Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Disingenuous Marketing and Unfulfilled Features

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Posted December 15th, 2012 at 11:45 am

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There are always going to be games that fail to deliver on promised features or those that disguise issues in order to avoid negatively affecting sales. There are likely even elements of that going on with every game that releases these days. Companies have generally been able to get away with them because reviewers don’t identify the issues and media in general avoid holding them accountable for providing the features and support that consumers rely on.

In 2012 there were a few significant examples of this being the case – features that were not fully delivered or intentionally misleading advertising campaigns. It is then important to review them in the hopes that those situations won’t be repeated in the future.

MLB 2K12

There was very little effort put into MLB 2K12 which foretold the eventual cancellation of the series. There was so little done with the game that the features list included only five items and one of them was the soundtrack. Ultimately, there was only one true new feature that the game would be marketed on, and that was MLB Today Season mode.

MLB Today Season was intended to follow along with the season by capturing real life results and feeding them into a season mode in which any games played by the user would then take the place of those real life stats. It would never actually work properly though. Data often wasn’t being received and when it did make it through was wildly inaccurate. The problems were never fully addressed.

2K Sports essentially abandoned support for the series, it only got a single patch that had to wait until June, because they knew they wouldn’t have to answer to consumers the following year.

MLB 12: The Show

SCEA has a history of ignoring consumer inquiries when they regard issues that make them look bad. They’ve done so by cutting off communication regarding various problems with the games, patches, and demo releases. With MLB 12: The Show there was a demonstration of those things along with the advertising of a feature that wasn’t included in the product at release.

A patch this year caused freezing issues for certain teams in Franchise and Road to the Show modes while breaking the compatibility of saves between the PS3 and Vita. A later patch would cause more freezing problems for some. It was late May before yet another patch would come and appear to fix most of those concerns. Prior to release it was notable that no demo would be made available for the second time in three years.

Most infuriating of all though was the handling of the Online Home Run Derby. The feature was promoted through the PlayStation Blog and a pre-release trailer. It was not active at release and the company refused all requests for comments on the matter. Four months later they were spinning it into a promotion and then later activating it for everyone. Needless to say at that point very few cared…it was difficult to even find users on playing the mode then.

UFC Undisputed 3

No company in recent memory has flat out lied about post-release support in the way that THQ did with UFC Undisputed 3. It began right around release time amid issues with online play in particular and continued through the summer.

The statements from company representatives about a patch being in the works or even having been submitted to Microsoft and Sony continued over the months – even after the license was sold to EA Sports. Many remained skeptical of their dedication to the product and history had shown that THQ would oftentimes drag things out as long as possible to avoid heavy backlash and then bury an issue as though it never existed. Given that they had been losing a great deal of money on the license, and no longer had responsibility to the series, it was no surprise when they took the same route with UFC 3.

The UFC is the entity left taking the image hit in this situation as THQ won’t have to answer for their misleading statements and failing to follow up on their promise of a patch.

UEFA EURO 2012

In the most inexcusable example of blatant false advertising EA Sports released what acted as an “expansion pack” to FIFA 12 with UEFA EURO 2012. It was a $20 digital download and initially the idea to take it that route prompted positive response from consumers.

What those people didn’t count on was that EA would not have the license for nearly half the nations involved in the tournament. Had the company been upfront about that it would have been something to criticize but it was the deception of not making that information available prior to release that deserves scorn. The lack of content (no qualifying rounds) and any gameplay enhancements were also areas of widespread disappointment.

The decision to make UEFA EURO a discount add-on was well received at first because consumers responded solely to the price change. What EA ended up delivering though failed miserably as it did not meet the standards of those whose expectations were not properly lowered. They counted on the backlash over not providing accurate information about the product not being greater than the extra sales that would come by leaving those details out.

Year in Review
Much more to come throughout the month!
•#10 of 2012: NFL Blitz
•Vote for the 2012 Community Choice Awards
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Disingenuous Marketing and Unfulfilled Features
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The Disastrous Road Towards NBA Live 13

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  • Chiryder

    Wow no mention of Madden ’13? Right no unfulfilled features. They gave us the features they said they would, but just royally screwed them up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iown-You/100000775565221 Iown You

      Madden 13: “Physics you can feel”

      After that debacle, I’d like to give them knuckles they can feel.

    • turkey86

      What exactly did they screw up? Oh right, you can only make erroneous statements, with no way of defending the statement.

      • Lame

        Beat it, you fucking kiss ass EA Gamechanger. Go play with your free swag.

        • turkey86

          So… no real complaints, just the “DUR, Fuck EA, DUR.” Pathetic.

      • RandomGuy

        “Franchise Mode” i.e. Connected Careers. Can’t edit players, relocate teams, the ratings are screwed up (as always), glitches up the arse, gameplay is off, and on and on and on. I would provide more details but I didn’t even bother to buy the game after I rented it. Not worth the money. EA continues to short change us so why would I continue to pad their wallets.

        http://www.amazon.com/Madden-NFL-13-Xbox-360/dp/B006VB2UNM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355758824&sr=8-1&keywords=madden+13+xbox+360

        • turkey86

          I’m still trying to figure out how they screwed that up? They stated, way before, that you wouldn’t be able to edit players. Ratings are an opinion. Everyone has a different opinion about what ratings a player should have. People will always complain about that. Glitches? Haven’t seen any myself, but so does every single game that comes out. Gameplay is off? Again, not really a specific thing, so it’s hard to know what you’re even talking about. Has been fine to me.

