Valve´s refund policy slammed Batman: Arkham Knight really, really hard
I was just as excited like everybody else when Rocksteady Studios and Warner Bros released Batman: Arkham Knight on Steam back in June (June 23rd to be exact), but then I started to experience some really serious bugs, glitches and frame rate problems on my PC (30 FPS on a $2,700 Gaming rig…). In fact, at times it was so bad that I could barely run Arkham Knight at all, and to make matters even worse. Warner Bros might actually have known about Batman: Arkham Knight’s PC issues several months BEFORE the game even got released to PC. However, this has not been proven (as far as I know), but that´s what close sources to Kotaku told them just recently (people who claim that they have been working on the PC-port of Arkham Knight for years).
“I will say that it’s pretty rich for WB to act like they had no idea the game was in such a horrible state,” one of the sources, who claimed to have worked on the game for years, told Kotaku. “It’s been like this for months and all the problems we see now were the exact same, unchanged, almost a year ago.” – A close source to Kotaku
So I was not surprised to hear that Totalbiscuit brought out the big guns when it came to pointing out the flaws of the PC-version of Batman: Arkham Knight, because even though he played (and recorded) the game on a very powerful Gaming rig. Arkham Knight was still suffering from bug and performance issues.
“Arkham Knight has been heavily criticised for a poor quality PC port. Just how true is that and what happens if you try to brute force it with a very powerful PC? Lets find out.
Specs: i7-5930k @ 4.2ghz
16gb DDR-4 2800 RAM
2x GTX Titan X Graphics
Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD.” – Totalbiscuit
So it didn´t take all that long before the Gaming community started to realize this as well, thus all the negative comments (and low grades) on Steam, comments such as these for example:
“Runs worse than Assassins Creed Unity. Let that sink in for a moment.” – Accel
“Award winning game for Most Terrible Performance.” – Tommy
“This PC release is a joke.” – Time-Killer
“30 fps cap, horrible glitches, bad performance on enthusiast builds, don’t waste your money on this piece of crap” – chilas123
So what about the average grades for Arkham Knight then? Well, I´m glad that you asked that, because it gets really interesting when you compare the average grades for PS4, Xbox One and PC, just take a look for yourselves:
Xbox One 86.43%
Xbox One 85/100
Don´t release broken games, and don´t charge us full price for them
The numbers tell no lies, because it´s true that the PC-version of Arkham Knight has the lowest grade to date. So let´s be honest, the PC-release was a huge fiasco because of all the bugs and performance issues. However, there is one good thing that actually happened because of this, and that would-be Steam´s “new” refund policy (which had quite a controversial launch back in June). As it gave the players (consumers) the ability to ask for a full refund due to the fact that Arkham Knight indeed was “somewhat” broken on release, not only that. This way, the Gaming community could vote with their wallets and show their displeasure with Batman: Arkham Knight.
In short, Warner Bros had a “heavy slap on the hand” kind of experience because of this. So Valve’s refund policy might actually force big publishers (and AAA studios) to rethink their game publishing plans (no rushed game releases, and no half-broken games on release that´s priced $50-$60), or else they might end up in a similar situation themselves. Sadly enough though, Warner Bros and Arkham Knight are far from the only releases that has had huge problems on release as of lately (this goes for none PC-releases as well). Just take Assassin’s Creed Unity (bugs O´plenty), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (the game was un-playable for a long while), Halo’s Master Chief Collection (none working multiplayer mode), or Sony´s Driveclub (that game was broken for several weeks).
This is kind of behavior is NOT okay. Then again. It´s our own fault that this madness never ends, as we keep on buying half-broken games on release (or pre-order games long before the games even launches), because by doing this, we´re sending out the message that we´re okay with buying none (or badly) working games with a 50-$60 price tag. We need to stop doing this, or else there will be no end to this kind of bad behavior on the behalf of publishers and AAA studios (indie developers avoid doing this, since they can´t afford having really bad grades on release. Nor do most indie devs have the money to bribe people in return for good reviews either, no names mentioned…).
So think what you want about Valve’s refund policy, but I think it´s a huge step in the right direction. As the refund policy works as quality control of sorts (people can ask for a full refund if they’re unhappy with the game in question), and that will make it harder for publishers and developers to release really bad (or broken) games on Steam, simply because the Steam community won´t accept paying full prices for crap anymore.
That´s also why it would be great if more Internet-based digital distribution platforms (like PSN, XBL and so on) would implement the same (or a similar) refund policy to Steam´s as well. As it would have a positive impact on the video game industry as a whole, at least when it comes to making it difficult for those who intend to misbehave (sell and release bad or broken games).
Anyhow, this was everything that I had to say about this subject at this time. So feel free to drop a comment (or two) down below!
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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