The sorry state of Microsoft / Turn 10 / Playground / Forza support quality

Hi! I’m not even sure if this will get published, but I’m trying to rap my head around this:

  1. Playground Games make a great game, a work of love even, called Forza Horizon 4, portraying beautiful UK landscapes around where they are based.
  2. There is a cooperation with Turn 10, who make the main Forza series. Assets are shared.
  3. Microsoft buys the whole thing.
  4. Side story: Playground start on an old game of Microsoft’s, Fable, and start hiring dozens of people, even renting a new office.
  5. Microsoft announces a new console, this making Playground and Turn 10 add new controllers etc.
  6. This breaks existing controllers for both Xbox and PC.
  7. Playground / Turn 10 / Microsoft know all this, but do not communicate it anywhere.
  8. Requests for support are outsourced to people who stream gaming daily, but do not answer support tickets for days.
  9. Microsoft spends billions an a new software house.
  10. At the same time, middle managers at Plaground? / Turn 10? / Microsoft? either seem unaware or uninterested in this whole omnishambles of a situation.
  11. There is quite possibly a great deal of frustration at Playground games regarding all this. NDAs forbid any comments from their side.
  12. Users get highly frustrated, because they love FH4, but cannot believe how they are treated as customers.

End of train of thought.

We don’t know it’s the new controllers for definite.

Much of what is in the Xbox Series’ controller is the same as the Xbox One’s controller, so much that the Xbox One version will continue to get certain firmware updates.

FH4 is two years old. Playground Games have previously given players a lot of support and enjoyment but it seems that recently standards have fallen. It’s probably to be expected and overall I have been much more impressed by their products and support than offerings from their competitors.

A bit of nitpicking. Playground Games was formed in 2010 and is based at Leamington Spa which is a much different location compared to the Lake District and Edinburgh. Also Leamington Spa is 169 miles from the Lake District and 316 miles from Edinburgh. From memory I think that Playground Games has only recently become a division of Microsoft Studios whereas Turn 10 has been a division of Microsoft Studios for longer.

If we treat FH4 as just a 2-year old game then I think it is okay.
If we treat FH4 as live service then I think we can complain and should expect more.


When they say one thing but do another, I think we can complain.

If they’d said it’s a two year old game and we aren’t going to support it much any more, people would say okay that’s understandable, thanks for being honest.

When they say (for example) send us clips of rammers and we will take action, and then you do that but they do nothing, then people can rightly feel aggrieved.


Couple of things…first, they earn zero revenue by supporting this game. Keep that in mind. You already bought it, and by and large it works, completely for single player. They have added cars every month and they have added game modes, for free, no Battle Pass, no Subscription Fee, nothing…so there’s that, don’t ignore those because if this was Call of Forza: Modern Carfare, you’d be on the hook for $20 bucks every two months to get this stuff…but you don’t, you just show up and get to complain that your race was ruined by and you expect, no, demand that they take action.

I lost a car I bought when I personally screwed up a save file situation. I dropped support a ticket. 6 weeks later I got my car back.

Worldwide Pandemic has people not just working from home, but people getting sick along the way, too. Support is worldwide, they probably get 1000+ messages a day from people complaining on everything from “My Xbox wont turn on!” to “This guy rammed me off the road and I WANT HIM BANNED!” to complaints about racist behavior to god knows what else…Oh yeah, and there’s a huge major hardware update about to happen and, as is to be expected, there are new Forza games on the horizon. This game is 2 years old.

There is no perfect system for racing and cheating/ramming…hell in real-life sporting events rules are often interpreted and debated in real time and after-the-fact…Forza Motorsport 7, Gran Turismo Sport, none of these automated systems are ideal…ghosting is the best you can really do and that requires interpretation of code as to what is happening in real time, its never going to be perfect.


I don’t agree with you on this part of your post. The irritating part is when they break stuff when new additions or updates are made to the game. Those are inexcusable and updates need to be tested better before being rolled out. No, they do not get additional revenue for supporting the game, but there is an Implied Warranty of Merchantablilty Law which basically says a product is supposed to work they way it is advertised, so they have an obligation to fix what is broken.

Even for single player, these updates need to be applied, so, no, I would not say that it works for single player (even by in large).

Further, when it comes to the additions, if they would charge for them, I would have the option to pay or not get the updated features. As far as new cars… those probably should have been included from the start. I think it is part of the gimmick to get us to continue to play the game weekly., but what ever.


