'Batman: Arkham Knight' Steam Version Pulled as Warner Bros. Grapples With Bugs

This fiasco points toward an industry-wide crisis, if big releases keep arriving so sloppy.

Warner Bros. Interactive

Warner Bros. Interactive has suspended sales of its blockbuster “Batman: Arkham Knight” video game on Steam amid outcry from PC gamers. Broken, glitchy, and largely unplayable, the game is another in a dubious lineage of triple-A games with like eight dozen content bonuses to entice pre-order sales are released in substandard condition.

Gamers are starting to feel like studios are hustling them. And they have a point.

The community managers have announced on the Steam and Warner Bros. Interactive forums their plans to fix the damage, and are asking games (never the most patient or empathetic group) to understand.

Dear Batman: Arkham Knight PC owners,
We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards. We greatly value our customers and know that while there are a significant amount of players who are enjoying the game on PC, we want to do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall.
Thank you to those players who have already given valuable feedback. We are continuously monitoring all threads posted in the Official Batman: Arkham Knight Community and Steam forums, as well as any issues logged with our Customer Support (http://support.wbgames.com/). If you purchased your copy of the game and are not satisfied with your experience, then we ask for your patience while these issues are resolved. If desired, you can request a refund at https://help.steampowered.com (Steam refund policies can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds) or the retail location where you purchased the game.

Can you believe it, this didn’t stop gamers from getting their dander up.

“I can’t run the game at all,” wrote user Tizzysawr on the Warner Bros. community forums. “Why hasn’t it even been admitted that many people can’t run it at all? … How come you people didn’t catch this, was there any QA done to this game?”

“Please stop saying people are enjoying this game and only some people are experiencing issues this is wide spread and every game has issues,” wrote Z1ppz. “Stop the spin. Admit your [sic] a bunch of idiots and then swear on your jobs and company that the problem will be corrected because honestly I think firing the lot of you would be a step in the right direction, clearly you’re all incompetent.”

On Steam, user Ousei wrote plainly, “I dont [sic] want you to tell me to refund it i want you to fucking fix it”.

Some gamers have displayed more chill — such as the forum users have thanked Warner Bros. for acknowledging the issue. Others are still demanding full refunds. It’s timely that Steam began to offer refunds last month, or else a mere fiasco could’ve swelled into a total disaster, if thousands of people felt screwed out of their $60.

“Batman: Arkham Knight” is just the latest triple-A game launched in sore need of immediate patches or fixes. Video game production is complex, nuanced, and behaves differently than producing movies and music, and some glitches are inevitable. But gamers are becoming accustomed to the disappointment that comes with buying bum merch, and they’re getting tired of it. The industry needs to figure this out sooner than later.

Remember in How I Met Your Mother when Ted didn’t want to deal with his urgent problems and leave it to “Future Ted”? That’s the video game industry, leaving these issues up to Future Them. The major publishers are using sweeteners to entice buyers to pre-order games, guaranteeing sales. But gamers, feeling like they’re paying for the privilege of beta-testing new games, have begun arguing against the pre-orders. It’s a dangerous spot for the industry, if it makes its most dedicated customers feel like guinea pigs.

“Batman: Arkham Knight” on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been released without hitches, and gamers playing on those platforms are doing just dandy. Meanwhile, on Steam, the game has a user rating of “Mostly Negative.” When a game of this quality and scope can’t cut it on personal computers, the model is in real trouble.