In a recent interview with Bethesda Game Director Todd Howard, he said that reports of bugs in Skyrim were overstated, and not as bad as they seem. Primarily, he argued that a majority of gamers didn’t experience problems:
“The game, for the vast, vast majority of people who play the game for 100 hours, it’s fine. But there are certain things we found out that make it not fine,”
He also cited that, because each player’s game is created by a huge combination of unique variables, it was very difficult for Bethesda to reproduce many of the problems that gamers experienced. This would presumably make it hard to narrow down the root causes of the issues in order to eliminate them.
He has said that the new 1.4 update for PS3 users should fix the problem for many gamers, although some might still be affected.
It’s difficult for any individual gamer to know how many gamers these issues affected, but, judging by the overwhelming online backlash from those that had issues, the oversight was seemingly fairly severe.