Bethesda VP: Developing For PC is a "Headache"

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Bethesda VP: Developing For PC is a "Headache"

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Pete Hines of Bethesda says that between hardware hassles and piracy, developing games for the PC is a "headache."

Bethesda Softworks has been around for a long time. My earliest Bethsoft game is Wayne Gretzky Hockey, which goes all the way back to 1988, and it's put out an awful lot of games since then. It's fair to say, in other words, that the company knows a thing or two about what it's doing.

"We do what we do best. We make big, crazy RPGs and fortunately for us the previous ones have done really well so there's no reason for us not to keep making them," Hines, Bethesda's vice president of marketing, told Joystiq. "If that's what we loved doing and nobody wanted to play them, we'd have a problem on our hands."

There was a time when those big, crazy RPGs were exclusively available on PCs, although that hasn't been the case since Morrowind came out for the original Xbox back in 2002. These days it's safe to assume that the bulk of Elder Scrolls fans get their fix via consoles, but while Bethesda still develops for the PC and shows no inclination toward stopping, Hines said it can be a bit of a hassle.

"From a technical standpoint, yes, the PC is a headache. It just is. A million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc. As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as 'buggy' when in fact it's a really solid, stable game," he said.

And of course there's the old, familiar bugbear of piracy. "Unless you decide not to make your games available for PC, it's a problem and you have to deal with it," he continued. "So we do the best we can to protect it without resorting to Draconian measures, and we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the Creation Kit and the ability to create and add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game."

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim comes out on November 11 - that's tomorrow! - for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Permalink

Makes sense. A console is a console. You know exactly what makes it tick and what it's limitations are.

Then there are people who literally build their PC from scratch. Hell, Steam kept spamming me with pop-ups saying 'WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR VIDEO CARD IS, BUT IT'S PROBABLY SHIT. WE JUST DON'T KNOW. STOP PLAYING OUR GAMES.'

Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Much harder, and it can potentially get your Xbox bricked.

For PC, you type '[insert game name here] torrent' and boom. You either have the game or tons of viruses. Or both. Or really nasty porn. Or all three.

Kopikatsu:
Hell, Steam kept spamming me with pop-ups saying 'WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR VIDEO CARD IS, BUT IT'S PROBABLY SHIT. WE JUST DON'T KNOW. STOP PLAYING OUR GAMES.'

Really??? This would be one of the few things that I would take personally if Steam would say that to me...

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Aside from Gears of War 3, what other console games were leaked early this year? I swear there were others. I'm not calling you out or anything, I really want to know.

Edit: So far it's CoD, Skyrim, Gears of war 3, Killzone 3, Deus Ex, Crysis, Batman (Maybe).

Waaghpowa:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Aside from Gears of War 3, what other console games were leaked early this year? I swear there were others. I'm not calling you out or anything, I really want to know.

Skyrim, most recently.

I'm not too far up to date with any others though.

SidingWithTheEnemy:

Kopikatsu:
Hell, Steam kept spamming me with pop-ups saying 'WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOUR VIDEO CARD IS, BUT IT'S PROBABLY SHIT. WE JUST DON'T KNOW. STOP PLAYING OUR GAMES.'

Really??? This would be one of the few things that I would take personally if Steam would say that to me...

No, it didn't really say that last part. It does have me submit the information on my video card every month or so, though. They keep promising to update their database, but they never do! Panda Rage!

Edit: It really is shit, though. My computer has the power to run literally any game on max settings (Except maybe Crysis), but the video card can't even play most indie games. I would buy a new one, but I have no idea how to install a new card or anything.

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

However, the moment that game is played while connected to XBL, they know. Playing a game not yet shipped in that region? Expect a ban on the account and possible IP ban as well. Abnormal code that may be the result of unauthorized copying? They see that too. In the worst cases (i.e. suspected hacking), they've actually remotely locked the 360 from usage.

They make Big Brother look blind in comparison.

Kopikatsu:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Much harder, and it can potentially get your Xbox bricked.

For PC, you type '[insert game name here] torrent' and boom. You either have the game or tons of viruses. Or both. Or really nasty porn. Or all three.

No one uses a pirate console to play online. I mean no one with half a brain and given that most console piracy is considered to happen offline and 1mil consoles were banned a couple of years ago yes it is quite prevalent. Also pirates on consoles tend to get someone to chip them anyway rather than do it themselves and then buy games from said person.

