Sunday, September 14, 2014

Feature: Why Do Developers & Publishers Hate PC Gaming?

Written by Nicholas ‘Nick’ Mirabito

This is one thing that has been nagging me for the past few years. Why do developers and publishers hate the PC so much? Almost every single title that comes out on PC is hindered in one way or another. Below the break are some examples.

1: PC version of games getting delayed only a week or 2 after the release of the console version. Publishers deliberately do this to try and boost sales on consoles because that is where they make most of their profit. Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman Arkham City, Assassins creed 2, Assassins creed Brotherhood, Assassins Creed revelations, Driver San Francisco, From dust, just to name a few PC games that got delayed a short time just to boost sales. If they were like Mirrors Edge who got delayed so the developers could improve the PC version, add better physX features, higher DX features. Then I would applaud them. But they don’t they delay them just for the sake of giving the console versions higher sales.

Look at burnout paradise that title released January 25th in Europe but when did the PC version release? February 6th 2009 a full 13 months after the console versions. So did criterion the developers spend that time improving and making the PC version better then the console versions? NOPE! No mod support, very poor customization, and the game code was so poorly optimized I could not get above 20 FPS because neither of my GTX 570s would go above 30% utilization.

This is exactly what drives me up the wall, I don’t mind developers delaying games if they’re going to be improved, and in fact I applaud them for having the guts and pride to delay the game instead of putting out a sub standard product. But that’s the problem, they don’t delay the PC versions of games to improve the quality, 99% of the time it’s because as I said above to improve the sales of the console versions.

2: No mod support. Again the WHOLE point of PC games is to be able to go in and create things with the tools the developer used. Mod support is a staple of PC gaming, taking it away is like taking away ferocious speed from a Ferrari. The whole point of supercars is there looks, and there speed. Without those features, they are pointless! PC gaming is the same, mod support is the heart and soul of PC gaming. Take it away and your left with the world’s ugliest and slowest car. Yet it costs half a million bucks because it has the prancing horse badge on it! Allot of people use mod support as a way to get into the industry.

A few people created amazing levels on little big planet, the developers were so impressed with their work they gave them a job! Allot of developers need to take a day off work, and go visit Take some time to have a look at some of the amazing things fans have done with the CE3! Hell, fans out there have made texture mods that make crtyek, one of the world’s most renowned famous game developer’s mods look crap! If that’s not worth having mod support in your game, then nothing is. Another thing developers and publishers don’t realize is there fighting this relentless war against used sales. They want people to stop trading in their games. That causes the publisher to lose money because if you don’t have the game you’re not going to buy DLC, and that’s 1 more used copy for someone else to buy and publishers make nothing off that sale.

So instead of putting people off from buying your game with these silly online passes, why not offer mod support? With mod support people won’t trade the game in because there will always be new amazing things to try out with the game because of the massive community. Go look at the just cause 2 mod pages. That game released March 26th 2010 so that makes it 19 months old. But there are still new cool mods popping up every single day making me want to dust off my copy and get downloading. Never underestimate the power of mod tools! Go look at the eyenhancer mod for GTAIV and you will think you’re playing a ps4 game! Looks STUNNING! Developers please don’t turn your back to mod support. There’s so much it can do for you, but there is also so much it can do for your fans, and really enhance the shelf life of the game. If I’m paying 90 AUD for all my PC games, I want them to keep me entertained for YEARS with new content. Not release, add 1 or 2 map packs for the multiplayer, totally ignore the single player, and 8 months after release be done with the game.

3: Dev consoles are such a useful powerful tool to customize the game to your tastes/needs. Like mod support this use to be a staple of PC games, and sadly like mod support most games these days lock it out. There are so many different configurations of PC hardware possible so it is impossible to make sure you have enough features in the game customization menus for people to tailor to themselves.

