GWJ Conference Call Episode 238

Conference Call

Child of Eden Preview, Section 8: Prejudice, Portal 2 Coop, PSN Outage: What's It All Mean?, Special Guest Justin McElroy, Your Emails and more!

This week Justin McElroy joins Shawn, Elysium and Allen to talk about the PSN nonsense, Child of Eden and much, much more!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Joystiq
My Brother, My Brother and Me
Section 8: Prejudice
Portal 2
Child of Eden
Amazon App Store Controversy

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Child of Eden - Mood trailer - http://child-of-eden.us.ubi.com/ - 0:20:58

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Vortal Combat - http://www.valvesoftware.com/games/e... - 0:41:51

Comments

I'd say the Portal universe is definitely dark, similar to the Half-Life universe. It's just how murdering everyone on Bring Your Daughter To Work Day is presented:

One thing that you should consider is that Sony is a Japanese company, and there is a very different way of how and if the corporate industry responds to the public. I actually think you can compare the response of Sony Playstation similar to last year's Toyota debacle. It is not an excuse, but it provides and understanding for the ineptitude of Sony's response to the public. This kind of corporate failure is very difficult to handle in Japanese business culture. I cannot say I am too surprised by Sony's complete failure for transparency and liability towards its costumers and the many, many mistakes they made with the absence of a community manager for damage control. I'm just bringing this up as another angle to consider when discussing the recent failures of Playstation regarding this topic.

SallyNasty wrote:
Elysium wrote:

You'd have liked them MrDeVil -- particularly the third one. It was like a habanero pepper of righteous indignance.

I got your back, Sands. And I fight dirty.

Plus, it's not nice to hit a lady (no matter how sassy)

I agree, the Conference Call is a way of sitting down and shooting the breeze with friends, without having to be in the same room, or even the same timezone.

"What have we been playing this week?" should give people an indication of the informal tone of the podcast. These are opinions, from opinionated people, and 9/10 they're damn funny too (you can fight amongst yourselves, who represents that 1/10).

If you want objective, balanced content, the Conference Call might not be the podcast for you. If you enjoy intelligent, witty banter and observation, get comfy and settle in, 'cause it's a good ride.

Spoiler:

It was interesting to see the hornet's nest you guys poked your collective stick into rise up though.

demonicmurry wrote:

I actually think you can compare the response of Sony Playstation similar to last year's Toyota debacle. It is not an excuse, but it provides and understanding for the ineptitude of Sony's response to the public.

Not really. Toyota has not been found to be at fault by any investigation so far, and the company was just found to be not guilty in one of the the class action lawsuits. All of the investigations found it to be driver error, not a vehicle defect, in almost all of the cases reported to the NHTSA. Keep in mind, the entire thing was about 50 vehicles produced over a 10 year period. Toyota, like any other car company that makes millions per year, probably didn't think it was an issue.

Toyota had to deal with the entire US media saying that they are making broken cars when they really weren't. In fact, ABC essentially faked a news report on it. Nobody could come out of that in a good position, no matter what they actually did. They couldn't say the truth, which is that the unintended acceleration was happening mostly to the elderly, teens, and drunk drivers. In fact, Toyota learned from what Audi did in the late 80's, and didn't blame the drivers. So they did what every car company on the planet does when faced with that level of media scrutiny: Started up a bunch of investigations, issued a recall that "fixed" the non-existent problem, and sat and waited for the truth to come out.

It's also worth nothing that Ford had an identical recall at the same time, but nobody went apesh*t over that because it's Ford. They do that.

Sony, on the other hand, has f*cked up. Massively. Not only should this break-in not have happened in the first place, but it's obvious that Sony didn't even consider the possibility of it happening from their response. Considering how common these events have been in the last decade, it's insane to not have a plan to inform your customers the moment you detect an intrusion. You need a plan for when the service goes down. Sony never had one.

LarryC wrote:

I dunno. SMG and SMG2 are pretty replayable. I loved replaying Wii Sports and WSR, too. In fact, I loved a lot of Nintendo software this gen whereas I couldn't even be bothered to buy a GameCube last gen.

This is kind of the point; SMG came out in 2007. The sequel came out in 2010. (And they're both still full price, but that's another rant). I pretty much own all of the Wii titles I'm interested in playing, and half of them are my old GameCube games.

