While 2016 saw many huge titles release, there was still a lot of room for improvement. Here’s 6 areas where we believe PC Gaming should improve in 2017.
Properly Testing Out Titles
Several major releases in 2016 left PC gamers wanting thanks to bugs, glitches and downright lack of PC testing. Major offenders for the past year include Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Forza Horizon 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dishonored 2 and Mafia 3. The biggest though according to us was XCOM 2. The final mission for some reason kept on degrading graphics performance the further you went towards the end of the game. At the end, it was barely running at 15 fps. A patch came much later that eventually allowed gamers to finish the stage but this could have been avoided with appropriate testing before release.
Yes, developers today have to account for several hardware configurations, consoles and what not but with the resources at their disposal plus the experience of making massive game titles in the past, this should no longer happen in 2017.
Why Go Exclusive?
Over the years, the allure for PC gamers has been the lack of exclusivity. Any game that launches for a PC is playable as long as your hardware meets minimum requirements. Unlike games that are made solely for Xbox or Playstation, majority of games are actually made with PC as an eventual platform if not the first. Even your choice of OS on a PC does not matter since now most games are released eventually to operate on the Mac or Linux.
Unfortunately, the exclusivity war has reached PC Games too with a huge divide going up between users of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. While the latter relies on timed exclusives to allure users its way, the fact remains exclusivity is becoming commonplace. Take for instance the VR game, Arizona Sunshine with two game modes locked unless you had an Intel Core i7 CPU. The outrage on such exclusivity eventually forced the game developers to unlock the modes for all players but if this is a glimpse of what to expect in 2017, then we are all against exclusivity.
Allowing Modding in UWAs
As it currently stands, Microsoft’s Universal Windows Applications are safe from modding in any way. Basically, the API calls are completely secured and they cannot be modified in any manner. Unfortunately, because of this games cannot be modded after their release by developers. Players cannot create mods like before and this is a huge concern because it limits the life of a game. The moment a game stops making money, it has lost its place in the marketplace because of the lack of modding ability.
Previously on Win32 platform, players could tweak their games and make maps that kept the game alive much longer than its lifetime. We hope this comes back in 2017.
Thankless Roles in Team Cooperation
Ever since multiplayer gaming made its appearance, the onus has been on playing offensive. Hardly any player wants to be the defensive person. Why? Because game developers reward offense more than they does defense. Good to see though that Overwatch has made changes and Blizzard, its developer has downplayed the importance of kills/death ratio thus bringing in more value to support roles. This is evident from the number of players willing to take up support roles of Lucio and Mercy. If games are developed intelligently and reward more than just kills, they will become more community based and stay for longer. We just hope games of 2017 take cues from Blizzard’s Overwatch.
Preserve Dying Games
Games are dying a slow death and there is no way to preserve their legacy thanks to almost all titles going zero media route. Just recently Daybreak Games shutdown PlanetSide and soon Lineage’s western servers too will receive the same treatment. How then will these games be remembered? Only passionate hackers who build private server emulators will keep the names alive.
Best example of this problem is Diablo 2. If you ever feel the need to take a trip down memory lane, just throw in the disc and start playing but this won’t be the case with Diablo 3 when the day comes for it to get scraped. Because Blizzard does not allow offline play on it, it will simply be lost in videogame history.
In 2017, we hope to see more developers and publishers doing more to safeguard videogame history. Just because a game stopped churning in money does not mean it needs to be scraped forever. Take for instance the Everquest private server Project 1999 by Daybreak Games, why can’t more publishers go this route to preserve some gaming history?
Online only games should not be lost in oblivion once their craze dies down. They should allow players to build their own private servers, so that their history lives on.
Treat Workers Better
Contractors are always preferred by game developers and publishing houses because they need not be paid more. Besides, you don’t give benefits to contractors and they can all be fired easily the moment a contract is up. Unfortunately, this practice is so rampant in the gaming industry that employees are far and few in between. Those that exist have to suffer through unpaid overtime, which is just as rampant in the game development industry.
The film and television union has managed to overcome such situations but the game development world has yet to build its own union. It is appalling to see that publishers such as Electronic Arts, which rakes in millions per title will not agree for secondary payments or even options to SAG-AFTRA performers. The truth is that big name companies do not want employees to know just how much of the billions they make are actually owed to them.
Games in 2017 should begin sharing prosperity among employees and reduce the number of contractual employees rather than hoarding all the profits they make over the life of game titles.