          • RandomGuy

            See the beauty of arguing with ratings is that we’ve always been able to fix them our selves. We don’t like how EA is rating a player. Well we’ll fix it and move on. At the release we couldn’t or at least we couldn’t take it into CC. Glitches? See the amazon.com link. Like I said, I didn’t buy the game, I rented it and immediately didn’t like how it was done. So I didn’t waste my cash supporting a company that doesn’t care about it’s fanbase.

          • GuyWhoMakesSense

            dude, Madden 13 connected careers is a massive improvement in my opinion. honestly player editing is not the game changing, deal breaking thing i am disappointed about. the single most important thing was they FINALLY re-vamped online franchise to be more akin to online association. most people only use Connected careers coach as a season mode so the extra things are just frills that most will not miss but a vocal minority will bitch eternally about.

          • RandomGuy

            You want more examples and links:

            http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/8938260.page

      • RandomGuy

        Tell me what didn’t they screw up. They completely redid Madden ’13 when no one asked them to. We just wanted them to improve on what they did the year before not get rid of Franchise Mode and create something that sets them back 3-4 years. By the time they finally put back in the stuff they took out we’ll be in Madden ’16.

        • turkey86

          No one asked them to? Are you kidding me? I see thousands of people every year complain about how bad it is and need to be redone every single year. They didn’t get rid of franchise mode. They renamed it. It’s still the exact same concept.

          • RandomGuy

            They stripped the essence of what Franchise mode is and replaced it with garbage. Improved not redone. Noone asked you to combine two modes into one and add a live twitter feed. The draft is screwed up, gameplay is screwed up, AND the offseason is screwed up.

    • Keith.

      This Madden 13 marketing piece would’ve been my winner for biggest FRAUD on consumers — looking back on it now, I almost can’t believe EA’s marketing department had the balls to run with such completely-untrue garbage:

      “Madden NFL 13 is all-new from boot up to credits. Every mode, every screen, every pixel has been reinvented delivering the most innovative, connected, and authentic Madden NFL experience in franchise history.”

      http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Madden-NFL-13-Demo/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80245418994

  • Bon

    For 2K14, 2K could focus more on Online Association. It still has flaws, especially the 1 day wait for a trade to go through.

    • 49ersfan1

      and offline assoc.

  • Meow Meow

    At least SCEA were mentioned. As much as I love the Show, the devs are not perfect like a certain forum would have you believe…

    • lON

      So true. Everyone involved with that game from the people who work on it to the community plants they have in forums have ridiculous egos.

  • Lame

    Not a single mention of an EA game to be found. It figures.

    • turkey86

      Take off your tin foil hat.

      • Lame

        Really? What about features that were added and removed from Madden 13 in a patch, because EA added them as an after thought, after people complained about them not being there, and they then removed them because they couldn’t get them to work properly, because all EA Sports devs are fucking incompetent?

        • turkey86

          The fact that they even tried to include them, because of all you cry baby bitches is pretty commendable to me. No one forced you to go and buy the fucking game, but yet tons of you bitches went “WAH WAH WAH” and they did something for you. Most companies wouldn’t do that. Better than SCEA and 2K who just straight out ignore their customers.

        • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

          All the things that were “missing”, that people complained about, were discussed months in advance. There was no deception in regards to features included or excluded with Madden.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iown-You/100000775565221 Iown You

            There was no deception with the way they marketed the Infinity Engine? Really? Because I recall a few videoa in which they boasted about how exact and accurate it was, and how it would revolutionize Madden and its animation system overall. They never showed any of the flaws (and granted you’re not supposed to when marketing something). But when the game came out, so did the truth about the Infinity Engine; it didn’t work well, it made the game look and play worse, and several patches in they toned it down so much that it might as well just be taken out of the game entirely.

      • Lame

        Pasta, is that you?

    • Cii

      “In the most inexcusable example of blatant false advertising EA Sports released what acted as an “expansion pack” to FIFA 12 with UEFA EURO 2012.” No mention of EA, huh?

    • benn

      You are clearly not that bright.

  • Mason Drews

    I figured when clicking on this article that I’d definitely see “NBA 2k13″. I was amazed to not see it listed for the lack of missing players (heck’ the rosters in general).

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Considered that…but ultimately didn’t feel it reached the level of these other four.

  • MoneyMayweather

    What about NBA live 13 not being released.

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Did you miss the entire article about that the other day?

  • Keith.

    Pasta’s a joke — he doesn’t even have a PS3. I’m beginning to think he posts this stuff just to get a rise out of us. That, or he’s angling for another EA Game Changer spot again.

    • Lame

      I’m thinking the exact same thing. I called him out previously, and he removed my comments, where I tried linking him to EA. I will say it here once again.

      HE IS AN EA SPONSORED FRAUD. HE DOESN’T SUPPORT “ALL” CONSOLE SPORTS GAMES. HE ONLY SUPPORTS AND PROMOTES EA SPORTS, AND THE XBOX360.

  • Lame

    I’m still waiting for the recent Community Polling results where I’m sure Madden 13 won every category. People were so outraged at the limited polling choices, that Pasta had to close the comment section.

    FRAUD.

  • 49ersfan1

    is anyone watching sunday night football?

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