Last time I explored the most common arguments made in favor of the PC. Such as the fact that it’s a cheaper investment, comes with subtle benefits like community made content i.e modding, controller and peripheral support, but I kind of cheaped out on talking about the one thing that should matter most. The games themselves.
On Game Diversity
I’ve seen many claim, I’ve even done it myself, that there are so many different types of games on PC, we have genres that consoles have never even seen. Well, okay, that’s maybe somewhat true. Maybe. But every month that gap narrows.
Console now has a large portion of the indie games we previously had all to ourselves, or will soon – like Kerbal Space Program or Cook, Serve, Delicious. Even so, many of those games exist on mobile too, or even came from mobile first, like Fallout Shelter or Plague Inc., Evolved. Even Game Dev Tycoon was inspired partially by Game Dev Story. The most shocking and weirdest example of this closing diversity gap happened when Cities: Skylines came out on console.
I don’t understand but apparently it’s happening. It’s not out of the ordinary – SimCity was on SNES after all – but this is lightyears ahead of and more complex than the original SimCity.
I can’t even think of any genres exclusive to PC anymore. 4X? Traditional MOBAs like DOTA or LoL? RTS games are still mostly PC domain and always will be, until the consoles have proper mouse support, but almost literally every other genre either was on console at one point, or still is. Even the weirdo simulator games like Farm Simulator are on console now. MMOs, card games, isometric RPGs, top down shooters, turn based games, even text based RPGs like Sanctuary (not the best example of course) aren’t PC exclusive anymore. All we “have left” really are things like Total War.
But new genres arise all the time, or at least, games that we struggle to fit into an existing category. New games like Factorio – what the hell even is Factorio? Real time strategy? It’s kind of like a sim, building game, but a real-time strategy. It seems rather complex and one way or another, it’s only on PC. At the most intense the game can eat a lot of resources when it has all these different moving pieces of machinery and assembly lines going, so I doubt it would do very well on an inferior system.
Computer will always have its exclusives, at least until someone figures out how to make these games work on a console. Take Total War for example. In general the games can handle about 40,000 individual men on screen now, each animated and usually fighting individually animated sword fights or whatever with their opponents or firing arrows, etc. When you add in all the volumetric smoke, heat distortion, rain, lighting, moving trees and grass, weather, fireballs and other effects, the games will all generally bring even the most powerful gaming computer to its knees. However, it’s been alleged that some data miners discovered a console-like command wheel buried in one of the games files (can’t find a source, maybe just nonsense). More tangibly, the newer games do have Steam Controller support and people have gotten them moderately functional. It wouldn’t be a surprise if future Sega tried to find a way to release these games for console, although it’s questionable that they’d sell.
We’ll always have MMOs, kind of – right? Guys? World of Warcraft continues to be the top MMORPG – barely – after nearly 15 years, but there have been moderately successful MMORPG’s on console, too. Such as Final Fantasy 11, and more recently Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. Elder Scrolls Online actually is giving WoW a run for its money, with 8.5 million users, and it’s on console. The core fans that like these types of games are likely to keep playing them on PC – simply because it’s the better choice with 126+ keys available versus a controller – but it’s not unfathomable that console could supplant that position.
The only games that PC lacks are the console exclusives for PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox, officially anyway. Certain games are probably never going to come to PC, like the entire Halo franchise. It’s been 16 years and still Microsoft has never explained why releasing Halo 1 and 2 on PC was a priority, but not one single game since then has been ported to PC. Then, they went so far as to not only release Halo Wars on PC, and Halo Wars 2, but they even released the Halo Wars definitive edition on Steam, years after the original. Some consistency would really be nice. Even a Master Chief Collection release would be fine.In similar fashion, Sunset Overdrive and some other games will probably never release on PC either.
It doesn’t make much sense that Microsoft would keep so few of the good games exclusive to Xbox, and port the others. No one wants to play Crimson Dragon, trust me, it’s not even half as good as the original Panzer Dragoons.
Sony will obviously never release their games on PC, otherwise there would be no reason whatsoever to buy a Playstation. Games like Uncharted, Last of Us, God of War, Killzone, Horizon Zero Dawn, will be only ever available on Playstation. Honestly, the overwhelming majority of PC gamers really don’t care either.
On Port Begging
So, you get these clowns on YouTube – shocking, I know – who make pro-Sony or Nintendo circlejerk videos. I won’t name any names but you can easily type in port begging on the search and you’ll see what I mean.
No one is “begging” for ports. As gamers, not shills or slaves or drones, PC gamers would like to be able to play all games on one system. These discussions always get blown way out of proportion and the instigator acts as if there are millions of PC players just flooding Sony’s inboxes and forums weeping as they ask for ports. That isn’t the case. It’s more like a few hundred or thousand people, out of over a hundred million saying things like this, and getting these types of responses.
