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Bethesda: 'PC development is a headache'

Bethesda: 'PC development is a headache'

'All it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as buggy,' says Bethesda.

Bethesda spokesman Pete Hines has described PC development as a 'headache' thanks to the technical problems brought up by driver and hardware configurations.

'From a technical standpoint, the PC is a headache,' Hines admitted to Joystiq.

'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.'

Hines also touched on the issue of piracy, which he described as a problem: 'Unless you decide not to make your games available for PC, it's a problem, and you have to deal with it.'

Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM.

'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.'

Our Skyrim review will be going up tomorrow, by the way. Until then, tide yourself over by telling us what you think about the game in the forum and watching Harry Partridge's 'Song of Skyrim' below.

69 Comments

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beckoner 10th November 2011, 11:14 Quote
My copy was despatched yesterday : may the gods let it arrive today!
mjm25 10th November 2011, 11:28 Quote
Yet the Steam Dragon won't release you from it's toothy jaw until tomorrow ;)
technogiant 10th November 2011, 11:28 Quote
Bethesda should not be allowed to get away with comments like that, the problem with Rage was not driver support, it was the fact they didn't concern themselves primarily with the pc as a platform, something they now admit only after it became blindingly apparent after release.
When it was released vsync did not work, multi gpu was not and still is not supported, higher resolution textures had to be forced via a config file rather than being accessible from the interface and config files had to be used to enable texture caching so pop in didn't occur.
Far from the idtec5 engine pushing the pc to it's api bound limits as Carmack implied it didn't even make use of rescources commonly found in pc's......stop BS BetheSda.
wuyanxu 10th November 2011, 11:40 Quote
Quote:
Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM.

for that, i'll let Bethesda get away with anything!
Tomhyde1986 10th November 2011, 11:45 Quote
I haven't played Rage although I am somewhat aware of the issues surrounding it.

However the PC is such a diverse platform regarding system configurations that it can be nothing but a headache to some level.

With consoles you don't need to worry about a range of hardware. All 360s and PS3s are the same hardware. That makes the task significantly easier. Drivers aren't an issue, multi GPUs, dual core CPUs, all that funky buisness isn't much of a concern because no console utilises them.

When I was testing games for EA testing BF 2142 was significantly more complicated and often frustrating to say testing Fable 3 but not from a gameplay point of view. It took more coordination without a doubt but what was the real issue was trying to get 64 PCs with different system specs to all work at the same time. It was really tough at times.

The only thing you really need to worry about with a console is network testing, performance and does it look okay.

While the PCs flexability in hardware and software configurations is arguably its greatest strength, making effective use of that strength is considerably harder. Theres just so much more to take into consideration when designing the product.

Just my 2 cents.
TheStockBroker 10th November 2011, 11:48 Quote
I hope this isn't a precursor to a crappy PC Skyrim port!

Bethesda, if you ruin this for me, I will come to your homes and offices and take away everything you hold sacred.
Marvin-HHGTTG 10th November 2011, 11:50 Quote
Liking the amount of PR spin in place with Mr Hines...

I didn't see the Witcher 2 have multitudes of ridiculous game-breaking issues that weren't fixed immediately.

I especially liked this bit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Hines
Unless you decide not to make your games available for PC, it's a problem, and you have to deal with it.

O'rly? When looking for a GT4 save game to use with PCSX2 the other day, I popped onto TPB to have a look. Typed in Gran Turismo, and low-and-behold, about 100 GT5 full game cracks etc for console use.

PCs hard to develop for? Piracy only exists on PC? Lame excuses for crappy development, and this does little to stem my fears that Skyrim will be a buggy mess if they're employing damage limitation before release.

The only good thing is that at least Bethesda allow modding, although that may just mean that modders have to fix their game for them...
RedFlames 10th November 2011, 12:29 Quote
Note to bethesda: if I have to download almost the same again disk space wise in Mods and patches to fix all your crap design decisions and bugs... you're doing it wrong...

Mr Hines just comes across as 'WAAAAAAAAAAAGH PC Development requires effort WAAAAAAAAAAGH why won't they just buy any random crap we churn out? WAAAAAAAAAAAGH'

...to me at least...
NethLyn 10th November 2011, 12:51 Quote
Bethesda have long had form on buggy games (IIRC going back to their Terminator licensed game), and lying about one of the Elder Scrolls titles working on a GF5200 when it was a slideshow or wouldn't even start. Hines thinks we're just going to forget about all that.

They could've taken the cost of the full sized London Underground posters and Channel 5 TV Sponsorship for Rage in the ad breaks for The Walking Dead and put that into QA, but they opted to "finish" it and go gold and just blanket hype it for sales.

I have a 360 and am still not buying Rage because of theirs and iD's attitude, when it works I'll take another look. In fact the guy knows Skyrim will sell gazillions so the people who bought Rage could go stuff themselves as far as he cares.
Instagib 10th November 2011, 13:18 Quote
My copy arrive today. Obviously can't play it though, so I'm just content to sit here staring at it and sniffing it every few minutes. Shhhhhhiiiiinnnnnnnyyyyyyyy.
the-beast 10th November 2011, 13:37 Quote
Quote:
Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM.

