If you haven’t been following, there’s been a bit of an uproar in the PC gaming community since Batman: Arkham Knight was released this past Tuesday. To be blunt, the game runs like consolidated shit on even the most high end hardware. The gameplay frame rate is capped to 30fps, it suffers from extreme lag and stuttering, and is an overall unpleasant experience. I know this first hand, because on my i7-4770K, GTX 980 SLI system it runs like Crysis on a TI-85 calculator.
This is just another notch in the prison wall erected by AAA game publishers to hold in the PC community. This jail has always existed, to some degree, but since the advent of the current-gen consoles it’s walls have grown much higher. It may be paranoia, but there seems to be an unspoken agreement between major game developers to intentionally cripple recent PC releases in order to make the consoles look like more viable options.
If you didn’t know, the Xbox One and Playstation 4 are basically PCs. As opposed to the last-gen systems, which used proprietary processors (PowerPC and Cell, respectively) whose instruction sets weren’t particularly compatible with anything else, the current consoles use x86 chips. The same ones in every PC on Earth.
Why does this matter? You’d think that this was a good thing, allowing developers to better optimize their code between all the platforms. So ideally, a game would run with the same efficiency on the PS4 versus someone’s mid-tier gaming PC. But as the last year and half has shown, that hasn’t been the case.
Ubisoft, a large developer and publisher in the industry, has been particularly guilty of releasing shotty PC ports of big titles, such as Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Granted, Unity had issues on consoles as well due to the game being rushed out the door and full of bugs. But a big part of that uproar was the infamous “30fps is more cinematic” statement.
Now we’re hearing this again from WB Games, maker of Arkham Knight. On top of that, it appears that the textures on the PC version don’t have the same fidelity as the console releases. Is this just a mistake, or the same old song and dance?
Whatever the reason, WB Games pulled the PC release of Arkham Knight yesterday evening. It’s no longer available on Steam. That’s right, they took a huge title off the virtual shelves, one they’ve spent months pouring marketing money into so I could see ads on every damn website I visit.
This is a huge deal. While I’d like to praise Gaben and hope that the PC community is finally being heard again, a large part of the reason may be due to Steam refunds being recently implemented. Before it was pulled, Arkham Knight had a “mostly negative” rating from over 6,700 reviews on Steam. Nothing like voting with your wallet.
But it’s not all bleak. Recent titles like The Witcher 3 and GTA V show that a little more time and effort into making PC releases solid will earn you nothing but praise and more money. And that’s what it comes down to in the end. So are you listening you big-wig gaming companies?
Don’t you want more money?