The more I think about it, the more I see the future of gaming being in PC. At least, the kind of gaming I want to be a part of.
PC may be a pain in the arse, what with the prospect of having to potentially build it (you mean to tell me that RAM isn’t a name for a big man-sheep?), and the various other technical aspects involved with running your gaming rig. But the more I witness what PCs are capable of, the more I’m convinced that they are the way to go.
However, it seems that certain publishers don’t seem to share this sentiment. For every Valve or Blizzard, there’s a Square Enix or Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment there to bugger things up.
So Deus Ex: Mankind Divided came out recently, and it looks pretty damn good. Reviews have been mostly positive, with many critics praising its clever level design and beautiful aesthetics. I’m pretty excited to get my hands on it.
But here’s where the milk turns rather sour; Mankind Divided’s PC port has some problems.
Soon after the game’s launch, PC players reported some significant issues when attempting to play the game; including framerate drops, mid-high level systems struggling to perform and long loading times. Couple this with the ‘one-time usage’ DLC consumables, and PC players are decidedly (and understandably) pissed off.
The ‘one-time usage’ consumables aren’t restricted to the PC port, nor are the various embarrassing micro transactions, but those are an entirely different kettle of fish that I don’t want to touch here.
However, attempting to play what seems like an otherwise excellent game, whilst dealing with poor performance, is a nightmare PC players shouldn’t have to experience.
Of course, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is not the worst offender of this particular crime. There are, after all, so many to choose from.
Capcom were rightfully roasted when they released Street Fighter V for the PC. Not only were they accused of gating off some pretty core content from the main game, but the PC port was reportedly less than acceptable. In this case, it was Capcom’s servers that let its customers down.
On launch day, Street Fighter V players could barely play the game. With such a bare-bones single-player experience, users understandably flocked to the game’s online multiplayer. This resulted in horrendously long matchmaking waiting times, constant connection drops and server login errors. Such poor preparation landed Capcom in a huge pile of PR trouble, with Street Fighter V now seemingly forever tarnished by such a bad launch.
But neither Square Enix, nor Capcom, could ever live up to the magnificent disaster that was the PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight released last year. In what will likely go down as one of modern gaming’s biggest foul-ups, Batman: Arkham Knight’s PC port was released on Steam in an absolutely appalling state; with users reporting terrible framerate issues, crashes and screen tearing. For some, it was neigh-unplayable.
Problems with the port were so bad and wide spread, that it pretty much became the catalyst for Steam’s current refund policy.
Just think about that for a bit. Arkham Knight’s PC port was so bad, that it forced an entire company to change the way it operated.
And then it all came out.
Firstly, it was revealed that Warner Bros Interactive had actually given the game’s PC port to a third-party developer, separate from Rocksteady Studios. This developer; Iron Galaxy Studios, had apparently no experience in working with PC development.
An excellent move!
Secondly, it turns out that Warner Bros were actually aware of the state of Arkham Knight’s PC port, months before it was released! Months! But they went ahead and released it anyway.
Another, excellent move!
Finally, as a cherry on an already pretty shoddy cake, Warner Bros took the game off Steam (eventually), and offered players refunds. That’s actually a good move. What wasn’t a good move, however, was that when the PC port returned four months later, it was still in a pretty poor state, and it continues to be to this day.
What a mess.
Why publishers continue to make woeful errors with their PC ports could be down to a collection of reasons; ignorance, laziness, etc. I’m of a mind that it’s likely to do with a lack of faith or interest in the PC market, and so the console versions of these games come first and foremost, with the PC versions left as an afterthought. It’s a terrible attitude to have, because frankly, being fine with releasing a broken product at a full price tag is just an insult to customers.
But considering the recent discoveries made by gaming blogger; Jim Sterling, about the way that Square Enix operates, this attitude doesn’t seem so surprising.
Either way, it sucks for customers, it sucks for the developers and, most hilariously of all, it sucks for publishers too.