The Wii has not been good for non-casual gamers from a release standpoint. The network play isn't great on it either. Sony apparently can't run a server, and Microsoft can't build reliable hardware. Between the three systems, you get one decent console.

So I reiterate: Worst. Console. Generation. Ever.

I don't know cube, I do not believe Playstation is at fault for getting hacked--it could really happen to anyone. You're using many facts from the investigation into Toyota, when you should be looking at the delayed response of Toyota before and during the recall. I believe you can make a comparison to the delayed response of Sony regarding the Playstation Network outage similar to the delayed response of Toyota during that period.

Not all of the facts are out on the investigation on PSN, and we are still currently in a media frenzy on the subject. But I do think looking on how Toyota failed to adequate respond and take control of their stance of the issue was severely detrimental. Toyota issued a recall of vehicles in Japan weeks before issuing a recall in Europe and the US, which is idiotic. When asked about the recall, Toyota refused to make a press statement. The company was virtually silent. . The height of the controversy extended from October to February 2010, which is absolutely ludicrous from a press stand point.

Just as Sony, I believe Toyota lacked a response team regarding the recalls and loss of costumer confidence. Suspicious of fault went form a faulty floor mat, to a software update, to faulty manufacturing. Only in hindsight, the latest investigation determines it was driver error. Regardless of fault, I do believe the comparison between Toyota and Sony's response to these controversies are lacking. I do not know how you reached to the impression that Sony did not consider that personal information was breached, I actually think they realized it fairly quickly.

I do think corporate culture is an important factor when understanding the utter failure of Toyota's response regarding the vehicle recalls. And, I believe we see a similar failure in Sony. I mean, it took them six days to send out an e-mail about the breach and potential threat to costumers after PSN went down. That is utterly absurd. Thankfully, after the admission of guilt Sony seems to be properly attempted to rectify the situation.

No one got my credit card details from a faulty Toyota though. I think that's what has opened the gate for Sony being so heavily criticised.

It wasn't a 1 in X number chance of a product failing, it was people's identities at risk. That's where it becomes personal, and that's why they needed to act sooner. Cultural differences or not, Sony had an obligation to let those people effected know sooner so they could take the appropriate steps to protect themselves from any greater breach.

They didn't have to go to the media, they could have emailed all people effected. They didn't, they stand to be criticised for that.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

The Wii has not been good for non-casual gamers from a release standpoint. The network play isn't great on it either. Sony apparently can't run a server, and Microsoft can't build reliable hardware. Between the three systems, you get one decent console.

So I reiterate: Worst. Console. Generation. Ever.

What do you mean by "non-casual gamers?" I have over 70 titles for the console, most of which I really like. Would I be part of this casual demographic? Why is it necessarily a bad thing for the console to cater to people like me, such that it makes this console generation "the worst ever?" Don't know if you mean it that way, but it feels like you're saying that this generation is the worst ever partially because it's catering to "casual gamers."

demonicmurry wrote:

I don't know cube, I do not believe Playstation is at fault for getting hacked--it could really happen to anyone. You're using many facts from the investigation into Toyota, when you should be looking at the delayed response of Toyota before and during the recall. I believe you can make a comparison to the delayed response of Sony regarding the Playstation Network outage similar to the delayed response of Toyota during that period.

The big difference though is that Toyota may have been slow to respond, but there was nothing wrong with the cars. Sony had a problem, they knew they had a problem and took the system down for 6 days before telling anyone.

Toyota had claims their cars were randomly killing people, investigated, found there was no issue, then the media got hold of it.

But that's actually beside the point. You are not wrong that the culture of Sony probably was a reason for their tardiness, but in a global society it's not excusable.

Some of the recent revelations are that Sony was outed months ago for using outdated, unpatched server software and for having no firewall in place to protect the servers where they housing 'our' data. Let me repeat, no firewall. Is that not some kind of security basic, one that any internet user 101 is aware of, let alone a global corporation that is handling customer's private information.

Obviously the hackers are guilty of what they have done, but isn't Sony guilty of gross negligence in their handling / protections of their user data? If I were to leave a wad of cash on the ground or my front door wide open all the time, day or night, am I not also to blame when someone finally takes advantage of that opening. Difference here is, it wasn't Sony's money laying on the ground, it was that of their customers in the form of personally identifiable information.

