Bethesda: Technically Speaking, PC Development is a "Headache"



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I know exactly what this is about. Consoles = physical media. PCs = digital distribution becoming increasingly more common. They're ruining out of reasons for keeping the cost to consumers up for PC purchases so they want to focus on consoles where they can still legitimately keep costs to us at a maximum, thus their profits up as well.



While I will gladly play Mortal Kombat on a console (my PS3, specifically), or FIFA'11 or ModNation Racers or the various party/trivia games which are best played with a room full of friends, there is no way in hell I will EVER play Rage or Skyrim or Fallout on anything less than my PC.  I don't have the world's most powerful computer, but I've put together a decent gaming rig and its performance absolutely decimates anything that a PS3 or Xbox is capable of providing.  The controls are better, the graphics are sharper and the load times are MUCH shorter.  Add to that the myriad 3rd-party updates and mods (, for example) and there is simply no point in playing the console version of these games.

I'll stop gaming on my PC when I'm dead.  Maybe.





Sorry but I agree with others here. The "oh shit its hard" defense deserves the wet hanky award every time. Don't forget who got you to your lofty place in gaming Bethedsa. 

If you stop making PC games, thats fine, I'll spend my money with another comapny who does embrace the platform that even makes console gaming a possibility. The PC.


Also Bethedsa... I just forget. I just bought Skyrim for the PC last night. You must be a fucking idiot to say shit like this when you are in the process of selling a A list title for the PC.


h e x e n

I don't really know why, but his statement pisses me off. It shouldn't, but it does.

Though, at the end of the day, it's just his opinion and one that I'm sure isn't shared by everyone coding for the PC. I'd hate to be talking frankly about something like this and have my opinion filleted for the sheer fact that it's in writing for millions of people to see.

At the same time though, don't shun technology because of laziness. The PC is and always has been superior to consoles in almost every regard. It can push higher resolutions with better picture quality at better FPS's than any crapbox. It gives you a much broader range of tools and options to work with and can take advantage of intense and next generation features like tesselation, AA, lighting engines, anisotrpic filtering, physics engines and just about anything inbetween.

ALL, and I mean EVERYTHING, that is part of the console experience comes from the PC. Outside of motion control devices, which you could still argue was a PC first, everything from the hardware inside the console to the TV you're playing it on was done on the PC first. Try adding a second and third TV and pushing your resolution past 1080P. Oh that's right, you can't. Whoops.

I guess what irritates me most is the "less than" mindset. It's like wanting to build parts for the Saturn V rocket and corresponding command modules instead of building for the Space Shuttle.

"Well, the space shuttle is more work and kind of a headache..."

No. That doesn't wash with me, I'm sorry. I could understand if PC's were lagging behind the consoles in technology, but the fact of the matter is, they aren't. True gaming PC's are elite machines for people who want more out of their entertainment. They drive a superior visual experience and hold truckloads more utility.


At the same time, I'm looking forward to playing Skyrim on my PC when I get off work tomorrow morning. So I do give you thanks, Bethesda, for taking the time to code for the superior platform. I can hardly wait.



Gee was it to hard to ask AMD or nVidia to submit a driver for testing ya know not so long ago before consoles became what they are now A little thing called QA/beta testing was done hows about trying that in the future....

There must be plenty of PC gamers in your local town that would jump at the chance to beta test for you even if you just offered up a free version of the game for them as payment



This sounds financially motivated.. so it costs a little more to dev a PC game and they dont want to foot the bill, and certainly dont want to spend any money improving it over the console version, so they just badmouth it instead.. what a shame..



I was in the used game industry (consoles) for a number of years, and more than just working a register.


These developers lose a tremendous amount of cash to the likes of GameStop reselling titles, but you see very little attention paid to it - it's always "PC gamers are rampant pirates."  How many of you have saved the $5 or $10 and bought a used copy of a game?  That's money that is not going back to the developers.  Yet, they continue to give us this PC/Piracy bullcrap, and I'm simply tired of the excuse.



Right, and let's not forget about the mod chips and soft hacks...truth is there is no way for them to tell if they are losing x amount of money because piracy is not traceable, and the majority of these people are not going to plunk down $60 for a video game anyway.



You guys stop complaining about piracy and standardize a dongle for pc games.  How bout iLok? Maybe then we will see greater games.



