Tag Archives: consoles

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Games Are Better Without Consoles

The topic of consoles versus PCs is something which comes to mind for me rather often. I see the subject surface in strange little ways across a myriad of discussions, and once in a while in a big way. It is regularly debated in practically every place it can be, but it is always from the angle of the gamer, rather than the game. My issue with consoles isn’t one of value (though I do find them to not be a good value), but rather that when you develop for a console, it comes at the cost of the game. The hardware restraints, the common user setup, available input devices, and the garden wall structure all impose costs on the design and development itself. I don’t want console games on PC, I want the best games that can be designed and developed, and that won’t happen when a console is being considered.

Performance

The dedicated hardware of a console was for a very long time, the advantage of a console. Where PC gamers had to run a game on top of an operating system, consoles were comparably leaner, and the game had more resources at their disposal. The trick there was the different architectures between the consoles, so even if a developer had the freedom to release on the leading platforms, they rarely had the fiscal freedom to do so. Consoles were faster, but inflexible, and PCs were growing in both strength and selective standardization.

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With the Xbox 360 and PS3 we saw more defined operating systems, and thus some actual overhead to the games, while at the same time PCs were immensely powerful. Sure the 360 and PS3 had some muscle behind them on launch, but that muscle was fixed. Over time, developers learned the systems and the games looked better and better. Competition naturally set in, and more of that processing power went toward the environments and effects. Games streamlined toward gated stories as we see in things like The Last of Us, where it is easy to control what a player can currently possibly see. As expectations of detail levels increased, larger and more open (in terms of choices and exploration) environments decreased. With the fixed hardware, the two could not coincide. Meanwhile on PCs, you simply need to raise the minimum specs some, or advise the user disable a more costly effect. The design wasn’t encumbered. When a game is being ported to PC from console, I expect more limited environments, and being forced down certain areas with no ability to backtrack. Continue reading

Diablo III is Better on PS4

Destructoid reports that the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3 will not have the Real Money Auction House, or DRM in general. It will be fully playable while offline. The Real Money Auction House was at least at one point used as the justification of the always online requirement, a requirement enforced by remotely executed game logic, turning your experience into one of playing OnLive but with your machine having to do the rendering. With that gone, PlayStation 4 users can experience the game as PC users had hoped to, in a responsive form.

Let us not forget that the Real Money Auction House does not bring necessarily new functionality to users, item trading for cash has been around much longer than Diablo 3, rather this loops Blizzard in on the activity. It is a feature that is primarily for an additional monetization loop, one that does not add any content to the game. Remember that PC users were restrained in both device and experience for the sake of this monetization scheme, and PS4 users will be receiving the game without such restraints. PC sales were insufficient for Blizzard, but PS4 sales are. Continue reading