No problems with healthy debate.

I disagree with the term “inexcusable”. The game has not been rendered unplayable by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s not broken, glitches have been introduced due to reasons here, there, but they are largely nuisances.

However, I understand that some people have the perspective that if something is not perfect, or perfect to their definition of the word perhaps, they are unsatisfied and I don’t have an argument for that. Everyone will determine their own level of comfort. For me, FH4’s glitches that sometimes get introduced with patches and updates are simply par for teh course of Delivered-Via-Patch on-demand software. Windows 10, any other game you’ve bought the past 10 years, they all have this same feature (to correct or improve as time goes by) and liability (to introduce new issues which then require further patches to correct, which may introduce new issues…and so it goes).

I’ve never had an issue with single player in this game. Multiplayer can occasionally be wonky but is that the game code, is it issues at the server end, is it hardware at the server end, is my neighbor trying to stream porn to every single one of his tV’s at once…I have no idea, in the end online software is going to be at the mercy of the entire data chain.

Correct, its designed to increase longevity and interest in a product to know that if you buy it, you’ll get new content over the next “X” months or years. Would you rather buy a game that has X cars in it but never gets an update or patch, or would you rather buy a game that will constantly be fed new content, keeping it semi-fresh and more replayable, with the caveat that it may introduce a glitch here or there and sometimes maybe even a bad one that requires the devs to scramble to fix and issue an apology? I’ll take the latter over the former, but that’s me.


Game Pass, buddy… Game Pass.

It’s gotta be something like that. This, and Live Gold accounts. They gotta be getting money from somewhere, or it wouldn’t be worth it to keep adding content. There must be some kind of intensive kick-back from subscription services for enticing players to keep playing, or go online.

There are some theories on this forum that they are doing the live service to incentive subscriptions… Which can be something intentional or just a result of a good support. The main point is that games that have longer support sells way more. GTA Online is the prime example. GT Sports is another example of how can a game improve with additional free content increasing the sales. On the other hand NFS Heat died a few months after release without support. PG started with full support right from the start. Giving pass cars every week instead of every month for example. And if you look at direct competitor The Crew you will see almost a trend. You can even play it without gold despite it requires constant connection.
And let’s be honest when we demanded exclusive cars not being locked behind gold they listened. Is it about money? Of course it is. It’s an entertainment business.

Now let’s have a little look about how the players are changing. When I was a kid my father used to gave me some money for a game or two on the arcade. I had my 30 min and I was happy with it. I cared about gaming alone. Than at the beginning of 2000 first gaming forums and finally people could share opinions. Developers could feedback. A nice love story. Some, like T10 make even an official forum when others didn’t considered the online community. But there’s is a catch. The more you care about your fans the more your fans is going to dependent of that care. The more demands you try to fulfill the more demanding your fan will get.
I wonder how they feel when they take a look at some comments. All those workers at T10, PG, MS… scrolling tru forums, Tweeter, Facebook. Who doesn’t use those nowadays? Well it sure is inspiring. 10 years ago was another story. Even 5 years ago wasn’t that bad. It’s not that bad now. It’s just. I don’t know. We can be more relaxed, reasonable, realistic… human.

All of Microsoft’s biggest games are moving to service. The next Forza Motorsport, by virtue of not being numbered, looks like it’s gonna be a service. Halo, too.

I think racing games as a service make a lot of sense. But then there’s the matter of the quality of the service. Much of the effort put by PG on FH4 has been subpar IMO. Especially this year.

To this day I have no idea what PG was hoping to achieve with some of the changes made to FH4. They won a lot of players from Need for Speed on PC, but these players arrive here and get worse sounds and customization, bright clothes and useless emotes. I know what they were aiming for, that is, a Fortnite with cars (Eliminator the culmination of it), but the game’s overall tone couldn’t be less appealing to an automotive enthusiast. I genuinely feel more at home in Need for Speed’s garages or The Crew’s dealerships than in FH4’s colorful festival.

I can’t help but feel much of PG’s staff for this game would be happier at Rare, Double Fine or even PG’s own Fable team, than here. This is what creates the disconnect between studio and fans, since we request stuff then we hear things like “we didn’t realize it was so important”. Maybe because we’re not from the same “tribe”.

Which is very weird considering there’s things in the game that were clearly introduced by people who know cars and automotive culture. The routes in PG’s games are always good drives and many of the cars have small details that a non-car person would have overlooked.