Nice Copout Bethesda... If Id had tested RAGE on a single pc other than the one in Carmacks office, they would have easily spotted the shoddy performance and texture popping...

Blaming the hardware manufacturers is total bullshit and they know it... As it stands, RAGE is still unplayable for me.

Seriously, these multiplatform developers need to take a hint from ValVe and lern2code...  Lazy Programmers is a valid and believable excuse, although annoying... this "its impossible to account for so many hardware variations" isn't and a total fabrication...


BC Hiker

I agree that the hardware combinations are immense. If they could do something to unify hardware architecture or make working with different skus easier we probably would see more PC development.
I disagree with piracy being a PC problem.  When the game showed up on torrent sites it was the X-Box version not the PC version. Someone in the retail channel, probably in Europe, had taken the game and done whatever they have to do to pirate it.  Music and videos are not exclusive to the PC and they get pirated.
No matter what draconian anti-piracy mesaures the developers come up with there is always a way around it. This does not go away if you stop developing for the PC.



And because PCs are such a headache you develop games with outdated graphics because that is all that 4-5 year old console can put out. So piracy is the crutch to hamper the development of technology?



I like how he mentioned that Rage was raged on because of driver issues which is utter BS.

We nerd raged on Rage because there weren't any video config settings in the menu system.  The only way to change the settings were via the config files which is rediculous. 

Also the texture popping issues, artifact issues, bluriness at the edge of the screen and the use of the low res texture files.

Essentially they gave us a pile of crap and then pointed the finger at AMD/ATI.  Heck i had plenty of issues which are still not cleared up and im running with an nvidia card.

I don't blame Bethesda for these issues though.  That would be making the same mistake that i am talking about.  This rests solely on id and specifically John Carmack who screwed us PC gamers.

Oh and theres plenty of blame for console gamers.  




 "Even still, Hines laments that if you're going to make games for the PC, piracy will be a problem and "you have to deal with it.""


Interesting that some companies see piracy as a problem, and others as an opportunity.


A game without crippling DRM on the PC can still be successful and return a profit.



Game is also less buggy with a single mod installed, and runs on ANY PC manufactured this century...



What a croc. I guess those graphics and code libraries (e.g. DirectX, OpenGL) that isolate the developer from the graphics driver and system specifics aren't used at Bethesda. They must write everything in x86 assembly and vendor-specific graphics code.

Please. The only thing that's a headache is if you want to release versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Even then, using robust OpenGL (a must for non-Windows) and code libraries, usually some configuration changes and a recompile will get you 90% of the way to full compatibility. A game is just a software product, and we software developers write multi-platform products that are far more complex all the time (Oracle Database, anyone?).



Yeah, I don't know what they're talking about. Driver issues shouldn't be much of a concern at all. As long as they aren't using vendor specific features/quirks/bugs/hacks, they shouldn't have any issues with that sorta thing.

The only "issue" I can see them having is the big differences in computing power. 'Cause you know some genius will wonder why Skyrim won't work with his Riva128...

Piracy is also a big issue. I can't imagine how shitty it must make developers feel knowing that people have little to no problem downloading their work without paying for it. Unfortunately though, there's not much that can be done about that...



So get out of the gig!  Oh, what's that- it's too profitable to get out of....


When I hear remarks like this I instantly think of how big & bloated corporation have become.  And the focus becomes not on innovation, but rather meeting the numbers so as to over feed its megalomaniacs (upper management).  I also wonder if any of Bethseda's talent (developers)remembers a time when doing this was fun, not because they have too?



These are things that we already knew. It must not be that big of a headache since many games are still released for the PC.


std error

"As for Skyrim, PC gamers are going to be "very pleased" with the performance, Hines added."

I really hope this is true. After the Rage debacle I couldn't force myselft to pre-order Skyrim. I will buy the game once I hear the all clear sound from the brave souls who did pre-order it.





Yes, it's such an unmitigated chore that we've only been doing it for 25 years, on multiple platforms, long before there was a Wintel. Come on, pull the other one. that's like ford complaining how difficult it is to manufacture cars.


