NCAA Football 12 Prompts Outlets to Question Need for Buying Games Day One

by
Posted August 1st, 2011 at 9:45 am

NCAA 12 released to generally positive reviews – though the consensus via Metacritic is down a significant four points vs NCAA 11 – and I laid out several issues with the game in my review and the closer analysis on features. Despite that EA Sports has yet to address the problems which have become the story since release and left consumers largely out in the cold as they work on patch behind the scenes. 

Operation Sports first posted an editorial that stated there now is really no reason to buy sports games on day one, and Kotaku has followed up on that by essentially arguing the very same thing. This represents some huge pressure being placed on EA Sports for their latest offering and is a clear warning shot regarding future titles. Outlets are growing frustrated with the current state of how sports titles are being handled at and following release.

The number of issues discovered post-release or in areas of the game reviewers either don’t bother looking into can’t in a pre-release environment has resulted in a lot of discussion. Online Dynasty as the most prominent online related example doesn’t work with Teambuilder squads, doesn’t carry injuries over from week to week, and is unable to advance in certain circumstances. The highly touted ‘Custom Playbooks’ are busted and there is a bug in edited rosters that flips player tendencies. Widespread reports of freezing have also led to some backlash. These are just the bigger problems and many others are present that are either more minor in nature or more sparingly experienced.

I tend to disagree with the argument that games shouldn’t be purchased on day one however. For the most part consumers will get enjoyment out of a game even with issues present. With pre-order deals, the “Online Pass”, and especially the promotional credits being offered by outlets like Amazon (which essentially took NCAA 12 to $40) there is little to no incentive to wait on purchasing a game that is highly desired.

What is being presented as the alternative is to wait around for deeper analysis and/or patches to arrive. The cost of that however is missing out on the enjoyment that could be had in those days and weeks in question which are often the most anticipated and fun-filled.

If it meant saving money that would potentially be a reasonable trade-off. But again not only is buying a used game less attractive due to the “Online Pass” but there is the exclusive pre-order incentives that would be missed out on and and promo credits to consider. In the case of NCAA 12 the game probably won’t be able to be had used or new for a total price under $40 until November. Most would have interest directed towards other titles by that time.

Of course anyone on the fence whether that be due to budgetary concerns or questioning the value to themselves would have more reason to wait and see. Many consumers – the ones who keep companies like EA Sports and 2K Sports afloat – plan to purchase these high profile titles one way or the other. For those people waiting around is a difficult thing to suggest in the current market but rather as always it is up to the individual to determine what is important to them.

Hopefully articles like those linked to earlier and companies being held accountable as always on this site will help to put consumers in more of a power position. Reviews have typically let EA/2K/SCEA/THQ slide by on issues and most outlets choose not to follow-up on whether the companies delivered on their promises or are being responsive to consumer needs. NCAA Football 12 however may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in this regard and the general acceptance of each product’s flawed nature from year-to-year may be coming to an end.

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  • JWade

    If you want to buy a sports game on day one,then buy it. If you don’t,don’t buy it. Simple as that. I don’t need some website telling me about whether or not I should or I shouldn’t.

  • Scodelic

    Buy day one for the Pre-Order deals and continue playing what you were playing before. First patch is the true release date nowadays.

    • Anonymous

      EXACTLY!!

      Simply solution right here 

    • Follow_my_lead2009

      Yeah but before online came for gaming for consoles, there was no such thing as patches or tunning. Games were made great during those times. What ever companys realesed, that was it…that was the final product. Now days I think companys have just gotten lazy and think they can patch everything. Games used to be great and I would look forward to buying it on day one. Now some games seem just thrown together and rushed before release, especialy sports games.

  • Bob from Salerno

    So when is the best time to purchase a sports game? At the end of the season maybe?

    • Trr

      Thats when everyone loses interest in them lol. Not much cheaper to get it at the end of the season then before it. I dont think waiting months to save $5 or wahtever is worth it

  • alex

    good to see other sites start to call them out on this. course both gave the game really good reviews.

