Developing for consoles is very difficult. Or at least it must be, because getting no-shit accurate footage from a company concerning their console game can be a tricky proposition. There has been a trend of companies passing off footage as being on their consoles when it was later proven not to be. It’s this kind of intellectual dishonesty which makes gamers rally around the #GamerGate flagpole harder than ever.
Here is a list of the offenders we know about. Keep in mind this could be much more widespread—but if the company doesn’t screw up, it’s very hard to determine a fake.
Is it really any surprise that the only back-to-back winner of The Worst Company in America is on this list? Electronic Arts as a publisher has a long list of sins against their consumers—from the agressive micro-transactions in free (the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper) AND paid (Dead Space 3) games, to the always-online requirement in the latest iteration of Sim City, and that’s not even mentioning Origin, their online storefront. EA has earned the ire of the consumer, and continues to earn it.
Their latest consumer debacle comes from a video of Battlefield: Hardline, the latest in the Battlefield franchise and the first Batllefield game to pit cops and criminals against one another. Below is a screenshot of the footage, ostensibly from the PS4. See if you can spot the inaccuracy!
This was also on the official Playstation YouTube channel, so technically Sony is also to blame. I think it’s likely that they received the footage from EA and did not properly vet it. In fact, it’s likely that’s not even a step of their process because who submits PC footage to them anyway? Apparently EA does.
It’s important to note to anyone that might think this an innocent error—EA already conducted a PS4 beta last June. So they definitely had a version of the game with the correct control prompts as long as six months ago.
In truth, this isn’t that surprising. Battlefield 4, which shares the same engine, had a notoriously buggy launch. In fact, it was so bad that it spawned multiple lawsuits and complaints to the Better Business Bureau. It’s easy to understand why they might want to avoid another BF4-level PR shitstorm, but cheating is not the way to get you to a bug-free release, EA. Let it sit in QA until it’s done. I think with the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity behind us, I can safely say that gamers are more ready to wait for bug-free games than ever.
Considering I did an entire article on the botch job that was the Xbox One launch, I’m surprised this next portion did not make it into that article.
It was the Electronic Entertainment Expo of 2013. Both Microsoft and Sony were pulling out all the stops to ensure that come launch, their console would be selling. Except in Microsoft’s case, they were cheating. Check out the below photos, and let me know if you see something out of the ordinary:
Naturally, this sight made some E3 goers a little curious, so they took a closer look.
Microsoft got caught running their demos on custom rigs that (in hindsight) almost certainly exceeded the specs for the real Xbox One. Rather than cop to what was an already embarassing situation, Microsoft tried to claim that these PCs were actually “dev kits.”
The best part is after the story hit the web, some of the readers went to see what Sony had running its demos. Surprise—those demos were being run by real PS4’s! But that’s Sony, making Microsoft look silly since the PS4 announcement.
It pains me to say that even Nintendo has tried to pull a fast one on the consumer. It pains me even more that Geoff Keighley, he of the Doritosgate lore, was the one to call Nintendo out.
In June of 2011, at E3, Nintendo itself was called out for a little misdirection. During an announcement for the coming Wii U, Nintendo played some video that was intended to show it was serious about third-party support. Shown in the video were games such as Darksiders II (pour one out for THQ, wherever you are), Ninja Gaiden 3, and DiRT. These games were shown without much in the way of explanation, and the presentation moved on. However, in the interview after the presentation, Geoff Keighly, representing Spike, asked Reggie Fils-Aime a loaded question:
Keighley: Now, you showed a sizzle reel of a lot of third-party games, I mean that was footage from Xbox 360-PS3 versions of those games, right?
Fil-Aime: Absolutely! Because we’re talking about a year away from when the system’s gonna launch.
Credit to Mr. Fil-Aime for owning up to what wasn’t clarified during the presentation, but he had to be asked first. I seriously doubt he would have offered that information on his own, and on the whole this was dishonest of Nintendo to try and pull. It is worth pointing out, however, that all three of the aforementioned games did, in fact, appear on the Wii U.
Dishonesty is disrespect to the consumer
Make no mistake, this dishonest practice is aimed at one goal—taking your hard-earned cash for an under-performing, oversold product. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This is why you never preorder games. Games companies have proven that they are not trustworthy, but real change will only come when consumers vote with their wallets, and use their purchasing power to punish the pretenders and reward those companies that create quality products and treat their customers with respect.
Again, these are only the companies that got caught in the act. If you know of any others, let me know in the comments below. And do yourself a favor—take any pre-release footage with a grain of salt.