I'd be able to get all the DLC and get these new aspects of the game. For some unknown reason I didn't join the thieves or assassins guild in my first play through so It's not like i'm void of high quality content but even so. The more the merrier right?!

But as we all know there is no DLC out on PS3, and this got me thinking. How is it that in such a huge industry a game can be released on one of the two main consoles that straight out is busted. I managed to avoid the file size debacle by not taking Skyrim to university and it being patched in the interceding months but for thousands this huge blockbuster game was just a nice looking box. And this DLC issue. Can we say its our right to additional content? probably not. But that fact that its released on 360 is so frustrating!

How in 2012 is there seemingly no repercussion against Bethesda or compensation for PS3 owners? Do you even think that PS3 owners deserve any compensation?! I would say so! What we were promised, was not what we received . In the UK we have a piece of legislation that states that in the sale of goods there is an implied term in the contract of sale that the goods would be fit for their purpose. I can't be bothered to do the research to see if that legislation would apply in this specific situation, but I'm using it as an example: Skyrim on PS3 was not fit for purpose! There were videos on youtube of people playing skyrim and the framerate was so janky that they were just playing a fancy slideshow! By no means would I advocate legal action, (don't bite the hand that feeds you! :P ) but the point is a serious one. Why is it that aside from some bad press at the time, we have seen no consequence?!

This is why I thought about the Game Developers Standards Board. Should there be a governing body that sets the standards of game developers? Something that clearly sets out an obligation upon developers to ensure that the game is possible to be played to completion on release on both 360 and Xbox? Maybe there even is such a thing and I just don't know about it. If so it doesn't seem to do much!

What do you think the answer is?! and incidentally have there been any Skyrim type situations for 360 owners?

#2 Edited by GERALTITUDE (2990 posts) -

Yeah, all right.

I'm not 100% on board but it's fair to state that "in this day and age supposedly AAA titles from major developers on major platforms should work as advertised," i.e. not a choppy, buggy mess with planned (or unplanned) DLC that doesn't make it due to technical difficulties.

BUT

This generation could just be an outlier for that: DLC and cross-platforms titles were tested more than ever in the last 5-8 years, and there were many lessons to learn.

PLUS

Sony shot themselves in the foot long ago when they made a machine that was intrinsically harder (re: different from Western standards) to develop for. Of course they probably didn't think that Japanese developers would vanish into obscurity, but you know, those problems were known back in the PS2 days. Anyway, this is why it's so much easier to port PC-360 rather than PC-PS3; the former pair just share more in terms of language and architecture.

BETHESDA

Is as West as a dev gets. Born and bred on PC it's really no surprise that they kinda dropped the ball on the PS3 version. All that said, I have friends who loved the shit out of Skyrim on PS3 and there's no question that 360 owners had bugs to contend with as well. Games that sprawling basically have to be at least 5% broken.

PREDICTION

Next gen will be better, as reports indicate the PS4 is more similar to a PC/XBOX (as far as developing goes) than any previous Sony machine.

#3 Posted by Fearbeard (824 posts) -

I think it's the consoles owners (Sony) responsibility to make sure the games are working properly on their system and reject products with too many problems.

The idea of legal action due to a buggy game would be a terrible idea that would decimate the software industry

#4 Edited by MikkaQ (10269 posts) -

Any kind of standards like that in a media this young would be quite harmful, even if it was made with good intentions in mind. Look at the Hayes code, for example. It set film back a good deal.

Anyway the onus is on the console manufacturers because they can vet anything that goes on the device.

#5 Edited by egg (1450 posts) -

What you're proposing is systematic backing of gamers' laziness to do research and their reliance on professional reviews.

Also you say Xbox 360 got the DLC but not PS3.. Would that mean third party console-exclusive titles would be banned too? All titles must be multiplatform now?