OT: Yes I thought this was really obvious already and didn't need to be stated again. Really? The Rage thing? The was just pure crap service on ID software's part for releasing a game that needed drivers that did not exist and I know this is something PC gamers have to deal with but running a game fine on your optimised cards is one thing but if the drivers don't exist do it yourself or wait for them to update them to avoid bad PR.

I agree with VP and first comment so many hardware configurations out there, must be really hard to know what will work well and not so well.

-'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim comes out on November 11 - that's tomorrow! - for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.'-

6 hours till my friends and I head to the midnight release.....

*twitch
*twitch

OT: As long as Bethesda makes more Elder Scrolls, I'll make sure to buy something to play it on. Hell, Oblivion is why I bought a 360...

The Gentleman:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

However, the moment that game is played while connected to XBL, they know. Playing a game not yet shipped in that region? Expect a ban on the account and possible IP ban as well. Abnormal code that may be the result of unauthorized copying? They see that too. In the worst cases (i.e. suspected hacking), they've actually remotely locked the 360 from usage.

They make Big Brother look blind in comparison.

Yep. You can't hide behind the mythical "7 proxies" on an Xbox.

OT: Makes sense. I can understand where there coming from, but I'm just glad they still have plans to fully support the PC crowd in the future.

Wait, so they got rid of that 250 mod limit that the old gamebryo engine had?

Awesome.

Also, didn't Skyrim get leaked early for the Xbox? Or was that Modern Warfare? I don't know, so many games get leaked early, I'm not sure which one is out early on which platform.

Kopikatsu:
Edit: It really is shit, though. My computer has the power to run literally any game on max settings (Except maybe Crysis), but the video card can't even play most indie games. I would buy a new one, but I have no idea how to install a new card or anything.

Trust me when I say it's a no brainer. You literally plug it into the socket and attach a screw plug it into the power supply and you're done.

Kopikatsu:
[...]
No, it didn't really say that last part. It does have me submit the information on my video card every month or so, though. They keep promising to update their database, but they never do! Panda Rage!

Edit: It really is shit, though. My computer has the power to run literally any game on max settings (Except maybe Crysis), but the video card can't even play most indie games.

Oh, interesting. What kind a card did you braze yourself together then? Because this sounds interesting.

Anyway:
I doubt the problem lies in the different possible hardware setups but rather in the progression of the media. The PC lifecycle is far to fast, new hardware (and designated drivers) pop up much faster than the industry producing software titles can come up with.
I wouldn't mind spending more on a PC that lasts longer but the system doesn't work that way. The moment you buy your PC (or the parts for it) Already new, better and cheaper ones are on the market. It's always the same and probably will always be...

Kopikatsu:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Much harder, and it can potentially get your Xbox bricked.

For PC, you type '[insert game name here] torrent' and boom. You either have the game or tons of viruses. Or both. Or really nasty porn. Or all three.

Glad someone corrected him quickly.

OT: Obvious cat is obvious? This has been said many times by Bathesda, and it's obvious that it's easier to build a game for a known platform.

SidingWithTheEnemy:

Kopikatsu:
[...]
No, it didn't really say that last part. It does have me submit the information on my video card every month or so, though. They keep promising to update their database, but they never do! Panda Rage!

Edit: It really is shit, though. My computer has the power to run literally any game on max settings (Except maybe Crysis), but the video card can't even play most indie games.

Oh, interesting. What kind a card did you braze yourself together then? Because this sounds interesting.

Nothing, it's the video card that came with the computer. Which is why I'm confused as to why Steam is confused.

I'm a PC gamer all the way but looking at the low sales that PC versions usually have I consider us lucky to get these ports.

Also the ports are only bad compared to the enormous potential of PC hardware, compared to the console versions the PC version is typically superior.

As far as piracy though, right now it's a bigger problem on consoles than it is on PC, but that's partly due to it being late in this console generation.

I'm so tired of game developers bitching and moaning about "if a person's drivers are different, everything looks likes shit, and that's haaaarrrrrrd". My video card wasn't compatible with the first Mass Effect. The card that came before and after my card were, but mine wasn't. The backgrounds, and especially the lights, had this horrible looking pixelation that would blur the edges of the things in the foreground. It was hideous, AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE IT! Do you know why? Because it was MASS EFFECT! I loved that game to death, and I didn't even care that my video card messed it up because I loved playing.

The moral of the story is, if your game is good enough, no one will care that their graphics aren't perfect.

Sober Thal:
-'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim comes out on November 11 - that's tomorrow! - for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.'-

6 hours till my friends and I head to the midnight release.....

