Shank Rants: Triple-A PC Neglect

Here are some facts for you: As of this writing, there are over 125 million Steam users. 125 million. Let that number sink in for a moment. That’s more than the sales of Xbox One and PS4 combined, doubled, and then some. Keep in mind, these are numbers for a single platform on the PC. It does not take into account other platforms like GOG, Origin, etc. Yes, some overlap will exist, but the fact remains that this incredibly impressive number is for users of a single platform on PC.


Want another fact? Ok, how about this? As of April 2014, PC gaming surpassed consoles in revenue. That was more than one year ago because clearly, the PC market has continued to grow at a truly incredible rate.


In looking at these two numbers, it follows logic to assume that as a publisher, you’d want to publish games on the PC, gain loyalty, and accelerate through that. After all, if you’re worried about user base, well, you have more users than both current consoles combined, doubled, and then some. If you’re worried about revenue, the PC generates more revenue than consoles.


Here’s another fact. The PC platform is objectively more powerful than consoles. This last one should be obvious, but somehow, console peasant fanboys and publishers seem to not only forget this fact, but actively deny it. The gap between consoles and PC is just laughably huge, and only getting wider.


However, despite these inarguable facts, the so-called “triple-A” industry seems hell bent on completely neglecting and actively working against the PC and PC gamers. This happens disproportionately to the PC platform. This is constant. The most recent example of this is Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham Knight.


One look at the Steam page tells you users reporting stuttering, framerate drops, memory leaks, and a 30fps framerate lock – regardless of the hardware they are running. That last one really gets me. A 30fps lock? On PC? You’re kidding me, right?


These triple-A publishers seem to think that PC gamers are like console gamers. I’ve got news for you. We’re not. We have better hardware. By every metric, our platform is simply superior to consoles. Introducing things like a 30fps lock is downright insulting. How dare you presume to think we’re just like console gamers, to blindly accept a downright peasantry 30fps framerate?


This is more than just simply “unacceptable”. This is wrong. And on top of all this, Rocksteady dares have the gall to state, “This is something that Rocksteady takes very seriously”. If this is something you’re taking seriously, why did you release the game and sell it in this state for actual money??


This type of behavior from triple-A publishers towards the PC is nothing new. In fact, we can point to another Warner Brothers game in Mortal Kombat X. Despite all the metrics, despite all the cold hard facts, these publishers actively work against the PC and expect to get away with it. They treat us like second class citizens, constantly treating us inferior to console gamers.


And this is just wrong.


Some may suggest (and indeed have done so on my friend’s facebook page) that this is somehow the consumer’s fault for buying the game on PC, as if a PC gamer dare enjoy cross platform games like a console gamer.


Since when is it the consumer’s duty to ensure they product he buys is complete, whole, and functioning? This is a basic consumer right! Consumers should never be held responsible for broken products, nor should they be expected to fix broken products.


Yet somehow, the triple-A industry actively sabotages the PC, constantly working against the most powerful, most numerous, most profitable platform.


It’s a relentless attack against the PC, filled with empty promises ensuring us proper treatment. But in the end, these publishers treat us worse than console gamers, giving us console-grade features (hello 30fps lock) and completely unoptimized, unfinished games.


Now yes, as long as consumers continue to buy these games, publishers will release them. But I always find that this argument misses the bigger issue.


The bigger issue is that games released on PC should be complete, functioning, and maximize the strength of the PC. Why? Because that’s how console games are developed! At the very least, PC games should be as polished as console games with additional features designed to take advantage of the objective superiority of the PC.


I’m so sick of PC gamers constantly treated like shit. There has to be a consequence for these publishers who think peddling their completely broken products to PC gamers is somehow OK. It’s not OK. It’s not right. It’s toxic to the industry. This is the triple-A industry saying “fuck you PC gamers”.


I have something to say to you, the so-called triple-A industry.


Do you honestly think we won’t notice? Do you honestly think that we PC gamers will sit here and quietly accept console-level standards on our more powerful, objectively superior hardware? We have invested our hard earned money to receive superior experiences. And you – you toxic, putrid, cesspool of filth laden triple-A industry – you want to peddle this console shit onto us?? No.