Consoles, Your Sucky Insides Are Holding PC Games Back

Patrick Bach, from DICE, the developers of the Battlefield series, certainly knows the way to a PC gamer's heart: tell them that, for once, the PC version of a game won't be a crummy port, but will be the glorious, lead platform.

In an "interview" with Nvidia, Bach is asked - without any self interest at all, of course - by the graphics card manufacturer whether console games are holding PC games back. And Bach lets fly.

"Yes, absolutely", he says. "That's the biggest problem we have today. Most games are actually still based on the same core idea that the consoles are your focus, the superior platform or something. I don't know why. That was the truth 5 years ago, but the world has moved on."

"PCs are way more powerful than the consoles today and there are actually almost zero games out there that actually use the benefits of this. So for our target of what we want to hit, we are now using the more powerful platform to try and prove what we see gaming being in the future rather than using the lowest common denominator, instead of developing it for the consoles and then just adding higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing for the PC version."

"We're [doing]it the other way around, we start with the highest-end technology that we can come up with and then scale it back to the consoles."

That'll sound a little snooty to console owners, but then, for once they can take a back seat. PC owners have been getting the shaft for years now when it comes to ports of major console games, whether it be poor customisation options, a lack of DLC, delayed release dates or no release dates at all. And all that on a machine which can generally run rings around a PS3 or 360.

It's nice to see the shoe on the other foot for once, even if it is only one shoe on one person for one game.

[Battlefield 3 Interview]


    On the plus side, means I haven't had to upgrade my PC in 3 years and it still plays everything fine.

    Think I've spent more on my console set up in the last 5 years than I have on my PC.

    Trolling for the PC master race, for shame.

    Restrictions breed innovation. When you have plenty of raw power, developers seem to take the easy route and focus on graphics. When they are limited they tend to get a little more innovative and focus on getting the best out of the platform.

    That's not always the case, but it's true often enough.

      If restriction truly bred all innovation then the best FPS games would be written for the C64. However we know that certain gaming results require certain levels of processing power. If we hold back the power to game developers then new and innovative concepts will be few and far between.

      When they are limited there's only so much they can do and so they perpetually make CoD or copies thereof.

        The constant supply of sequels is a demonstration of market forces. Those games sell, so they continue to be made.

        I never said that this was a simple issue where there is only one reason for the current state of things.

      So... Trjn... I expect if we look over the AAA console games we'll see a whole lot of innovation, right? We wouldn't see stale franchises getting thrashed to death, right?

      "When you have plenty of raw power, developers seem to take the easy route and focus on graphics"

      Then please explain why milking sequels and (in some cases) simplified gameplay tends to be getting more common these days?

      I should add that simple games aren't necessarily bad, but more complex games tend to be more innovative (again, broad tendency).

      Please explain why one of the most 'innovative' games of this generation, BioShock, was basically System Shock 2 Art Deco? (Not that there's anything wrong with that; Bioshock is a fantastic game and I love it as well as System Shock 2).

      If consoles generate restrictions and restrictions generate innovation, then why have PC games had a better historical record of novel ideas in gameplay?

      Look, I'm a multiplatform gamer (although I started on PC but I now own a Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360). I don't think the PC is perfect and there are many console games which have given me fantastic gaming experiences. But the idea that PC = Graphics Whoredom is historically false, and the empirical facts of innovation in gameplay seem to disprove your proposition.

      Crysis is NOT a representative sample of PC games.

        Take a look at all of the innovative games on the PC, things like Minecraft. They don't focus on raw computing power.

        How about the most successful PC developers currently out there, Valve and Blizzard? Neither of them focus on raw power but instead make sure that their games can access as wide an audience as possible.

        The games that push systems to their limits in terms of power are rarely the best games available on that system. It's the games that try to make the best use of the resources available that are truly great.

        I always argue that innovation is most important factor in a game, it's execution. But if you're limited in terms of what you can do, then in order to have great execution, you need to use a little innovation, even if that is all handled on the back-end.

        The real point I should have made earlier is that focusing on raw power takes away the focus from what actually matters, making entertaining games.

          I agree with you that many of the most innovative PC-centric developers are not demanding of high levels of processing power. You're quite correct.

          My objection was to your insinuation that focussing on PC leads to graphics whoredom.

          By the examples you have provided it is manifestly clear that focussing on PC does NOT necessarily lead to graphics whoredom, so you have in fact proven my original case.

            I think it's pretty clear that the original comments and most of the reactions seem to point towards graphics whoredom.