Irongut wrote:

Some of the recent revelations is that Sony was outed months ago for using outdated, unpatched server software and for having no firewall in place to protect the servers where they housing 'our' data. Let me repeat, no firewall. Is that not some kind of security basic, one that any internet user 101 is aware of, let alone a global corporation that is handling customer's private information.

Exactly!

I would not be surprised if some online-store-from-a-garage had that problem but Sony? Multi-million-dollar company Sony had no security audit done for their servers?

Blows my mind.

Personally, I think this has been the greatest console generation. I'll always have a lot of nostalgia for the Atari 2600, the SNES, the PS1/2 & XBOX etc etc but I don't think they can compare to the technology, community aspects, integrated services and depth of gameplay experiences this generation has delivered. This generation is more complex in certain aspects, a bigger investment, but to look back too with too much nostalgia is just a step backwards.

Even in the pc space, hardware investments these days seem to have a longevity that dwarfs anything back in the 486, pentium I, II, III, etc timeframe of rapid hardware churn. Where software used to drive hardware, it seems like software is either in a catchup mode nowadays or pc developers have learned to tread a more spec friendly, market maximizing target audience. So much computing power for reasonable costs, it's just a great time to be a gamer all around. A great time!

LarryC wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:

The Wii has not been good for non-casual gamers from a release standpoint. The network play isn't great on it either. Sony apparently can't run a server, and Microsoft can't build reliable hardware. Between the three systems, you get one decent console.

So I reiterate: Worst. Console. Generation. Ever.

What do you mean by "non-casual gamers?" I have over 70 titles for the console, most of which I really like. Would I be part of this casual demographic? Why is it necessarily a bad thing for the console to cater to people like me, such that it makes this console generation "the worst ever?" Don't know if you mean it that way, but it feels like you're saying that this generation is the worst ever partially because it's catering to "casual gamers."

There's nothing wrong with a company catering to casual gamers. Popcap built an empire on it, and almost all of the titles I bought through PSN are popcap games. But looking at it from the perspective of the type of gamers represented on this podcast, this generation has a lot of problems that just weren't there before.

The tech was less advanced, but honestly the only difference between a Sega Genesis and an SNES was the library and whether Mortal Kombat had blood in it without a game genie. Nintendo never had to extend everybodies' warrantees because of a design defect, and Sega never lost personal data on 70 million users. And both systems had software support out the tiny yang for all kinds of gamers, not just specific niches.

I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed my time with my PS3 and my Wii. But obiectively, this generation is a basket case. That may be the result o technology advances, or simple incompetence mixed with arrogance, but it's still true.

I'd question the objectivity of that assessment. I've very rarely taken any console online for any reason, and when I did, I used pre-bought credit. As far as I'm concerned, the generation brought great DL titles to consoles, great games, and the revival of Street Fighter for real.

It brought halfway credible cinematic technique to games, great hybridization of various genres, and a variety of excellent puzzle and new genre games. It's also the generation where motion control finally made sense. I've had a ball with my Wii collection. We've never had as many light games as we have today, and as far as I'm concerned, there can't be enough of such games (since I don't like going to the arcades to burn money). And Wii Sports? Brilliant. Generation winner for sure. I still play Wii Bowling today, and it's just as much fun as it was when I first played it.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

The big difference though is that Toyota may have been slow to respond, but there was nothing wrong with the cars.

The courts found there was no electrical fault. Toyota still recalled millions of cars because of pedal entrapment. When you have a global recall of millions of units, there is clearly something wrong.

demonicmurry:

I perceived that actually as a face-saving measure by Toyota, a way to preserve their reputation. Even if there wasn't anything actually wrong that could legally hurt them, being linked to a bad urban myth is nearly as bad, PR-wise.

As an owner of one of the recalled Toyotas, I have to agree with the impression that it was a PR move to counteract bad (and arguably libelous) press. I couldn't see any possible way the pedal could get stuck the way it was described. As for the "fix", it really looks like they just took a pair of industrial-strength scissors and cut the bottom third of the pedal cover off.