The dev console lets you change things you would never be able to in game menus, such a powerful tool people really need it to be able to tailor things to their needs. For example RAGE I’m sure you have noticed suffers HORRIBLE screen tearing, frame rate drops and the worst textures we have ever seen! If id had locked out the dev console we would have to put up with that, but they have not it is available and because of that we can go in and unlock the 8K textures, and tweak allot of settings to help reduce the texture and pop in issues. It has not eliminated the problem, but it has certainly helped.

4: Advanced graphical options. Where are they!? Again like mod and dev consoles, advanced graphical options use to be a staple of PC gaming. Not having them was like buying a car and it not having a engine, it was kind of part of the package. Nowadays though so few games have enough options to cater to your needs.

As I said above there are so many different configurations of hardware people have it is very important you allow them many options to cater things to their system. Some people are idiots and blow all their cash on a fancy CPU, or GPU and have no cash left for decent RAM or a faster HDD. So the game needs to let people cater to their system. Let them say ok I’m an idiot I spent all my money on a top of the line GPU so now I can only afford a crappy CPU. So how about we add a few settings to take some of the work the CPU has to do and offload it to the GPU. RAGE actually does that with GPU transcoding but this is neither the time nor the place to discuss that ill loose you all. Generally as a rule of thumb you always go for a high end motherboard and high end CPU because there the hardest to change, a GPU, RAM and HDD are pretty easily switch and swapped. GPU slots also rapidly change from PCI to PCIE to PCIEx16 its constantly changing so it is very important to make sure you have the best motherboard possible so that way you future proof yourself for upcoming slot standards.

I’m just sick of developers dubbing down PC advanced settings and saying oh we did that because our engine is so advanced it scales to what hardware you have. OH PLEASE! Don’t feed me that BS! That is one of the biggest problems with RAGE. John says the engine will scale up to your hardware but it’s actually bugged so even if you have a 15K PC you will still get the texture res a 1K PC could handle. If you want higher res, if you want the engine to upscale to your more powerful hardware you basically have to force it through the dev console settings.

Again another important feature of the dev console, what would we do if there was no dev console and the .cfg files were locked? We would be up the creek without a paddle. Also john says the game scales up to your hardware while keeping a smooth 60FPS. Well, what if we don’t want 60FPS what if we are happy with 30? What if we want to trade smoothness for more eye candy? Well sorry, the engine won’t let you! This is exactly why you need so many advanced graphical engines because some people prefer a higher FPS, others prefer lowering that for more eye candy.

Some people prefer lowering the visual effects like particle or light effects so they can have higher anti aliasing. Others prefer the exact opposite. This is exactly why we NEED as many graphical options available, that way people can cater the game to the way THEY want to play. Not the way the developers want you to play.

5: SLI and 3D vision profiles. This is more a driver manufacture problem then the game makers, but still needs to be covered. Nvidia and ATI really need to pull their fingers out and get working with the developers. I’m sick of buying games but not being able to play them properly because Nvidia (I have dual GTX 570s remember) has not released a SLI profile for them! Red Faction Armageddon for example released June 10th 2011 a good four months it’s been out and I STILL can’t play it because there is STILL no SLI profile for it! Come on Nvidia, pull your finger out!

6: Code optimization. Every single time a game comes out I can’t play it because either 1 as listed above there is no SLI profile for months after release, or 2 the game code is so poorly optimized. Crysis 2 was perfect when it released, I was getting 99% GPU utilization and a solid constant 60FPS with every setting maxed out. Switch to another game that actually has a SLI profile, the Witcher 2 I’m lucky if I can get 40% GPU optimization and 20FPS! Or even the Battlefield 3 beta.

Yes it’s a beta, but I was getting a solid 60FPS 99% GPU utilization in the alpha. What am I getting in the beta? Try 40% GPU utilization and 20FPS MAX! Again I ask how can a BETA run WORSE than an ALPHA!? Not being able to play a game is annoying when you don’t have enough hardware power, but when you have spent 7+K to run games at their full settings and can’t do so that’s when you start getting pissed. When you spent 1000 bucks on 2 GTX 570s and almost every game you play is only using max 50% of both of them you really start to get annoyed.

