Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft Make Amends for Buggy Games
This fall has been a rough season for gamers who bought one of the big-budget titles that turned out to be riddled with bugs. Blockbuster games like Driveclub, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and Assassin’s Creed Unity all suffered from major problems and online connectivity issues, in some cases making the games unplayable. And when customers spend $60 for a broken game, no comes away happy.
The makers of these games know this is no way to treat loyal customers, so Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft have announced how they plan to make amends to gamers who bought these titles.
The problems with Microsoft’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection started on day one. The game bundles together all four main installments of the Halo series, along with all of the online maps that have been released for each game. The problem was that major server issues prevented gamers from being able to get into online matches — a primary reason many people bought the game in the first place.
To make it up to fans, Microsoft has announced it will give away a copy of Halo 3: ODST this spring to everyone who played Halo: The Master Chief Collection between its November 11 release date and December 19 — the dates during which online play was unreliable. Eligible players will also receive a free month of Xbox Live Gold, as well as some extra in-game goodies.
Ubisoft also received loads of negative press for Assassin’s Creed Unity, a game that suffered from issues ranging from low frame rates to characters with missing faces. As an apology to gamers, Ubisoft will give away the DLC “Dead Kings” to anyone who buys the game. And for customers who bought the game’s “season pass” — a discounted preorder of all future downloadable content — Ubisoft is giving it away a free game.
The games available are Far Cry 4, The Crew, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, and Just Dance 2015. If you qualify and you want a free game, however, you should note that by downloading a game, you waive your right to sue Ubisoft over Assassin’s Creed Unity’s issues.
The other big-budget train wreck this fall was Sony’s PlayStation 4 game Driveclub. This is an online racer based around players creating “clubs” to compete against others online. The original plan was to release the full game for the usual price of $60, plus a free version with limited features for PlayStation Plus subscribers. The idea was that PlayStation Plus subscribers would like what they saw and buy the full game.
Unfortunately, Driveclub’s servers had other plans. For weeks after the release, people were unable to get online and play the game. As a result, Sony ended up delaying the free version indefinitely to keep the servers from crashing even more spectacularly. And to pile on the bad news, Sony didn’t let anyone know about its plans until well after the free version was supposed to go live, leaving PlayStation Plus subscribers in the dark.
To atone for those sins, Sony is giving premium downloadable content for free to buyers of Driveclub. There’s still no word on when (or if) the free version of the game will launch.
So yes, the near future of gaming might be buggy. For some of our most anticipated titles, we might have to wait for updates before we can play them the way they were intended to be played. But at least game makers know they’re burning through customers’ goodwill and are making gestures to regain their trust. It’s not the optimal situation, but at least it’s something.
Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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