Top 13 Failures of this Generation

5. Never-ending PS3 System Updates

The anger over PS3 system updates has been gaining steam lately. It seems like there's a new update every week or two, not to mention the mini-updates you're subjected to once the game starts. If you haven't played your PS3 in a month you're looking at 30 minutes or more of updating and even more for each game you want to play. Plus, with the exception of big things like Move support and Netflix, most users typically don’t care or can’t even tell what each update does. It's a system that subtly but effectively encourages you not to continue using the system.

It could have been better if: The updates were actually useful once in awhile and took less time to install than driving to the store to buy a 360 instead.

6. Games for Windows Live

GFWL was billed as the savior of PC gaming, a plug-and-play system that was going to guarantee quality and make installing and playing a game on any PC with any hardware specs as simple to enjoy as popping a game disc into a console. Years later, GFWL has become little more than a burden to PC gamers and a DRM tool for developers. The system is cumbersome, and has been widely criticized by PC gamers as Microsoft trying to impose a one-size-fits-all policy to all gaming systems (i.e. trying to make the PC in another Xbox 360.)

It could have been better if: It was more like Steam, the digital delivery service that truly does improve the PC gaming experience (most of the time).

7. Twitter on consoles

One has to wonder how much man-power went into developing the Twitter Xbox Live and PSN clients. After all the work, all gamers got was a service that nobody ever bothers using (it's far faster to just get up and type an update on your computer, or reach for your smartphone). And all Twitter users got was a bunch of annoying status updates about how KillUrMom96 earned a Trophy in Uncharted 2. Can’t you just picture the cliché board meeting where some out-of-touch dinosaur screams about how this “social media” thing is the future? We sincerely hope that guy got the axe after the other suits realized how much money he wasted on this.

It could have been better if: The concept of typing an update with a joystick rather than a keyboard wasn't inherently dumb.

8. The Lie of the 20/40gb HDD

When the Xbox 360 first released, there were two options available: the more expensive version with a 20GB hard drive included, and the pack that quickly became nicknamed (plug your ears kids!) the “retard pack” which came with no HDD at all [society’s moniker of choice, not ours]. Little did we know that both versions of the console were completely inadequate. Over the years, the 20GB hard drive has become almost laughably small as MS releases ever more reasons why you need at least 60GB or more. The 40GB PS3 might be even worse though. With mandatory installs soaking up as much as several gigs per game, it's pretty much impossible to play more than three games at a time without having to jockey back and forth deleting and installing each game. Bravo, Microsoft and Sony. This is how you treat your Day 1 customers?

[Ed note - Actually, it’s not. It’s how they treat their gullible customers, as anyone buying the current Xbox 360/Kinect bundle pack – which has a 4GB 360 and no memory card in the box – is learning.]

It could have been better if: Console manufacturers were honest. Which we how sounds funny – dammit, why is that?

9. The Red Ring of Death

We don't which is more embarrassing for Microsoft's games division: The abysmal life span of its flagship product, or the fact that the company is still trying to convince us the failure rate is only around 30%. An independent survey conducted by Game Informer puts the failure rate at closer to 55%, and there are GR staffers who’ve burned through three or more 360s in the last five years. The problem is that users who enjoy their system the most are the ones who get burned the fastest. The deep, relaxing “breath of air” that the 360’s curved design was meant to symbolize has instead come to symbolize the sharp gasp a gamer takes when they see the red rings. Or the mass breath-holding of gamers praying their systems don't fail before Black Ops comes out.

It could have been better if: Microsoft had admitted the problem sooner, fixed it more quickly, and just been less unfriendly on a corporate level about the whole thing.


  • larkan - October 21, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    I enjoyed Too Human. There, I said it. The PS3 updates are nothing compared to PSN itself. After it's UI update, it's unbelievably slow and choppy. Who would've thought that a 35mb update could completely ruin something that worked fine in the first place?
  • 911donkey - November 26, 2010 6:12 a.m.

    "Or if they’d just hired Valve to do it" made me laugh my ass off.
  • colbythomas - November 25, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    SHUT UP too human is a epic game i love it SO LEAVE TOO HUMAN ALONE!!!!!
  • NightCrawler_358 - November 25, 2010 1:01 p.m.