Whether Toyota's reactions were "appropriate" or not, though, is really a moot point. You can't use some other company's success or failure as an excuse for the company you're talking about. Momma always said, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, that doesn't mean you should, too."

The problem is that Sony makes for a very entertaining victim. This is a company that has spent virtually every minute of the PlayStation 3's existence taking all of its customers and its dominance in the gaming industry for granted. Not even ten days before the PSN outage started, Jack Tretton was calling the DS a "great babysitting tool" that "no self-respecting 20-something" would ever want to be caught with. Watching Sony twist and squirm before the fires of public opinion isn't schadenfreude: it's comeuppance, satisfaction in seeing an arrogant company brought low and, frankly, humiliated on a national stage.

Having said that, the fact that Sony has set the tone of the discussion with their various PR failures doesn't mean that we have to oblige. And, even though the topic segment didn't completely descend into a Sony bashfest, it peered over the edge more than once. The arrival of the "Sony Defense Force" might have something to do with comments like these:

"It feels like I'm getting a massage when I start the 360 and it feels like I'm getting hit by a tennis racket when I start the PS3."

"At Sony, it looks like the PS3 software was written by two or three developers they locked in a closet and occasionally threw a steak in."

"All I know is that, if I'm looking at PSN, it's making me sad."

That's just the small sampling of the shots, many of which have little to nothing to do with the PSN outage, that were taken at Sony. And there's no point in enumerating all of the various pro-Microsoft comments that emerged from the discussion either, though I'd love to hear Pyro expound on his comment of how the 360 "promotes the thing that you want to do right there," considering how much of the 360 dashboard is cluttered with advertisements.

It didn't ruin the podcast or anything absurd like that, but it did stick out to me and I've put more gaming time into the 360 than the other current-gen consoles combined.

LarryC wrote:

demonicmurry:

I perceived that actually as a face-saving measure by Toyota, a way to preserve their reputation. Even if there wasn't anything actually wrong that could legally hurt them, being linked to a bad urban myth is nearly as bad, PR-wise.

Exactly this. Toyota spent, at a guess, billions just to make people feel better about an imaginary issue. That's as far from Sony's reaction as you could get.

And Toyota's reason? Their relationship with their customers is founded on trust and a perception of quality built over decades. They know the value of PR.

LarryC wrote:

I'd question the objectivity of that assessment. I've very rarely taken any console online for any reason, and when I did, I used pre-bought credit. As far as I'm concerned, the generation brought great DL titles to consoles, great games, and the revival of Street Fighter for real.

It brought halfway credible cinematic technique to games, great hybridization of various genres, and a variety of excellent puzzle and new genre games. It's also the generation where motion control finally made sense. I've had a ball with my Wii collection. We've never had as many light games as we have today, and as far as I'm concerned, there can't be enough of such games (since I don't like going to the arcades to burn money). And Wii Sports? Brilliant. Generation winner for sure. I still play Wii Bowling today, and it's just as much fun as it was when I first played it.

I dispute none of this. There have been great advances, but as is the case with all advances of any kind, there are unintended consequences and downsides that are usually swept under the rug by the Rah-Rah-Progress crowd.

More features = more potential problems. This doesn't mean I want to go back to playing hoop and stick just because the Amish never lost 70 million credit card numbers. I'm just saying that the ability to not have a physical disc (a feature that some of us didn't want in the first place) came at a cost that is higher than than the gains we've made.

There is nothing inherent to XBLA, for example, that requires the RROD to happen more frequently than it would with a competent designer behind it; especially this many years into the product life cycle. Are they seriously waiting for the Xbox 720 before they realize you should symmetrically balance your dielectric stackup to avoid thermal warping?

There is nothing inherent to the PS3's hardware that requires the PSN to have a security hole you can drive a battleship through. Yet it somehow took them a major security breach to decide that maybe their network could use a firewall or something.

These kinds of failures are not new problems. There is a whole generation kids starting high school that have never known a world without Internet access, and your network isn't up to snuff? People have been making computers for decades now, and you're only now realizing that heat is bad for GPUs? What the heck is google for if everyone is going to try and build stuff from scratch without expertise and learn as they go?

And nothing inherent to Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo opened he gates for indie developers. There has been a wide open platform with fewer issues on the market for years now, but everyone seems to think people who hack PCs are more dangerous than the ones who hack consoles. Sony disproved that, didn't they?

