Analyst Michael Pachter and the organization Gamers’ Voice have entered into a war of words, so to speak, after Pachter called the group a ‘crybaby’ following its plans to report Activision to the UK’s Office of Fair Trade over prevalent issues in PC and PS3 versions of Black Ops.
Last week, Gamers’ Voice announced it was to report Activision to an appropriate government agency after receiving numerous complaints from gamers over Black Ops bugs on PC and PS3, and claims the company knowingly released and unfinished product to the public.
In response, Michael Pachter replied that the move resembles something a “crybaby” would do, and that “all games are buggy, some more so than others. Have you tried Fallout: New Vegas? Buggiest game ever.”
“I suppose this helps to explain why the game sold only 20 million copies instead of 25 million, and why it received only a 90 metacritic rating instead of 95 (sarcasm intended, in case you didn’t pick up on it),” Pachter told IncGamers. “If people don’t like it, they can take it back to retail for a refund. Most bugs are patched within a reasonable time, and any serious gamer expects bugs.”
Pachter went on to say it was the responsibility of the gaming press to ensure consumers were aware of glitches, bugs, and other issues persistent within a game, in order to provide consumer awareness.
In response, Gamers’ Voice said Pachter’s comment on the matter was “inaccurate, insulting and laughable.”
“Indeed, he comes across as an apologist for Activision to the point where he suggests the company will pull out of the UK should this campaign be successful,” reads the response. “His reaction is to describe Gamers’ Voice as sounding like a ‘cry baby’. This presents the gaming industry as both arrogant and uncaring to the audience it serves.”
And, in response, Pachter said: “Now that I have had the opportunity to take their comments into consideration, I think that I may have insulted all crybabies by using that word to describe Gamers’ Voice. They seem genuinely unaware about standards for product performance in the UK and elsewhere; products must perform adequately, not flawlessly, unless there are safety or health concerns.
“As far as I am aware, none of the bugs in Black Ops cause people to have seizures, so I’m pretty sure that health is not a concern. I am also not aware of any issues with safety, unless the Gamers’ Voice organization is concerned that the overweight segment of the gaming population might suffer if they have to arise from the sofa to re-boot their PS3s when they seize up.
“According to Activision figures from December, over 600 million hours were logged playing Black Ops between November 9 and December 21, so some people must have been able to play the game (the math works out to around 10 million people playing 10 hours a week for six weeks), suggesting that the bugs didn’t get in the way of people’s ability to enjoy the experience.
“Given that tens of millions of people have managed to play Black Ops for hundreds of millions of hours, I can only conclude that the game works sufficiently well so as to allow for hundreds of millions of hours of game play.”
He continued: “The publisher is responsible for delivering a quality experience, not a perfect one. If they hope to sell a large number of units, they have to ensure that games are relatively bug free, and must correct bugs as soon as practicable when reported. I’m sure that more quality control could eliminate bugs ahead of time, but more quality control takes time, and could cause launch dates to be missed. The publishers are in the business of selling games at a profit, and they have clearly determined that it is more cost effective (and hence more profitable) to patch errors after the fact than to delay release dates and patch them ahead of time.
“Gamers have the choice of buying a game or not, and rely upon the gaming press to highlight issues with games. I read at least 100 game reviews a year, and almost all point out bugs in games. When a game’s review scores decline from a prior version (Black Ops received average scores in the high 80s, compared to Modern Warfare 2’s average score of 94), the gamer is on notice that it’s not quite as good as the prior version.
“I appreciate that Gamers’ Voice doesn’t agree with my view that the specialist press is responsible to point out errors, but their “laughable” comment is not only insulting, but plainly shows how ill equipped they are to represent their constituency.”
Black Ops was patched today on Ps3, which addresses quite a bit of gameplay issues.
And that, is your dose of drama for the day. Stay tuned for more on Days of Our Gaming Lives. We heard Princess Zelda got pregnant by a Marcus Fenix look-alike and Bomberman is none too pleased.