PlayStation 3's phantom leap year
The problem: Older PS3 models (i.e. the non-slim versions) thought 2010 was a leap year, which sent them into a Trophy-corrupting tirade that locked millions of PS3 owners out of their paid-for content, including games bought in a real-world store. The event was eventually dubbed “The ApocalyPS3.”
The response: Sony hopped on the problem pretty quick, but offered nothing to those who were affected. If you hadn’t synched your Trophies prior to the outage, sorry, you’re out of luck.
We hated it because: What kind of Y2K bullshit is this? A service outage is one thing, but having a malfunction that’s so dire it prevents us from even playing a goddamn game is absurd. How are we supposed to revel in the artistic splendor of Heavy Rain when all we get is “ERROR 8001050F?” On the plus side, this was only one day of inconvenience, compared to the months of Red Ring tyranny suffered by 360 owners.
Crackdown update erases save data
The problem: A mandatory title update accidentally erased saved data, likely removing hours upon hours of hard work you put into your genetically superior supercop.
The response: Realtime Worlds, developer of Crackdown, admitted the error in its forums and a slightly obnoxious workaround was found shortly after. The problem was handled, but that’s a big “FUUUUU” to anyone who happened to play a co-op game after downloading the update.
We hated it because: We spent dozens of hours dicking around in Crackdown and weren’t too thrilled with losing all of that progress. Good to see the devs jump on it like that, but it wasn’t the first time Crackdown would have to bear the brunt of tech problems happening out in the ether – the Halo 3 beta, which launched via menus inside of Crackdown, was riddled with day-one problems.
Online DRM locks people out of Creed II
The problem: Ubisoft employs pesky new DRM tactics that require users to be online while playing the PC Assassin’s Creed II. If your connection is lost, the game pauses until the connection is reestablished. And as if on cue, the servers dropped, kicking people out of the game, losing progress up to that point or locking them out of the game entirely.
The response: Ubi leapt into its own forums to say the loss was “unacceptable” and was working on repairs. It also said the outage was due to 1337 haX0rz and 95% of players were not affected by the attack on its servers.
We hated it because: This “online only” DRM sounded awful on paper, a premonition that came true almost the moment the game was released. If you’re going to force new technology and new restrictions on consumers, test that shit extensively before you roll it out on a highly anticipated sequel.
Far Cry 2 bugs last for months
The problem: Far Cry 2 ships with data-ruining, game-ending bugs. What seems like a job for a simple patch erupts into a months-long siege on the user experience.
The response: Ubi slowly gets around to acknowledging the issue, first with “try re-installing your files” caliber help, and then vague promises that the crashes would soon come to an end. Not so, as Ubi didn’t give the all clear until May 2009. That’s six months after launch, btw.
We hated it because: Two GR editors witnessed the bugs firsthand, losing progress and saves because of a rampant problem that Ubi seemed reluctant or unable to stamp out.