back to article CoD: Black Ops 'not fit for purpose', fans claim

After last year's petition, in which gamers demanded their money back for Call of Duty: Black Ops, an independent pressure group has reported Activision to the Office for Fair Trading. Gamers' Voice, which lobbies on behalf of UK gamers, claims Black Ops' fails to function as advertised. In an open letter to the OFT, the …


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  1. Gangsta


    If I could get my money back for Black Ops I would be delighted.

    I haven't played it for 2 Months.

    I have to say though in the short time I played it (PS3) I didn't experience /many/ issues.

  2. Neil Porter

    Fallout New Vegas next?

    Black Ops may be buggy but it's nothing compared with the many, many bugs in the latest Fallout. It's a great game but it crashes way too often, characters in walls, flying dogs, etc.

    For £40 I expect a bit of testing...

    1. Avatar of They
      Thumb Up

      Sooo True

      Not just flying dogs but logic problems in character interaction, factions taking a dislike for no reason, so the game is unplayable in parts. That isn't a game engine fault, it is a coding error.

      To me it was the same engine from fallout 3 with the same bugs, none solid floors etc, and then added in a bunch of poorly trained coders. Making it much worse.

      I have black ops for the Wii and it runs fine, but graphics suffer from the fact it is a Wii (It was a gift) can't stretch to £40 a game, not worth the price on a PC. (And I heard it was a console port, done badly anyway) I just think it is short, almost as short as MoH airborne, which is not a good thing at all.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I see what you did here.

    What with your current high level of Microsoft sponsorship, you pretend the problems are only related to the PS3 version.

    The reality is, all versions of this game suck, PS3, PC and Xbox

    1. Paradroid

      Get a tin foil hat

      There is no reg/Microsoft conspiracy. It's well known that Black Ops is a lazy port on the PS3 and the graphics are noticeably worse than the 360. I feel sorry for PS3 owners because the game looked shit on my 360, so it must be poor on the PS3.

      I treated Black Ops with the contempt it deserves, bought it for £37 from Asda, finished it in a week and sold it to CeX for £34 cash. I don't play multi player so just wanted to play through the story.

      The game is technically awful. Graphics are worse than Modern Warfare 2 by quite a bit. Only the flight missions looks nice graphically.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Get a tin foil hat

        But how can this be? Reg Hardware reviewed the game on the XBOX360 and gave it 90%

        You must be wrong.

        Why don't you read that review again, just for the laughs.

    2. Fisher39


      Sorry, didn't want to bring it up but seeing as how you mentioned it..... it's fine on the XBox.

  4. Ragarath
    Thumb Up

    Just Me Hoping they win?

    Is it just me that hopes they get this pushed through as a problem? Yes we all know that there are bugs in software and expect them. But I find now-a-days there are more and they affect the customer more.

    If Activision are brought to terms with this it would make the companies that release trash make sure it works rather than using the public as beta testers and releasing a patch later (maybe.)

  5. Select * From Handle

    I have had all of these problems on PS3.

    I would like a refund for my call of duty and here is why.

    1. me and my bro both play it, i have a PS3/HD TV, HDMI cable'd up running at its best resolution with an ethernet cable not wireless.

    My brother has the same TV but uses an Xbox 360 HDMI'd up.

    Their is a huge very noticeable difference in the graphics between the PS3 and Xbox 360! I cant play the groundwar (the multiplayer option with the most amount of players) option because the gameplay becomes so choppy. On the 360 he doesnt have this problem, and no theirs nothing wrong with my settings on PS3.

    2 Server disconection/host migrations happens so much i sometimes cant complete contracts because i havnt actually got to the end of a match in a span of 1 hour...

    3. sometimes when connecting to a server it will just freeze once its loaded. you cant press any buttons to unfreeze the console. the only thing u can do is press the PS button and click "quit game" which forces the PS3 to RESTART as it cant exit from COD.

    4. i have also had it crash a few times during gameplay which was also anoying.