            They're talking about making use of the power that PCs have and I've been arguing that sheer processing power doesn't necessarily lead to better games.

            You might want to note that I haven't been arguing for consoles over PCs but simply that the Jeremy Clarkson approach of screaming "POWER!" isn't as great as quite a few people seem to think it is.

        "Then please explain why milking sequels and (in some cases) simplified gameplay tends to be getting more common these days?"

        Developers focusing on a broader market so they can make more money.

        Pure, simple and has nothing to do with the difference in processing power.

        Heck, even the NES held out for quite some time when others were using 16-bit processors until Sega finally gave Nintendo a wakeup call.

    Oh yeah, this is good. It should hopefully be like this for a few more years, when the next gen-consoles come out...

    I will gladly throw my money in their direction if the PC version of BF3 does indeed impress (after years of shafting, I can't take any developer seriously when they say they want to make PC gamers happy). I just hope other PC gamers will do the same as opposed to pirating it.

    On the flip side, now I'm kinda worried that my PC won't run the game haha.

    This is really the only way to jump to the next step in console gaming.

    If all the devs are tailoring their games to the console, what push is there for the console gamers to buy a new PC? None.

    But if the devs start tailoring their games for PC and strip them back for consoles, this will the console community properly consider whether it is worth their money getting a bigger, better PC.

    In the case of Battlefield 3, I am actually considering getting a new PC. However, consoles still make it so much easier to play games with my mates. Mostly because THEY don't have the tech know-how to create the connection on PC....

    As someone who does not have a bucketload of money to spend on hardware, PC games being held back helps me. I'm slowly running out of games I can play without spending a couple of grand to get a monster new system...

      But you don't need to spend a couple of grand on a monster new system. Have a gander at MSY or Umart online, and you'll see you can get a pc that'll handle anything you throw at it for ages sub $1000.

      This is the way games should be developed in the future. Develop for the highest common denominator and strip out features as necessary to maintain decent fps on slower platforms.

        I concur my laptop cost about that and can run most games at medium to high at at least 720p, so i imagine there would be some very descent computers for ~$1000. If You build your own you can get a better computer for a similar price

      The 'too expensive' argument has really become moot these days. For around $800 dollars one can buy a PC that will max out any game on the market. Of course, that's without a monitor and peripherals, and you'll have to order the parts and build it yourself.

        Depends where you are.

        Like many others, I live in Australia with jacked up prices.

        So for what costs around $800 everywhere else is often $2000+ here.

        I wish I was making this up.

          you are miss informed we pay almost the same prices are other parts in the world when it comes to pc parts.
          you can build a beast gaming machine for 840 bucks AUD

          You said it.

    Thank f***.
    Finally I can put my beast of a computer to a proper gaming use.

    About time someone spoke up, didn't exactly seem fair shafting an entire platform in favour of the new kids on the block.

    I'm a huge BF fan, but I can't justify the wasting of 2k for a new computer just to play his game. Yes, it's about time consoles upgrade to the next gen, let's not pretend they're still not the master race.

      So spend 800 like I did and still build a beast of a system. I run my pc on my LED tv and it rocks. 2k... Pfffft.

    Always good news, someone sticking it to the console scene. This is why DICE get constant thumbs up from the PC crowd. Portal 2's 'early launch' was a good demonstration of why many but not all console gamers shouldn't get nice things. Many of them were yelling "Hey why do the PC guys get it first?", then when there wasn't really an early launch they go "Ooh yeah in your face, why should you guys get it ahead of us". Even if an early launch was to be earned by playing plenty of indie games and the hard back breaking work of collecting digital potatoes.

    Sweeping generalisations do not include all console gamers, but because it's general it may as well include most console gamers.

    Thank god!! I can stop spending hours installing games on my PS3 and get back to spending hours installing games on my PC...


    Im a bit weary on this, after all, didnt the Crysis 2 developers say roughly the same thing.

    We PC Gamers are entitled to the cynicism bred from the experience that the market has left us with, after all.

      Agreed, Dice can talk pretty to PC gamers all they want, but until the final product is in our hands and kicking ass, I'm taking this with a grain of salt.

    Yeah $500 will give you a pretty good system, if you don't need a pretty looking outside for PC. You don't need to spend $2000 for a gaming PC, you just need to know what you are doing or know someone else.

    The only difference between your xbox and my pc (I have an xbox, I use it as a media extender) is the controller.