#6 Posted by plaintomato (598 posts) -

How about for standard features that every decent game should have but doesn't:

Customizable control layouts

Pausable/Skipable cutscenes

Option to automatically load last saved game

Codes inside packages of junk food

Anyway, they really need to get rid of the option to invert look...of all the useless features nobody wants, sheesh, such a waste of developer time.

#7 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4605 posts) -

I think it's kind of hilarious that OP thinks that PS3 owners deserve "compensation" for not getting Dawnguard/being stuck with the inferior version of a game.

That's kinda been the story the entire generation, y''know?

#8 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

@plaintomato: You're being ironic with the inverted look thing, right?

#9 Posted by FreakAche (2950 posts) -

Serious business.

#10 Posted by Hunter5024 (5555 posts) -

I put about 20 hours into Skyrim on my ps3 and honestly never experienced any problems. I don't know how we're supposed to judge something like that when use cases vary so wildly.

#11 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2990 posts) -

@plaintomato: Yeah serious I invert the shit out of everything.

Other than that all your points are 100% spot on. Legalize it.

#12 Edited by believer258 (11682 posts) -

No, and for the simple overarching fact that placing power of what can and cannot be released into the hands of a "board" can end disastrously. Hollywood movies were censored to hell and back, and to some extent still can be, for a long time. Apart from the ESRB/PEGI/etc., I don't want to see any sort of authority on what can't be released.

The Skyrim debacle is unfortunate, but I fear that for every Skyrim we'd avoid, twenty or more games would get denied release because some old fuck thought it was too offensive or immoral or something to be released. I know you're talking about quality control, but I can't help but be wary of the potential abuse.

#13 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4605 posts) -

@believer258 said:

No, and for the simple overarching fact that placing power of what can and cannot be released into the hands of a "board" can end disastrously. Hollywood movies were censored to hell and back, and to some extent still can be, for a long time. Apart from the ESRB/PEGI/etc., I don't want to see any sort of authority on what can't be released.

The Skyrim debacle is unfortunate, but I fear that for every Skyrim we'd avoid, twenty or more games would get denied release because some old fuck thought it was too offensive or immoral or something to be released. I know you're talking about quality control, but I can't help but be wary of the potential abuse.

the MPAA is still rife with censorship and abuse of authority. You're completely justified in your fears.

#14 Posted by bananaz (254 posts) -

This is such a terrible idea. @believer258 said:

No, and for the simple overarching fact that placing power of what can and cannot be released into the hands of a "board" can end disastrously. Hollywood movies were censored to hell and back, and to some extent still can be, for a long time. Apart from the ESRB/PEGI/etc., I don't want to see any sort of authority on what can't be released.

The Skyrim debacle is unfortunate, but I fear that for every Skyrim we'd avoid, twenty or more games would get denied release because some old fuck thought it was too offensive or immoral or something to be released. I know you're talking about quality control, but I can't help but be wary of the potential abuse.

This.

No software is without bugs, some of them are literally impossible to find without doing such a specific thing that it will only be found post-release. As for consequences, take a look at your own irritation and how it will effect your patronage of Bethesda. There's sort of a running theme with Bethesda releasing buggy games in general. Honestly, that's the price of ambition, if you ask me. When you think big, you lose tons of control over the details. But back to consequences: Remember Windows Vista? Red-rings on Xbox 360s? The PSN hack? Final Fantasy XIV? Yes, there are consequences for these things. Remember, those DLC expansions are lost potential profits for Bethesda. They are selling them. Believe me, they want to get you those expansions. They want your money.

#15 Posted by YOU_DIED (702 posts) -

@bananaz said:

This is such a terrible idea. @believer258 said:

No, and for the simple overarching fact that placing power of what can and cannot be released into the hands of a "board" can end disastrously. Hollywood movies were censored to hell and back, and to some extent still can be, for a long time. Apart from the ESRB/PEGI/etc., I don't want to see any sort of authority on what can't be released.