    5. joining games with your friends is also anoying as it doesnt always work and sometimes when u are in a party of 4 people 1 of them wont be connected to the server... forcing us all to leave and start again...

    I would say it is fit for sale though but activation need to fix the bugs faster they have failed miserably at this, but i also would say if people would like a refund they should be able to get one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have had all of these problems

      As you have so many problems with this game, perhaps you should take this as an opportunity to give up gaming and go and concentrate more on your school work (grammar and spelling specifically).

      1. nichomach

        A spelling and grammar flame?

        Really? Was it, I mean really and truly was it, worth it?

    2. Miek


      Ditto, bar point 5.

      Mike :)

  6. Andrew Lobban

    The game is a joke

    I was waiting for patch 1.06 to see if it fixed the problems. It hasn't, the main issue is terrible lag and fps issues. Unplayable.

  7. Mobius

    Sell it then!

    I recently sold my copy used on eBay and made £10 profit on the £27.97 I got it for from Sainsburys.

    1. A Known Coward

      Spread the misery

      Yeah! If you find the game to be buggy, unplayable and generally crap then make sure you aren't the only one to feel the pain, sell it on to some poor sucker who is willing to pay more than you did!

      1. Annihilator

        @ A Known Coward

        Yeah! Blame free markets!

        Do you expect the OP to either a) hold on to the game as punishment for buying it, or b) put a "Buy It Now" option at 1p less than they bought it for to protect idiots from themselves?

        Or are you the poor sucker who bought it on ebay for £40 and are now furious that you may have been ripped off? I think you may win my personal comment of the week...

        1. A Known Coward

          @ Annihilator

          If it makes you feel better to believe what you just wrote, then so be it. Some of us have what is called conscience and empathy.

          If the OP felt that they had themselves been sold a product which was not suitable for purpose then he has the legal right to obtain a refund. Instead deciding to sell that product on to another individual who bought it in good faith, believing it to be fit for purpose is just morally indefensible.

          In the 'free market' you describe selling someone a product you know to be broken, deficient or just snake oil is all perfectly fine. Next you'll argue that conning old ladies out of thousands for roof repairs with a value of hundreds is just the free market at work!

          P.S. No, I never bought this game, I don't even own a console any more.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope

    I hope there's more of this, ever since access to the internet became wide spread game developers have got far to used to releasing sub standard broken games and then releasing a patch a few month later to bring it up to a production state.

    Sure you used to get similar problems before but not as wide spread, I think moo3 was the first game that shipped in an unplayable state (though they'd also butchered the franchise so you were left wondering if it was actually playing the way it was supposed to) with a patch of some 80 megs coming out several months later that made the game playable (but no more fun.)

    One of the biggest downsides of internet connectivity for consoles is that now the games industry can get away with similar behaviour for them.

  9. Mr Brush

    Who'd be a game developer?

    Producing products for baying mongs who demand demos, speculate wildly on features, pirate the final product and cheat at the online side. Then drop it like a turd after a few months declaring it to be 'A bit shit innt?'.

    Full disclosure: I don't see the fuss over CoD, but I do understand the huge technical obstacles that it has to overcome to allow '1337 $n!p3rz' to swear at people all over the world from the comfort of thier sofas.

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      not an excuse

      Yes, videogames are extraordinarily complex. Yes, there are enormous technical obstacles.

      However, the methods to deal with that complexity, and to overcome those obstacles, are well known. This is not ID software making the first multiplayer 3D shooter, and having to figure it out from scratch. All those problems have already been solved. Videogame development is no longer a R&D job.

      If Activision devs can't get a multiplayer shooter to stay connected to a server, they can buy a precanned network API library to make the job easier, and/or hire other devs who know how to do it.

    2. Elmer Phud

      Specific Performance?

      Well, apart from having no gripes with the game other than players who might be substandard to your high expectations of social interraction other people seem to have technical issues with it.

      If it does not work as it should -- hmm, try lowering your intellect a tiny bit and consider a fridge that doesn't get cold enough to chill beers - then there are problems with manufacture of the game and it is not the same game like wot it sez on the box.

