Ars Technica Details how Developers are Messing Up PC Ports

ars technica how to ruin pc ports

Being an occasional PC Gamer, one thing I’ve noticed recently is that PC ports have a few reoccuring mistakes that developers and publishers are continually making. Sometimes they’re simple things, but most of the time they’re huge errors like not allowing users to customize their controls or burying the graphics options deep within the game’s files.

Ars Technica did a little write up detailing how to ruin PC ports in five easy steps and they included all the major faux pas that are far too common for my liking. I’m not too upset about the controls and graphic things (I usually just play on the default settings, anyways) but the log-ins withing log-ins is getting fairly annoying. Grand Theft Auto IV was annoying in this respect as was Crysis 2.

The old PC Gaming bane DRM is also included in this list, with the writer of the article tearing up a quote from the recent Blizzard event detailing Diablo 3’s DRM. Another point of contention is the fact that PC Ports are often released way after the console versions, meaning that any site that deigns to review them will use the original scores and won’t take any usability errors made in the port into account.

While the tone of the article may come off as snarky, it does make more than a few good points and exposes a lot of the hardships that your average PC gamer has to deal with. I know we have a lot of PC gamers on this site, so what did you guys think about this feature? Did it hit pretty close to home?

Source – Ars Technica

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

14 thoughts on “Ars Technica Details how Developers are Messing Up PC Ports”

  1. The multiple logins was something I experienced recently. I finally got around to buying Batman: AA on Steam, but I couldn’t play it without also setting up a Games For Windows Live account as well. It took some time for me to figure out, because they only use the word “Live” I mistakenly thought it was an Xbox Live account. So I was confused as to how an Xbox account would work on my PC 🙂

    But having to log into both was rather annoying, even if I was using the same user name and password.

  2. The message did strike a chord with me. To prevent their games being hacked, the game developers are making the most user-unfriendly interfaces imaginable. But this protection will also inconvenience the respectful pc gamer who doesn’t hack or pirate their games.

    A convenient and intuitive interface is not required in a game. However, the BEST games were developed by companies that treat it like an essential liberty. Thus, many game developers are sacrifincing the player’s smooth gaming experience to ensure the safety of their bottom-line profits.

    Benjamin Franklin said it best, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  3. One company needs to do a great port for a great game, show how much money is made by all us pc gamers buying that game, then all game companies will follow suit. They just think that there’s not many of us out there, and of the ones that do exist, half won’t move away from the current online games we play, and the other half will just pirate the game. Not entirely true!

    Btw you messed up the wording in the link Mitch, 5 steps, not 4!

  4. [quote comment=”17210″]They just think that there’s not many of us out there, and of the ones that do exist, half won’t move away from the current online games we play, and the other half will just pirate the game. Not entirely true![/quote]This.

    I mean, c’mon, Steam doesn’t maintain itself. Why do they think that? If Call of Duty was born as a PC game, why did they release such a crappy console port ):? Well, moneyz.

    I’m still pissed at Treyarch.

  5. Definitely some things I’ve hit on on this site before.

    PC Enthusiasts (which most pirates are) are trouble-shooters! They love a challenge, they love reconfiguring their machines and finding work arounds. Adding more DRM and annoyances really only encourage pirates to work harder to make the game playable.

    Anyone having trouble with GFWL, whether you purchased the game or it’s pirated, just create an Offline account, and you’ll be able to play.

  6. On the subject of piracy, here’s a reason I do it which is country specific. I am in New Zealand.

    Our Broadband is shit. We pay $70 to get 30gb and the fatest it’ll go is 8mb/s. It’s like dial up with all these webpages that are getting bigger and flashier everyday. This prevents me downloading games via steam, because on steam, unlike utorrent, it doesn’t let you set download times etc. I get free net at night, but I can’t set steam to download between these times. So I’ll end up wasting my 30gb instantly. Which I’m not going to do.

    Then there’s the prices in stores. They are ridiculous. I’m not paying $140 for Call of Duty shitty warfare. Or $120 for DNF, or $60 for CSS! It’s still $60 for CSS, a 7 year old game! WTF?

    Therefor, if I can pirate a game for free, then set it to download between 4 and 8am, completely free, I’ll do it. If games were cheaper, if broadband was cheaper, NZ would not pirate games. Everyone in NZ pirates everything because of these reasons. They even tried to pass legislation to prevent online piracy, which they can’t even enforce.

  7. Without getting into a war here…

    Rationalize it all you want, at the end of the day, it’s still stealing. People work hard on those games. We see all the time how people get laid off from developers. There is a human effect for your actions.

  8. You’re[quote comment=”17215″]Without getting into a war here…

    Rationalize it all you want, at the end of the day, it’s still stealing. People work hard on those games. We see all the time how people get laid off from developers. There is a human effect for your actions.[/quote]

    You’re definitely right. Lately I’ve been bugging my ISP to give me cheaper bulk broadband and they’re giving me a bit of le-way. I’ve managed to get my 30 games on steam to 57, and it’s still climbing. I’m perfectly happy to pay for a game if the price is right. $140 for a new release big name game like call of duty or dirt 3 is ridiculous, so I’m never going to be buying in store. Steam always gives nice deals so I’ve been lapping up and installing all the games I’ve always wanted. Haven’t pirated a game for a few months now.

  9. @ClanFever

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just have a Canadian/American friend buy the game in stores at $59.99 and then have them mail it to you for the $5 or $10 it would cost? I’m sure you know someone online who you’re close to who would do this for you!

