Hello Games revealed details of a launch day patch for the upcoming No Man’s Sky yesterday. This patch makes some massive, literally universe changing improvements to the game, completely changing the algorithm used to generate the worlds players will explore. As a result of shipping such a massive change after the game ‘went gold’ (the moment a piece of software is ready to be delivered to customers) though, much hand wringing has been had, accusing Hello Games of shipping an unfinished game.
This point of view held merit back when game platforms were disconnected, and what you got on the cartridge or disc was what you were stuck with forever, but today when a developer has the opportunity to improve their game after the discs are pressed, why are we decrying this as a negative thing?
In earlier game generations, specifically in the console arena, what came in the box was what you got. A game could have humourous glitches or showstopping bugs that were missed during play testing, and the only means to fix them would be to pull a game from shelves. All the quality assurance testing in the world will never stop every bug that can appear when a piece of software, game or otherwise, is released to the world. One of the best aspects of our current Internet connected platforms is that these bugs can be fixed.