Why video games today are filled with bugs and glitches

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Bugs and glitches have been common occurrences in video games for as long as they have existed. Most of these unintentional exploits, however, used to be difficult to find on major titles, and only on rare occasions were they considered detrimental to the game’s core playability.

As more game consoles utilize online connectivity features, developers have begun to rely heavily on patches and post-release downloadable fixes that repair games’ imperfections. Most recent examples of broken games published by companies usually known for their high quality software are Driveclub by Sony Computer Entertainment and Halo: The Master Chief Collection by Microsoft Game Studios.

Driveclub is a social-driven racing game that is focused on playing with an online community. Unfortunately, and even a month after its release, the game’s online aspects remain barely functional. And adding to the pain of an otherwise promising game is that the extended demo promised to those who are subscribed to Sony’s PlayStation Plus program has been delayed indefinitely.

The infamous "no-face" bug found in Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Unity

The infamous “no-face” bug found in Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Then there is Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a remastered collection of various Halo games, a series whose online multiplayer feature is crucial to its popularity. The game was released with an enormous 20GB file that requires downloading to access the online multiplayer experience. But much to the dismay of gamers, widespread frustration mounted during and after the download. After spending hours to download a 20GB file, most gamers discovered a crippled online functionality that deterred them from fully enjoying the product that they paid for. Even weeks after its release, the game’s online multiplayer refuses to work properly.

If only my game worked...

“If only my game worked…”

Both of these titles are high-budget productions that were backed by huge first party companies. And they were both broken straight out of the gate. These are only the prime examples. There are countless other games that launch with a release day patch for players to download. Other hotly anticipated games like EA’s Battlefield 4 and Bethesda’s The Evil Within were released in a messy state with unfinished features and performance issues galore. Developers and publishers have become far too reliant on the ability to patch their games soon after their release, and to the point where glitches and bugs in games have become acceptable.

The fact that first party studios like the ones under Sony and Microsoft would release such an unsatisfactory product on their own platforms is quite mind-boggling. Patches used to be unheard of on consoles, and even when they were introduced, their purpose was minor and mostly inconsequential to the game. Their shift to being a crucial part of the game has only shed light on developers and publishers’ growing carelessness in delivering a satisfactory product that consumers deserve.

The following video offers a humorous skit featuring some of the more common glitches we’ve all experienced in our favorite games.

As you can see, bugs and glitches are needlessly horrific experiences video game characters must endure for the sake of our human happiness.

About Author

Won Jun Ma was born in South Korea and raised in Irvine, CA. He moved up to Santa Barbara, CA to study English and Math at UC Santa Barbara. He is an avid gamer who follows the video game industry. Won has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, enjoys going on lengthy hikes, and considers himself a hip hop junkie by and large. He also likes playing various tunes on his clarinet; but what he would actually like to do is learn how to jam on the harmonica like a pro.

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