*twitch
*twitch

OT: As long as Bethesda makes more Elder Scrolls, I'll make sure to buy something to play it on. Hell, Oblivion is why I bought a 360...

5 hours til I can unlock it on Steam!

God damn this day needs to be over already.

Didn't the 360 version of Skyrim get leaked first?

Irridium:
Wait, so they got rid of that 250 mod limit that the old gamebryo engine had?

Awesome.

Also, didn't Skyrim get leaked early for the Xbox? Or was that Modern Warfare? I don't know, so many games get leaked early, I'm not sure which one is out early on which platform.

Xbox 360 and PS3 pirated version of Skyrim were leaked about 6 days ago or so. There has yet to be a pirated version for the PC.

The entire idea that it is harder to pirate on consoles is like comparing lifting a feather and a dime. You have to pirate in different ways but it is relatively easy regardless of the platform.

Waaghpowa:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Aside from Gears of War 3, what other console games were leaked early this year? I swear there were others. I'm not calling you out or anything, I really want to know.

Killzone 3 was leaked on PS3, and I believe that Bulletstorm leaked off the 360 a few days before the PC version.

Waaghpowa:

Kopikatsu:
Edit: It really is shit, though. My computer has the power to run literally any game on max settings (Except maybe Crysis), but the video card can't even play most indie games. I would buy a new one, but I have no idea how to install a new card or anything.

Trust me when I say it's a no brainer. You literally plug it into the socket and attach a screw plug it into the power supply and you're done.

And you would be surprised how many people have bricked their systems trying to install new hardware because they didn't know the difference between a PCI-E and PCI slot...
Working for DELL I once had a call where a customer bought new RAM for his laptop, found it was just a bit too big for the slot so he busted out a dremel and shaved it down to fit...
As easy as it is for people who know what their doing, I don't recommend uneducated users upgrading their hardware without a professional present to teach them how to do it correctly. Yes it is like building with LEGOs and yes most hardware only fits in certain slots but ignorance + upgrading = brick.

Kopikatsu:

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

Much harder, and it can potentially get your Xbox bricked.

For PC, you type '[insert game name here] torrent' and boom. You either have the game or tons of viruses. Or both. Or really nasty porn. Or all three.

yeah if you want to play games online, offline it's free game and I could do it if I really wanted to.

On subject.. Really just really?? They where making pc games far before console games don't blame bad programming on this. If amateur modders for fallout 3, oblivion can make patches and far better mods for the game than the creators then you know something is wrong.

For most developers I can see how the statement "developing for the PC is a pain in the ass" would be accurate. I think the piracy issue is a bit overblown in the minds of the publishers but yeah it's a problem and trying to psychically intuit what drivers the player has installed is probably a pain.

That said this seems weird coming from Bethesda. I mean their entire business model on the PC seems to be: release decent game and let the modders make it a really good game. Profit! Bethesda owes so much to the modding community that can only exist on PC that it seems weird to release this statement that seem to imply that there are only drawbacks to releasing games on a PC.

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for? The whole "cry for us, PC games might be pirated" comes off as a completely ignorant statement.

no your statement comes off as forced ignorance, purposefully missing the point entirely that a hell of allot more piracy happens on pc rather than consoles in proportion to the amount of sales.

I mean for starters without a pc of some kind you can't pirate anything! stop trying to find something out of nothing to complain about, go troll somewhere else

1. piracy is irrelevant. I know it makes executives panties all bunchy imagining a pile of money and imagining it would have been in their money pit but now it isn't. The reality is that people who pirate will do without rather than pay, the company isn't going to get their money. This dude has the right idea, focus on pleasing your customers, the ones you identify themselves by giving you money. And just maybe the occasional pirate will say "you know, they do a really good job making their customers happy, I think I would like to join that club"

2. there is no excuse for Rage, that was a failure by the QA department

3. since Morrowind every single Bethesda game has had a crap interface on the PC that had to be fixed by the community through mods, so yes the developers make the game run but the community are the ones who make it playable

amaranth_dru:
Working for DELL I once had a call where a customer bought new RAM for his laptop, found it was just a bit too big for the slot so he busted out a dremel and shaved it down to fit...

That is just retarded. With the RAM situation like you presented, the different types of RAM are deliberately given different sized sockets to avoid people mis matching them. But on occasion you get someone too stupid to realize "Hmm, maybe it DOESN'T fit". But as far as the video card goes, as long as he has a PCIe slot, there shouldn't be that much issue as they're all generally the same.

