EA Admits: We have to do a “better job” in releasing games “as bug free as possible”
EA has admitted that they need to do a better job in releasing games to the public as bug free as possible, but at the same time they have said they believe players should be patient to allow them to update games when they come out to fix bugs and glitches.
EA Studios EVP Patrick Soderlund was speaking to The Guardian about the recent criticism EA and DICE have come in for due to the stability issues that have been affecting Battlefield 4 across all platforms. “Listen, we have to do a better job of getting games into the market that are as bug-free as possible. What I would say is, games are becoming more and more complex – even though we’ll run a beta and we’ll do massive amounts of testing, there are certain things, especially in an online-focused environment, that you won’t catch.”
“I wish I could [say] that we will, but I don’t think we’ll ever catch everything. I think we’ve got better at it, but I certainly think we’re not where we need to be in terms of getting games to market that offer a friction-free experience.”
It would appear that Soderlund however is in favour of releasing quicker post-launch updates than making sure the game is up to standard before release. In which case wouldn’t that make us more like testers for the first days to see what issues we can find for them to fix?
“What we need to do, and what we are doing is, when we launch a game, we have to work very quickly to work course-correct to fix issues and then to get fixes into the hands of the consumers. I have to say that gamers have been good with us – they realise that we work hard, I think we’ve had eight or nine server updates since the launch of the PC side.
“We try and do an update every second day to improve the game experience, and there are patches in the works for the PS3 and Xbox 360. I bet we’ll have to do the same thing on the next-gen machines. But our commitment to making the best gameplay experience on a continual basis is there. We devote a lot of time and effort toward making the game better as we go. But I think we need to do a better job as a company in making sure that what comes to market is in as good a shape as it possibly can be.”
Another issue Soderlund suggests for the issues which have affected Battlefield 4 players is the number of players themselves who have been playing the game.
“The number one reason for things going wrong is scale. We do a lot of testing and load balancing, we do everything we can, but my personal experience tells me there’s no such thing, at this point at least, that can emulate real physical load. It’s so hard to simulate that because there are so many different user cases that you can’t simulate in a test environment.
“So should players be patient and allow us to update games when they come out? Yes. Should players expect base functionality for something they’ve purchased? Absolutely. I think if there are two people screaming at you out of a thousand, you can ask for patience, but if there are 500 out of 1,000, you’ve got to change something, right? You’ve got a problem.”
Although you would have to ask that if fixing a bug is as easy as releasing an update just after the release, why wasn’t the time taken to make sure that bug wasn’t there when the game releases? While I can appreciate that games will inevitably release with bugs and glitches and developers will work hard to rectify them as soon as possible, surely it is wrong to say players have to be more patient to allow them to update the game? Most players I know are patient when it comes to bugs and glitches, most of the time which aren’t game-breaking. But with Battlefield 4, many users have experienced the game crashing on virtually every playthrough and is a widespread issue. Sorry in advance if after a day or two of not being able to string together a few games without crashing if I am losing my patience.