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Old 12-28-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
tential
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Default Is PC gaming suffering due to an open community?

I've been trying to look at a new PC game to play and a LOT of games I've run into has huge flaws in it.

Dark Souls has the resolution flaw
GTA 4 just generally did terrible on PC performance wise
Xcom Enemy Unknown has quite a number of problems although it's playable
Torchlight 2 is an RPG grind, that allows you to play online except you can use the console to get anything you want (an rpg, whether pvp or not that allows you to use the console and then play online with other people kind of defeats the purpose)

It seems that pretty much developers are releasing very unfinished games for PC and expecting the community to do the rest. I don't think this problem is as bad on consoles simply because a really bad mishap on console will cause sales/reviews to flop, but on PC most reviews will say "Just download this mod and you're fine!".

Anyone else feel like PC game experience is basically a fix it yourself situation now? I'm looking for some good polished games to play right now and it just doesn't seem like that many exist.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Never had issues with GTA 4 or Xcom, and Torchlight 2 was designed that way (it isn't a competitive game, but a 'do whatever the hell you want with friends' type of game).

But, I run into issues like Far Cry 3 stuttering @ max or low with 80+FPS, and random crashes or bugs in games. Not anything new; games have had issues since the cassette and floppy days.

I'd say PC gaming is really simple compared to what it used to be, especially if you use Steam which auto-updates everything. It is nice we can even make mods for some games with the DLC mentality robbing many remakes of the ability.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post
Anyone else feel like PC game experience is basically a fix it yourself situation now?
No. It looks like you cherry-picked some problematic games in order to prove a point. You also didn't go into detail at all on XCOM's supposed problems. I admit I haven't finished the new XCOM game, but from what I've played, it feels very polished.

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Originally Posted by tential View Post
I'm looking for some good polished games to play right now and it just doesn't seem like that many exist.
They certainly do exist. No games are flawless, but there are more polished games out there than you might think. Perhaps you've just had a string of bad game purchases?
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Some problems are fixed with mods and community patches. The Dark Souls DsFix mod makes DS look absolutely beautiful.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post
I've been trying to look at a new PC game to play and a LOT of games I've run into has huge flaws in it.

Dark Souls has the resolution flaw
GTA 4 just generally did terrible on PC performance wise
Xcom Enemy Unknown has quite a number of problems although it's playable
Torchlight 2 is an RPG grind, that allows you to play online except you can use the console to get anything you want (an rpg, whether pvp or not that allows you to use the console and then play online with other people kind of defeats the purpose)

It seems that pretty much developers are releasing very unfinished games for PC and expecting the community to do the rest. I don't think this problem is as bad on consoles simply because a really bad mishap on console will cause sales/reviews to flop, but on PC most reviews will say "Just download this mod and you're fine!".

Anyone else feel like PC game experience is basically a fix it yourself situation now? I'm looking for some good polished games to play right now and it just doesn't seem like that many exist.
PC games I've played have always been that way. I take it you're a console gamer?
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #6
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Never had issues with GTA 4 or Xcom, and Torchlight 2 was designed that way (it isn't a competitive game, but a 'do whatever the hell you want with friends' type of game).

But, I run into issues like Far Cry 3 stuttering @ max or low with 80+FPS, and random crashes or bugs in games. Not anything new; games have had issues since the cassette and floppy days.

I'd say PC gaming is really simple compared to what it used to be, especially if you use Steam which auto-updates everything. It is nice we can even make mods for some games with the DLC mentality robbing many remakes of the ability.
GTA 4 from what I've read online had optimization issues. Didn't run as well as it should. XCom, I just played and it does have some major bugs. There are pages upon pages of it on the forums, from the Defeat screen showing up after you beat the game, to supression fire issues, to enemies spawning in the middle of your group (imagine a couple of beserkers spawning in the middle of your party and then enjoy).
I'm not talking about Graphical errors with FPS and stuff because that stuff is usually hardware but I'm talking about bugs that are just utterly ridiculous.
As for Torchlight 2, please don't tell me a game is "Designed" so that when your in online play everyone can do whatever they want console side. Maybe in single player sure, do whatever you want, but once you hit online play EVERYONE expects a level playing field. If that happened in a PVE server in WoW people would be furious. Sure it's a do whatever the hell you want game with friends, but in no online game should you basically have mod controls.

