THQ found the time to re-rate fighters for UFC Undisputed 3 a third time but still hasn’t delivered a patch for the game, now six months after its release, despite THQ’s promises it would continue to support the title even after the news it sold the licence to EA Sports.
THQ shuttered its San Diego studio just as the deal was being announced at E3, so its hardly a surprise the publisher would completely wash its hands of the matter. Still, in June, THQ said a patch was being worked on and still is forthcoming. At this point, six months after release, why bother?
It shows how post-release support says a lot about how a publisher views its own series. MLB 2K12, which released in March, didn’t get a patch until June. Now, a patchless April was likely due to the fact it was running a contest, and so they couldn’t change the gameplay while that was going on. 2K didn’t have a patch ready when the contest ended, either. But by then, most folks figured that MLB 2K was a dead duck, as 2K Games was long expected to close the series when its licence with Major League Baseball expired this year.
So, who’s in trouble? Though Pastapadre tweeted a rumour that NCAA Football 13‘s sales are disappointing compared to NCAA 12‘s, that series rolled out a patch two weeks after release and has another one coming sometime this month. Though this year’s series failed to deliver any truly major breakthroughs, next year it’ll get the real-time physics coming to Madden NFL 13 in a couple of weeks. Poor sales don’t help the franchise’s health but I couldn’t see one bad year tanking the whole thing with so much coming down the road.
Probably the biggest deathwatches coming will be for something like WWE ’13, also published by THQ, or NBA Live 13, in whatever form it releases. WWE ’12‘s problems at release required a huge patch two months later, and free DLC as a make-good gesture to consumers. As for NBA Live 13, it well knows by now that people will look for and interpret anything said or unsaid as a sign of weakness or no confidence. Sparse post-release support would be one of them.