Ashes computer game crashes spectacularly
With England and Australia contesting the second of back-to-back Ashes series, the action on the field has become increasingly heated. For different reasons, controversy has also enveloped the official computer game, Ashes Cricket 2013, which was handed a thrashing by consumers comparable with England's defeat at the Gabba and has since been withdrawn from sale.
Licensed by the ECB and Cricket Australia, the simulation produced by 505 Games was originally planned to coincide with the Ashes series in England. Despite a five-month delay in production, the publishers were able to launch Ashes Cricket 2013 in conjunction with the return series Down Under, only for severe problems to be revealed.
Released last Friday, initially for PC, gamers have reported numerous glitches, with videos being uploaded to YouTube showing incompetent fielding, batsmen making unlimited runs, shots disappearing at bizarre angles and mysteriously claimed catches.
A 505 Games statement said: "The development of Ashes Cricket 2013 has been fraught with challenges almost from the outset. The chosen developer, even with their many years of cricket game development experience, was unable to overcome the unexpected challenges that the chosen game engine threw up, even with multiple extensions to the development schedule.
"As the licensee and publisher of name for Ashes Cricket 2013, 505 Games would like to apologise publicly and sincerely to our licensors, the ECB and Cricket Australia, and their respective partners/sponsors, who have been nothing but patient and supportive of us throughout the challenges this project has presented, and who, ultimately, we have let down. Our deepest apologies, however, are reserved for the fans of cricket and cricket games worldwide."
The ECB also released a statement, telling the BBC that it was "extremely disappointed". Those who bought the game will be offered refunds.
In a further twist to the age-old rivalry, the developer blamed for the problems, Trickstar Games, is an Australian company - but it seems both sides dropped the ball on this occasion. Oh, for the days of Brian Lara Cricket.