    @Anthony

    No wars. I believe that the sale of used games actually hurts sales more than piracy does, and some studios agree with that. But I don’t harp on people who trade in their games to try to get a new one!

    MOST people (and pirates are people) will pay for good stuff. The ones that won’t pay anyways, won’t be stopped by any means. It’s really frivolous.

  10. [quote comment=”17224″]@ClanFever

    @Anthony

    No wars. I believe that the sale of used games actually hurts sales more than piracy does, and some studios agree with that. But I don’t harp on people who trade in their games to try to get a new one!

    MOST people (and pirates are people) will pay for good stuff. The ones that won’t pay anyways, won’t be stopped by any means. It’s really frivolous.[/quote]

    I agree that used game sales do hurt the industry. However, they are legal. Piracy is not. Hence, the harping 😉

  11. [quote comment=”17225″]
    I agree that used game sales do hurt the industry. However, they are legal. Piracy is not. Hence, the harping ;)[/quote]

    Piracy is not illegal everywhere, which I would argue means that its implications are not entirely understood.. If I made all my decisions based on what was or wasn’t legal at some point in time, I would certainly deserve worse than harping. There are a lot of funny laws, I’d say anti-piracy laws can certainly be among those in most cases.

    Are you actually concerned about the developers and publishers (like in your first post) or are you concerned about people breaking laws (since that seems to be why piracy is worse than used game sales to you)?

    If I stole a PHYSICAL copy of a used game, wouldn’t I be preventing the developers from losing “potential profit”, but also be breaking a very real and logical law. Which is more important??

    [No war, No sarcasm, I’m just curious!]

  12. @Julez,

    Piracy not being illegal everywhere makes little difference to me. If it is illegal where you live, then who cares what they do in other countries? In some countries, it’s ok to pay people pennies a day and work them for 12 hours a day. Does that mean U.S. companies should do that? Of course not.

    Of course I’m concerned about devs and publishers. They work hard and people think they have the right to download whatever they want. I don’t download music, games or movies illegally. I despise used game sales b/c it hurts the industry, but it is legal and for some odd reason, publishers still support GameStop so I guess I have to live with. When someone walks into GameStop, it’s perfectly legal, even if I hate it. I’ve said numerous times that I think all publishers should refuse to send GameStop new copies of their games and just force them sale used copies.

    But piracy isn’t one of those silly laws, not to me at least. Someone worked to create this game. You download it without paying, it is the EXACT same thing as stealing a physical copy. Online piracy is also breaking a real and practical law but it’s easier for people to just jjustify because there isn’t anything physical as evidence. There’s no CD with Starcraft 2 scrawled on it Magic Marker to remind people of their illicit activities.

    Good discussion, I really enjoy these! It’s why the Soosh has the best readers.

  13. @Anthony

    I also love these conversations, and while I know I can be difficult, I hope I don’t come across as a complete asshat ;).

    “In some countries, it’s ok to pay people pennies a day and work them for 12 hours a day. Does that mean U.S. companies should do that?”

    – I would argue yes, *IF* those people’s alternatives were to become a prostitute, be a child soldier, or have no other way to support their families what so ever, which can often be the case in developing countries.

    I agree with you about publishers not sending their games to places like GameStop if they really want to persuade them to not sell used copies of their games. The new “one account per game” or “bonuses with an online sign in” is a real shitty way of preventing people from buying used games, because it only hurts the honest joe who wants to buy a cheaper game. Just like DRM preventing piracy mostly hurts the honest buyer. It’s just a backwards practice.

    You’re definitely right that it’s easier to justify piracy because there aren’t any immediate tangible consequences. But, I would argue that breaking laws that were designed to protect _me_ are easier to justify than those that are designed to protect the masses.

    Copyright laws are designed to protect an individual from intellectual property theft, much like J-walking laws are designed to protect YOU, the would be J-walker, from being struck by a driver who is following the law. If someone were to actually steal a game from a developer, put their name on it, and SELL it to people, that would be true piracy. Someone who bought a game and borrows it to their friend is not a pirate, and that is what online piracy is, except there can be thousands or millions of friends. But that’s the age we live in. There are people on MySpace or Facebook who have thousands of friends, but of course “friends” is a very loose term nowadays.

    Look, I know the “right” and “wrong” of piracy, I just like talking about everything from both sides. If I borrow a book to my friend, should I ask him to donate the cost of the book to the author because he read it? He experienced it! Pirates like me will download a game and play it: if it’s good, I’ll buy it. If it’s not, I’ll delete it and forget about it. I don’t “own” it after that, it’s just gone. And I know the argument is “not every pirate is like that” which is all too true (sadly).

    I guess the questions is: When does “sharing with a few friends” become “stealing and destroying an industry”. Somewhere down the line, every pirated version of a game came from someone who purchased it in a store.

    But piracy isn’t one of those silly laws, not to me at least. Someone worked to create this game. You download it without paying, it is the EXACT same thing as stealing a physical copy. Online piracy is also breaking a real and practical law but it’s easier for people to just jjustify because there isn’t anything physical as evidence. There’s no CD with Starcraft 2 scrawled on it Magic Marker to remind people of their illicit activities.

    Good discussion, I really enjoy these! It’s why the Soosh has the best readers.

  14. I’d honestly be happy to give a developer a good $20 or $30 donation if I liked their game. Imagine if on their site, they had a button saying “if you’ve pirated one of our games, thats not very nice, but how about giving us a bit of money if you enjoyed it?” That’d be a funny world.

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