      It is not what people have paid money for, it does not do what the adverts tell you it can.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "pirate the final product"

      While that may be an issue for small titles CoD makes a killing, a bit of piracy on the side isn't going to hurt it.

      Though, DRM is often a big culprit in PC games, where a game released in region a without drm works fine but when released in region b with drm is knackered.

  10. GrumpyJoe

    I've had the same problems

    Barely 1 game every 30 minutes completes, meaning it was all for nothing - and the lag compensation is some of the worst I've ever come across, meaning that the difference between slaughtering your opponents and getitng slaughtered is purely down to luck.

    It's no fun when you KNOW in advance at the start of a match that you are going to get killed repeatedly because the lag compensator means that the enemy sees you and shoots you before you've even managed to get a shot off (even though you did).

    A mess of a game - trade-in is looming.

    1. Miek

      "I swear I shot you" -- KIllcam says NO

      "It's no fun when you KNOW in advance at the start of a match that you are going to get killed repeatedly because the lag compensator means that the enemy sees you and shoots you before you've even managed to get a shot off (even though you did)."

      I wondered up until now what was going on there.

  11. Badvok

    If only ...

    ... maybe I'd see my son a bit more.

  12. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    £5 remainder bin

    Once again, my policy of being too tight to buy games at full price has been proven correct. Once it drops to £5 ish, I'll buy with all the bug fixes in place.

    Paris because she's getting cheaper too.

  13. irish donkey

    Don't know about the techincal issues

    But I thought the game was pretty poor.

    And certainly not worth the money I was charged for a blank DVD containing a download link.

  14. whats the point of kenny lynch?

    oh dear

    my xbox version plays fine although there are some obvious bugs like dead people just floating mid-air......

    where can they go next with these games? they look great but are now getting churned out every year so there's gonna be errors.....

  15. Anonymous Coward

    CoD4 was good

    all other CoD games are crap.

    and now you know.

    /Grenade because I lob them at random.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consumer rights

    Your first port of call is to return it to the retailer, letting them know it's not fit for purpose.

    Then, go and buy an XBOX360 if you like the game a lot.

    1. Just Thinking

      Not much chance

      Most places are pretty good if there is something specifically wrong with the individual item you bought, eg the DVD won't play.

      If your problem is with the content, I think they would probably argue that it is just your opinion, and 10 million other people bought it and haven't complained. They might refund you for good will, but probably not because they don't want to end up offering a free rental service. Much the same as Argos excluding camcorders from their 16 day money back offer. People would buy it for the wedding then get a refund next week.

      It would take a lot of people all complaining that the content was inadequate to get anything done, and going via the various retailers is probably not the easiest way to do this.

  17. John H Woods Silver badge

    Blimey ...

    ... if 'not entertaining' can be used as a reason to get a refund on a game, video or audio product I might be able to hear some floodgates opening. Never played Blops on multiplayer, the single player campaign was worth the money. But what about terrible games such as Haze?

    I think if you've had the game for 2 months, like Gangsta, you'd be hard pressed to prove it's just been gathering dust. But I've taken games back to GAME a day or after purchase and asked (succesfully) for credit against a different purchase. But then I'm in there every week spending $$$ so they know that if I take something back there's a good reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      In general you expect there to be connection problems at the time of release of a game. At midnight on game release night, 85 or 95% of all purchased copies will be querying the server all at the same time. The server usually becomes unstable, sometimes it hangs in there sometimes it crashes. A week or two later, probably 25% of copies would be online at the same time, at the most.

      If you bought the game, were unable to play online and returned it the next day, you haven't given the servers the time to normalize their loads. AKA it is likely to get better. If the problem is more than server load, 2-3 weeks down the road there may be a patch or new servers brought online to handle the load. Most gamers don't really expect the game to be fully stable until a month after purchase.

