Sunday, 21 August 2011

ship it

(When I saw that title on the tweet that linked me to this post, I thought it was going to be about shipping. Like, romance. No.)

Basically, they discover a catastrophic-but-rare bug in a game shortly before ship date, and rather than delay the game to put in a fix, ship it anyway.

I've never worked in a big game company, I don't know much about console games. Trying to extrapolate from a business perspective, I can kind of see their point in not addressing it. The majority of customers never finish games, so a bug that only happens sixteen hours in is already of lower importance (no surprise, anyone who plays games has seen how much buggier the endgames get.) On top of that, it requires the player doing something unusual at a precise moment. (At least, I'm guessing that the autosave is somehow visible, in order for the tester to have been able to find and replicate this behavior.) So the odds of a normal player hitting it seem low, and therefore IF it really would take ages to fix, you can see why they wouldn't.

On the other hand, bricking your console is a much bigger deal than just not fixing a crash bug. (Of course, that also sounds like a bug in the console, no?) I have no idea what game this was, but if they didn't report the problem to the console manufacturers and take responsibility in case the bug did hit someone... lawsuit?

Anyway. I can see why you might not fix the bug. But I can't see why you'd fire the poor tester trying to tell you what you'd done. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty good bug story, but I'm not sure the firing in that anecedote is a case so much of 'He found a major bug, fire him' as 'The project is shipping, time to lay off the QA department.'

Actually, I'm pretty nonplussed by most of the stories on that site.