In what ways are console gaming holding PC gaming back?

Bill Loguidice's picture

I recently tweeted - to some degree in frustration after reading the same tired complaint yet again - "For all those who insist console gaming is holding PC gaming back, I'd like to know what that might be other than slightly nicer graphics." In other words, we continue to hear talk that this almost six year old console generation is responsible for holding back what the state-of-the-art in PC gaming can be. But really, keeping in mind that both the Xbox 360 and PS3 are capable of 1080p and full surround sound, and have default controllers with lots of buttons, how exactly are consoles holding PC game designs back? Sure, PC's have more memory, storage and polygon-potential, as well as more buttons thanks to its default keyboard, but really, what game designs would be getting exactly if consoles didn't exist? Flashier versions of current games don't count.

What games would PC developers be giving us if they weren't "held back" by consoles? How much more power is really needed given the designs currently being unleashed? I can't think of one game released where I thought, "boy, more processing power/memory/storage would really make this game so much better". If a dev said, "I have this really radical idea, but I can't do it because consoles are holding me back," THEN I'd listen and maybe even agree. Wanting more polygons is not a design issue.

On Facebook - where my tweets also automatically go - we're having an interesting discussion about some of the possibilities, but I don't buy what's being said. For instance, even though Civilization V was designed expressly for the PC, a commenter thought that its interface design was held back because of the influence of consoles in the thought process of the designers. In other words, Civilization IV, which was apparently designed at a time when console ports (or console originals) were a less pervasive presence, was not influenced by the thought that interfaces should be simplified and/or get out of the way as much as possible, and as a result featured a more sophisticated and better interface than Civilization V. To me, any perception that Civilization V's interface was somehow dumbed down is incorrect. Instead, if there's any issue with the interface, it's just bad design, period, and has nothing to do with whether consoles exist in the world or not. I also don't think any of the Civilization games are a good example for anything, simply because Civilization 1 was perfected right out of the box. Sure, the rules became more refined and sophisticated, as did the artificial intelligence and options, but all the essentials were in place way back in 1991 (and that engine could arguably accommodate most of the new rules and additions), so technological limitations have little to do with anything in the case of the Civilization series.

So, what are your thoughts on this multi-layered, hot button issue?

Comments

DosFreak (not verified)
720p not 1080p

I stopped reading after that.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Resolution
DosFreak wrote:

I stopped reading after that.

Good for you. Just like PC's have different resolutions, so do console games. There's still an option to use 1080p.

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)
No console game truly run at

No console game truly run at 1080p. Some games run even slightly lower than 720p. They use multipliers and cheat their way to 1080p. While pc can handle it right off the bat. These days games that are ported to pc sometimes comes with the same style of interface as the console. It's pure lazyness or budgeting. but still an influence non the less.

You could say more polygons wouldn't bring anything new, but the ideas of games would change. Imagine what rpg's like oblivion would be like if there are an incredible amount of polygons, meaning the worlds are increasingly larger, and vastly more vivid bringing you into the game a lot more. Still is not directly related to consoles holding back, but if more powerful hardware, or smarter code design could be used. But since consoles are the prime market for gaming, you need to sell it on consoles and not only on pc to truly make the money. Since a small portion will be on pc, they tend to forget the power and concentrate on consoles. Then slapping on a sloppy port over to pc, with somewhat the same limitations in the game.

Majority of todays game's leading platform is on the console. Interfaces are designed for the console. Some may make a separate one for pc, but likely be givin the same one with minor changes.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Skyrim is not a good example
Anonymous wrote:

You could say more polygons wouldn't bring anything new, but the ideas of games would change. Imagine what rpg's like oblivion would be like if there are an incredible amount of polygons, meaning the worlds are increasingly larger, and vastly more vivid bringing you into the game a lot more. Still is not directly related to consoles holding back, but if more powerful hardware, or smarter code design could be used. But since consoles are the prime market for gaming, you need to sell it on consoles and not only on pc to truly make the money. Since a small portion will be on pc, they tend to forget the power and concentrate on consoles. Then slapping on a sloppy port over to pc, with somewhat the same limitations in the game.