7: Steam. Ok let me just get this out there. I HATE STEAM! I hate it because 1 it never works. I’m constantly trying to start my games and it tells me were sorry the servers are too busy to complete your request please try again later. Piss off. I paid my 90 dollars for this game so you’re going to let me play it whenever the bloody hell I want! It’s constantly coming up with a games whole size, not the update size so whenever I have to update a game I got no idea how large the update is.

I need to download the portal 2 authorization keys for example but steam is telling me there 12GBs which is the size of portal 2, not the size of the authorization keys. Not to mention the downloads are so bloody slow! On PSN and XBLA and even downloading things through the net I get around 1.4Mbps average. On steam I have never seen my download speed go above 100Kbps! And yes I have contacted support, screwed around with my router, and have never been able to improve that so I can’t be bothered perusing it more. Another thing I hate about steam is every single time I go to install a game for some reason instead of installing it off the disk it tries to download it.

What the? Why would I want to download the game if I went out and bought it on disk? I always have to contact steam support and they do a few things on their end with my account and then I can finally install the game off the disk 5 or so days after I purchased it. Tis why I am no longer buying steam games, if a game has to be authorized with steam I don’t purchase it. I’m sick of buying my games and not being able to play them because steam NEVER works!

8: General bugs. Every single time I purchase a new game I spend more time trying to get it working properly then I do playing the dam thing! Whether it’s problems getting it to install, problems with CD keys, problems with steam, problems with the games servers, or problems with the game itself. I’m just sick of buying a game, coming home excited to play it and I end up going to bed stressed and tired because I spent the whole day on the internet and support forums because I can’t get the game working. Do we buy games to play them, or to screw around trying to get them to work?

9: Limited or special editions quite often don’t get released for PC. Why? PC fans don’t deserve them? Deus Ex Human Revolution and Batman Arkham City for example. Both had several limited/ collector’s editions available for them, and neither had them available for the PC. Why? First developers give their PC fans the finger by not putting proper PC features in the game like advanced graphics and such. Then they give their PC fans the finger again with delays where the console versions release as planned. Then they give their PC fans the middle finger again by not offering a CE/LE for them.

10: Most of the time PC games end up allot buggier then the console versions. RAGE for example has much worse pop in on the PC then the console versions. It also has lines running across the screen if you try run the game at a higher AA, it has really unstable frame rate where the console versions are a solid 60FPS. PC games quite often suffer from poorly optimized code too which causes the games to lag allot in high intensity areas. Mafia 2 was a prime example of this.

I remember the first level where you run into that room and have to toss a grenade onto the ammunition to blow up the guy behind the turret. The WHOLE game I could play with no problems, but that bit there every time I played it the game plummeted from 60FPS to 10 and stayed there till I got to the roof. Just extremely poorly optimized code.

11: What happened to trainers? I remember about 5 years ago almost every game had a small program called trainers which allowed PC gamers to change the game code to allow little cheats and easter eggs. Just Cause 2 is the only game this gen I have played that still lets you use one. It’s so much fun putting on unlimited C4 and lining up as many explosive barrels you can and set them off watching them go like dominos!

So I have to ask the question again. Why? Why do publishers and developers hate PC gaming and PC fans so much? If they didn’t they would not be treating us the way they do. So why do they hate us? Why the decline of interest and love for the PC? Lots will put it to the development costs of games this gen, and how higher they were in the past and thus developers don’t have enough time to add in little trinkets like advanced graphical features, mod support and dev consoles. But that’s a load of tripe! ALL PC games have these features in development, they have to so developers can tinker with their own game and make sure everything works properly on a wide number of different types of PCs. So why do they lock them out once the game goes off for printing? Why have PC developers turned their PC games into console games? Also, money might be a excuse, a wrong one, but a excuse for all the missing features. But how do you explain the laziness in code optimization? How do you explain the so few LE & CEs for PC games even though their console brethren have them? How do you explain the every time I buy a PC game I spend more time getting it to work then I do playing it?

