Let me first say that I am primarily a console gamer. Sure, I have a gaming ready PC and I do occasionally play video games there, but it’s not my first choice. There’s just something about being able to sit on a couch with a controller and not having to worry about compatible computer parts, minimum requirements or technical issues running rampant that is very appealing. Still, this isn’t a post meant to pit the merits of PC gaming vs console gaming, just an alarming observation I’ve been seeing lately.
I couldn’t help but notice the amount of issues that PC players have been experiencing with games, especially these big budget triple A titles. The frequency of these games having issues at launch and into the first month seems to be rising for some reason.
Earlier this week, Warner Bros re-released Batman Arkham Knight on Steam after taking it down over four months ago. For those who missed the story, Warner Bros outsourced development on the PC version of the game, while Rocksteady, the guys everyone knows, handled the console versions. Long story short, the console versions were stellar and the PC version was horribly broken. The launch was so bad that refunds were handed out, apologies were given, and the game was taken down to prevent any more sales. A terrible situation all around.
With Rocksteady brought in to correct the many technical issues, Arkham Knight eventually hit Steam again. Unfortunately, users have been reporting that many of the issues continue to plague the game, making it unplayable again for a large majority. Warner Bros is now offering full refunds on the game and season pass and vow to continue to work on the game to make it right.
Frankly, I’m dumbfounded as to how this happened. Who turned a blind eye to the issues that the game faced? From what I’ve seen and heard, they were pretty visible and impacted the game greatly so there’s no way someone could have missed them in QA…if there was QA. As Shigeru Miyamoto has said in the past: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” It seems Warner Bros is finding out this truth the hard way.
Sadly, this isn’t the first report of a major game having issues on the PC. Another Warner Bros game this year, Mortal Kombat X, had a similar fate. Primary developer, Neatherrealm Studios handled the console versions while the PC version was outsourced. If you’ve been following along, I think you know what happened next.
For some reason, this generation has been heavily marred by poor PC ports. Watch_Dogs launched with a mess of technical issues and even needed help from the modding community to unlock the visual enhancements, The Evil Within was known to crash often and feature a host of glitches, Dead Rising 3 launched with very poor optimization and Assassin’s Creed Unity…well, that game had issues across the board regardless of platform when it released last year.
It’s mind boggling to me why a company would choose to release a bad game and take the PR hit, rather than push back a game to ensure that the final product will make the fan base happy, get good reviews, and sell more copies thanks to positive word of mouth. Releasing a bad game erodes trust in the product or franchise, and can seriously hurt future releases. For now it seems that many PC titles will play second fiddle to their console counterparts which is truly unfortunate.