Note to game companies: Test your product BEFORE you sell it!

     If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is companies either being too lazy or too shortsighted to test ALL aspects of their game before they ship the goddamn thing.  My current disfavor rests on the always “reliable” EA Games and Flagship Studio’s Hellgate London.  I had heard from several sources that the game is fun, so I figured what the hell.  Not really having the time to drive over to my nearest big-box store chain, I went and downloaded the game digitally.  Buying the game, and the inital download went smoothly; I’d say it took me about 2.5 hours to download the 6.8 gigs that was required.  So now I go to install it, and here’s where the fun and frustration begin.

      So using EA’s little download tool, I start the installation process.  it takes about 30 mins to extract, verify, etc. before it gets to the install option.  So I click the install button, and as the game is booting up, it gives me this error message.  At first I think “Oh, ok… I didn’t create a login, so the system doesn’t recognize me”.  So I bounce over to the website and register.  I try the install again, and I get the same error message.  “Hrm” I think, “is anyone else having this problem?”  So I check the Hellgate London Forums – which were either so poorly hosted or so overloaded with traffic that I couldn’t even check any of the tech support forum to see if there was any help to be found.  Lovely.  My frustration growing at dropping 50 bucks on a product that won’t install, I start trolling the EA Support site, another bastion of fucking useless information and non-information.  Finally able to log in and check, this is the “helpful technical support” that i get from EA Support:

 QUESTION:

What can I do if I am getting an error when I try to install the download manager version of Hellgate: London?

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Answer:

Some players are getting the following error when they try to install the download manager version of Hellgate: London:

‘Could not open key / Hkey_current_user/software ea//eacore//eadm/eadmonline_content//helgate_london//ergc Verify that you have sufficient access to that key or contact your support personnel’

We are currently looking into this issue, thank you for your patience while we investigate.

Note: Once the issue is corrected you will need to re-download and reinstall the game in order to play.

Please click the Notify Me… button at the bottom of this article to receive updates via e-mail regarding this issue as soon as they are available.

So… what you’re basically telling me is a) You don’t know what the fuck is wrong, b) You don’t know how to fix it, and c) You don’t know when I’ll be able to PLAY THE GAME I JUST DROPPED FIFTY BUCKS ON!!!!! 

     I’m sorry, but if you’re releasing a game digitally, and charging full price for it, make sure it fucking works.  It’s called “Beta Testing” for a reason.  You get 1000 people to download the client, and see if there are any issues.  I refuse to believe that EA didn’t run into ANYONE having this problem before releasing this game digitally.  Or, if they did know the problem, and simply assumed that people would “suck it up and deal”, then what they did was not only wrong, but wholly unethical.  I have since asked for my money back;  I am sure i will be told “no refunds”, regardless of the fact that I cannot use the software that I bought FROM THEIR SITE, USING THEIR DOWNLOADER, and it STILL doesn’t work.  But of course, it’s my fault for actually believing that the company tests their shit before they release it into the wild.  Ugh.

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~ by trollonfire on November 3, 2007.

3 Responses to “Note to game companies: Test your product BEFORE you sell it!”

  1. On the off chance that you’re having a real problem and not just ranting as a performance art, they told you the problem and gave a suggestion on resolving it:

    ‘Could not open key / Hkey_current_user/software ea//eacore//eadm/eadmonline_content//helgate_london//ergc Verify that you have sufficient access to that key or contact your support personnel’

    In XP, you should automatically have sufficient rights to read and write to this key, unless you’re logged in on a restricted account, i.e., guest or an account with only equally limited privileges. This is more likely the case if you’re running Vista, but I don’t use Vista very often.

    But in either case, they’re talking about the registry and the proper tool for that is regedit. Check out the help file if you’re not familiar with it. Looking won’t hurt you, but you should be very very sure before you go changing anything.

    The proper tool to use

  2. To answer your question Snertly, I’m on XP, not Vista… I wouldn’t go near Vista if they gave me a copy for free. And my personal complaint is with the total, utter, and absolute lack of technical support this company is giving everyone on the launch of their product. I understand any time a new product launches, there will be problems. I’m not living in a bubble, I understand that there are many little things that may pop up after the fact. However, when thousands of people are having the same problems and you are not hearing anything from product support other than “buy a new hard drive or buy a new dvd drive”… that’s not an optimistic sign.

  3. That problem is not even half of the issues from the craptacular EA Digital Purchase. I pre-ordered the game on Oct. 29 and pre-loaded the content on my machine in anticipation of the Oct. 31 release at midnight.

    But oh no, the countdown timer to “unlock” the game automagically changed from Oct. 31 12:01 a.m. to Oct. 31 3:00 p.m. I could have walked my happy ass down to the store and picked up a copy by that time.

    To top it all off, my “pre-order dye kit” came in my email box a full week after launch. How hard is it to send me a friggin key code that is pre-generated? (the same codes were given out for free by some german gaming magazine)

    Having to edit the security preferences for registry keys in order to get your game to install is just poor QA. Not sending out early purchase promises or pull “bait-and-switch” release timers is bad customer service.

    All “benefits” of digitally downloading from EA are a farce. It was the worst online purchasing experience of my life and I probably won’t but online from them again.

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