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No. It looks like you cherry-picked some problematic games in order to prove a point. You also didn't go into detail at all on XCOM's supposed problems. I admit I haven't finished the new XCOM game, but from what I've played, it feels very polished.



They certainly do exist. No games are flawless, but there are more polished games out there than you might think. Perhaps you've just had a string of bad game purchases?
Refer to the above for Xcom. I'm not saying I didn't like the game at all or that the bugs were destructive. Xcom just seemed dumbed down a lot for the console community. My problems with Xcom though stem from the fact that as it tries to reach a larger, and much stupider player base (players are struggling so hard to beat the game on easy they are releasing a patch to make easy even easier), the game will get dumbed down to a point where it isn't even fun.

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Some problems are fixed with mods and community patches. The Dark Souls DsFix mod makes DS look absolutely beautiful.
This is the point I'm getting at. It seems when they are releasing games for PC they are expecting the community to fix the problems. This means I'm a lot less likely to buy a new game now until it's been extensively played and I know what I'm getting into now. It just seems like all the titles I looked into playing suffered from silly problems you think would have been fixed. The Dark Souls fix apparently took under a half an hour to make and yet they released a PC version of a game in which people sit right on top of their screen, in a low resolution format. That's completely unacceptable.

I think what I'm trying to get at though is that games are being released across multiple platforms now causing them to suffer. When Bethseda focused on PC, their games were great. Not to say Skyrim isn't great, it is and I enjoyed the game thoroughly (still haven't beat it), but even that game has suffered with UI being quite awkward on the PC.

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PC games I've played have always been that way. I take it you're a console gamer?
PC gamer actually. I own a couple of 360s though. Maybe I've been away from the PC scene for awhile and have simply forgot that this is how things are run. I also haven't played many single player games until recently since I have more time on my hands. Since I'm getting more and more bored of online gaming (MMOs are too time consuming for me to live a normal life and LoL's setup is horrific in dealing with griefing and immaturity) and every once in awhile I need a break from shooters(As fun as Halo 4 is and other PC shooters which I've taken a break from) so I'm starting to look into single player games and have been a little disappointed. Maybe my expectations are too high though.

Last edited by tential; 12-28-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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I haven't had problems with most of the PC games I've played in the last few years, but I usually wait for the first patch or two before starting them.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:57 PM   #8
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You also must realize, most those games were ported from consoles, most bugs in the pcs also exist in the console. The difference is, modding communities can fix those bugs and/or deficiencies.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:05 PM   #9
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I much rather have the option of the community being able to fix a game then not. It is all to often we see developers/publishers drop support for a game now with little to no support in the way of patches (for consoles and PC's). At least when a game gets abandoned on the PC we have the ability to still fix it, and if we don't like something? Good chance there is a mod for it a lot of the times. Your other option? Go play on a console and you are at the whim of the companies then. A lot of games on consoles wont even get more then a patch because it cost the dev/pub money to get it certified by the console owners, that same console game on the PC will at least get the same patch and in other cases a lot more because there is no certification cost.
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Old 12-28-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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GTA IV had well documented problems with the PC version. It has since been taken care of with patches and graphics card updates however.