      THAT IS PATHETIC and represents how BAD the industry has gotten. That SHOULD be covered during a beta test. Most of the time, it isn't. Most companies don't even pay testers anymore, they get the players to do it in a formal sense or just release the game unfinished and figure that they'll fix it later.

  18. Neil B

    Right then

    So where does everyone propose this ends? What is the definition of fit for purpose? Games must be released with *no* bugs? Impossible. So, released with no "game breaking" bugs? Who decides?

    Gamers have a particularly good resource for this, it's called a "review". In it, I've heard game journalists, and the community at large, discuss games prior to release. Broken servers, laggy multiplayer, half-assed lobbies... all that stuff tends to get noticed and reported across a wide cross-section of opinions. Unfortunately people don't seem to want to wait the day or two it takes for the general consensus to emerge. It's release day, or not at all (which of course is just the way the publishers like it).

    I can't help but be reminded of the kind of players on WoW forums who threaten to take Blizzard to court because Ret Paladins got nerfed again.

    1. ThomH

      Courts decide

      And since the Sale of Goods Act works to imply terms into the contract of sale you implicitly make when you purchase something, this is civil law and the balance of probabilities is the relevant standard of proof. If they push it all the way, a court will decide.

    2. Ragarath
      Thumb Down

      So far off you could fit a few islands in there

      WoW is an MMORPG this is an FPS different standards apply. If you cannot see that then you have not played one or the other type.

      An MMORPG evolves and the classes change as it evolves (what you are talking about.) You should have talked about the problems they had when people were disconnecting all the time, but then they (Blizzard) at the time refunded days worth of playtime. Where is Activision refunding players? They are not.

      Everything has reviews so that argument is out the windows. If the product is not fit for purpose then it is not. If you bought a new Ferrari and it had a problem with the brakes you would complain would you not?

      Reviews are great but they are only a few people what if the reviewer does not encounter the problem? You still need the multitudes to buy it then.

    3. Brezin Bardout

      'What is the definition of fit for purpose?'

      'appropriate, and of a necessary standard, for its intended use'

      First result in Google. Seems good enough to me.

      Oh, and where do I propose it ends? When there's a real deterrent against companies releasing unfinished, poorly tested games.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right then

      Note: I am a solo player, so online part of the games don't matter to me.

      No one is saying that the game should be released in a perfect condition from the start. Sadly patches have become part of our gaming experience, even on the console. The difference here is:

      1 - CoDMW2 have made over a US$ 1bn, so the publisher had tons of money to spend on polishing the CoDBLKOP.

      2 - CoDBLKOP have made over a US$ 1bn since it was released.

      3 - From 1 and 2, there is a _lot_ of money with the publisher that can be spent on patching this game.

      4 - The game have been released 2 _months_ ago, with the amount of money earned (see point 1 and 2) and the amount of time that have passed since the game was released (see point 3), the publisher can _NOT_ claim that they are unable to fix this problem. Especially when the Xbox 360 version is not suffering from these same problems!

      so I hope that this have clarified the problem for you. The game have been released 2 months ago, it have made tons of money (ignoring the CoDMW2) and the developer haven't patched it yet!

  19. Bod

    If I had a penny for every game not fit for purpose...

    I'd have £5.63.

    I remember the days of Spectrum, C64, BBC games you'd buy in the shop based purely on the artwork and description on the tape, and it never delivered what it promised.

    And let's not forget the bugs in the likes of Jet Set Willy that prevented you from completing the game!

    1. Ragarath


      Do what I did, get into the code and rewrite it. Maybe not on all but most.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "And let's not forget the bugs in the likes of Jet Set Willy that prevented you from completing the game!"

      Jet Set Willy was a journey, not a destination :)


    3. TimNevins

      Should have got Crash

      Reviews in Crash for Speccy games were fairly good.

  20. burnard

    COD on PS3

    I have COD: Black Ops on PS3 and not had any problems. Maybe I'm just lucky.

