Editorial: Splinter Cell DEBACLE

Splinter Cell: Conviction was released for the XBox 360 yesterday to glowing reviews (1Up and Game Informer both gave it the equivalent of a nine out of ten).  However, the game’s release did not go over as smoothly as Ubisoft most likely would have enjoyed.  A few days before the release, reports came out from Ubisoft that some of the USB keychains included with the limited edition of the game, which had some special in-game content preloaded on them, were broken.  Ubisoft’s solution was to apologize and drop the price of the limited edition ten dollars and are attempting to release the special content to those customers at a later time.  Now that’s all find and dandy, but an even bigger issue came up when the game was actually released.  Some players were actually experiencing freezing during the second level and some other parts of the game.  Ubisoft’s fix to this was to again apologize and release a patch to fix the issues.

What blows my mind about this is that the game has been slated for release since last year, yet Ubisoft still could not get a completely working copy of the game out on time.  According to the reviewer at Kotaku, he experienced these freezing problems with his copy of the game, but could not be certain if this was just a problem with his review copy or it would be there in the retail versions as well.  This means that Ubisoft had to have known about the issue before the release of the game, which may explain why a patch for the problem was created in such short time.  It is understandable that Ubisoft released Conviction on the scheduled release date instead of pushing it back, as delaying it would have upset fans of the series even more than they already are.

So my questions to you, dearest of doves, are these: do you think Ubisoft should have pushed the release of the game back to fix the freezing issue?  Did Ubisoft handle the various problems surrounding the game correctly?  Would you have done anything different?  Finally, should the reviews of the game been a bit more harsh because the review copies of the game experienced these issues as well?  Tell me in the comments!


  1. thank the Potato something replaced that awful podcast picture…

    as much as it would have upset people I would have tried to delay it one more time. as annoying as it would have been at least they wouldn’t have a shaky game release on their record. and as for the reviewers, I don’t think they should have been harsher. as you mentioned, there was really no way for them to know if it was their own review copy that was messed up or if it would affect retailers too so I think they did the right thing in not making too big a deal about it. I’m sure their reporting the now, at any rate.

  2. Getting MS certification on a 360 game apparently takes quite a while, from what I hear. Depending on what point in the process the freezing bug was actually discovered, the delay would have been a month or more. I think a better alternative might have been to just delay the game until there could be a zero-day patch to fix the issue, you know? As it stands, I’m not sure how long after release the patch was available, but I completely understand Ubisoft not wanting to pull the entire process back to certification if the bug was found late in the game.