Everything sucks because of your impatient ass

I'm currently waiting in line to get a Tesla Model X. Like many others, I made a reservation back in 2014 and am now sitting through delay after delay and one blown deadline after another.

I feverishly frequent the forums to scavenge all those itty bitty updates and rumors, and boy is that a painful experience. People are foaming at their mouths because they still don't have the car that they're clearly entitled to! Somebody called Elon Musk a monkey. Calls for boycott, wah wah wah.

I can sympathize with Tesla since I used to be on the other side of this. The games I used to work on were notorious for being delayed, and every time a press release went out to announce a new release date, it sucked for everybody. The team knew their long hours would go on for longer. The company knew the budget would skyrocket even more (more salaries to pay, more overtime pay for non-exempt people, morale would go even lower, more dinners to pay, more advertisement to keep the hype going, penalties in the millions from retailers because shelf space had been booked in advance)... but the worst were the forums on the gaming websites.

People would cry bloody murder whenever there was a delay. It was like a giant bucket of Haterade was emptied over the streets, and people drank it all up and started spewing fire.


My favorite moment was when one of those fools surmised that the company had already finished the game, they were just waiting to release it at the right moment to get more money out of it. I read that post in the office while we were going into the second month of a mandatory 80-hour week crunch phase. Yeah, fuck you, buddy.

But gamers show their gentle side whenever there's another report about the working conditions in the games industry. All of a sudden, people post that they'd gladly wait another few months in order for the company to ease up on their employees and treat them better.
Sure you would! Wait until the next delay is announced, and the whinery will start all over again. Entitlement trumps compassion any time.

I could go into the reasons for delays, talk about the unpredictability of game development, project management, coding and testing practices, but that's beyond the scope. Delays can happen for any project that is sufficiently ambitious and complex.

Companies hate delays, in part due to the overwhelmingly negative response by the public. So what do many people do in order to avoid delays? They cut corners. That means: Games that are buggy as hell. Major features that have been removed. One game developer I worked for ran numbers when our game was lagging behind and tried to decide between "making it nice" and "pushing that shit out as quickly as possible", and the cost/benefit analysis courtesy of their accounting department suggested doing the latter, which is what we ended up doing. The game had fewer than half the levels that were initially promised and completely removed a bunch of features that had been proudly presented at E3 previously. But hey, it shipped on time. And it sucked so hard that the lead designer asked to have his name removed.

As for the other much-delayed game, it ended up breaking sales records and getting a 97% metacritic score.

The Tesla Model X was delayed in part due to the complex falcon wing doors, which many would argue is a gimmick. They have some nice practical aspects to them, but for the past 100 years, cars have been able to do without them, so they could have easily scrapped them and gone for traditional doors. That would have been another defeat in the battle of "innovative features vs. your constant whining", but they decided against it. Unlike many other companies that take the easy route and just push out a subpar product.

So - embrace delays. They mean that somebody decided to ignore your impatient prodding and decided to make the product better. Well... or it means that the product is shit and they're trying to salvage it, like Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. But let's assume the former.

UPDATE: I wrote this post six months ago. Since then, the Model X shipped, and the falcon wing doors are indeed cool. Yes, they're a bit gimmicky, sometimes buggy, sometimes impractical, but also often genuinely helpful and superior to regular doors. In  my opinion - worth the wait. Suck it, crybabies.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why are we even talking about the fatal Tesla Autopilot crash?

I'm sorry something racist happened to you. You should have dressed better.