Here is a quote from Jeff Royle of ATI for those of you that haven't run across it... it directly addresses what is being discussed here:
This question refers to a partial role of the Developer Relations team actually. As I'm part of this group I have a certain knowledge of how we handle many of these cases.
There are a high number of games that were developed on non-ATI boards which means any driver bugs they have may be worked around in code. If the game is not tested on ATI boards before release and these bugs found, the game goes gold and ships that way. When the bug is eventually found and determined to be a game bug, we contact the developers of the game and let them know. We can then request a patch if they are willing and even offer advice on how to fix it. ATI will not knowingly break a driver to make a game work.
In rare cases, developers will not create a patch and then we can only take note of the title and try to remember the bug for future reference. The state of the development community seems to be shifting for the better these days and many bugs are hammered out well in advance of shipping, some later on. We do our best to get all titles tested and bugs found.
The biggest problem we encounter is that end users don't always realize it's not a driver issue that causes the problems. When the game is written as above, on different graphics hardware and bugs are just accepted and worked around in code then it's hard for us to say "But the problem is in the game" because end users see it works for other people on different graphics hardware. ATI already has a bad rap for drivers and yet we won't intentionally leave a bug in a driver. Competitors occasionally will leave a known bug in the driver maybe because they are afraid of what everyone will think when they actually fix it.