While this is factually true, in actual practice, given a game like Skyrim (to use your example), I don't think anything was held back in its design by the lack of polygons or for being designed with consoles in mind. Sure, you'll get a visual bump on a quality PC over either the 360 or PS3 versions, but the game is essentially the same. While this causes the PC interface to suffer a bit, again, to me that's a different issue and one that could easily be addressed by remapping the control scheme (and agree that it's something Bethesda should have already allowed for).

The bottom line is is that a game of Skyrim's achievement in scope (supposedly unlimited quests, vast world, ability to create items and potions, localized effects, a clockwork world, etc.) probably NEEDS the larger console buying market to get completed. The costs associated with making such a massive game available for JUST the PC (or in a world where only the PC existed) would probably have been prohibitive, so PC gamers should probably THANK their console cousins for the game's existence at all.

As for the Skyrim game itself, I can't imagine anything that they could have done to make it any better given a fair comparison to everything else out there, meaning they have established the state-of-the-present-art-in-scope. It's a "maxed out" game, with little I can imagine that could have been changed with a PC only target, even if such a targeting was even possible.

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)
Why would Skyrim NOT be a

Why would Skyrim NOT be a good example. It's one of the best examples. Xbox, PS3 objects up close and far in the distance look like crap. Grass looks fuzzy and so does moving objects.

PC ----Holy crap I can see things in the distance and and and.......IN DETAIL!! :-O
Look at the water. So clean, nice, beautiful flowing motion. The grass blades are defined and not blurry looking? I must be dreaming this looks far to awesome! Oh here comes a dragon. Wow! Look at the scales and the detail in the dragon this is stunning. The dragons eyes follow me to....why can't my console do this?!

See an over excited (but true) example of why skyrim is a great example.

Anonymous (not verified)
"so PC gamers should probably

"so PC gamers should probably THANK their console cousins for the game's existence at all."

No you fall flat here too. In a world where only the PC existed then all the consoles gamers would have PC's. Simple as that.

Sure some could say people didn't game until consoles came out, but then again consoles only came out and started working hard when the were more PC gamer's are playing Quake, Duke Nukum, and Doom and no body was playing with their 8-bit super mario bros anymore. Consoles didn't even catch up to the PC as par as doom type game's until 2 consoles later with the N64 and playstation. Sage tried playing doom on it's 32x additional setup to the sega genesis but we all know how big of a failure it was just to get the 32x to operate.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Not exactly...
Anonymous wrote:

"so PC gamers should probably THANK their console cousins for the game's existence at all."

No you fall flat here too. In a world where only the PC existed then all the consoles gamers would have PC's. Simple as that.

Sure some could say people didn't game until consoles came out, but then again consoles only came out and started working hard when the were more PC gamer's are playing Quake, Duke Nukum, and Doom and no body was playing with their 8-bit super mario bros anymore. Consoles didn't even catch up to the PC as par as doom type game's until 2 consoles later with the N64 and playstation. Sage tried playing doom on it's 32x additional setup to the sega genesis but we all know how big of a failure it was just to get the 32x to operate.

Gah, this is quickly descending into something borderline theological since you're starting to play too loose with the historical facts and realities. Here's the point, no one but a few of us enthusiasts really want a world of just PC's. "Normal" people want anything but, hence the popularity of consoles and even tablets over regular PC's. We can deal with the baggage associated with a computer to get the benefits (see my other thread about my experience with my PC last night), but the average person doesn't have the interest or inclination. It's sort of like how I don't give a crap how my car works as long as it works. Me expecting someone to know how to keep a PC up-to-date is like them expecting me to know how to change the oil in my car. Forget about it! Should we bar people from enjoying games on their mobile devices and consoles and liking the experience better than on a PC because the technology in an expensive PC is far superior? Seems rather elitist to me.

n/a
Garth (not verified)
Console saved gaming for

Console saved gaming for me.

