2K Games = Quality!

So the net is raging about the new video game BioShock, which apparently features an ill-advised DRM scheme. Shamus has posted several updates on the subject, and of course I agree with him and most of the fans that the DRM scheme is absurd, unusable, and ultimately pointless (echoing my general thoughts on DRM), but my experience with 2K Games has nothing to do with DRM.

I have a weakness for sports video games, particularly Hockey games. In 2003, I bought a copy of EA Sports' NHL 2004, which I loved (despite some flaws). I played/simmed 20 seasons in Dynasty mode, and won 20 Stanley Cups (fun!) Unfortunately, I lost the game when I moved into my current house. I looked at the game review sites for the new 2005 hockey games and the then-upstart 2K Games was making some bold moves and getting great reviews. They had just signed a contract to brand their sports games with ESPN and to compete with the EA Sports Goliath, they were pricing their games for just $19.99 (versus EA's $49.99). The games were getting 90+ scores on all the standard sites (while EA was getting average to bad reviews), so I figured why not? Big mistake.

My favorite part of the newer hockey games is the Dynasty mode where you can play a sort of meta game where you take the role of general manager and control a team through many years, as opposed to just one season. It allows you to build your team up with young talent and watch them grow into superstars, etc... NHL 2K5 had a similar mode, called Franchise. The problem? I played 20 games in the first season of my franchise, and then the game simply wouldn't let me save my progress. It just crashed every time I tried, no matter what I did. Did I mention that this was a console game, incapable of being patched? On a side note, it would have been nice if the reviews for this game mentioned this sort of thing, but video game reviews have largely become useless. Of course my review, which takes the form of a comparison between NHL 2004 and NHL 2K5, prominently calls out the 2K game's bugs.

Anyway, it gets better. My friend Dave bought a copy of NHL 2K7 last year... and it still has the same bug! It's been 3 years, and they still haven't fixed the bug.

So I'm not surprised that the same company has embraced a useless DRM scheme (provided by Sony, no less - how on earth could anyone trust a Sony DRM product?) Don't worry, they'll probably get around to fixing the issue in 5 or 6 years (I wonder if they fixed the aforementioned crashing bug in NHL 2K8?).