Brandon Cecil:
If amateur modders for fallout 3, oblivion can make patches and far better mods for the game than the creators then you know something is wrong.

I felt the need to quote this for truth. Modders fixed every bug in Stalker and upgraded it.

daftalchemist:
I'm so tired of game developers bitching and moaning about "if a person's drivers are different, everything looks likes shit, and that's haaaarrrrrrd". My video card wasn't compatible with the first Mass Effect. The card that came before and after my card were, but mine wasn't. The backgrounds, and especially the lights, had this horrible looking pixelation that would blur the edges of the things in the foreground. It was hideous, AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE IT! Do you know why? Because it was MASS EFFECT! I loved that game to death, and I didn't even care that my video card messed it up because I loved playing.

The moral of the story is, if your game is good enough, no one will care that their graphics aren't perfect.

that's not true .... I think what he was referring to was that they work their arse off to make it look good an then someone who has some weird set up plays it who also happens to be a bit of a dick, records it, puts it on youtube "look how buggy blank blank is" an very quickly a game can get a reputation for being buggy an a development team nicked named lazy purely on hearsay

people like yourself might understand put there is always at least 1 dick on the internet to every decent person an some idiot to listen to them, who knows some idiot who will listen to him an so on...

Jedihunter4:

daftalchemist:
I'm so tired of game developers bitching and moaning about "if a person's drivers are different, everything looks likes shit, and that's haaaarrrrrrd". My video card wasn't compatible with the first Mass Effect. The card that came before and after my card were, but mine wasn't. The backgrounds, and especially the lights, had this horrible looking pixelation that would blur the edges of the things in the foreground. It was hideous, AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE IT! Do you know why? Because it was MASS EFFECT! I loved that game to death, and I didn't even care that my video card messed it up because I loved playing.

The moral of the story is, if your game is good enough, no one will care that their graphics aren't perfect.

that's not true .... I think what he was referring to was that they work their arse off to make it look good an then someone who has some weird set up plays it who also happens to be a bit of a dick, records it, puts it on youtube "look how buggy blank blank is" an very quickly a game can get a reputation for being buggy an a development team nicked named lazy purely on hearsay

people like yourself might understand put there is always at least 1 dick on the internet to every decent person an some idiot to listen to them, who knows some idiot who will listen to him an so on...

I think that's also a pathetic reason to say it's a headache though. Think of all the times when console gamers try to say "look how buggy this game is on the PS3, but Xbox is perfect", or vice versa. Are we catering to idiots saying stupid things on the internet, or are we catering to gamers who play the games?

stiver:
Does no one realize the Xbox is just as easy to pirate for?

Evidently not, not even the pirates are aware of that as the numbers consistently prove.

daftalchemist:

Jedihunter4:

daftalchemist:
I'm so tired of game developers bitching and moaning about "if a person's drivers are different, everything looks likes shit, and that's haaaarrrrrrd". My video card wasn't compatible with the first Mass Effect. The card that came before and after my card were, but mine wasn't. The backgrounds, and especially the lights, had this horrible looking pixelation that would blur the edges of the things in the foreground. It was hideous, AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE IT! Do you know why? Because it was MASS EFFECT! I loved that game to death, and I didn't even care that my video card messed it up because I loved playing.

The moral of the story is, if your game is good enough, no one will care that their graphics aren't perfect.

that's not true .... I think what he was referring to was that they work their arse off to make it look good an then someone who has some weird set up plays it who also happens to be a bit of a dick, records it, puts it on youtube "look how buggy blank blank is" an very quickly a game can get a reputation for being buggy an a development team nicked named lazy purely on hearsay

people like yourself might understand put there is always at least 1 dick on the internet to every decent person an some idiot to listen to them, who knows some idiot who will listen to him an so on...

I think that's also a pathetic reason to say it's a headache though. Think of all the times when console gamers try to say "look how buggy this game is on the PS3, but Xbox is perfect", or vice versa. Are we catering to idiots saying stupid things on the internet, or are we catering to gamers who play the games?

fair point, but prob happens a bit less though as console gamer would have to have the other console or at least access to one, plus when they do that they are intending it as an attack on the console.

i can see their point though must be a bit like trying to design an engine to work with unleaded an then getting told it has to run diesel as well, then they invent 30 other fuels that they want to run on it and if it don't work 100% on all of them somebody WILL point it out publicly

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