The Skyrim debacle is unfortunate, but I fear that for every Skyrim we'd avoid, twenty or more games would get denied release because some old fuck thought it was too offensive or immoral or something to be released. I know you're talking about quality control, but I can't help but be wary of the potential abuse.

This.

No software is without bugs, some of them are literally impossible to find without doing such a specific thing that it will only be found post-release. As for consequences, take a look at your own irritation and how it will effect your patronage of Bethesda. There's sort of a running theme with Bethesda releasing buggy games in general. Honestly, that's the price of ambition, if you ask me. When you think big, you lose tons of control over the details. But back to consequences: Remember Windows Vista? Red-rings on Xbox 360s? The PSN hack? Final Fantasy XIV? Yes, there are consequences for these things. Remember, those DLC expansions are lost potential profits for Bethesda. They are selling them. Believe me, they want to get you those expansions. They want your money.

I dunno if I'd call it ambition, if they were ambitious they would fix the problems that have been plaguing the series since the start. They've always shot for quantity over quality.

#16 Edited by kermoosh (911 posts) -

wouldn't that essentially run tons of game developers out of business if they had to spend all that money. to the point where we would end up with maddens, cods, halos, and pretty much established series only

edit: unless of course the standards of the 'board' are low

#17 Posted by JBird (489 posts) -

S@Oldirtybearon: I think I made it pretty clear that I don't think that PS3 owners have any sort of right to play the DLC, but i still do think that releasing a game that doesnt work shouldnt be acceptable. however other posts in this thread got me thinking about it from the other perspective, if maybe it is a fault within the PS3 that makes it really tough on Bethsada to get it running, no matter what they do.

Some other people said it was the fault on PS3 owners for not doing research etc, I think thats a really harsh point! I only have one console so bought the game and waited for months to play it without choppiness. I think it is reasonable to expect a major game to work without serious fault. I don't expect a game to be flawless, and hell the flaws can make somthing amazing in many cases but there is a big difference between open world jank and straight up frame rate in the bin.

#18 Posted by Superfriend (1535 posts) -

Dude, you were not promised anything. They didn´t sign any contract with you that said they would deliver the DLC (or do so in a timely fashion)

Yeah, the way the game shipped on PS3 was pretty bad, but you know what? That is to be expected for a bethesda game. And it worked, didn´t it? That´s more than you can say for Daggerfall back when that one came out. Took me ages to get it to work properly in any fashion. Or Morrowind on PC back when it was released. That game crashed on me every hour or two. Or the xbox version of that game... yeah I played that one too. For a couple of hours. Bethesda have already consolified and simplified a lot of their games in order for them to work properly on consoles. There is no "optimal" way to play them. They will perform like shit on the 360 in certain scenarios. They will crash on the PC, there will be scripting bugs and points where the game just won´t work. It´s part of the deal. They make some of the most ambitious stuff out there. It will NEVER be without major bugs. The closest they got was Oblivion, but even that had some major issues.

I have a PS3 and PS+ and boy, some of those third party games are performing like fucking SHIT on that console. What do you want to do about that? Sue every third party? Good luck with that.

#19 Posted by YOU_DIED (702 posts) -

Solution: don't buy their next one

#20 Posted by believer258 (11682 posts) -

@YOU_DIED said:

@bananaz said:

This is such a terrible idea. @believer258 said:

No, and for the simple overarching fact that placing power of what can and cannot be released into the hands of a "board" can end disastrously. Hollywood movies were censored to hell and back, and to some extent still can be, for a long time. Apart from the ESRB/PEGI/etc., I don't want to see any sort of authority on what can't be released.

The Skyrim debacle is unfortunate, but I fear that for every Skyrim we'd avoid, twenty or more games would get denied release because some old fuck thought it was too offensive or immoral or something to be released. I know you're talking about quality control, but I can't help but be wary of the potential abuse.

This.

