Recently, a Street Fighter x Tekken patch was released for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, with an interesting glitch that somehow, some way, went completely unnoticed. When Rolento, a Street Fighter character from older Capcom fighting games, throws a shuriken that makes contact with an opponent’s fireball, the entire game freezes and requires a hard reset. While it is predominantly Capcom’s fault that such a glitch slipped through the cracks in QA, the fact that Microsoft also completely missed this makes one wonder why patches are even submitted for certification in the first place.
This glitch isn’t an inconsistent one: it literally happens every single time that Rolento’s shuriken connects with a fireball. Have a look for yourself:
If Microsoft requires that all developers submit patches for certification prior to release, how does something as huge as this make it through? Why are important patches delayed for weeks when the certification process doesn’t do an extra comb through of the content being submitted? I know what you’re thinking: Capcom is to blame! The developer shouldn’t be submitting broken code in the first place! And you’re right. They shouldn’t. But when gamers are forced to wait for weeks for a quick fix while a game is broken or missing key functionality because of Microsoft’s certification regulations, it seems to be an awful and unnecessary prerequisite that benefits absolutely nobody.
Previously, I’ve defended Microsoft’s Apple-like certification process for the Xbox 360 platform, but when something as game-breaking as this is confidently released, I lose all faith in the delay. What’s ironic about this entire thing is that the patch that broke the game requires another patch that is quite likely already finished, but must once more go through the same certification process that failed to catch the problem in the first place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about gamers in the many, many years I’ve been a part of the industry, it’s that they absolutely hate waiting.
So, why is the certification process even necessary? Why aren’t developers given the freedom (and server space) to distribute patches when they have been finished internally? Games on the PC platform are able to do this with ease, and hot-fixes to temporarily band-aid problems are always released while a more permanent fix is developed. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the closed console platform that makes efficiency an issue when it really doesn’t need to be.
Whether or not Microsoft plans on changing this in the next generation of consoles is unknown, but if game-breaking issues become a recurring issue, then it might be a necessity to keep paying customers happy.