No more incomplete games sold at full price!

No more incomplete games sold at full price!

In recent years we have had to witness several cases of video games sold at launch in a decidedly incomplete and poorly optimized form. Behind each game there are often huge investments, many hours of work and an iron roadmap to be able to monetize the launch window of the title as much as possible. After all, those who produce video games are still companies and clearly have the profit as their goal. In most cases, developers are set an expiration date, by which the game must be ready to arrive in the hands of consumers.

Unfortunately, this time limit is often not shared by the developers themselves, who find themselves in enormous difficulty in satisfying the needs of the current videogame market, within the deadlines imposed by the manufacturer. At best, the title is postponed to come out later when it's actually ready. Too many times the video game has to come out within the set period, often leading to numerous crises in the development stages, as well as criticism from the specialized press and the public.

We, as consumers, have to defend ourselves against these unpleasant situations. In this article, therefore, we want to retrace the history of some video games released at launch in incomplete form, to defend ourselves from this phenomenon and fight together so that it can disappear from everything from the video game market.

The famous case of No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky released in 2016 exclusively on Playstation 4 The video game often mentioned among those incomplete at launch is No Man's Sky. The Hello Games project was born as an indie game with a very ambitious development plan for such a small studio. Later, thanks to Sony funding, the team realized they could actually fulfill their dream. Unfortunately, however, Sony had also imposed a very specific launch window, within which the studio would never be able to achieve all the features promised in the announcement phase.

So in 2016 an incomplete No Man's Sky came out on Playstation 4, so much so that it was massacred by critics and most gamers around the world for its lack of content. The base of the game was very good and the developers already had a lot of great ideas in mind to expand it. Today No Man's Sky is a completely different game, enriched by numerous DLCs and patches released over the years, so much so that if it were to be reviewed by critics, it would certainly receive a much better judgment than in the past. The developers simply got to work and in five years they finally realized what No Man's Sky was supposed to be at launch.

The recent Cyberpunk 2077 scandal

Cyberpunk 2077, the game from role produced by CD Projekt RED Let's move on to a more modern title, highly criticized for its arrival on the market with several quite serious problems. We are talking about the CD Projekt RED blockbuster, Cyberpunk 2077, released in December 2020. The PC version of the title was quite solid, so much so that many critics have rewarded it. The problem was the console counterparts, especially the older generation ones, where the video game suffered from obvious technical problems. Sony has even decided to remove the game from the official store, reimbursing users who are not satisfied with the experience.

What unites the PC and console versions are the numerous bugs and imperfections present in Cyberpunk 2077. The game obviously had to be perfected for several months, especially in the console versions. After multiple postponements, CD Projekt RED did not want to disappoint their fans once again, but causing a much greater problem.

Although the launch went well in terms of sales with hundreds of thousands of copies sold on each platform, the voice of the public made itself heard. Many have even shouted at the scandal and the noise generated on the internet has even caused the company's shares on the stock exchange to collapse. The developers immediately ran for cover, promising numerous free updates and patches during 2021. This, however, was not enough for some players, who still preferred to ask for a refund, feeling offended for having bought a clearly incomplete product.

Fortunately Cyberpunk 2077 also had more than positive elements, able to partially save the image of this video game. The fact remains that those who buy it a year after its official release will probably enjoy a completely different experience. Those who picked it up at launch were treated as something of a beta tester for the title, and this is definitely not to happen in the future. Without forgetting that the developers have intentionally hidden the console versions until the last moment, so as not to influence the votes of the title initially reviewed only on PC.

The sad story of Anthem

The four javelin available in Anthem Anthem is without a doubt another striking example of a video game released in a rather incomplete form. In addition to the technical downgrade that has taken place since its very first announcement trailer, the video game did not have an adequate progression system and overall everything seemed to have been patched up at the last moment in order to go out on the market. The solid basis is there, in fact many users have praised one of the best systems of movement of the character, using the four types of javelins present in the game. The story of Anthem, however, is even sadder: after having suffered a really bad launch with so much criticism from the specialized press and gamers, the title has disappeared into thin air.

The developers have made themselves heard after several months of silence, announcing that they are working on a version 2.0 of the title coming as a free update.

Screenshot of the post-launch development carried out by Bioware Unfortunately, two years after the release of Anthem, the director of the game announced the complete cancellation of the project and therefore the definitive death of this video game.