No software is without bugs, some of them are literally impossible to find without doing such a specific thing that it will only be found post-release. As for consequences, take a look at your own irritation and how it will effect your patronage of Bethesda. There's sort of a running theme with Bethesda releasing buggy games in general. Honestly, that's the price of ambition, if you ask me. When you think big, you lose tons of control over the details. But back to consequences: Remember Windows Vista? Red-rings on Xbox 360s? The PSN hack? Final Fantasy XIV? Yes, there are consequences for these things. Remember, those DLC expansions are lost potential profits for Bethesda. They are selling them. Believe me, they want to get you those expansions. They want your money.

I dunno if I'd call it ambition, if they were ambitious they would fix the problems that have been plaguing the series since the start. They've always shot for quantity over quality.

No, I'd say it's pretty much quality.

You're talking about a series that has possibly the most criss-crossing of systems out there. That's bound to be something that's got bugs. Frankly, it's a miracle that it even works properly in the first place.

#21 Posted by Karkarov (3005 posts) -

Nope totally against anything like this. The less red tape and bureaucracy nonsense between making a game and getting it on a "shelf" the better. Extra rules and regulations (even when done for the right reason) rarely do more than stifle and subvert actual results. This is a creative industry that is tough enough as it is, it has enough issues already just with miss management of companies, poorly uses IP's, and bloated budgets.

#22 Posted by EVO (3871 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

Any kind of standards like that in a media this young would be quite harmful, even if it was made with good intentions in mind.

Video games have been around for 40-60 years, depending on how you look at it. I think it's safe to say video games are no longer young.

#23 Posted by adam1808 (1386 posts) -

@egg said:

What you're proposing is systematic backing of gamers' laziness to do research and their reliance on professional reviews.

Also you say Xbox 360 got the DLC but not PS3.. Would that mean third party console-exclusive titles would be banned too? All titles must be multiplatform now?

So if consumers get given a crap version of a game it's their fault? If people buy a bad game then that's their own fault, but if they only have/can only afford one console then they have a right to expect a serviceable version.

Also I'm totally behind the removal of console exclusives. Some games need to be exclusive to the PC just because an RTS is never fun with a gamepad, but I don't see how people lose anything by making every game available across every platform that can support it.

#24 Posted by Jack268 (3387 posts) -

Well, they have no obligation to release the DLC on all platforms, but I think releasing an unplayable game is ridiculous and definitely should have gotten more attention than it did. I mean... the PS3 version has a metascore of 92... I understand most reviewers just review for one platform and then pretend that applies to all platforms but come on. 
 
What really needs to be done is Bethesda needs to get programmers that don't make busted shit and leave it for modders to fix and a better QA team. Or at least, test the PS3 version before launch.

#25 Posted by Doctorchimp (4070 posts) -

Remember when you bought the PS3 and where all excited about that cell processor Sony kept telling you about?

There you go, some developers can't work with it cause it's so different.

#26 Posted by Brodehouse (9640 posts) -

@EVO said:

@MikkaQ said:

Any kind of standards like that in a media this young would be quite harmful, even if it was made with good intentions in mind.

Video games have been around for 40-60 years, depending on how you look at it. I think it's safe to say video games are no longer young.

In any meaningful way, video games as a legitimate form have been around about 37 years, and compared to every other entertainment medium they are up against, they are incredibly young. We're where film was in the 20s, or comic books in the 60s. Tennis For Two is as relevant for the game industry as the zoetrope was for Hollywood.

#27 Posted by Svenzon (718 posts) -

I'd imagine that getting a game like Skyrim even working on that hardware is an absolute nightmare. Bethesda could've delayed the PS3 version until they solved the problem, but people would have been angry for that. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

#28 Posted by august (3827 posts) -

Good luck with that.

#29 Posted by fox01313 (5064 posts) -

Not sure why this isn't fixed yet on PS3 but if things are broken on one console then when future things are released & people are unhappy then it will show in the sales which will hurt the studio. How about you write to them directly which might give more information to you than here on a gaming message forum?