Why do Developers not care about PC games anymore? Developers use to be about pushing the boundaries, showing the world what was possible. That’s why PC was king because it always had the most powerful hardware. We use to have so many games like Crysis where developers said we want to put out a game that shows the world what can be done, and will still blow people’s minds 5 years later. Where’s those developers today? PC gaming always use to be about pushing the boundaries, but now it’s about pushing the binderies of what 6 year old console hardware can do!

Nvidia, ATI, Intel, AMD are constantly bringing out new GPUs/CPUs to do bigger and better things. But what’s the point? What for? There is never games out there that will put those things to use so what is the point? RAGE can’t even make use of both my 570s so why would I go out and buy 2 590s? There are a few games, mainly Battlefield 3 and Metro Last Light. Hopefully they will be the Crysis of the future and show us no developers don’t hate the PC, they still want to show the world what PC hardware can do along with 6 year old console hardware. Hopefully DICE and 4A games will be our salvation from the sea of console ports!

One final point. This is exactly why lots of people say PC gaming is dead. Not that it’s dead in a sense that no one uses it, or it has no sales, or its going to disappear anytime soon. But that it’s lost its purpose, its identity. The whole point, purpose of PC gaming is obviously superior graphics due to much higher end hardware available, but also customization, mod support, but a lot of developers these days lock those features out. Why? Everything I listed above use to be a staple of PC gaming. You buy any game from 6 years ago I bet you 50 bucks all of them will be in that game! So why has that changed? And please don’t give me that oh development costs BS! The whole soul, purpose of PC gaming is to say hey this is what we can do with this year’s hardware. Obviously not force people to use that hardware, obviously have lower specs for lower folks but since when does catering to 5 year old hardware mean you can’t cater to today’s hardware too?

Ok, I’m done sorry for the excessive rant but as you can probably tell I’m a PC gamer at heart, and I want to see PC gaming go back to the glory it use to be 5 or so years ago!

One last thing, Since he had such a influence on my life and the lives of every human no matter who you are, what you like or where you live. I’d like to give a shout out to Steve Jobs. Thank you, my friend, for giving us what you had, and may your soul rest in peace. As a tech enthusiast I have the upmost respect for him, and I have always looked up to him. He has changed this world and our lives more than a lot of people on this earth. So for that I have to say thank you and R.I.P

About Ernice Gilbert

Ernice Gilbert here. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Gamesthirst. Thanks for stopping by, make yourself at home!
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  • nick

    drivers are the biggest issue, i turn you to john carmack and his recent outbreak calling the drivers a cluster %$#@.
    note john never swears, EVER!
    so hes obviously quite pissed at this, and TBH i dont blame him because hes copping all the shit for nvidia and ATIs laziness and mistakes.
    the fact that RAGE is a crappy console port, as in textures and such is nothing but the developers fault, so i totally blame him and am extremely pissed at him!
    but that said, the texture loading issues are because of the driver manufactures, nvidia and ATI as usual are sitting there twiddling their thumbs while people sit at home with their 5K PCs and 100 dollar RAGE game unable to play.
    ive decided BF3 and thats it, im not buying any more PC games.
    by the time i get home from work im on here, have a shower, have some dinner, by the time im done i have a hour if im lucky to play my games.
    last thing i want to spend that hour on is scowering the net looking for a solution to the problem im having, which i would not be having if i had the ps3 or 360 version of the game.
    ive had enough, its come to the point where i just dont care about PC gaming anymore.
    developers attitude, and nvidias piss poor customer service, and laziness has killed the PC gamer in me!

  • Colton West

    My laptop can’t even handle Minecraft for god sake..