  • http://twitter.com/Broncos_86 Cliff Woodward

    Pasta, the problem is that these bugs have murdered NCAA 12 for me.  Even if fixed, there is a taint in my mouth from NCAA 12.  At this point, the game will be used largely for draft classes, then traded in.  It’s not about buying a game on day one or not, because there’s little excuse for a game being subpar on day one on a console.  This isn’t an MMORPG we’re talking about.  It’s more about EA getting serious about launching a clean product.

    • Ryan

      Lol so if you are only using it for draft classes then I assume you are buying Madden. You really think Madden won’t be chock full of bugs too?

    • CRmosier79

      NCAA has always had some sort of bug while Madden has always been bug free… Correct?!? Yes correct

      • Joe

        The online season feature for Madden is absolutely horrible, though…where as the NCAA online dynasty has always worked well for me in the past. 

  • Dymez

    Man…  EVERY game that comes out isn’t 100% fine tuned on release.  So what?

    Doesn’t matter if you’re playing NCAA, Madden, NBA 2K, or Call of Duty.  They all always release AT LEAST 2 or 3 patches in the first month.  Well, maybe not 2K, since they decided to just leave their shit incomplete after just one patch.

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    if NFL 2k was still around, none of these bs things would get by.

    • Guest

      Yes they would, look at their NBA game, they never fix anything on there. You can barely play team-play on there unless you change your damn timezone to fucken bajing or something for the different server or something, what kind of fucken amazing company as you say makes there consumers do that? And the regular online is a piece of shit too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jastone837 Jason Stone

      i agree with you…i think that’s why EA made such a big offer to the NFL for the exclusive license..the best football game i ever played was NFL 2K5…any madden version hasn’t even come close to that…i miss the 2k series and i hope that when the license renewal comes around again..that someone, 2k or another company, make a big push to be included because as long as EA has the license, this is what we will continue to get..sad..video games used to be made by people who loved and appreciated video games..now the developers are all tech school grads with a base knowledge of computer graphics design with no real background in dealing with playing or appreciating quality video games

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/DeVion-Xavier-Hinton/1161943623 DeVion Xavier Hinton

    If you’re just waiting on a patch to come out, why can’t you do that with the game in hand? Unless the game is totally broken, you get enjoyment out of the game pre-patch and the same patch at the same time that someone who waits will get. Don’t understand the logic behind deliberatley waiting just because.

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    well they need better testers for the game.
    what do they think  behind closed doors……..lets just make sure old issues dont pop up?

    what about future proofing yourself.
    i also feel bad for the person who doesnt have online access, they are stuck with a broken game.

    and since when did it become acceptable that a game needs a patch to become playable?
    what happened to actually testing a game before it releases and releasing a quality product?

    • Guest

      Half of the time game testers are walk-ins that are trash at the game they’re playing, and it solves nothing because they don’t know what to look for, they need to have some of the hardcore fans test these games because these other idiots have no idea what there doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cush2push Geoff Wightman

    only reason why i buy games early is the incentives they kinda make up for the crappyness that ensues for the first week  i pre-ordered MW3 and got a really sweet poster i can shake my fist at when the bs starts 

  • SB

    I think that developers should have their games tested a lot more extensively for big issues, cause patches are making them lazy.  It’s annoying to think that the consumers are essentially the testers too.  But overall I don’t think it matters whether you buy a game immediately or not, it’s a personal choice.  I have enough patience to wait a while, some people may not.  It doesn’t really matter

  • Keith.

    NBA2k, The Show, and BB weren’t broken out of the box on day 1 the way EA games are.

    The bigger story here is the “payola” angle, i.e., websites like OS, IGN and GI getting exclusives, free trips and early games in exchange for “soft” reviews.  I mean, Madden 11 got a 9.0 from OS out of the gate — if that’s not evidence of the shadiness that’s going on, I don’t know what is.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      All those games you mention did have serious issues. 2K’s online play, The Show’s franchise mode a couple years in and online play, BB pretty much everything AI related and online…

      I think the difference here is pretty much everything NCAA 12 added was broken in some capacity. The issues with the other games were either expected (in the case of BB) or had been issues in the past with those series and consumers probably weren’t caught off guard by them.