Granted that one person in that shitfest of hostile, immature comments said one half reasonable (albeit true) thing, this is what it all boils down to. A few people want a game on PC – a few people who undoubtedly speak for thousands – but regardless of where those concerns are voiced, they get shit on. This comment specifically was about Nier: Automata, based on the last reply from the original poster. It came out in March and has sold 480,000+ on Steam, not counting private profiles. Seems to me that releasing it on PC was the right decision. I’m willing to bet those Square Enix executives counting their money agree.
Even developers are complete assholes about “port begging” and this tweet alone is enough reason to never buy a game from Platinum Games again (other than the fact that their games aren’t good). It’s extremely disrespectful and shows a blatant contempt for customers and fans:
Fuck you, JP Kellams. There has been all sorts of internet drama surrounding Platinum Games and Bayonetta, too, where even Hideki Kamiya got involved in shit-flinging over Twitter, because of a Kotaku article that honestly isn’t inaccurate.
He’s not wrong. Kotaku are shameless, unprofessional, unqualified assholes who shouldn’t be as popular as they are and honestly shouldn’t even enjoy being mistaken as journalists, but Kamiya is a douchebag, too.
Here’s another cool one, because apparently a few people wanted Horizon: Zero Dawn to come to PC. So that makes them “Port begging trolls.”‘
I hate to burst all the console shills bubbles, but, PC gamers do not give a fuck about Sony exclusives, or Nintendo exclusives. We simply do not care. I have never once, even after watching the trailers and reading all the “praise” for Zero Dawn, felt the slightest inkling of desire to play that game. If I did, my gut instinct would be to buy a PlayStation 4. It wouldn’t be “I must take to YouTube and do gods work!” because as one of the commenters above said, it would be even more pointless than starting a Change.org petition.
This isn’t even addressing the opposite side of port begging. Here’s a fun one – a dude “begging” for a mod for Fallout 4 on console and being called out by the mod creator.
Not only are console players happy to “beg” for PC exclusive features, but they “beg” for our games as well. There are plenty of threads on NEOGaf and elsewhere asking for ports of games like Civilization: Beyond Earth, Quake Champions, Unreal Tournament, etc.
As for Nintendo, again, we really don’t care about the exclusives. Far and wide, people who game primarily on PC have either never had any interest in Nintendo – and Japanese gaming in general – or they grew up a long time ago and it means nothing to them anymore. I’ve never even met or talked to a single person who made it a point to say “I wish Last of Us was on PC.” or “I’d play Bayonetta 2 if they’d bring it to PC.” Certainly I’ve never seen anyone legitimately ask for a port of a Mario game on PC.
Should they port these gmes? From a financial, purely business standpoint? Yes. The money made off of releasing these games to an audience of hundreds (literally) of millions more gamers would more than justify any expenses involved in doing so. Do they care? No. So neither do we.
Besides, sooner or later, we’ll be able to emulate every game ever, anyway.
But emulation is illegal! Say the people who claim to be gamers but also want to “follow rules” and “give the developer money.” Hey. Buddy. You find me a way to give money for Chrono Trigger to only the people who originally made Chrono Trigger, directly, and I’ll happily do it. Square Enix sure as fuck isn’t getting my money for this game, and not because I already bought the PS1 version on PSN.
Literally every system released up until the Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 currently has an emulator, in varying states of functionality. Most games older than X360/PS3 generation work well enough to play them, some work flawlessly.
Emulation will continue to be a thing, primarily on PC, until the companies in the position to do so finally fill a gap in a market they’ve abandoned or under-prioritized for years now. Whether it’s illegal or not, due to international copyright laws, the people who create emulators have done so, and are doing so, because there is no other reasonable option.
You can’t go out and buy arcade cabinets – not easily, not from a wide selection of available machines. Some of those arcade games only ever existed on arcade. You can’t easily go out and find a functional original SNES with functional cartridges at a good price. The same applies to N64, Genesis, Dreamcast, Atari, NES, GameCube, and almost all systems older than 1 generation.
Sega, for their part, is the least guilty when it comes to deserving their games to be emulated. Almost every single Genesis, 3DO or Dreamcast game ever made is available on PC, although each of them has their own separate emulator and the way they’ve implemented the systems is annoying and unorganized. They also continue to release as many of their games as possible on PC, aside from the fact that they are primarily a PC developer now. To that end, they’re also doing pretty well when it comes to sales on PC because they made it happen.