  • nick

    minecraft is still in beta and has memory leak issues left right and centre so its not exactly a very efficient game.
    laptops are the worst place to play PC games though, the drivers are never properly optimized for it.
    even gaming spec laptops like toshibas qosmio range or the asus G series pale in comparison to similar desktop hardware.
    heat is a real issue too, id hate to see how big a laptop would be to run RAGE properly!
    got the scare of my life last night, i went to the toilet and came back and both my GPUs were at 95C!
    nvidia say never let them go above 80, and 90 is where they start to melt.
    shocked there still working.

  • Colton West

    Well put into consideration that my laptop is an emachine, this piece of crap can barely even be used to edit video

  • nick

    yea thats expected though video editing takes up allot of memory and eePCs are not designed for such heavy work.
    when you have spent 6 K on a gaming rig and cant run games properly though thats a whole other kettle of fish!
    tis exactly why i want new consoles so badly, that way we can stop with this crappy console port BS!

  • Mods or No Money.

    The developers want to milk the consumers. If the toys are smaller and less fun then they will want more toys. therefore following this model the producer effectively traps the consumer into wanting more and more. Mods conflict with this model, Silly excuses like “We don’t want to develop tools for the Joes out there,” make me ask: What did you even make the game with? The best games are these: Arma II,III, Skyrim, Unreal 3 (mod it to your heart’s content) Kerbal Space Program and many many more. that HAVE Mods. 4 months ago I heard “Black Ops II” this month I heard “Ghosts” I thought… Devs like to milk your wallets. I think it’s unfair to say Devs milk you… I believe the Marketers Milk you and your wallets much much more.

  • sol666 .

    with 2014 rolling out and the full extent of AMD’s master conspiracy now clear, I can’t help but wonder….what the hell were nvidia execs smoking? I found it odd that even though ati had not shown shitty progress on PC based GPU EA and UBISOFT were signing with them as partners, what shocked me more was with all the tech nvidia had they arrogantly watched these big game publishers walk away instead of working with them. Then came the news of nvidia not participating in console wars, that hit like a ton of bricks. No console wars means more of the kings share of the profit to one GPU maker, plus the fame of what ever they are working on spreading far and wide un-challenged. and finally when APU tech came out on PS4 and XBOX1 it became painfully obvious that for all the excuses the nvidia top brass had made, the simple truth was they had been too busy robbing their fans blind with both hands to notice what AMD was upto. Now as it stands, ATI APU tech is indispensable both for tablet pc and regular pc in future. game publishers are on AMD side and since AMD makes console GPU even if game publishers completely abandon PC AMD, AMD still makes money. while nvidia who should be worried about their profits on PC don’t give a shit.


    AM I supposed to buy a new GPU knowing that for all the power that GPU has I would end up playing minecraft on it? a game that even a crappy 2G phone could run without a problem. The PC platform is running out of AAA title games. All that are left are indie games that barely even qualify as entertainment for a PC gamer or challenge a PC gamers rig. what are the GPU producers doing to defend the PC platform from game erosion?

    Game publishers are giving more and more BS excuses as to why they keep ignoring PC when they roll out a new game even going to the extent of falsely advertising their games as having the best graphics period while downplaying the power of PC when clearly it would have been way better on PC. The answer is very simple for someone who looks at the signs. The beauty of PC gaming was, is and always will be the power of choice! I want a game, I can choose how I want it, when I want it and what modifications I want it with. If I wanted to mod my game copy I would do it or create DLC to share with other enthusiasts. Game publishers hate that! and so they have migrated their operations to the two places where they can take away this freedom of choice of the consumer and force feed them what ever crap they please, CONSOLES AND INTERNET. The former choice is something every game publisher seems to make once they have made enough money off PC fans the latter is done in the form of MMO’s and in a horrifying first attempt by Blizzard soft in their famous single player franchise diablo. The future is bleak for PC gamers. if we don’t retaliate now we will be forced to play what they want us to play and pay whatever they desire us to pay! do u want that?