Alot of the issues I believe stemmed around the microsoft LIVE program, which is essentially the PC version of XBOX live

The performance was pretty awful also, considering the relative power vs the XBOX360 at the time of release.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KaOTiK View Post
I much rather have the option of the community being able to fix a game then not. It is all to often we see developers/publishers drop support for a game now with little to no support in the way of patches (for consoles and PC's).
Part of the problem here is that video games are heading the way of cinema. Their sales are heavily based on large marketing campaigns and trailers that may not even portray real game content. Pre-orders and day-1 purchases are incentivised with DLC codes and other gimmicky marketing ploys. They have to vie for release dates with other AAA titles, and what other games are being released near your launch date can have a major impact on the titles total sales. Because of all of this they make most of their money in the first few weeks of sales, and after that face some serious diminishing returns. If the product stinks you can do little to recoup your money.

All of this is adding up to several things:
1. It is more important to hit your launch date then to have a working game.
2. There little financial value in supporting a game after it's initial first few weeks of launch.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
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The free-to-play (F2P) games are helping to counteract any "loss" in quality because of the community's willingness to fix flaws. If a game is always free and relies on player community for profit, fixes will always be coming in and the quality of the game will go up to be successful.

I think that PC gaming is starting to go the other way in terms of developer support as companies realize that PC gaming is not "dying" or reliant on console ports.

EDIT: As SMOGZINN points out, there are a class of games whose sales strategy is uncoupled from gaming content/quality. But there is a second category of games going in the opposite direction, heavily reliant on continual player involvement.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:54 PM   #13
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You also must realize, most those games were ported from consoles, most bugs in the pcs also exist in the console. The difference is, modding communities can fix those bugs and/or deficiencies.
I'm mostly looking at games developed for consoles since right now my goal is to build a HTPC that can do everything the Xbox 360 can but better. So most of the time I'm doing a direct comparison, especially graphically. Basically just switching between inputs on my TV and seeing whether a game holds up.

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GTA IV had well documented problems with the PC version. It has since been taken care of with patches and graphics card updates however.

Alot of the issues I believe stemmed around the microsoft LIVE program, which is essentially the PC version of XBOX live

The performance was pretty awful also, considering the relative power vs the XBOX360 at the time of release.
Yes, talking about the time of release. I've seen some youtube videos once the PC community had some time with that game comparing the PC version vs a PC version with full mods(texture mods too) and jesus christ the game looks amazing. I'm seriously wondering why these people making these texture mods aren't hired as they clearly did a better job.

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Originally Posted by KaOTiK View Post
I much rather have the option of the community being able to fix a game then not. It is all to often we see developers/publishers drop support for a game now with little to no support in the way of patches (for consoles and PC's). At least when a game gets abandoned on the PC we have the ability to still fix it, and if we don't like something? Good chance there is a mod for it a lot of the times. Your other option? Go play on a console and you are at the whim of the companies then. A lot of games on consoles wont even get more then a patch because it cost the dev/pub money to get it certified by the console owners, that same console game on the PC will at least get the same patch and in other cases a lot more because there is no certification cost.
This is why I am moving back to PC gaming. It's also why I was saying I feel like now more than ever, developer are depending on the PC community to fix problems in their games. It's a rush to market, and it seems developers are making sacrifices knowing full well that the PC community will fix the game for them.

To clarify, I am not saying that it's a bad thing it's an open community, I'm just saying that I feel like developers are purposely just trying to get the game out as fast as they can into the PC communities hands and then let them do the rest of the work on making it playable.

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Originally Posted by SMOGZINN View Post
Part of the problem here is that video games are heading the way of cinema. Their sales are heavily based on large marketing campaigns and trailers that may not even portray real game content. Pre-orders and day-1 purchases are incentivised with DLC codes and other gimmicky marketing ploys. They have to vie for release dates with other AAA titles, and what other games are being released near your launch date can have a major impact on the titles total sales. Because of all of this they make most of their money in the first few weeks of sales, and after that face some serious diminishing returns. If the product stinks you can do little to recoup your money.