  • Guest

    I agree with some that the ability to patch games in the “next-gen” consoles have created an atmosphere where companies believe it’s acceptable to ship games that have major flaws (known or unknown) which is most likely reducing testing time. If the whole patch system did not exist, we may have had better games to begin with.

    I’ve bought NCAA 12 but it’s still in the wrapper. I got the credits from Amazon, and just continue to play MLB The Show until it’s a little closer to the season and hopefully some of these issues are resolved. Probably doesn’t work for everybody, but I knew I’d want NCAA 12, and $40 is a hard price to beat at any point in the season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brett-Farthing/1365428918 Brett Farthing

      couldn’t agree more

  • Guest

    I bought NC11 1st day last yr, and it was an online nightmare. I didn’t return it because offline, it was good. It wasn’t until after the PSN meltdown that went back online with it, and I’ve enjoyed ever since. And after last years experience, I have yet to pick up NC12. I think the game potential is off the charts, but they need more time to get it right. What they should do is patch last years game with some new features and charge maybe $20, and next year come out with a new game. The turnaround time to put out a new game is too quick! Developers need more than just a few months to properly test it.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michel-Lareau/100002302707953 Michel Lareau

    I stopped buying EA games on the first day 2 years ago. Have not regretted 1 second of it this year. Currently waiting for EA to fix NCAA 12 and then I’ll buy it. I will do the same with Madden and NHL.  As a consumer, I see no need to purchase an incomplete or broken product. It’s clear that EA refuses to invest in better game testers as every year it’s the consumers that are stuck with the job of beta testing EA’s games. That’s ridiculous in my opinion and I’m sick of it. To each their own, if you choose to beta test for EA than go right ahead. I’ll save my money and wait till I can actually play and enjoy the game properly without ripping my hair out because I can’t edit rosters and whatnot. EA wants to rush the release to benefit from the craze of the new season, sadly we the consumers get screwed as EA basically refuses to properly test there games and leave the consumers to do their work. Imagine any other industry trying to pull that off.

  • Xcef2008

    Usually i have no problems waiting in till Black Friday to pick up a copy of NCAA or Madden. Both are usually price at $30 bucks by then and I typically know enough about the game to determine if its worth getting. 

    • Amen_Ra’s Boyfriend

      waiting in till? wtf?

      • hah

        ahh.. Americas education system

  • Neptunebastard

    I started by playing Road to Glory but am now starting Season 5 of my Dynasty and the only problem I’ve had so far is occasional freezing while recruiting and that only happens every now and again and as long as you back out and let it autosave real quick you’re fine so to me the problems are minimal and the game still holds it’s initial 9/10 rating, I love it, no complaints. Made a custom playbook, no issues. If I played online it might be a different story though….

  • Whitewater moose

    Pasta,

    Just to give you a heads up. Your not getting the game at $40.00 with Amazon credit. I believe the $20 credit has to be used on next purchase. So if you just buy games at Amazon. Madden $60(w/ $20 credit) and say you buy NHL $60 w/ $20 credit. The third game is MW3 $60 no credit .

    $60 Madden + $60 NHL + $60 Cod MW3 =
    $180 – $40 credits = $140/ 3 games = $45 ea. Approx.

    Two games with one credit $60 madden w/ $20 credit and $60 Forza 4 no credit.

    $60 madden + $60 forza 4 – $20 madden credit = $100.00/ 2 = $50 for each game. Not that good of a deal.

    Toysrus is advertising madden for $45 no credit. That is a pretty good deal. I personally believe at this point in the life cycle most games should be $40 or $50 new on launch day sans any blockbuster games.

    • Xcef2008

      Yeah that’s one example but it all depends on what people purchase. It could turn out to be a great deal, for example:

      NCAA 2012 (60) + God of War Collection (20) = $80
      $80 – $20 Game Credit = 60
      $60 / 2 = $30. 