    HA friend codes. This is a cool list, but why was PS Home not in this? I'd replace that with the PS3 updates entry.
  • elpurplemonkey - November 25, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    I actually greatly enjoyed the Shadowrun demo. The mechanics were inventive and worked very well. But the game would have been much better off not using the Shadowrun name, and releasing on XBLA and PSN for half the price.
  • Nodoudt - November 25, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    Can "Chinese Knock-Off Spammers On Your Game Sites" count as fails? PLEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASE??? Although, that can easily be switched out with gold farmers. .__.
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  • secretsearcher - November 25, 2010 3:46 a.m.

    lol at the teenage mutant ninja turtles reference and the red ring of death is the reason why I got a PS3 instead of a XBOX 360
  • Fuzunga - November 25, 2010 2:34 a.m.

    I change my faceplate every so often and I've never had a problem. They're easy enough to get off and on.
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  • ryno - November 24, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    i usually ignore game updates. but i still find them annoying. PSN should stop the updates 4evr
  • shinyscizor93 - November 24, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    I found what you said about removing 360 face plates strange since mine falls off almost every time I touch the darn thing.
  • Clovin64 - November 24, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    I hate those bloody Red Rings of Death. My 360 died just a week before Assassins Creed II came out.
  • quicksilver_502 - November 24, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    alpha protocol is interesting. it obviously failed comercially and critically but i really like it. 3 and a half playthroughs worth of like. on the ohter hand, i wouldn't actually recommend a firedn buy it for anything over a fiver. borrow it or renrt, sure. but while i can look past the many error and frustrations, many couldn't, quite reasonably. a shame though. i so want a sequel.
  • EdDeRs1 - November 24, 2010 5:40 p.m.

    my xbox survived the red rings twice :)
  • OrangeJews - November 24, 2010 3:14 p.m.

    Maybe the author's hands are gorwing out of his ass if he cannot remove the godddamn 360 faceplate.
  • Aletheon - November 24, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    #5 is not a big deal. Only an xbot would complain about it. Faceplates are easy to change. Not sure why it's so difficult for you....
  • Pruman - November 24, 2010 3 p.m.

    Some things you missed: 1) Wii Music. For some Nintendo fans, it was the final nail in the company's casual coffin, and it only sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. That's good enough for most games, but compared to 37.83 million for Wii Fit and WF Plus combined, 24.01 million for Mario Kart Wii, and 26.71 million for Wii Play, Wii Music is an abject failure. (source for numbers: 2) I realize it's not a console game, but Command and Conquer 4. I can't find figures, but a Google search estimates it sold less than 200k copies, which makes sense since it basically abandoned what made C&C great in favor of ripping off every element from every RTS to come out in the past 5 years and combining it with crippling DRM. 3) On that note, why not include crippling DRM in general for PC games? SecuROM, requiring a constant Internet connection, rootkits...none of these things do anything to deter piracy, and only punish paying customers. I understand why companies use it, but the way to add value to PC gaming is by using Steam. 4) Franchise burnout. 10 Guitar Hero games in 3 years. A new Call of Duty every year. Multiple annual sports releases. Kotick said right after Activision Blizzard formed that he was going to exploit franchises, and oh boy has he, to the point where entire genres like music games have risen and fallen in this generation. Activision is the most prominent offender, but you could also go with Koei and Dynasty Warriors, or Nintendo and it's "Wii" series (I hear Wii Party isn't doing so well.) 4) This is the worst one to me, but the consolization of PC games. Modern Warfare 2 was the most prominent example, removing dedicated servers and not providing any modding tools so ActiBlizzard could sell us $15 map packs. It was clear that IW designed it for the 360 first and merely ported it to the PC. Borderlands was another egregious example: the only way to edit certain settings was to hack a TXT file. If the game wasn't so damn fun and addictive I would be more angry. 5) On the flip side, two of the worst aspects of PC gaming, drawn-out game installs and rushing a game out before it's done and then patching it later, turning early adopters into unpaid beta testers, have come to the consoles now that they're on the Internet. I bet next generation we'll have to configure video drivers and resolve device conflicts on our XBOX 720s and PS4s.
  • SonyBacker - November 24, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    I think the question is when will DC Universe Online be released, I preordered this came countless times', then when I heard that it was to be released a couple of weeks ago, I preordered it again only to find it was pushed back again, it doesn't matter how many screenshots are released it is nothing but a stalling ploy, all i can do is to keep having faith that this game will be worth the wait. worse case scenario the game is scrapped altogether due to budget constraints or the dev company going into admin. even if it is released and the game is a waste of time and money i will be on the front line taking it back and kick up a storm.
  • philipshaw - November 24, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    Great article but how can something as minimal as firmware updates be higher on the list than the RROD which still is a massive hardware problem

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