Which is why their games come pre-bundled with the Steam DRM for every distribution channel now then?
the-beast 10th November 2011, 13:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Instagib
My copy arrive today. Obviously can't play it though, so I'm just content to sit here staring at it and sniffing it every few minutes. Shhhhhhiiiiinnnnnnnyyyyyyyy.

Damn that DRM!
Phil Rhodes 10th November 2011, 13:42 Quote
Difficult to argue that PC won't be harder to develop for, to be honest. It's like web browsers and HTML, CSS and Javascript. OK, well, not quite that bad, perhaps, but a similar class of problem.

I'd hoped that DirectX would abstract away most of it, but it would seem to be mainly an issue of competing implementations of various things.
Cerberus90 10th November 2011, 13:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes


I'd hoped that DirectX would abstract away most of it, but it would seem to be mainly an issue of competing implementations of various things.

That's what I was thinking.

Maybe Microsoft need to pull their finger out and update DirectX to enable a more abstracted system, kind of like java.
Although I suppose that just then shifts the burner onto Microsoft, although as the GPU drivers must be compatible with windows, it may be easier for Microsoft than game developers.
t.y.wan 10th November 2011, 14:01 Quote
LOL about the driver issues. Texture popping is not driver issues, weird controls and core mechanics do not equal to driver issues...
A lot of PC games came out just fine. Taking HARD RESET as an example, it is developed by an indie company, the game still feel smooth, the mechanics are solid, the game doesn't have texture popping craps...
As for the piracy issues, seriously, if your game is solid, like COD or BF. You will sell good, if not very good.
Roskoken 10th November 2011, 14:15 Quote
PC gaming is dead :(
atlas 10th November 2011, 14:16 Quote
The PC development may be a bit of a headache because of the many configurations but you also produce the most beautiful version because of the powerful hardware. Glad to hear they not bogging the game down with DRM, well played Bethesda. Mines on pre-order already.
NethLyn 10th November 2011, 14:21 Quote
For everything I said above, if Jeremy Soule composed the Skyrim soundtrack, I'd still keep an open mind about buying it just on the music alone - and I'd hope any collector's edition had it on CD.
Hovis 10th November 2011, 14:21 Quote
Can't wait for Skyrim. Not just because I expect the basic game to be good, but because if it goes the same way as Oblivion, which it surely will, then there'll be years of awesome modded content to come. If a developer takes pains to ensure that the community can modify and expand their games, then that developer is good people. I've lost a lot of respect for Bioware since they went down the closed shop route with their games and threw the modding community that built up around Neverwinter Nights under the bus. Skyrim probably won't be perfect when it comes out, but in six months to a year I'll have it tailored to suit my style and it will be.

Give a man a game, and he'll play that game for a while. Give the man the means to change that game and it'll keep him amused for years.
atlas 10th November 2011, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by t.y.wan
LOL about the driver issues. Texture popping is not driver issues, weird controls and core mechanics do not equal to driver issues...
A lot of PC games came out just fine. Taking HARD RESET as an example, it is developed by an indie company, the game still feel smooth, the mechanics are solid, the game doesn't have texture popping craps...
As for the piracy issues, seriously, if your game is solid, like COD or BF. You will sell good, if not very good.

I kind of agree, Bethesda doesn't really suffer from this but the problem with PC gaming in general these days is that the PC versions being released are shockingly ported console versions. You only need to look at the solid PC games like Starcraft 2 to see that PC gaming is alive and well, the problem lies with the developers. The other problem that Bethesda has suffered from is that PC developers today release their games when they are actually only in BETA, and then make all the consumers beta testers until they can get enough patches out to fix all the issues. While I am well aware the millions of configurations can pose problems as far as testing goes a lot of the time the issues that need patching on not just on a few systems but across the board.
ACallander 10th November 2011, 15:08 Quote
I don't understand. I know it can be a headache but why can other developers pull it off so well.
sear 10th November 2011, 15:10 Quote
Developing PC games is a challenge? Judging by how ****ing horrible every game Bethesda have made since Morrowind has been, I was kind of under the impression they'd just given up altogether.
Phil Rhodes 10th November 2011, 15:55 Quote
Quote:
Although I suppose that just then shifts the burner onto Microsoft

Well sure, but at least then the work only has to be done once.

Perhaps the real issue here, underlying everything, is that DirectX is perhaps failing to provide sufficient abstraction.
jrs77 10th November 2011, 16:12 Quote
Everyone shouting at the developers should make a reality-test.

Fact is, that there's a gazillion of different PC-setups to be dealt with and that alone makes development pretty hard. And now add tons of different and probably outdated drivers and voila... NIGHTMARE!

So, either the developer is looking for a solution based on two year old hardware and drivers, to make sure their game works on as many PC-setups as possible, or they aim high and develop for the most recent hardware and deal with the anger of lots of people not being able to run the game smoothly, etc.