This generation was rushed out the door, and it shows. And the nature of this kind of technology is that you get diminishing returns on your gains. Was 1080p worth the identity theft, or constant shipping of dead consoles back home for repair?

I suppose your mileage could be different, but it seems to me that the price of technological progress was higher than has historically been acceptable. And it will be a long time before I invest in another console generation, given the trend.

1. I never bought a 360. Aside from my inherent aversion to all things Microsoft, it just overlapped too much with my PC and PS3.

2. I never put my credit card info on PSN, since I viewed it (rightly as it turns out) as a security risk (I have the same reservations about Steam).

3. I like a lot of Wii games.

These are core issues you experienced (or are commenting on) that I did not. To me, this generation is pretty frickin' awesome. I think that it's pretty awesome for all those gamers who got back, or into gaming with a Wii (when they were previously disinterested).

LarryC wrote:

1. I never bought a 360. Aside from my inherent aversion to all things Microsoft, it just overlapped too much with my PC and PS3.

2. I never put my credit card info on PSN, since I viewed it (rightly as it turns out) as a security risk (I have the same reservations about Steam).

3. I like a lot of Wii games.

These are core issues you experienced (or are commenting on) that I did not. To me, this generation is pretty frickin' awesome. I think that it's pretty awesome for all those gamers who got back, or into gaming with a Wii (when they were previously disinterested).

You're free to think that. I don't even disagree (I don't own a 360 or play games online myself).

However, none of that changes my point. I chose the PS3 over the 360 largely because I like my systems to play games when I turn them on. The fact that that was even a concern speaks volumes about quality control in this generation.

I don't regret buying the Wii or the PS3. I'm just saying our options in the console wars were defined by the wrong things. At this point we shouldn't be arguing over who can deliver a product that provides basic functionality, we should be arguing over subjective nonsense like whether Mario or Sonic is a better mascot.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

And Toyota's reason? Their relationship with their customers is founded on trust and a perception of quality built over decades. They know the value of PR.

That is where we differ in opinion. I think Toyota's PR sucked royally just as much as Sony's current PR. Toyota recalled cars. Sony shut down PSN. They both have lost millions of dollars. During the recall controversy, I don't think anyone would say Toyota was doing a good job PR-wise during that period. And I don't think Toyota's PR during the recall was good now. You are thinking of the period post-weeks of media coverage on Toyota about the recalls.

We are still in the midst of this PSN controversy. I will bet you, with the free month of PSN+, $20 gift of Playstation content to consumers, and whatever else Sony has planned they will bounce back in a year. What did Microsoft do when Xbox Live went down? They gave away a free copy of Undertow.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

There is nothing inherent to XBLA, for example, that requires the RROD to happen more frequently than it would with a competent designer behind it; especially this many years into the product life cycle. Are they seriously waiting for the Xbox 720 before they realize you should symmetrically balance your dielectric stackup to avoid thermal warping?

The 360 had plenty of hardware issues. But to claim that they never addressed or fixed them is being extremely disingenuous. I won't say that what they went through to get to a stable chipset was acceptable, but right now, the 360 is every bit as reliable as any console from previous generations. The Jasper chipset has fixed the issue.

I have no qualms about recommending a 360 to anyone now, in regards to reliability. They are every bit the equal to the PS3 and Wii now.

Again, though, there was nothing wrong with the Toyota cars. How does one do good PR when the controversy is a bunch of lies stirred up by an uninformed media?

mwdowns wrote:

Again, though, there was nothing wrong with the Toyota cars. How does one do good PR when the controversy is a bunch of lies stirred up by an uninformed media?

The non-responsive silence from Toyota during the recall is what I'm comparing with the non-responsive and lack of information from Sony on PSN. My main point was when looking as Sony's response we should also look at Japanese corporate culture.

The shame of failure is extremely heavy as workers are afraid to admit failure to their seniors and often information takes extraordinarily long to travel throughout the company. This becomes more problematic when dealing with bad press. My goal for bringing this up was to provide an understanding, not an excuse.

Jayhawker wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:

There is nothing inherent to XBLA, for example, that requires the RROD to happen more frequently than it would with a competent designer behind it; especially this many years into the product life cycle. Are they seriously waiting for the Xbox 720 before they realize you should symmetrically balance your dielectric stackup to avoid thermal warping?

