7 Worst Trends that Plague PC Game releases of today
Despite the towering resources and versatility offered by the PC platform, the industry has constantly pushed it to the backseat and treated the community as second class citizens. Although the PC is still home to the biggest titles of this generation, Consoles have taken over as lead platforms for the developer, often leading to PC ports being churned out as afterthoughts. Without further delay, here are the trends that have emerged over the years in most multiplatform PC releases.
Delay it Months after the Console release
Now this needs no introduction. PC iterations of games are often delayed by an agonizing period over their console brethren, a trend which seems to get more and more common with the passage of time. The reason is overly evident. Publishers find this as the most effective way to tackle piracy, and help escalate sales on consoles in the process. With all the dominant problems (which we’ll further discuss below) that plague PC ports of today, there’s little incentive for even the most diehard and stubborn pc gamers to sit it out. Had there been a promise of exclusive content and features made by the developers, the wait will be far less daunting but we all know the present state of the industry.
When the PC version finally hits stores, the game finds itself overshadowed by other releases. Regardless, gamers will still question if the superior visuals and better controls are worth the price tag of $50 or $60, when the same game can be picked up for consoles from the bargain bin.
Little to no improvement in graphics over consoles and Poor Optimization
The Xbox 360 and PS3 were no doubt technical power houses when they first released. But a brand new generation of Graphic Cards grace the masses every two years and raise the bar significantly higher with every release. When faced with the decision of which side of the river to set up camp, developers almost always go with the side which offers a greater promise of loot. Sacrifices in visuals are made in order to make the game run at a stable frame rate on consoles, and quite sadly, are omitted out from the PC version as well. Aside from the bonus of running the game at a larger resolution and a few bells here and there, there’s little to distinguish multiplatform releases these days. The Call of Duty games, Dead Island, Deus Ex Human Revolution, are some examples of such ports.
Even franchises which grew the roots on the PC have disregarded its fan base. Crysis was the poster boy for graphic progression with its vast open areas and unmatched visual fidelity. But its sequel, Crysis 2 is nothing to write home about. Its textures were literally one fourth of the resolution of its original and even at the highest settings; it couldn’t scratch the surface of the original. The DirectX 11 and official texture pack did manage to set it apart from the crowd, but that was months after its release. id Software is synonymous with tech breakthroughs. Doom 3 delivered a graphical leap which you’ll rarely see unaccompanied by the dawn of a new generation of consoles. And yet, Rage PC remains visually indistinguishable from the 360 iteration, despite the consoles being in the sixth year of its life span and lagging several generations behind the PC.
Even if the game fails to deliver the visual panache expected from a PC release, all can be forgiven if the game scales well over a wide range of setups without any issues. We’ve seen ports which are visual clones from their console versions (assuming their running at the same resolution), yet they struggle to run at a smooth rate on hardware which far exceed that of the consoles. Textures streaming issues, tedious loading times, unaltered field of view, unbearable number of crashes, you get the point. Ati Graphic Card owners find themselves the worst victims of such scenarios with an unplayable build at launch. It takes nearly a week or two for driver updates and patches to iron out all the issues and that’s if we’re lucky. Some developers time and again abandon the game and it’s left to the mod community to take up the fallen flag and deliver what the developers should have in the first place.