All of this is adding up to several things:
1. It is more important to hit your launch date then to have a working game.
2. There little financial value in supporting a game after it's initial first few weeks of launch.
I can see this ya. After everyone buys the game, they have your money. No reason for them to update it at all. Hence another reason why I am moving back to PC for single player games where I know little support will be given. Best to let the PC community fix the bugs. Considering I buy most games on launch days, and so do a lot of others, if they can get you to purchase the game within the first few weeks where the price is at it's highest and where the game is largely untested, they get the majority of their money back.

Last edited by tential; 12-28-2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tential View Post
I've been trying to look at a new PC game to play and a LOT of games I've run into has huge flaws in it.

Dark Souls has the resolution flaw
GTA 4 just generally did terrible on PC performance wise
Xcom Enemy Unknown has quite a number of problems although it's playable
Torchlight 2 is an RPG grind, that allows you to play online except you can use the console to get anything you want (an rpg, whether pvp or not that allows you to use the console and then play online with other people kind of defeats the purpose)

It seems that pretty much developers are releasing very unfinished games for PC and expecting the community to do the rest. I don't think this problem is as bad on consoles simply because a really bad mishap on console will cause sales/reviews to flop, but on PC most reviews will say "Just download this mod and you're fine!".

Anyone else feel like PC game experience is basically a fix it yourself situation now? I'm looking for some good polished games to play right now and it just doesn't seem like that many exist.

I finished XCOM never had any issues,it was rock stable,only thing I did not like was the camera angles.

As to bugs etc well probably due to time deadlines most game developers have and different hardware/drivers etc.....that's why you get patches released later etc...

I would say PC games seem to be running out of new ideas,years ago there was plenty of original games,nowadays it rare to get an original idea let alone a polished game.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:16 PM   #15
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No if the games are suffering major problems you'll be sure that the reviewers or at least the players would point that out on review sites and forums no one wants that.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:02 PM   #16
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I finished XCOM never had any issues,it was rock stable,only thing I did not like was the camera angles.

As to bugs etc well probably due to time deadlines most game developers have and different hardware/drivers etc.....that's why you get patches released later etc...

I would say PC games seem to be running out of new ideas,years ago there was plenty of original games,nowadays it rare to get an original idea let alone a polished game.
I feel games aren't polished but you touching on new games that are original. Well like someone said before, gamers are going the way of major movie studios. Basically sequels are safe, and new ideas aren't. Only people doing new ideas won't put out a solid game. Kind of sucks. Well it really does.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:57 PM   #17
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I think this used to be the case, during what I'll call the dark ages of PC gaming. A period where PC gaming had pretty much collapsed in on itself; due to a perfect storm of things going on in the market.

It started with the Xbox 360's release in 2005. It was one of the first consoles to rival contemporary PCs in performance. It also featured an already established API for developers to work on. It was also more secure, as piracy was becoming a greater concern on the PC at this point. Broadband made it a practical alternative to buying disc-based games. Microsoft too had incentive to move developers away from PC. Anybody can develop for Windows, and Microsoft doesn't get a cut of game sales. You really only pay to use their API, and even that was optional thanks to free, open source OpenGL. So the 360 proved an attractive platform for publishers, developers, and Microsoft alike. It quickly became the king of multi-platform. That's where MS invested their money while Sony and Nintendo focused on first party titles.

PC really isn't an easy platform to develop for. Too many variables. Many developers dropped PC all together, or shoved it to the back burner. The mid-2000s is when you see the real notorious games. Ones that are so buggy, they're often unplayable even if the system exceeds the requirements. Many were sloppy ports of the console versions. Even blockbuster titles like Bioshock and GTA IV. Some publishers, namely Ubisoft, eventually gave up on some of their buggy games, leaving paying customers holding the bag. Piracy skyrocketed. In order to clamp down, increasingly draconian copy-protection measures were put into place. When the increasingly influential group of casual gamers caught wind of it (Spore), things didn't end well, and it hurt sales even more. The games were so buggy, they had to be reinstalled multiple times, which used up install limits. People resorted to fixed bootleg versions to play games they already paid for. As a result Spore was the most pirated game of 2008. Microsoft had a few lame attempts to bring PC gaming back to Windows. Though Vista didn't exactly help. It was incompatible with older titles and DX10 failed to live up to expectations.

