One System to Play them all,
One System to Load them,
One System to Join them all
and in the darkness Entertain them.
I know, I know, Prof. Tolkien is rolling over in his grave right now. But that said, this is basically what this series on Console vs PC Gaming is all about.
It’s about the idea that we should be able to play what we want whenever we want. Oh sure, I’ve extolled the love of Consoles as a gaming platform. And yes, I’ve stated that PC Gaming should go the way of the dinosaur. But all of this is really meant to drive home a single point. If you’re REALLY into playing games, it’s one freaking complicated and expensive hobby!
Now I’m not talking about game prices themselves. We all know there’s Free to Play, Rent to Play, and of course Pay to Play options. There are games that can be had for Free to games that can end up costing thousands of dollars. It all depends on what your bank account and lifestyle allows.
That said, once you start thinking about playing games with your friends, these end up being not only expensive, but as I said before wrought with choice.
What’s up with that!
Why can’t I just sit down and play a freaking game with my friends on whatever platform I choose?
Why can’t I play Call of Duty with my friends on Steam, Xbox Live and yeah, even the freaking Wii at the same time?
And for those of us that like MMO’s I ask you: Why must we suffer with the humility of being a PC only platform?
Why can’t we play games like WoW, Rift or TOR on our Xbox? (Don’t you DARE claim graphic performance on this one. THEY ALL would look beautiful on today’s consoles.)
Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t think I can answer this one other than to just say it’s either because:
A) Their Greedy or
B) They’re just plain lazy!
And if that’s not the case, then what is it! Wait! Don’t answer that just yet. Let’s see what the Interwebs can tell us.
PC Games Cannot Connect To Xbox or Console Networks
The idea that there’s some platform/operating system reason that keeps us from playing the games we want is ludicrous. (Okay, I’ll admit that the technology just isn’t there to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on my Kindle. But COME ON!! That’s not the point here. Well not yet anyways!)
Oh sure, depending on the platform’s operating system there are specific APIs and commands available, but we see a plethora of titles out there that obviously work on different platforms. Put it this way, if a game manufacturer can program it, the technology is there to make it work.
How do I know this?? Well simply put, back in mid-90’s I designed a system that allowed a Macintosh on a Windows network communicate via Satellite and control an IBM Mainframe at Toyota! Now if I could pull all that off without a college education then surely 20 years later we can figure out a way to connect a console and a pc to the same program.
Oh wait.. never mind WE ALREADY CAN!! Microsoft does it all the time with Xbox Live, Sony with its Playstation Network.
So WTF People! Why can’t I play a game on my Xbox and get my butt whooped by a friend in Australia on his top-of the line PC!!
Hell if I know! Do you?
Duh! MMOs are Too Complex For Consoles.
Every time I hear someone mention that a game is “Too complex for XYZ system.” I laugh till I almost pee my pants. Oh sure, you probably think that’s insensitive or elitist of me but I do.
Think about it, can you honestly sit back and tell me that the game you’re playing is too complex for the button combinations allowed on a console? HONESTLY!?!?
Okay. Before I really lose my cool or insult you I’ll try to explain what I find so funny.
Let’s first dissect what we do in probably one of the most interactive games out there, MMOs, more specifically MMO-RPGs.
Let’s see what we do in a game:
- Movement (Left, Right, Forward, Backwards, Up, Down, L/R Sidestep or Strafe)
- Chat (Need typing interface)
- Interact with Objects (Need point and click)
- Use Object/Cast Spell On Target (Complex Point and Click)
I heard that some people have over 50 key binds to do these basic commands. With over half of them being some form of Use Object/Cast Spell on Target type assignments.
If I use just a simple X+1 Button combination I have over 50 combinations on a basic controller. If I went REALLY complex I could do X+2 Button combinations and easily eclipse that. Now don’t start telling me how you could do CTRL+, ALT+, Mouseover along with every single key on the keyboard so that you can prove a point.
What I’m trying to say is this. It’s all in the programming. Heck, every MMO today is looking at ways to simplify their UI. Why? It’s not so they can play their games on Consoles. Most deny even moving in that direction!
What they’ve come to realize is that MMOs today are shoddily programmed and require way too many commands.
But hey! That’s okay! How many of us really remember what we bind to all our keys? I know I sure don’t! I typically give up and end up using on about 10 commands and the rest I relegate to some action bar. If you take away movement and “Macro options” (Which, in my opinion, are just our way of doing the programmers job at making our game play easier) I’ll bet dollars to donuts most don’t remember either!
I’m not saying that MMOs aren’t complex, they are! MMOs probably have the most complex systems and game play out there today. But I honestly believe we kid ourselves if we think we do anything different in a really good FPS like Call of Duty: MW3 or Battle Field 3.
So that said, why can’t we play PC Games with our Console Friends? I really don’t know that there is an answer other than money.
- Server based Play – Check
- Complex Commands – Check
- Voice Communication – Check
- Text Communication – Check
- Game compatibility – Check
Am I missing something? If so what??
The only thing I can think of is Economics. For the Indie Developer it’s a matter of simple finances. Single system games are easier and cost lest to develop. But we’re not faulting them. Besides, if we all agreed my suggestion of a single “Home Entertainment Console” that wouldn’t be an issue. (Sorry, again I digress…)
But what about the big guys? The Activision-Blizzards? The Bethesda Softworks or Electronic Arts? Pfft.. Let’s strike it where it hurts FREAKING SONY OR MICROSOFT!!! Why don’t they develop games that work across the platforms??
If it has ANYTHING to do with ANYTHING other than Corporate Greed I’d love to hear it! My guess is it has EVERYTHING to do with Corporate Politics and Budgets. If not? Please prove me wrong.