    Only issue with online is that one users PS3 hosts each game session. So when the host disconnects the game has to migrate host. This happens a lot and often results in the match ending and everyone back in the lobby. Simple fix, allow gamers to choose whether or not they want to play host, and inform the user that is hosting the session that they are the host. At the moment I know of no way to find out if I am the host or not. Informing the user would/should deter them from disconnecting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You're new to the internet, aren't you?

      Telling the user that they are the host would open up a huge set of problems and probably encourage them to drop. You're losing and are mad at the other team? If you drop you can guarantee that the other players will have their game disconnected. GO FOR IT!

      Not to mention the issues gamers had with delay routers. They would find out they were hosting the game and use modified network hardware to reduce the speed of all other player connections (ie force them to lag) so that they could go around and easily stomp the enemy.

      If money is charged for the game, the game company should be hosting dedicated servers. If they can't handle that, the game should be free.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    We're all beta testers.....

    Seems to be coming a more and more common occurance. Software is released full of bugs and the publisher just shrugs.

    It's not a surprise that this will come to a head at some point.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Having known

      Having known a couple of people in the industry as designers and developers, the main reason this happens is Marketing* set a date and that date cannot be changed for a lot of titles for a lot of reasons (money spent advertising, machine time waiting to press the title, losing face in the board room so on and so forth.)

      Generally most of the hard graft is done at the end of the process with the developers & designers pulling six days by twelve hours or more a week. There's really very little room for testing and normally what testing there is is done on incremental builds not finished product. The development house staffers want more time but the publishers wont hear it. So I never feel particularly annoyed at the developers, but the publishers are ****S and now days, what benefit do they bring us? DRM, Jewel cases, always online activation, no more sparkly manuals, and a battleship full of other crap we don't want.

      Then they're the ones giving the development house crap due to all the complaints.

  22. Annihilator

    Never mind Black Ops, what about GT5?

    Got both CoD: Black Ops and GT5 at Christmas. Played CoD for about a day, completed it, couldn't be bothered with the online play as no different to MW2, and traded it in. Biggest excitement was when flying the SR71. Or rather, pressing X to start it up and launch into a FMV.

    GT5 on the other hand... Well I installed it for about a day (i.e. the installaton process took that long), and then spent subsequent days waiting for it to load. Even the menus seem to be overly complex, doing the simplest of tasks a nightmare and the graphics of no improvement over Prologue, complete with tearing whenever you turn a corner sharply with more than two cars on screen. Again, promptly traded in and possibly the least fit for purpose since Rik Waller took up sky-diving..

  23. ShaggyDoggy

    And while they're at it

    please chuck Windows Vista in there

  24. eldorko
    Thumb Up

    Just completed it last night...

    ..on PC. Thought it was excellent, and only experienced one stuck in wall bug. Other then that pretty flawless.

    Tried multiplayer, and as excepted was thoroughly whooped. Might just stick to zombies.

  25. Matt_payne666

    good luck!!

    Ive had to stop 'playing' Black ops as I suffer the above issues... I cant just hop on for a quick multi player... it can take upto 15 mins waiting to connect to a server, only for that game to disconnect mid game.

    Joke springs to mind! Its not as if Activision doubted how popular the game would be they know that multiplayer is a big part of the game so should have supplied sufficent infrastructure/competant coding to support it.

    I dont want damages, money or any of this rubbish! what I would like is to have a patch, or backend restructure to allow me to just fire up the game and play it!

  26. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    My how times change

    To think that, back when I was a young'un, you could host your very own Quake III server and have friends connect to it. That was back when I had a 1MB connection.

    Now, Internet connection speeds have grown pretty much all over the place (well, except in Blighty, from I read around here), computer hardware is much, much more powerful than it was is 1999, and we now have the luxury of buying games that no longer allow personal servers.

    Yeah, maybe there was server hacking. Yeah, there were client hacks making some pricks unkillable and able to shoot through walls. But if you played with your friends, you didn't get those issues, now did you ?

    Oh, right, I see the problem. Friends. Nowadays that's just a number on a Facebook page.