The revelation came about when I tried to play HL2 on my Core 2 rig at the time and my Soundblaster Live HD drivers decided not to play along with DirectX/Steam/Valve/whatever weirdo driver stuff I had installed at the time and the game crashed every single time with the sound looping continuously at one particular level.

That was the last PC game I ever bought ... completed HL2 eventually when I got the Orange box for the Xbox.

These days nothing beats just popping in a CD and expecting that it will work without trolling the net for the latest optimized AMD/Nvidia drivers.

My worst case scenario is that the Xbox will RROD while playing (3 times so far in the last 4 years) which I can live with.

clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
I think Dosfreak is

I think Dosfreak is commenting othe fact most Consoles 1080P is some sampled version... in a kinda blunt way :) As a VERY BIASED PC gamer I see lots of things, bad and good from consoles and the effect on PC Gameing.

First and probebly the largest- lack of a PC version at all. There was a time when all "grand" games where made on the PC, and ported, now its turned around. And many many games will never see a PC release. I think thats bad... I understand it, but dont like it.

second, some games have been "dumbed down" to work with controlers. The keyboard while not the best contorler ever, has almost unlimted ways it can be setup and if you are a PC user at all the key layout never changes... you know whre the a key is , always the same spot, wont ever change.. but Console games have buttons, colors and letters, and no two console games use the same thing.

Console games have made Aim assist a comon thing. I will ever see this as a good thing.

Many console games use much lower textures do to hardware limitations and many times that is passed onto the PC version.

Devopers are working with consoles first so they are working with hardware that is 5 to almost 7 years behind current PC hardware, so games are not pushed to max anymore. Most of the GREAT looking games come out at the end of a consoles life when the hardware is figured out complety, but by that time its OLD... plain and simple. Consoles have a advantage on a unified platform so when the are released with 1-2 year old tech they can stand toe to toe with current PC's, but in the tech world time moves fast. I wont get intot he whole graphics isnt everythign argument (as I agree, gameplay is more imporatant) but a fact is a fact.. they are long outdated compared to PCs in a few short years.

Console games are normally dumbed down period. Most (not all) that I have played on both systems the PC version is genreally much harder. I put this to the imprecise controler. I know many people can use a 2 joystick gamepad as well as a mouse keyboard user, but I would guess most cant, hence most games are toned down. And if your money making platform is the console, why are you going to spend time on the PC version, fine tuning ans such?

With all that said... its not so much hurting PC gaming, its just a changing of the guard. We all used to watch 13 inch crt tv's.. now we all have LCD and much larger.. things change.. those who want a great PC game will still have thiose diehards developers.. its just a change, its not the end of the world.. thouhg it may be for me.. I have spent HOURS at my consoles and the controler still frustrates the heck out of me.. If I was a bit younger, still had my reaction times of my youth, etc.. I might have made it.. but us old school dogs... Im not sure what I think.. I see the awsomenes in many Console only games, but once into them and my lack of ability with the controler I soon cant paly them.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
All valid points, Clok,

All valid points, Clok, however, I think the basic premise is that the "dated" tech of the consoles is what is holding PC gaming back, not necessarily console's effect on PC gaming (which is another topic/discussion), meaning taking away support for the PC. My counter-argument is that if indeed the dated console tech is holding PC developers from delivering fascinating new experiences, that's one thing, but if it's holding PC developers back from making prettier games, then tough.

I've pined for a period of locked down PC specs since the days of the 486 and now we more or less have it. Instead of whining, the devs should be thankful for a few years of not having to outdo the competition in flash, but in substance. Certainly the latter is harder, but I would think that would be the idealistic dream of every dev, so why not go for it?

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.