Steam suspends "The War Z" sales due to gamer outcry

By on December 21, 2012, 2:31 PM

Following numerous player complaints, indie zombie-apocalypse sandbox title The War Z has been removed from sale on Steam. Kotaku provides a great, in-depth look at exactly what happened, but most complaints were due to a bevy of missing features and game hacking. The developer described items such as private servers, being able to spend XP for new skills and sprawling 400 kilometer landscapes -- none of which had actually been implemented in-game. Well, not yet, that is.

Public uproar and Valve's subsequent discontinuation of The War Z's sales seem particularly embarrassing for fledgling indie developer Hammerpoint Interactive. However, the game's executive producer issued this somewhat backhanded apology to players, suggesting that customers were actually the ones who futzed up -- they should have realized some listed features were still in development.

... it was clear that there were a number of customers that felt that information about the game was presented in a way that could have allowed for multiple interpretations.

We've taken steps to correct this and format information presented on our Steam Store page in a way so it provides more clear information about game features that are present in the Foundation Release and what to expect in the coming weeks.

We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread infromation [sic] about game features.

Source: forums.thewarz.com, Sergey Titov, Executive Producer

Player furor also prompted this thread, which attempts to explain some of the shortcomings the game's "Foundation Release" currently exhibits.

Valve began issuing refunds to angry customers after determining The War Z's release was "premature". The company temporarily suspended sales of the title until it has "confidence in a new build" from the developer. 

Although The War Z is no longer for sale via Steam, it does still have a place in its catalog -- Valve simply removed the option to purchase the game. Anyone interesting in buying the game may still do so at the publisher's website.




User Comments: 15

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1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

I Was looking into this game, it looked cool but after reviews I will just wait for the dayz standalone

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Haha, "We also want to extend our apologies to all players who misread infromation". Gotta love these types of apologies where they direct the blame to the offended party. They're not sorry they purposely misled, or otherwise did a terrible job communicating, they're blaming the customer for misreading. Way to go buddy, put the blame on the people who bought your game... that'll help with sales next time around.

Tygerstrike said:

@Mike

Remember, its the players who hack that tend to screw up any games. Most of the general consumer base isnt going to have the skill set to hack. Only those ppl who chose to screw everyone else in a vain attempt to destroy competition and win no matter what are going to invest the nessesary time to hack. Which is a shame really.

I can see why the devs would point the fingers at the ppl who purchased the game then hacked it.

ikesmasher said:

From what I understand it had more potential than it released with? or was it generally just a terrible concept.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

@Tygerstrike That had absolutely nothing to do with it. The devs advertised features that they simply did not have in the game. Like skills and private servers. Then blamed the users. What a bunch of losers. Hope Valve bans them.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Anyone interesting in buying the game may still do so at the publisher's website.
And then later can it be added to the steam library?

I have a few games I would like to add to the Steam library, but the keys I have are not recognized by Steam.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Tygerstrike That had absolutely nothing to do with it. The devs advertised features that they simply did not have in the game. Like skills and private servers. Then blamed the users. What a bunch of losers. Hope Valve bans them.

Funny thing though... I was looking seriously at this title when it hit Steam. Then I actually read all of the description, and figured out it wasn't complete yet. Which is why they called it the "foundation release" when it was put on Steam.

The problem was that the features description was not specifically proofed for gamers who just like to skim through the list and do the "ooh, ahh, click to buy" method. Didn't matter that those points about it being a work in progress were further supported on other gaming-related sites - just like we have to put "do not swallow" on acid and "don't try this at home" on obviously dangerous stunts in commercials, you have to be explicit and clear or risk facing the music.

At least, that was the problem with the features not being in the foundation version up front... The rest of the controversy swirling around that game is quite another mess entirely!

1 person liked this |
Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Anyone interesting in buying the game may still do so at the publisher's website.
And then later can it be added to the steam library?.

I don't believe it can -- games capable of being activated on Steam live on a relatively short list: [link]

I *think* support for Steamworks is a pre-requisite. I remember casually reading that The War Z will *not* have Steamworks support.

TekGun TekGun said:

This is just a blatant DayZ rip off by a piss poor company trying to earn money off someone else's ideas.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Funny thing though... I was looking seriously at this title when it hit Steam. Then I actually read all of the description, and figured out it wasn't complete yet. Which is why they called it the "foundation release" when it was put on Steam.

The problem was that the features description was not specifically proofed for gamers who just like to skim through the list and do the "ooh, ahh, click to buy" method. Didn't matter that those points about it being a work in progress were further supported on other gaming-related sites - just like we have to put "do not swallow" on acid and "don't try this at home" on obviously dangerous stunts in commercials, you have to be explicit and clear or risk facing the music.

At least, that was the problem with the features not being in the foundation version up front... The rest of the controversy swirling around that game is quite another mess entirely!

Yes well if those features were indeed planned, they had to make it very explicitly obvious that they were not features of the current game and to not use language saying things "These are the features of the game". You can't say "It's a work in progress" then "These are features of the game" and expect people to realise that most of the features are works in progress! That's deliberately deceptive in my mind and that of hundreds or more of people on metacritic.

Can't say I've ever seen a backlash on metacritic quite like that so if they were aiming for PR nightmare, they nailed it.

1 person liked this | jeffz6 said:

This whole game is miss quoted. Screenshots and selling points make it sound so good, but it plays like a turd.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sad really, the amount of time people wasted playing this game. Honestly my favorite thing to do is laugh at people who played it and got killed by other players just to have to restart with nothing more then a pistol on the beach. And then it happens again... and again.... and again. Then have the nerve to ask me why I don't play it. Maybe if it wasn't such a colossal waste of time that had an objective I would, but it doesn't. People, wake up, a zombie apocalypse will never happen, get over your childish fantasy of killing zombies, its just stupid pointless violence that never seems to end. Between the movies, the games and the tv shows now it's just getting old. The genre as a whole is far over played and is no longer of any interest, yes reality sucks, but killing zombies in a video game won't make it any better.

Guest said:

Not surprised. I purchased the game around Halloween for $20 off their website, and there was uproar then due to how unfinished the product was. It was very common, and still is, to log in and within a minute die, forcing your character to be locked out for an hour. Then you would have to to create a new one from your 5 available slots, and hopefully be lucky enough to last 5 minutes. It was like be asked to beta test, but you never got a chance to ever play the f'n game. Biggest joke of a game I have ever played.

Guest said:

How about releasing the game when it's finished, Hammerpoin? Rather than releasing a half-baked alpha then "apologizing" that customers misinterpreted your description of its features.

howzz1854 said:

If it's a unfinished game. don't put a price tag on it. calling it what you like, post beta, or foundation release, heck call it happy bubble release. the point is. it's not a finished product, and you shouldn't charge people for it. either that, or the game needs to be REALLY cheap for people to test out the water. I was following the game a while back and it seemed like a promising game, but now it just looks like a unfinished scam.

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