As most of you might be aware by now, Batman Arkham Knight re-launched on PC sometime ago but PC gamers have still been facing issues with the port. For one thing, you’ll need 12 GB of Ram to run the game properly on Windows 10, says Warner Brothers. And anyone who has a graphics with 2 GB of VRam will have to play the game with textures on minimum, according to Digital Foundry, because otherwise it’s basically unplayable. That’s not all the issues that the Batman Arkham Knight PC port has actually. SLI/Crossfire is still not working as intended and the game still suffers from hard drive paging issues with some GPUs on Windows 7.
For the most part Warner Brothers and Rocksteady did not release any major technical update when the game re-launched a few days back and the only explanation for this is that they were still working on getting the DLCs ready for the PC version of the game in order to make sure that they would be available once the game is out again. This isn’t the first time Warner Brothers has focused on getting DLC content out instead of trying to actually fix the game, a similar incident happened previously with Batman Arkham Origins.
Unfortunately, incidents like these are common for the PC platform. We get to hear a lot of news on how PC ports of AAA titles are crap compared to their console counterparts and how games on PC are locked at 30 FPS even though there’s no reason for them to be locked at anything below 60 FPS. There’s actually no reason to lock FPS on PC to begin with, PC has no limitations. Developers and publishers alike have been treating PC gamers as second class citizens for a long time now. With GTA 5 releasing almost 19 months after it’s initial console debut and games like Assassins Creed coming out much later on PC compared to their console counterparts, it’s a trend that’s very obvious. Ubisoft’s CEO even went as far as to say on record that 93-95% of PC gamers are pirates.
He’s wrong obviously because he just pulled those statistics out of thin air and never actually went about to provide more information on them but if we’re going to talk about piracy, it should be mentioned that studies conducted by both the Swiss government and the London School of Economics suggest that piracy can actually boost overall sales and is in general good for the industry. There’s even been a study by Anders Drachen from the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University and the PLAIT Lab at Northeastern University as well as Robert Veitch from the Department of IT Management at Copenhagen Business School which found that there’s quite a lot of misconception when it comes to the topic of video game piracy. It’s not to far fetched to believe that piracy has some benefits as well. The Indian gaming industry exists today largely because of piracy and hence companies are venturing into the market in order to tap into it and make money out of it. It should be noted that till this day, no one has ever proven that piracy is equal to loss in sale because if someone is pirating a game, it’s unlikely that he or she would’ve bought the game in the first place if he or she didn’t pirate it.
There’s also a lot of false information going around regarding PC gaming in general. A lot of people tell me that PC gaming is full of pirates and developers make money only via console game sales. That’s just simply not true. Research by PwC (Source: Cnet) show that worldwide PC games sales are supposed to add up to $29 billion, while console games sales should reach $28 billion by the end of 2016. PC users are also expected to vastly outspend console gamers at $21.8 billion compared to $2.4 billion in terms of DLC. The gap will widen even more so in the coming years due to gaming becoming popular in countries such as China and India (Yes, India! I’m as surprised as you are), and both of these countries are dominated by PC gamers. And with Steam supporting INR now, a spike in video games sales for the PC gaming market in India is right around the corner. Why do I say that? Before Valve entered the Russian market with Steam, Russia was a hotbed to piracy, similar to how India was. Today, Russia makes up about 8.8% of Steam’s global traffic and is their largest market in Europe.
One of the advantages consoles had back in the day was that you only needed to put in the disc and start playing the game. Back then installing a game on PC was comparatively hard, I guess? But what about today, is it still hard to install games on your PC in 2015? Unless you’re using UPlay or installing pirated games, you can’t use that excuse anymore. Other than a few exceptions, gaming on PC has never been easier or cheaper. And let’s not get into the debate of how you need to constantly change your PC hardware in order to play a game. You don’t. I’ve been using a GTX 760 for over 2 years now and I can still run most games on high or ultra. The fact that Batman Arkham Knight performs so poorly on PC is not the hardware’s fault, it’s the developers and publishers fault because they haven’t bothered enough to optimize a game on a platform that for the most part vastly outperforms the consoles that were launched a little less than 2 years ago.
It’s really annoying to see developers, publishers and most of the gaming industry treat PC gamers as second class citizens by not giving them the service they rightly deserve. PC gaming in general is a big industry already and most research point towards it getting bigger and better. And yet, regardless of what research shows, developers and publishers seem to show very little love to the PC gaming crowd.
It’s high time people realized which direction the wind is blowing because only the people pointing their sails in the right direction are going to move forward while those fighting against the wind aren’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. If companies like Warner Brothers and Ubisoft keep treating PC gamers in this manner, they’ll lose their chance to gain the goodwill of a market that’s growing rapidly. And there’s always room for someone to take their place. Valve has already offered PC gamers a service, marketplace and platform with Steam where they can do their shopping, interact with fellow PC gamers and show their love for PC gaming at the same time. And it’s better than anything out there in the PC gaming market right now (Though GOG has an ambitious catch up plan) and hence their future is very bright indeed. Not to mention the fact that Valve makes a whole lot of money out of it.
So this goes out to developers, publishers and related company executives. Start treating PC gamers right. If not for their love, do it for the bucketloads of money PC gaming provides. If you don’t, someone else will.