#30 Posted by EVO (3871 posts) -
@Brodehouse

@EVO said:

@MikkaQ said:

Any kind of standards like that in a media this young would be quite harmful, even if it was made with good intentions in mind.

Video games have been around for 40-60 years, depending on how you look at it. I think it's safe to say video games are no longer young.

In any meaningful way, video games as a legitimate form have been around about 37 years, and compared to every other entertainment medium they are up against, they are incredibly young. We're where film was in the 20s, or comic books in the 60s. Tennis For Two is as relevant for the game industry as the zoetrope was for Hollywood.

It doesn't make sense to compare video games to other mediums by years. Instead look at how far games have come in those years.
#31 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

You should really be pissed at Sony for letting them release the game in that state. But they probably wanted to be competitive with Microsoft.

#32 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

You should really be pissed at Sony for letting them release the game in that state. But they probably wanted to be competitive with Microsoft.

I don't think you can squarely place the blame on any one entity in this situation. It seems like it's the industry at large that's at fault for creating an environment where a publisher must ship their AAA title within a certain fiscal window on as many platforms as possible to stay competitive, bugs be damned. Something's going to snap eventually, and it's not going to be pretty.

#33 Posted by mordukai (7140 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: True that Japanese developer are not the power house they used to be but to say they vanished into obscurity is a moronic statement.

#34 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

would it be a world wide thing and who would pay for it.

#35 Edited by ProfessorEss (7281 posts) -

If something like this was in place at the beginning of the generation I'm not sure if Bethesda would have even bothered developing anything for the PS3.

Weigh the risks. Develop in a relatively known environment for XBox/PC and lose out on PS3 sales, or promise all three and lose all your sales when you're not allowed to release anything until they decide your PS3 version is up to snuff.

#36 Posted by djou (860 posts) -

I always assumed that what's QA testing and certification was doing. There's such mixed response on crashes regarding Skyrim I don't know who to believe anymore, but seems like enough folks are experience problems that I'm not sure how the game was released to the public. I imagine there were a ton of economic pressures that made release date delays impossible, but in my experience games are fucking buggy, more now than they ever were. I read the reports of the AC3 and Warfighter day one patches and I just wondered how these games got out of certification which from my understanding is suppose to check for bugs.

#37 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

No, absolutely there should not be any sort of "standards" board for video game development. This is a silly idea in so many ways.

#38 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3803 posts) -

I like your idea in theory the problem is more restrictions and oversight over devastating and pubs seems like it would end up going bad. Even the amount that exists (having to go through cert for the 360) seems to really upset dudes what make games. There's a way it could be done properly that would benefit everyone but somebody in the process would screw it up.

#39 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3803 posts) -

Devs*

#40 Posted by Spike_Kojima (56 posts) -

I was pissed that the ps3 version was buggy and for a moment I was pissed that the DLC is taking a fucking age to come out ... but i put over 200 hours into that game on ps3 , its in my top five games of all time .

Its a shame my launch ps3 died after that 200 plus hours because I lost all that progress and the DLC isn't as exciting with my characters gone .

#41 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -
@Ravenlight

@Dagbiker said:

You should really be pissed at Sony for letting them release the game in that state. But they probably wanted to be competitive with Microsoft.

I don't think you can squarely place the blame on any one entity in this situation. It seems like it's the industry at large that's at fault for creating an environment where a publisher must ship their AAA title within a certain fiscal window on as many platforms as possible to stay competitive, bugs be damned. Something's going to snap eventually, and it's not going to be pretty.

Your right. Perhaps what we need is a "Gamers Union" or lobby who can be independent of reviewers and developers.
#42 Edited by BirdkeeperDan (400 posts) -

No instead we have game reviews. Game reviews stated it was very buggy. Game developers and publishers don't have to give equal consideration to different platforms if it's not in their best interests, and it's up to them to make that determination. I doubt there will ever be any standards board because it will just push more game development to an open platform like PC.