Things started to turn around about 2009. Valve had launched Steam in 2003 but by this point it had become mainstream. The iTunes of PC gaming. It did a couple of things. First it provided a secure platform. Second it added a distribution platform with next to no overhead. Third, it allowed games to be patched automatically. It was around this time when we started seeing a cottage industry gain mainstream popularity as well; the indie game. (such as World of Goo, To the Moon, Telltale Games) Which platforms like Steam made more visible, giving them the same success they had seen on XBL, PSN, and the App Store. Steam aggressively lured customers with frequent sales.

Into the 2010s, we began seeing publishers lighten up on strict copy-protection in favour of Steam's own, non-intrusive solution. Ubisoft being a notably holdout. Around this time we also began to see developers working to make their PC versions the definitive version. A bit like director's cuts. When you look at titles like Skyrim or even Assassin's Creed, it's hard to argue that the console versions are better. Especially as publishers and developers now openly encourage modding. Though we still occasionally see sloppy ports (Dust, Darksiders II), it's not nearly as bad as it once was. Indeed PC gaming has entered a renaissance, with 2012 being a very strong year for the platform.

So PC gaming is nowhere near as bad as the OP put it. Far from it. You just gotta know what you're getting into. If you smell a sloppy port, buy it for Xbox instead. For the most part, it's not too common anymore. Most of the older games from the dark ages period have also been fixed.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:41 AM   #18
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1 huge advantage consoles have over PC's is it's a known platform that won't change. If a bug happens to appear on a console game - it was probably overlooked during QA process [and from what I understand it can be patched on modern day consoles].

However - there are literally millions of different PC combinations that it would be damn near impossible to release a "bug free" game.

I'm going to assume that marketing [$$$] is the biggest reason why PC games are released with "known" bugs. Devs work on getting the game to work on the most common platforms [known good graphics drivers, non-OC cpus, various OS's, etc] and then work on squashing "known" bugs and those oddball configurations.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:27 AM   #19
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1 huge advantage consoles have over PC's is it's a known platform that won't change. If a bug happens to appear on a console game - it was probably overlooked during QA process [and from what I understand it can be patched on modern day consoles].

However - there are literally millions of different PC combinations that it would be damn near impossible to release a "bug free" game.

I'm going to assume that marketing [$$$] is the biggest reason why PC games are released with "known" bugs. Devs work on getting the game to work on the most common platforms [known good graphics drivers, non-OC cpus, various OS's, etc] and then work on squashing "known" bugs and those oddball configurations.
True in some ways, but in others, they are goverend mostly by deadlines and there are lots of glaring bugs that are released....or in this day and age, just unfinished and marketed later as DLC that people gobble up.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #20
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I have played plenty of buggy games going back to 1990. I would say that things are actually better in the last 10 years. At least now fixes are widely available and the means to distribute them are possible. I don't remember a single patch in the days of floppy disk.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:49 PM   #21
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I think PC games are just not number one on the list in terms of design, development, testing, and QA time. The PC market just isn't driving the business anymore, and that's not going to change.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:20 PM   #22
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I think this used to be the case, during what I'll call the dark ages of PC gaming. A period where PC gaming had pretty much collapsed in on itself; due to a perfect storm of things going on in the market.

It started with the Xbox 360's release in 2005. It was one of the first consoles to rival contemporary PCs in performance. It also featured an already established API for developers to work on. It was also more secure, as piracy was becoming a greater concern on the PC at this point. Broadband made it a practical alternative to buying disc-based games. Microsoft too had incentive to move developers away from PC. Anybody can develop for Windows, and Microsoft doesn't get a cut of game sales. You really only pay to use their API, and even that was optional thanks to free, open source OpenGL. So the 360 proved an attractive platform for publishers, developers, and Microsoft alike. It quickly became the king of multi-platform. That's where MS invested their money while Sony and Nintendo focused on first party titles.