    I spent $50 and now I can sit on the couch and enjoy all the benefits of console gaming.... pretty much autoaim and the controller, in much higher resolutions, in better performing engines at a higher framerate.

    There is no downside.


      No that is not true. Better performing engines? No. Higher resolution? No. Higher Framerate? No.

      PC out powers Consoles by quite a considerable margin. The "HD" that consoles offer is not high resolution gaming. Consoles are capped at between 25-40 Frames per second where as PC can go much much higher than that.

        That's what he was saying. He bought a (presumably Xbox 360) controller for his PC.

        I think splintex meant he uses a controller with his PC. He gets the benefit of console gaming by sitting on a couch playing PC games with a controller.

    same discussion every time we pass half way in the console generation.

    This is definitely nice to see, but it IS hard not to be a little skeptical. We'll see what happens I suppose. It's a pity that splitting the two platforms up (ie. console games for consoles, pc games for pc's) is bad for business and not a viable solution in the eyes of most publishers. But really, how often do you buy the same game on two different platforms? Just a thought.

    Its only ture that u can buy a PC now for $1000 n every game on the market atm will look awesome. Tho if devs use PC as the leading platform then your $1000 PC will no longer Max out your games. PC hardware is out dated in 6 month. Ull need upgrade or get left behind. Tho if lots of devs move to the PC as the lead platform again. Then I think Ms n Sony will push the resleas of next Gen consoles forward, while marketing forward compatible of games on 360 n ps3. ATM both Ms n Sony have the kinect n move, which they r trying reach to the market that wii hold. Ms is about resleas the kinect SDk for PC too. Wat better time for MS to Wrk out there next console hardware. Devs get to use kinect with platform that known to Wrk, while also developeding for the future. I'm sorry tho not sure wat sony is going to do for devs

    So wat does this all mean.

    Well PC games will look heaps better then console n not shit ports. PC will also have new ways in which we interact with games, PC gamers will spend more on upgrades. Tho this only last until we r at the half way point of the next Gen console life spand.

    For this Gen console games will not really get any better, look at reach,black ops, gears 3, crysis 2. We r getting towards the of a console life spand. For next Gen at the start most games will just b a small jump up. Lunch titles
    will have the backing of Ms n Sony, n will look like PC games.

    Tho this just wat I think will happen

      Something to note, theres still a fare feew PC developers that are not valve or blizzard that actually punish high end gameing rigs. The thing is they are usually european companies and are never given a fair though or review most of the time.

      Xenus 2, Precursors, the Stalker Series, the X series, the Arma Series, Two Worlds Series, Necrovision series, Divinity 2 and Drakensang are just some of the geames that can punish a higen gaming PC in just CPU power, yet all of them bar Stalker and Arama are never given favorable reviews because they are buggy. Yet any RPG by Bethseda is given a free pass, the same goes for any bioware game or valve game. every always gives them free passes but if its from eastern europe its a no go.

    I'll be getting this game - on console. As probably will most of the people currently playing Bad Company 2 on Xbox - I wonder how their PC sales will compare

      I'm pretty sure Bad Company 2's PC player numbers are pretty respectable. Didn't PC gamers beat the 360 and PS3 gamers during EA's challenge to unlock BC2 Vietnam's extra maps by performing team actions (revive, spot, repair, resupply, heal)?

      The console players had much higher kill scores, but completed the team action challenge several says after PC players did.

      Anyway, the point is, you may get a better "Battlefield experience" on the PC.

    Sure it sucks that the consoles are trailing, but we're now in the twilights years of the 360/PS3 product cycle. When the next versions come out, expect more years of quiet before devs bitch again.

    Besides, it's impossible in this day and age of high-speed broadband, torrents and pirates to rely only on the PC market these days without some sort of DRM or subscription system.

    The only reason I've been playing the major games on my ps3 is because I know that I won't suffer from lag while playing it. This is also due to the fact that I haven't had enough money to buy a decent gaming computer.

    However this will soon change, as I plan to build my own rig next week, and then can enjoy the full gaming pleasure.

    Yes, because the insecurities of PC fanboys must be pandered to.

    PC fanboys: the new PS3 fanboys.

    I remember Crytek making similar comments in the lead up to Crysis releasing on the PC. Consoles are old hat, PC gaming is the future, people want games to look the best they can, yadda yadda.

    I can't remember how things turned out now... oh that's right, Crysis 2 gets released for every game platform under the sun.

    Let the Console kiddies play on their fisher price toys and the adults play games the way they are designed to be played. In 1440p with 32x AA and DX11 goodies.

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