They probably caused a truly irrecoverable damage to the image of the title, for the simple need to release it in a specific period. Although the developers had been quite enthusiastic about the work done behind the scenes, Electronic Arts has decided to suspend everything. A clear example of how bringing an incomplete title to market with the aim of correcting it later can have really serious consequences, because Electronic Arts has certainly invested a lot in this new intellectual property.

Early access to payment

Distribution of betas in paid early access version What do these three video games released in their incomplete form have in common? The missing time in the development phase. All three projects had a solid foundation at launch with what it takes to be splendid titles. Unfortunately, the lack of time prevented the developers from bringing a complete product to the market, causing a shower of criticism and much despair among gamers.

"Time is money", so probably the funds to continue the development of the titles have also failed or some revenue was needed as soon as possible. Despite the criticism, the developers of No Man's Sky managed to sell so many copies that they allowed the development of free additional content to continue for years to come. However, this must not become an industry standard. The gamer should not be considered a sort of beta tester, who buys the title at launch at full price and then has to wait for it to be actually completed by the developers. In fact, there are alternative solutions to avoid these unpleasant situations and satisfy the final gamers.

The famous Star Citizen for PC By taking advantage of a paid early access formula, developers could continue the development of video games until their actual completion. A clear example of this distribution model is Star Citizen, a very ambitious title that continues to live in a sort of paid beta, financed by the gamers themselves.

Going back to No Man's Sky, but the same reasoning could also be applied to Anthem or Cyberpunk 2077, the developers could have it released in an "early access" version for a fee. In this way they would have avoided a shower of criticism and the discontent of gamers, while at the same time creating a community of true fans intent on following the video game in development since its launch and financing it if the project was interesting.

Should everyone switch to the new model?

The protagonists of Monster Hunter Rise We are by no means saying that every video game should adopt this distribution model. The titles that are forced to go out on the market incomplete, however, could think of this type of solution. Anthem had clear problems in the development phase and the developers knew that the game was not ready for debut. Not wanting to disappoint expectations with another postponement, they tried to throw him into that pitiful state in order to get something out and continue the work later. Probably by launching it in "early access" the players would have understood that the game had excellent potential and that it would take more time to be developed slowly, perhaps with the support and funding of the players themselves.

The same goes for a giant like Cyberpunk 2077, which has received a lot of criticism mainly for the console versions. If the developers had concentrated on the PC version (definitely the best one from a technical point of view), they could have adjusted it properly and then released the console version perhaps a year later, readily optimized for these gaming machines.

The cover of season 4 of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone There are also video games that are born in themselves as "incomplete" titles to be expanded in the future. For example, Monster Hunter Rise has received two important updates a few weeks after launch, through which a lot of new content has arrived. The developers have a clear timetable for upcoming updates in mind to keep the gamer community active. Similarly, Call Of Duty Black Ops Cold War also adopts a similar strategy, offering post-launch content to keep the interest of gamers alive. This is not a wrong strategy, because they are video games that adapt particularly well to this distribution model and above all for which not everything has been promised since the launch.


A recent free update of No Man's Sky We have already told you about the advantages that are obtained by buying a game months after its release on the market. However, this does not justify the release of video games in some sort of beta version, especially when sold at full price as full titles. Developers absolutely must not take advantage of such distribution method, even if in their minds they see the compelling story of No Man's Sky. The title of Hello Games was undoubtedly a rematch for the development team, who managed to complete their work with interesting free updates.

Let's not forget, however, that it created great discomfort at launch, risking heavily disappointing sales and causing an immediate cancellation of the project as happened for example with Anthem. It is not even enough to justify oneself with the arrival of free updates as the developers of CD Projekt RED did, the same ones who over the years promised to release their titles only once they were 100% completed.

Elden Ring coming in January 2021 What we consumers are asking for is total transparency on the state of development of the video game. Realize that creating a modern game takes a lot of work and often things don't go as planned.

We need to be able to accept postponements, if they then lead to the creation of a quality game like promised initially. In the same way we must pretend that the final video game has all the features promised by the developers and has been corrected and perfected as much as possible (it is clear that something will always escape, but that's okay), because we have to spend our money and it is right that the product is provided to us in line with the expectations created by the developers.

We also hope that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has undoubtedly created problems in development, does not become a sort of "excuse" to continue to release incomplete titles at launch.

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