PC games thrive on options, because they need to fit a wider variety of usage scenarios—in terms of input and output devices, hardware capabilities and desired level of technical involvement on part of the player—than on any other platform. This is what makes the PC great. Providing most of these options isn’t too much work, and PC developers should take them into account from the beginning—but gamers also need to realize that some options, like variable framerates, will be difficult to implement in ports of console games.
All around PC good guy Durante recently put together an article for pcgamer.com. If you don’t know Durante, he is the guy who made Dark Souls on PC “good”. He has also done some other great work such as making Deadly Premonition….well slightly less shit.
But basically the guy knows his stuff, so I’m not going to say anything he wrote is wrong. In fact, I’ll pretty much agree with it all and you should read the article. PC gaming is about options and that is really all we ask for.
So what am I writing about? Well it is the simple response a PC developer might give. And that response is:
“Sure you want all that stuff, but are you prepared to pay for it?”
Now this isn’t really about piracy, because that is neither here nor there. What I’m talking about is the culture of steam sales and russian key trading which is becoming a growing blight on PC gaming. Want 4k downsampling? Fair enough. Want to also pay $2 for the game from “some guy” or through an automated trading site? Well that is where you are going to have a conflict.
It just doesn’t add up. Why would developers put in the effort when the sales returns are going to be less? People like to point at statistics suggesting a game sold a million on steam and much less on consoles. While it is important to have people play your game, those million paying $1 each for it doesn’t get your next game funded and it certainly doesn’t get you enthusiast features.
It goes beyond sales too. Is Valve giving Ubisoft millions of dollars to market the shit out of the latest Assassin’s Creed rubbish? Nope, but they get that on console, so it is those sales they are going to protect and invest in and care about.
So next time you think about complaining about a bad console version or are begging for a port? Think about how much you are willing to pay for that game and how your peers will react too. The fact is, there are plenty of quality PC ports and they are all treated the same way. If you want the good stuff, it needs to make sense for publishers too.
It isn’t greed it is just common sense. Plenty of people dismiss it or put their head in the sand or claim games are too expensive as they accumulate 2000 steam games. The reality is it is a growing problem, the internet will automate it and the only way to stop PC games being stuffed up is to not be part of it.
If you can buy a good port at the asked price? Do it. If somebody is selling cheap keys? Be strong and tell them to stop doing that too. Remember piracy was mostly a bullshit reason too, but that didn’t stop it almost killing the platform.