Something I’ve noticed a lot lately in both tabletop and video game materials is how messed up they often are. Video games are notorious for this. Didn’t get something correct? We can just patch it later. It’s a trend that I’m torn about. On one hand, game breaking bugs can be fixed (Remember the glitches in NES and SNES games that would break the game? Those are a thing of the past.); on the other hand, we have games that are rushed, only to be fixed later with extensive patches (I’m looking at you Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Elder Scrolls).
Tabletop gaming has this problem too. I’ve gotten books that had so much downloadable errata to go along with them, that I wasn’t sure why the company just hadn’t given me a free 2nd printing of the book.
I wish life had downloadable patches for bad choices. “Oops, my creative writing degree isn’t working out… luckily, this patch will give me a chemical engineering degree!”
I think the biggest recent problem with this is the Mass Effect 3 endings. The new, patched endings come out today… and I have no idea if they actually fix any of the problems, but it is interesting that fan outcry was so great that they decided to try to come up with better ideas.
In all seriousness, I would suggest that companies do outside tests of their books and games. Beta test like mad. It’s expensive, I know. But isn’t it better than putting out a bad product and risking the ire of your audience?