Originally Posted by DarthParametric
Developers have been using the old "there are too many PC permutations to test" line for years. Fair enough, there is some truth to that and it is likely that certain hardware and software combos in the wild will turn up bugs that couldn't have been easily tested for. However, when you get a plethora of crash/freezing issues on consoles with fixed hardware and software, that excuse wears a little thin. And when some of those issues have existed in two previous games, well then surely some questions should start to be raised? If not then, when exactly would you speak up?
You may well have had a fairly smooth experience. That's great for you - many others didn't. I personally managed to finish the game on PC, but not without numerous crashes, performance issues, and miscellaneous gameplay bugs left right and centre. The fact that every single review at the very least mentions bugs should communicate to you that this is not an minor issue. And it's not just something limited to Bethesda or Obsidian (although they are obviously masters at it), it's something that pervades the entire industry. I find it mind boggling that game developers/publishers seem to be able to walk water on this stuff when I, as a business owner, would be crucified if I put out my products with as many technical issues. The fact that they are peddling entertainment software as opposed to some "physical" product (like a car, etc.) doesn't mean they should be held to some lesser standard.
The bugs are a result of the fact that they are holding themselves to a higher standard. This engine, as modified by Bethesda, has serious potential. With the right programming, the extent of this engine's interactivity has very few limits. Both New Vegas and the Oblivion modding community have proven as much.
Also, unlike Fallout 3 this game was patched in a very timely, convenient way on PC. As for XBox, you said it yourself: that sort of console has very little RAM that is being shared across the board. No wonder a game of both this complexity and actually very high quality graphics would have this sort of problem...especially since these were problems common with F3 (yet were reduced in FNV).
And how's this for irony: A mod on fallout3nexus.com that reduces the stutter problem cites that the cause of the stutter is the result of the engine's attempt to set up some area renders before they are actually needed. In other words, this engine in one sense is TOO good. No wonder it runs smoother on higher end computers.