And Piracy must End.

yeah, sure... Piracy is bad, when you're an indie developer struggling to make ends meet. when you're Bethesda Softworks, who scores the biggest sales and licenses in a lucrative industry, obviously it's not exactly under-cutting your business model. Here's a hint, stop putting out 300 million dollar "didn't I just play this twice before?" games that cost $60 BEFORE you add in extra's I used to get for free buying the freaking thing, and i might be less likely to say "You know, i'd really like to play that, but not for the cost of three nice meals out." and more likely to purchase it.


Are we forgetting that small, creative indie titles like Portal and Minecraft are the biggest touchstones of the past decade? Everyone may play blockbuster crapware like MW3 and WOW, but everyone is QUOTING the cake is a lie. tells you which has better mind-share and profitability, doesn't it? hint, bethesda, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.



"Here's a hint, stop putting out 300 million dollar "didn't I just play this twice before?" games that cost $60 BEFORE you add in extra's I used to get for free buying the freaking thing, and i might be less likely to say "You know, i'd really like to play that, but not for the cost of three nice meals out." and more likely to purchase it."

This is part of my argument.

Consider. I go have my nice meal out. I'm not happy with it. I talk to the manager, we work out something. I go and buy a new mouse for my computer. It sucks. I take it back to the store and say, "Man, this thing just is not working out." I get a refund. You buy a car... it's a lemon. Problems with it, breaks down, you have a period in most states where you can take it back and say, "Hey... this is garbage."

You buy a video game. Company walks off with your money. You find out the game sucks balls. You're out $60, and the company keeps your money while laughing all the way to the bank. You have no chance at restitution beyond never buying from them again.

Which, at the end of the day, I'm kinda ok with, because when you screw me over or don't hold up to your end of the contract (buying a product is in a way, a contract), I never forget. There are a few companies I will NEVER do business with ever again due to this and I ensure that others know that they are not worthy of trust. That said... Gordon Biersch in SoCal.... Ford Motor Company.... Verizon... yep! All three of those will never see a penny from me ever again.



Oh, so because Bethesda is a producer of big games, that entitles you to steal from them?  But not the indie game developer's eh?  Funny how one of the biggest pirated games ever was "Plants vs. Zombies."  Guess not all pirates follow your line of thinking.

So do you go steal milk from a major producer like Dairy Farm?  Or how about cars?  GMC is huge - do you use that as an excuse to steal their cars?

Stealing is stealing - you can try and sugarcoat it all you want, but spare us the lame excuses and at least man up about it.  You steal because you have anonimity on the Internet, there are no negative consequences to stealing and it's easy.



erm wrong stealing means to remove permanently the use/ownership of that which was stolen.... when you pirate a game your only making a copy not removing the original from the use of it's owner




I'm sorry. This is rich. I love how he injects the whole, "but the biggest obstacle is piracy," line in there. Here..... consider this for a second:

Yes. Viacom gave it's CEO a $50 million BONUS at the same time while screeching to Congress that piracy is killing it. Mr. Hines.... when you guys cry to us about "piracy" ... you really should be concerned about piracy from within.

Oh, and I'll be BUYING a copy of Skyrim... because I believe that there should be a fair exchange for something. On the back side of that though, if I get a copy and find it to be abyssmal (which I doubt), you'll never see another red cent from me ever again. Other people, who may feel like they have been screwed, say like in your RAGE example... might take it upon themselves to get their fair money's worth back in some creative manner.

So, my advice? Make a good product. Sell it for a reasonable price. And don't overpay people who don't actually create the product.



Would it really be too hard to do a driver check before launching / installing a game?  If your video drivers are more than 6 months old or not on the supported list, you're given a link to new / supported drivers and big warning that if you continue anyway, don't blame the developer for technical problems. 




Holly Golightly

It is only a headache if you do not like making games for that platform. Otherwise it should not be a problem. Yes, there are too many drivers that make the PC too complex, but piracy is not that big  as people keep saying it is. It is bigger in countries where the game was region locked from in first place. We need to understand that if you price it reasonably, and distribute it nationwide, you would make more money out of it. Anyhow, I do understand the complexities.



Piracy an issue only on PC, i know a ton of people that have modded consoles and download games just the same as pc users. I think piracy is an issue on any platform where people dont want to pay for something.



So... Nothing new here.

I honestly think you should start with a minimum requirements baseline and test your game on that before going to the beastliest of machines. And I think most of the beef with RAGE was the fact that you could visible see the texture streaming (but I guess "buggy drivers" are a problem too)

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