      So essentially I paid $40 bucks for NCAA 2012 and God of War for the original price. Or bought one game and got another game for free. There really isn’t any wrong answer but 20 bucks is still 20 bucks. 

      • Whitewater moose

        Xcef2008,

        I agree with you. I’m just basing my example on full priced games since so many games are coming out between Sept and November. I was using the example of my own personal preferences for what I might purchase.

        I am 99% sure I’m not buying NHL 12. We don’t know what the big announcement is but unless it’s college teams with college seasons or dynasty I’m not interested and NHL12 will be an epic fail compared to all the work the other EA games put in this year.

    • SDwinder

      Don’t forget the no tax for many states as well.  That works out to be another $5 immediate credit on a $60 game

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Schonger/100000306175444 Bobby Schonger

    they started comming out with full team ratings for madden 12 on espn, the ratings look terrible edmund gates who ran that fastes time for a reciver at the combine has only 94 speed and he can run a 4.2 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQ5KIKLT5FZW5PRA4YMP6WSSFY John O

    I have been saying this for years.  Sadly enough, I have been doing the midnight release since 2000.  It was fun back then.  I was much younger and going out at night to pick up a game and play it right away was so fun, it lasted all night.  ‘

    Not so much now.  Not that i’m older, i’d still do it if it wasn’t for the incompetent developers and programmers.  If they had tested the game thoroughly to make it at least somewhat playable without any noticeable bugs or glitches until we read upon it online, I would do the midnight release thing.  I’d have a couple beers next door to my local gamestop, talk about madden with other “Maddenites” get stoked waiting for madden as the time ticks down.

    But I won’t be a puppet or statistic to EA’s marketing.  This is their ploy.  The whole midnight release thing.  As long as they meet their quota, fixing bugs and glitches become something on the back burner, if it’s fixable then it can be fixed.  If not, let’s try to apply it to our next game, consumers will eat it up anyways.  This is what they’re thinking.

    PEOPLE, DON’T BE A STATISTIC.  REFRAIN FROM BUYING ON MIDNIGHT.  WAIT UNTIL A WEEK EVEN AFTER REVIEWS ARE FULLY OUT BEFORE YOU BUY THE GAME.  YOU WANT TO BE HEARD?  THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT.

  • Anonymous

    My experience is that injuries in OD do carry over week to week but only for the comish.  Although I only experienced this once (My guy stayed hurt for 3 weeks, friends did not) because immediately after I disabled the injuries.  This seems like a similar issue to the Leaving School problem from a few years back where only the comish could keep his guys. 

  • billsmoove

    The problem is most of the issues with NCAA 12 are things that everyone I know could care less about..not saying that lets EA off the hook they should have most these things solved release day

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Yeah I mean some things will bother some people and others not. But highly touted features like the custom playbooks should serve notice to everyone – your favorite feature could be broken in any given year.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Yeah I mean some things will bother some people and others not. But highly touted features like the custom playbooks should serve notice to everyone – your favorite feature could be broken in any given year.

      • billsmoove

        Exactly couldn’t agree more….which is why they can’t be let off the hook. It is unacceptable to have some of your most highly advertised features have bugs in them when the game drops.

  • billsmoove

    The problem is most of the issues with NCAA 12 are things that everyone I know could care less about..not saying that lets EA off the hook they should have most these things solved release day

  • Anonymous

    Operation sports and their cozy relationship like EA makes it a part of the EA marketing machine. That’s why you will see the Operation sports logo in the new Madden .They are now operation suck up .They defend EA and make excuses for them. Go read the review they game of NCAA 12. (8.5 great)  

    • 604G

      os is obviously in bed with ea but even worse are the igns and gamespots

    • 604G

      os is obviously in bed with ea but even worse are the igns and gamespots

  • Anonymous

    Operation sports and their cozy relationship like EA makes it a part of the EA marketing machine. That’s why you will see the Operation sports logo in the new Madden .They are now operation suck up .They defend EA and make excuses for them. Go read the review they game of NCAA 12. (8.5 great)  

