General manager Mike Verdu of EA's Los Angeles studio has posted an apology and pledge to fans over the lacking support their games have received post-launch.
He confesses to being "downright unhappy" with how it has been handled and formed a dedicated patch team mandated to "protect and serve Command & Conquer".
His apology comes as they're on the "cusp of releasing a long overdue" patch for Kane's Wrath, the latest in the C&C franchise.
"I am very proud of our games and the teams that made them. From C&C Generals to the two Battle for Middle-earth games to C&C3, I feel like we have brought great RTS experiences to millions of people who have spent tens of millions of hours playing the games and having fun. That's what I live for… it's why I'm in this business," says Verdu, but he's more than aware not everything is coming up roses in the C&C garden.
"I am not as proud of our record in supporting our games after launch. In fact, I'm downright unhappy with that aspect of our business. There have been some bright spots: For example, our community manager's passionate advocacy on behalf of our customers, the huge patch 1.05 for Battle for Middle-earth II that was a labor of love between our team and the community, and our fast response to some initial problems on C&C3," continues Verdu.
"But overall, the level of support has been lacking. We tend to put out a limited number of patches for our products and in many cases those patches take longer than they should to finish, test, and release. It’s been a chronic issue for more than four years, and we need to fix it."
He says the problem lies in the logistics, the pressure on the development teams to split their time between work on the latest games and revisiting launched titles to give them a tune up.
"We've been wrestling with the logistics of support for a long time and we need a new approach. After all, some of our competitors have been providing a high level of post-launch support for years, so we know it can be done...and done well."
Verdu admits that this new approach isn't a magic fix, so he won't declare "this initiative is going to instantly solve all of our support issues" and he doesn't feel EALA has the "credibility with our customers to make that claim anyway."
"My hope is that the community will be able to look back on this period and say, "this was the low point – and then things started getting better"," he concluded.
Clickto read Mike Verdu's letter to the C&C community.
EALA's Verdu: PC support a "chronic issue" and "we need to fix it"
08 July 2008 | By Simon Priest