The irony is that I still think FH4 is one of, if not the best arcade racer I’ve ever played. Yeah, it’s amusing if you look at my posting history, but it’s hard to go back to NFS after playing Forza. But that’s precisely why I criticize the game so it can get even better!

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Before the internet however there were magazine reviews… games couldn’t have faults without them being published. The magazine reviews were a great era. I worked in the computer games industry then, and magazines would pay for a day out Go-Karting, and things like that so that they could interview you in an interesting location. My graphics got the highest score ever in a computer magazine, and it was great!

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There is a reporting system whereby you file a report via their website and include a video clip, and a human looks at it and issues a ban if appropriate. We were recently explicitly told that this is still in effect and recommended to use it.

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I’ve already said my opinion on PG enough times on here but it seems to be a problem in general now, live service games in particular have made shoddy releases, broken achievements and bugs galore just par for the course now, we can all thank Destiny for starting this trend in console gaming.

Companies in this supposedly more advanced time are somehow managing to mess up things that they or other companies got right with no issues 10-15 years ago.

Looking pretty and having the game appear great to anyone who won’t go in-depth with it (ie reviewers + casual gamers) are all that seem to matter now, anything else is just ‘meh so what we can patch that.’

Having said patches cause problems that were never there though is just poor and careless, I have no idea how people can dispute that in 2020 when that would have been unacceptable a decade + soon to be 2 generations ago.

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I will agree that some of the bugs are just irritants, but when the patches introduce bugs that prevent the game from launching, or quit unexpectedly, I would consider those to be inexcusable.

I really don’t expect any game to be perfect, but I don’t expect the playablity of the game to get worse as the result of a patch.

Selfish on my part, I know, but I would love to be able to skip any and all updates (especially the huge and lengthy updates) to just play the game off line, knowing full well that I would not be able to play online until fully patched. There really has been no addition to the game since the Lego addition, that I have found to be of any use or value to me. I know there are work arounds, but I really don’t like having to wait an hour or so for the monthly updates to download and install, especially when new bugs are introduced. So in answer to your final question, I really prefer the old style game method where the game is essentially complete when released. For me, a game is not kept fresh and replayable by the addition of a few new cars each month, especially those that I have not desire to use. But to quote you, that is just me… (lol).

(And, if I’m honest, most of this wouldn’t matter to me as much if my job in IT didn’t involve trying to sort out issues and find solutions for our 4000+ users, for bugs that are introduced with the OS updates from Microsoft, as well as Apple, etc, only to come home and face the same stuff when wanting to relax and enjoy playing a game of Forza… )

Thanks for reading my post and replying to it. No malice intended…


Either FH4 is in such good health regarding revenues and they don’t see any emergency to work on next one, or they started to consider ‘cars’ topic is not attractive enough and decided to put priority on other themes. Developers moved to next Halo, Playground focusing on Fable, no single plan, not even a year target for FH5, … my conclusion is that FH is still important for them now but they decided to push it back as a second priority for what comes next.

Regarding bugs, fortnites which is propelled by Vbucks still have many bugs published. I see 2 things missing or partially missing, acknowledgement of bugs and communicating on plan for fix ( patch for blocker bugs & some next version for others ).

I associate the rage that happens on the forum to the ‘shouting in the dark’ symptom, the more silence, the more rage. Nevertheless I would agree too that some will rage no matter the level of communication, the same way some other consider the game is so perfect and anyone not agreeing to that statement deserves to be attacked/trolled. That’s internet effect and moderators should moderate both.

Concerning Support activity, I am split, modded accounts seem very managed while everything else looks just someone copy/pasting text and clicking on close. If they indeed do that and we have quite some tangible fact to support it, then shame on them. If they don’t, I am sincerely sorry for them because the work done results in no visible value.

They never read anything except the post list, if a subject gets more than 10 pages, they usually have a look at it ( FFA, rivals, duplicates … ) That’s just not what I call communication. We have a community man but he is mostly organizing some events. I don’t blame the guy, there is no value to work on a topic if work done is not visible from his boss.

Playlist and car packs look good to maintain FH alive. The rest of updates, I have not in mind some 2020 game updates that I would miss but I have in mind some I would have liked to skip.

Is it so complicated to create a post on the forum so that people can share their opinion before developing crazy updates like car reset?

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Good luck with support. I put in a ticket 1.5 years ago and I’m still waiting for an answer. lol I just figured things out for myself. I learned a long time ago that there really is no such thing as individual support.