A lot happened in the gaming industry in 2017. The Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X were both released along with numerous top-tier titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, among others.
But the gaming industry also suffered several major controversies throughout the year, and both developers and publishers faced overwhelming backlash from consumers. Gamers and games journalists alike berated EA for its sudden closure of Visceral Games, but only a select few mishaps (many of which were due to loot boxes) in 2017 warranted apologies from major developers and publishers - and not all of them went according to plan.
Here's a rundown of the seven major gaming controversies of last year - and how developers responded to them.
This Page: Friday the 13th, Forza Motorsport 7 and Need for Speed: Payback
Friday the 13th
Illfonic and Gun Media's Friday the 13th: The Game suffered numerous issues at launch: connectivity problems, long maintenance schedules, and database login failures. The issues got so bad that Gun Media eventually released free DLC as an apology for all the server problems, hoping to get back on the player base's good side. Unfortunately, Xbox One players had to wait longer than PC or PS4 players because the DLC failed to pass Microsoft's certification process. What's more, the Xbox version had a persisting memory issue.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg. Players can deal with server issues (for a short time, of course), but Gun Media's harsh punishment of players helping the Jason player, as well as masquerading as employees of either Illfonic or Gun Media, is why some gamers are boycotting the game and the studio.
Forza Motorsport 7
The latest installment in Turn 10 Studios' Forza series, Forza Motorsport 7, idled earlier in 2017 when it released to early access users. But VIP members quickly found out that the service had changed between installments. VIPs no longer earned double XP, at least not after 25 races. People were justifiably outraged by the lack of communication on the developer's part, as they were expecting the same perks awarded to them in Forza Motorsport 6. Turn 10 immediately issued an apology to VIP members and Ultimate Edition owners, promising to be more transparent about what their purchases include and what they don't. They also gave VIPs four additional Forza edition cars.
In addition to addressing the controversy surrounding the VIP memberships, Turn 10 said they were working on stabilizing the performance issues plaguing PC players, something that should've been done prior to the game's release.
Need for Speed: Payback
EA suffered a great amount of backlash due to Star Wars Battlefront II (more on that later), and Ghost Games presumably didn't want to be the next target, so they updated Need for Speed: Payback's predatory progression system (which relied heavily on microtransactions) the week following Battlefront II's brouhaha. A developer detailed all the new changes on Reddit, and the same developer also said that all these changes were supposed to happen anyway, as a result of consumer feedback, not due to fear of further backlash.
While EA never issued a formal apology for all the game's problems, they did make a blog post mentioning that they've been listening to feedback. "Something we’ve heard loud and clear is that it’s often too time-consuming to upgrade multiple cars. We agree, and as a result, this is something we’ve been tackling over the previous weeks, and will continue to act upon." Sure, Need for Speed: Payback still suffers from many issues, but they've managed to fix most of what players were complaining about.
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