PC really isn't an easy platform to develop for. Too many variables. Many developers dropped PC all together, or shoved it to the back burner. The mid-2000s is when you see the real notorious games. Ones that are so buggy, they're often unplayable even if the system exceeds the requirements. Many were sloppy ports of the console versions. Even blockbuster titles like Bioshock and GTA IV. Some publishers, namely Ubisoft, eventually gave up on some of their buggy games, leaving paying customers holding the bag. Piracy skyrocketed. In order to clamp down, increasingly draconian copy-protection measures were put into place. When the increasingly influential group of casual gamers caught wind of it (Spore), things didn't end well, and it hurt sales even more. The games were so buggy, they had to be reinstalled multiple times, which used up install limits. People resorted to fixed bootleg versions to play games they already paid for. As a result Spore was the most pirated game of 2008. Microsoft had a few lame attempts to bring PC gaming back to Windows. Though Vista didn't exactly help. It was incompatible with older titles and DX10 failed to live up to expectations.

Things started to turn around about 2009. Valve had launched Steam in 2003 but by this point it had become mainstream. The iTunes of PC gaming. It did a couple of things. First it provided a secure platform. Second it added a distribution platform with next to no overhead. Third, it allowed games to be patched automatically. It was around this time when we started seeing a cottage industry gain mainstream popularity as well; the indie game. (such as World of Goo, To the Moon, Telltale Games) Which platforms like Steam made more visible, giving them the same success they had seen on XBL, PSN, and the App Store. Steam aggressively lured customers with frequent sales.

Into the 2010s, we began seeing publishers lighten up on strict copy-protection in favour of Steam's own, non-intrusive solution. Ubisoft being a notably holdout. Around this time we also began to see developers working to make their PC versions the definitive version. A bit like director's cuts. When you look at titles like Skyrim or even Assassin's Creed, it's hard to argue that the console versions are better. Especially as publishers and developers now openly encourage modding. Though we still occasionally see sloppy ports (Dust, Darksiders II), it's not nearly as bad as it once was. Indeed PC gaming has entered a renaissance, with 2012 being a very strong year for the platform.

So PC gaming is nowhere near as bad as the OP put it. Far from it. You just gotta know what you're getting into. If you smell a sloppy port, buy it for Xbox instead. For the most part, it's not too common anymore. Most of the older games from the dark ages period have also been fixed.
In no way was I trying to say PC gaming is bad. I switched off from consoles because I feel PC gaming is better. Even though it can be a do it ourselves situation, it's better than waiting for developers to do it for us and simply not do it because, like someone say, they already got our money and sales are mostly in the first couple weeks so incentives are low to fix things.

I think you described the situation perfectly though. For me now, it's a simple waiting game for the new xbox and then comparing it to a gaming PC and seeing which one I want first (I will buy both though lets be real).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markbnj View Post
I think PC games are just not number one on the list in terms of design, development, testing, and QA time. The PC market just isn't driving the business anymore, and that's not going to change.
Well this too. I mean like I said before, it's kind of naive of me to think that PC gaming will get the same attention as Console gaming, especially in a multiplatform release and especially when the PC crowd has so many capable programmers that can release a fix to a problem. All of my friends own an xbox 360. I'm the only person I know that PC games.
If I was a developer I'd probably not even develop for the PC market because lets be real, if a great game comes out for console and not PC, PC gamers will still buy the game on console. PC gamers on average spend more on gaming related things than console owners. I'm willing to bet quite a number of people who actively PC game still own an xbox 360 and a copy of Halo 4, and that's not even a phenomenal game.

Last edited by tential; 12-29-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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