Nintendo has also tried to capitalize on the nostalgia/ collectors market using the virtual console. To their credit, you could buy a lot of old games on Wii and Wii U through the virtual console. So far that functionality doesn’t exist on Switch and after 5 months has not been discussed, but there are free “Classic Games Selection” titles available through the Switch’s online service.
Microsoft and Sony have both been blatantly greedy about it, but Microsoft is really the only one of the big three making a concerted effort to load their system with value. The Xbox 360 had emulation for original Xbox games – as long as you had an official Microsoft hard drive and not a reasonably priced alternative. Xbox One has a constantly growing backwards compatibility list, where you can emulate Xbox 360 games. As of E3, Microsoft is going to try to make Xbox games backwards compatible again, too. While the prices are a bit higher than they should be, I remember paying at least $10 for Ninja Gaiden black when it was over 5 years old, at least they do offer a legal solution.
Sony, on the other hand, has done the worst job of backwards compatibility, to combat emulation. The PS2 had native functionality for PS1 games, that is true. The PS3 originally had native functionality for PS2 and PS1 games, but Sony cut that out because the extra hardware was making the system too expensive to produce. Coincidentally, they added the old games to PSN and charged you $10 to $20 for emulated titles like Resident Evil 2. Fast forward to the PS4, this year, and PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan said this shit:
“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,”
“That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”
It only seems appropriate that he would say something so ignorant. After all, apparently most of the console audience and even some PC gamers don’t see the value in keeping a game forever and always being able to play it. So hey, at least he’s in touch with his customers.
So, faced with an industry led by companies who honestly seem not only indifferent to demand, but to even have contempt for their customers, we’re going to keep on emulating. We’ve offered them money. We’ve proven the demand exists. Ignoring those situations where licensing issues exist, they simply do not give a fuck.
On Keeping Games and the Gray Market
It seems nowadays the console market revolves largely around pre-owned sales. While a core group of a few million gamers is certainly buying games new, every year GameStop makes more money than the year before. Probably because they’re returning the games, at which point GameStop sells them back for $55, $5 less than they were new, which allows GameStop to take all the money as profit because it’s a second sale.
It’s true that on PC, you can’t trade in games. Once you buy a game, it’s yours forever unless you refund it or have it removed from your account on Steam. A lot of console players would label this as a bad thing, because you can’t buy pre-owned games on PC for cheap, or give them to your friends or family when you’re done with them. Well, no, you can’t buy pre-owned and sharing games isn’t as easy as just handing someone the disc, but none of those are really negatives.
I would argue that having to keep games on PC actually makes you more of a gamer than someone who can just ride their bike down to the GameStop and trade them in. I don’t buy a game because I want to play it through once and be done with it. I buy games because I want to play them whenever I want, as many times as I want, and keep them forever (or until Steam goes down and we’re all fucked.)
The market on our side simply doesn’t rely on resales. People buy games, they return them if they don’t like them, otherwise they keep them. You aren’t going to see a lot of people with library sizes like mine, but that’s the topic of another discussion altogether.
What you do see is a gray market, where people individually resell game keys they have for whatever reason – they don’t want them, they have the game already, whatever. It isn’t really relevant to the topic, but the funny thing is that the console audience loves the gray market. Loves it. GameStop’s continued existence proves that. Make no mistake, GameStop IS the gray market. The vast majority of their profits and their business activities revolve around the resale of used products – games, iphones, ipads, whatever. Things they aren’t “legally” allowed to sell, in all technicality. It’s literally no different than Jim Bob buying an GTX1080 back in May 2016, getting a code for Gears of War 4 – a game he does not want – and then hopping on G2A or another site so that he can resell the game for a profit.
An entire business is based around this shady as fuck practice. Somehow it’s perfectly okay for a brick and mortar retail store to do it, yet it’s not okay for sites to do the exact same thing online. PC gamers, at least the subreddit circlejerkers – so honestly a complete minority of us – think this is despicable and they go to their echo chambers, and shout about it back and forth. They think there’s a “significant” risk of the game keys being bought via identity theft or somehow, straight up stolen. There’s no evidence whatsoever that this is true ALL the time, and the only evidence that does exist is here at Kotaku, Polygon, and PCGamer. It’s truly hilarious how epicly Reddit blows things out of proportion. Out of thousands and thousands of keys sold by these sites every day, a few were stolen, so all of them must be stolen, clearly. Don’t worry, logical fallacies don’t exist, they aren’t a thing.
Just as soon as I find some more disingenuity floating around from my “brethren”, I’ll write some more about it. Believe me, it won’t be long. There appears to be an entire community of people who are more interested in arguing about PC versus Console than actually playing games, so it won’t be too long before one of them finally manages an original thought I haven’t covered yet.