  • Joey

    The typical fan is buying an NCAA or NFL product, more then an under performing game. WE will always want our NFL products early and often, its just sad that this one is attached to an EA turd

  • Dan

    I would never buy Madden on day one that is always a rental due to their poor history, but for the past three years NCAA was always a day one purchase, but after this years debacle, NEVER AGAIN! Considering EA has yet to address the issues with the game freezing, and the ball disappearing from the field and player piling on top of each other for the rest of the clock. To me this is worse the the Lamar Odom’s Jesus pose at half court. EA should be ashamed of themselves, and for any website to give this game a good review after the hideous issues we are having is just out of touch or a sellout PASTA “cough cough”.. Pasta speaking: Oh but the game looks good… um well the grass looks good right? NO, in the replays it looks great but I didn’t buy the game to watch replays I bought it to PLAY THE GAME and watch Middle line backer jump 30 feet in the air to swat the ball down with their back turned to the QB or best of all when they pick it off… Well just lob the ball over their heads Pasta says.. ooh so the safety has all day to run over and pick it off… yeah thats fun… Just change the rating on the Linebacker Pasta says, oh oook i’m going to go into every linebacker in the and adjust their jump rating, not happening, because when you adjust the rosters you XBOX FREEZES and throws all the rating out of wack!  Thanks for DESTROYING my favorite game NCAA team. I’m assuming the reason the developers are so silent is because they have hung themselves in shame off selling crap on a disk to thousands of people and getting away with it. I can’t imagine doing such a sh*t job in my career and last more than 10 minutes before I got canned or put in jail for F’ing up so bad. Oh and by the way I have call the useless EA Telephone Support Team at (650) 628-1001 to file a complaint about each issue I have found and they are amazed as far as their concerned the game is perfect and there are no know issues with the game, apparently I’m the only one in the world to call the support tram so far regarding NCAA 12. Maybe i’m being to hard on EA, the grass in the replays still looks good right?

    And as always…
    Have a nice day :-)

  • GAMECHANGER

    When you let go of good testers and underpay the testers u have then u get what u have in NCAa 12. Ea sports games are now tested at a ‘low cost’ local by half drunk LSU students working for beer money. Therefore Ea sports games are going to take multiple patches to address all the issues. In the meantime, I will be exploiting wheel routes while trying to get random ppl to complete dynasty games in the broken tendency dynasty I run that will have half the ppl get kicked or quit each week until I get the can’t advance bug.

    • Dan

      I would never buy Madden on day one that is always a rental due to their poor history, but for the past three years NCAA was always a day one purchase, but after this years debacle, NEVER AGAIN! Considering EA has yet to address the issues with the game freezing, and the ball disappearing from the field and player piling on top of each other for the rest of the clock. To me this is worse the the Lamar Odom’s Jesus pose at half court. EA should be ashamed of themselves, and for any website to give this game a good review after the hideous issues we are having is just out of touch or a sellout PASTA “cough cough”.. Pasta speaking: Oh but the game looks good… um well the grass looks good right? NO, in the replays it looks great but I didn’t buy the game to watch replays I bought it to PLAY THE GAME and watch Middle line backer jump 30 feet in the air to swat the ball down with their back turned to the QB or best of all when they pick it off… Well just lob the ball over their heads Pasta says.. ooh so the safety has all day to run over and pick it off… yeah thats fun… Just change the rating on the Linebacker Pasta says, oh oook i’m going to go into every linebacker in the and adjust their jump rating, not happening, because when you adjust the rosters you XBOX FREEZES and throws all the rating out of wack!  Thanks for DESTROYING my favorite game NCAA team. I’m assuming the reason the developers are so silent is because they have hung themselves in shame off selling crap on a disk to thousands of people and getting away with it. I can’t imagine doing such a sh*t job in my career and last more than 10 minutes before I got canned or put in jail for F’ing up so bad. Oh and by the way I have call the useless EA Telephone Support Team at (650) 628-1001 to file a complaint about each issue I have found and they are amazed as far as their concerned the game is perfect and there are no know issues with the game, apparently I’m the only one in the world to call the support tram so far regarding NCAA 12. Maybe i’m being to hard on EA, the grass in the replays still looks good right?And as always…Have a nice day :-)

      • Darkknight1

        You are not the only one contacting EA, Trust me!