The 360 had plenty of hardware issues. But to claim that they never addressed or fixed them is being extremely disingenuous. I won't say that what they went through to get to a stable chipset was acceptable, but right now, the 360 is every bit as reliable as any console from previous generations. The Jasper chipset has fixed the issue.

I have no qualms about recommending a 360 to anyone now, in regards to reliability. They are every bit the equal to the PS3 and Wii now.

This is news to me. If it's true that a 360 can now be expected to last more than a few years before being replaced, tuen bully for Microsoft.

Still, how many years did that take?

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

This is news to me. If it's true that a 360 can now be expected to last more than a few years before being replaced, then bully for Microsoft.

Still, how many years did that take?

http://kotaku.com/#!5099691/jasper-3...

Jaspers are supposed to run quieter, use less power and run cooler, so if you're in the market for a 360, might want to look for one manufactured anytime after October 23, 2008.

It took about three years. It's not great, but it is far from an issue Microsoft ignored. the Jasper was not the first new chipset they released in hopes of fixing the issue.

My point was that you made it out like Microsoft was not only blowing it off, but waiting for the next gen to fix it, when they've had the good 360 going for more than 2 years.

demonicmurry wrote:

The shame of failure is extremely heavy as workers are afraid to admit failure to their seniors and often information takes extraordinarily long to travel throughout the company. This becomes more problematic when dealing with bad press. My goal for bringing this up was to provide an understanding, not an excuse.

There's bad press, which happens when you screw something up, and they report it.

Then there's just plain wrong press, which is what happened to Toyota.

The prime-time story ABC ran was proven by just about everyone not suing Toyota(the guy that "proved" the issue was paid by people suing Toyota) to be completely false, because the car was deliberately sabotaged.

So, what do you do when there wasn't anything actually wrong with the cars, and the media literally fabricates a story about it?

56 reports were made to the NHTSA over the last 20 years involving Toyotas and unintended acceleration. Toyota makes millions of cars a year. Given those odds, I'd feel safer betting on getting struck by lightning while getting hit by a 9.0 earthquake in Chicago.

Jayhawker wrote:
doubtingthomas396 wrote:

This is news to me. If it's true that a 360 can now be expected to last more than a few years before being replaced, then bully for Microsoft.

Still, how many years did that take?

http://kotaku.com/#!5099691/jasper-3...

Jaspers are supposed to run quieter, use less power and run cooler, so if you're in the market for a 360, might want to look for one manufactured anytime after October 23, 2008.

It took about three years. It's not great, but it is far from an issue Microsoft ignored. the Jasper was not the first new chipset they released in hopes of fixing the issue.

My point was that you made it out like Microsoft was not only blowing it off, but waiting for the next gen to fix it, when they've had the good 360 going for more than 2 years.

I went hyperbolic, but I still don't think my point is invalid. This generation was rushed out the door, and it shows. Micosoft didn't ignore the issue, just like Sony isn't ignoring the issue, but both companies are reacting to issues that might not have happened if they weren't jumping the gun on this generation. Microsoft rushed hardware to beat Sony to market, and Sony rushed software to catch up to Microsoft.

And the rotten thing is there is absolutely no incentive for either company to do better. Microsoft's RROD debacle didn't cost them any market share; they weren't going to beat Nintendo anyway; and chances are that nobody will care about this PSN issue next year, especially after PSN Steam gets momentum. They see a temporary dip in sales, a bunch of hyperventilation on Internet forums that burns itself out in a month, then they'll go right back to bad old habits.

Just like the PC game industry, where a company like Bioware can release fundamentally broken software, but still outsell everything else on the market because guess what? Gamers have proven they don't care enough about quality to vote with their wallets. Oh, we'll say mean and potentially libelous things on Twitter, but ultimately we still buy broken crap and thank the vendors for the privilege.

Ultimately, this is our fault, because we don't demand better. A car company that spent 3 years trying to fix a 33% RMA (or whatever the actual number was; I've heard as high as 50%, but I'm not sure I buy that one) rate would not be making cars anymore. Microsoft gets the second place slot in NPD reports every quarter. That's a broken industry, if you ask me.