Edit: You have the power to punish bethesda don't buy their next game. This will have exactly as much impact as it should 1 consumers worth.

#43 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2990 posts) -

@mordukai: Only an idiot would think I wasn't intentionally exaggerating. :)

#44 Posted by AlexW00d (6191 posts) -

I am pretty sure the 2 month wait between a game going gold and it being released is exactly what you're asking for dude.

#45 Posted by q_sic (7 posts) -
#46 Posted by mordukai (7140 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE said:

@mordukai: Only an idiot would think I wasn't intentionally exaggerating. :)

If it wasn't intentional then what was it, an unintentional remark that got taken out of context? I see how it works. At least have the balls to stand by your words and not hide behind "I was only exaggerating".

#47 Posted by YOU_DIED (702 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@YOU_DIED said:

I dunno if I'd call it ambition, if they were ambitious they would fix the problems that have been plaguing the series since the start. They've always shot for quantity over quality.

No, I'd say it's pretty much quality.

You're talking about a series that has possibly the most criss-crossing of systems out there. That's bound to be something that's got bugs. Frankly, it's a miracle that it even works properly in the first place.

I'm not talking about technical quality, I'm talking about quality of the gameplay and RPG mechanics (such as the combat, balance of skills, etc.). Like I mentioned before, the series has always had issues in those departments. I really don't want to turn this into an anti-TES rant, even though I think they are shit games.

In my experience, most of their games have been technically competent aside from this PS3 issue, so I do agree with you in that regard.

#48 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2990 posts) -

Hey duder you wanna give that one more shot? "Only an idiot would think I was not intentionally exaggerating" means I was intentionally exaggerating.

#49 Posted by egg (1450 posts) -

@adam1808 said:

@egg said:

What you're proposing is systematic backing of gamers' laziness to do research and their reliance on professional reviews.

Also you say Xbox 360 got the DLC but not PS3.. Would that mean third party console-exclusive titles would be banned too? All titles must be multiplatform now?

So if consumers get given a crap version of a game it's their fault? If people buy a bad game then that's their own fault, but if they only have/can only afford one console then they have a right to expect a serviceable version.

Also I'm totally behind the removal of console exclusives. Some games need to be exclusive to the PC just because an RTS is never fun with a gamepad, but I don't see how people lose anything by making every game available across every platform that can support it.

"serviceable version" is really subjective. It won't guarantee that both versions are good, or even equal, it just will give people a reason to silence criticism.

For instance PC gamers might criticize the console version in general, but the lazy people will just point out the certified "Seal of Quality" to prove otherwise. For that matter who says Skyrim wouldn't be approved, even the PS3 version? Maybe the more crippling bugs made it past the screening process, or maybe, maybe the standards board was paid to approve it.

#50 Posted by RemoteTrigger (1 posts) -

Skyrim has not fixed their buggy code for menus / keyboard. It's been going on a year since release.

I've heard great things about this game, but this issue prevents me from purchasing the game.

The game reviewers are incompetent by promoting a game which has lazy or incompetent coders.

Yes: BETHESDA coders are INCOMPETENT no matter how good the game is.

/rant....or not

To add to this thread: if a major issue such as keyboard control has gone 11 updates without being addressed, and this 'game developers standards board' can prove it or have enough evidence of this incompetence, then the game should lose 1 of 10 points per month the issue has gone unfixed. Since I have not been able to play this game, I happily score Skyrim as -1/10.

(Unfortunately I also have to berate the developers of this forum because control+arrows and control+shift+arrows do not work while typing a post. Skyrim fans rejoice as I will not be posting here often.)

BTW, the issue is that pressing R to drop does not work because I have R set to something else, in-game. There are parts of the game where keyboard shortcuts are hardwired, overriding in-game user configured keys. The skyui mod did not correct this. I'm not looking for a workaround. I'm looking for a repair from the developers who are not competent to provide as much.

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