  • Hayabusamark

    Companies are going to put out games no matter what because they know we will buy them no matter what.  Instead of taking a stand and saying we want it done right we can’t wait and buy it. I want. I want. I want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Ramos/100000861470819 Joe Ramos

    Pastapadre…thank god you exist.  I am tired of flawed sports games that get away with these problems and have no one to respond to and with you or this website here they can finally here the complaints from many of gamers.  As CM Punk has recently said you are the “Voice of the Voiceless.”

  • http://twitter.com/wildpalazzo WiL D Palazzo

    Too many aggravating things with tihs game, tonight I lost almost user profile stats and settings. This means i have to reset my controls, preferences, and stadium sounds. All while trying to work around the custom playbook bug that keeps games from loading. 

  • Penn State Fan

    OMG!!!! I was just playing a dynasty game 11 seconds left on the 4th and the games freezes on me WTF!!! I was not using named roster or custom play books :-( On the shelf this game goes or maybe trading it in tomorrow. Does anyone else out there feel my frustration DAMN.

    Ex-NCAA Fan :(…

    • Commando Dano

      Dont feel bad dude I’m in the 5th year of my online dynasty with 6 friends. We just finished end of year recruiting and now no one in the dynasty can access the file from the server. 6 SEASONS DOWN THE DRAIN. This was not an issue with rosters or play books either, we don’t use’em

  • http://www.facebook.com/jastone837 Jason Stone

    this is the most broken ncaa game they’ve ever had..someone needs to file a suit against EA on behalf of the consumer because they are charging a full priced 60 dollars for an obviously incomplete game..there needs to be accountability on EA’s part because they keep misleading the public with fancy screenshots and great trailers and all the details and add ons from year to year..but they knew these problems existed..they had to..you can’t tell me they would be so irresponsible as to not test their games at least a little bit and debug them..so there has to be a false advertisement charge against the company for advertising things that aren’t working or so bug riddled that it isn’t worth it to try..do you understand what i’m saying Pasta?…is there anything that can be done legally about this?

  • Mason Drews

    Patches do add a renewed interest in the game though as stuff is fixed overtime, overall this leads to more optimism if anything.

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  • Darkknight1

    Its obvious that patching a game gives companies like EA a reason to send out flawed games! We need to hold accountable Game informer, IGN and all those sites and magazines who rate this gams so high based on improvements and not actual playing of the games. Its obvious that Game informer didnt play this game for 15 minutes in order to give it a good rating! I no longer trust these companies that rate games based on this Ncaa football 12 rating. In 20 minutes I saw my first gltich and the further I went the worse it got! You have to be an idot to play this game and say there is no problems like Operation sports! I contact EA and they send me a 20% of coupon code! LOL…..Like many others have stated we need to hold them accountable a wait weeks before we buy these sports titles from EA! Maybe that will make them wake up and give the consumers a polished product rather than a broken piece of garbage!

  • Damaine1_1999

    In our online dynasty we’re having freezing at the end of games, highlight errors, injuries don’t carry over from week to week and the most hated and biggest problem! Getting a server error after playing a game and then the game not saving. (it will show your played the game, but when the league is advanced, the game you played disappears an the computer simulates the game often causing the person who won the game to actually loose the game in the simulation! During bowl week everyone who played their bowl had the server error which resulted in every bowl game being simulated when the week advanced causing many people to loose! I’m very disappointed and these errors will most likely cause me to trade the game in and probably not purchase next years version no matter how good the game play is!

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