  27. squilookle

    Other platforms

    I have Black Ops for the Wii and the XBox, and online works well on both of them, despite my slow and rather unreliable Internet connection. It has frozen up a couple of times on both systems, and on the Wii I encountered enemies dying standing up after I shot them, which was weird.

    However, I was unimpressed that I had to download a patch for the Wii. I've never come across a patch for a Wii game before, and storage on the Wii is limited which makes it more annoying. .

    Patches on the XBox seem more common, and although I expect bugs to appear in games and prefer to haved them patched than not, I am concerned about what looks like a growing trend toward releasing buggy software and patching it later.

    Mines the one with the SD Card filled with Virtual Console games in the pocket.

    1. TakeTheSkyRoad
      Thumb Up

      I hear you !!

      Agreed, this started on the pc where patches got common for the main games and in particular shooters. Over the last say 10 ish years this has grown into being pretty common with the likes of Steam making it easier to push them out.

      Now with modern consoles with their local storage and being for the most part internet connected this has become the ASSUMPTION on the part of developers that they can patch. Granted a small numbers of games are ok but most need to be patched and to be honest I'm at the stage now where if I install a game and there is no patch then I worry what I'm letting myself in for !

      For the above reasons I mostly now buy well after first release, second hand if I can. No way am I playing full price for a buggy game, better to wait for a working game and pay on average half retail price (by the time I get there anyway lol).

      Now if the games I love were release to a higher standard then I might be more included to buy sooner and pay full price :)

  28. Ramazan

    fitness for any purpose

    Is el'Reg a tech site or not?

    /usr/share/common-licenses$ zgrep -B2 -i fit.*purpose *







    GPL: This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,

    GPL: but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of






    GPL-2: This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,

    GPL-2: but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of


    GPL-3: This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,

    GPL-3: but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of


    LGPL-2: This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,

    LGPL-2: but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of


    LGPL-2.1: This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,

    LGPL-2.1: but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of


    1. John H Woods Silver badge


      Many people will point out that national law trumps what is written in contracts. Hence Apple UK having to abandon re-stocking fees for mail order goods.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      What does the GPL have to do with the price of fish?

      Have I missed something?

      I don't believe CoD was released under any of those licences...

  29. paul clarke

    Got my refund

    Hi all,

    I pre-ordered this from Amazon.

    PC Spec: Phenom X4 CPU, 8GB DDR2, 2xHD5770 in Xfire.

    I have all the other COD games and they play just fine. COD:BO was !!CRAP!! constant crashing, not just at the menu but in game, NEVER connected to a MP server.

    I sent an e-mail to Amazon and they refunded me.

    I have to say, other than FFOW (on Win7 x64) this is the only game I had problems with. I fixed the FFOW - I went to Add/Remove programs, uninstalled FFOW and gave it to my son.

    This game is reported as a console port (bad port if you ask me) and was never actually written for the PC, this explains a lot.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Frankly, having played this POS on the 360 I have to wonder where the hell it was ported from and if the games designers have the time and opportunity to get the multiplayer gaming aspects sorted out before the publisher shoves it out the door and down our throats ?

      It certainly feels unfinished and the constant tweaking of weapons is beginning to annoy. How about they sort some fundamentals of online play; for example :

      a) When in XBL you select "avoid this player" it should, realistically, avoid that player. Not cling to them like a bloody limpet whenever you try to get a game excluding them.

      b) Why is there So Much Lag ? Seriously, MW2 was never, ever this bad. The fact you have so many one-shot weapons in this game (tomahawk, ballistic knife, crossbow) only goes to show up the online infrastructure for the shoddy, fragile thing that it is.

      c) I have my XBL profile set to friends only for chat. I'd like Black ops to actually take note of that and relay every inane comment made by the 12yr old children playing in the same lobby.

      d) Pick a host who has been measured and is able to host the game. Then REALLY check through the game what's going on. The number of gaming sessions I've been in where everyone is warping and moonwalking around simply because there's insufficient throughput is shocking.

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