I'm not defending the developers at all with this, but only making my thoughts about these issues objectively.

The next issue ofc is, that alot of games are developed for the console first and then ported to the PC. The result is very often rather unsatisfying and in this case you can actually blame the developer for not investing enough time to tweak the controls, POV, higher res textures etc.

I've little problems with those issues, as I've shifted to console-gaming (sports and racing usually) and only play MMOs on the PC which is fine. Those who like FPS or ActionAdventures do have to deal with the mentioned issues tho.
Optimaximal 10th November 2011, 16:21 Quote
I thought the point is that with APIs in place such as DirectX 10, you shouldn't target hardware, rather target the capabilities of the API.

I guess that's the problem - everyone is still writing for DirectX 9, which is a compatibility cluster**** by comparison.
Narishma 10th November 2011, 17:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimaximal
I thought the point is that with APIs in place such as DirectX 10, you shouldn't target hardware, rather target the capabilities of the API.

That's the theory. In practice, different drivers implement the API in different ways, which results in different bugs and performance issues.
Rustynutts 10th November 2011, 17:41 Quote
:'( :'( This :'(:'( that LoL
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedFlames
Note to bethesda: if I have to download almost the same again disk space wise in Mods and patches to fix all your crap design decisions and bugs... you're doing it wrong...

Mr Hines just comes across as 'WAAAAAAAAAAAGH PC Development requires effort WAAAAAAAAAAGH why won't they just buy any random crap we churn out? WAAAAAAAAAAAGH'

...to me at least...
The_Beast 10th November 2011, 19:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
for that, i'll let Bethesda get away with anything!

Anything? that's a bold statement to make
Bede 10th November 2011, 19:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by technogiant
Bethesda should not be allowed to get away with comments like that, the problem with Rage was not driver support, it was the fact they didn't concern themselves primarily with the pc as a platform, something they now admit only after it became blindingly apparent after release.
When it was released vsync did not work, multi gpu was not and still is not supported, higher resolution textures had to be forced via a config file rather than being accessible from the interface and config files had to be used to enable texture caching so pop in didn't occur.
Far from the idtec5 engine pushing the pc to it's api bound limits as Carmack implied it didn't even make use of rescources commonly found in pc's......stop BS BetheSda.

+rep.


In essence they have to work out if they profit from releasing on the PC with all the 'effort' they make for PC. If they do, so be it and they should not complain - do you see them bitching about jumping through console certification hoops or sharing revenue with Microsoft and Sony? If not, just don't release for PC and someone else will.
rogerrabbits 10th November 2011, 20:29 Quote
I had no bugs.

I did find it to be a boring piece of **** though. Let me see you blame that on drivers Bethsduh.
Hrodwulf666 10th November 2011, 20:48 Quote
Its it a coincidence that both parties complaining about the PC platform are from the same Publishing house? Are we going to see more of this? We always thought the threat came from the publishers, but now it looks like the Devs are the ones who will make PC's redundant. This is concerning. If this attitude spreads the whole face of gaming could change. I imagine the ferocity of our community only serves to heighten the resentment Devs feel towards our platform.
kzinti1 11th November 2011, 00:55 Quote
Well Mr. Pete Hines, spokesman for Bethesda. I can see you standing there, crossing and uncrossing your legs so you don't wet yourself, wringing your hands, bottom lip quivering, mewling like a 10 year old girl, "Making PC games is hard," as you dribble a few tears down your pathetically woebegone face. I thought that I had heard wimp-outs before but yours takes the cake.
Perhaps Bethesda should hire people that are competent enough to design and build PC games, grow a pair and start, at least trying, to address the problems that have been with the act of designing games for the PC since day one!
Don't come crying to us PC gamers with your problems. Those were there when Bethesda decided to start making games. It's part of the job. Always was. Now isn't the time to start whining about the difficulties involved. Bethesda has a major investment in PC games and stands to lose quite a bit of money by jut closing their eyes to the problems involved, giving up and just making platform games for children. You owe us PC gamers. You always will. We made you what you are. Were.
WE didn't ask you to waste your time on console games. We were and are concerned with actual computers. Not toys.
Now shut up, blow your nose and wipe away those tears of sissydom. Change your panties. Go out, get yourself a set of testicular implants so you at least appear to be a man!
FeRaL 11th November 2011, 04:32 Quote
kzinti1 Nice post, couldn't agree with you more.

Nothing pisses me off more than these devs that cut their teeth making PC games over 20 years ago building their companies up to what they are today and hear them piss and moan about developing PC games and scurrying over to consoles because "they are easier" and trying to snub those who have fed them for all these years.
thil 11th November 2011, 05:44 Quote
Funny, I seem to recall a small, independent Polish company called Flying Wild Hog managed to push out a good-looking, stable-running game in two years with a smaller budget. Granted, it wasn't as long, and it wasn't 100% smooth, but it was certainly better-running than RAGE.
fluxtatic 11th November 2011, 07:13 Quote
Didn't Carmack want to be able to get 'closer to the metal' on PC because things like DirectX were too limiting? If they're already crying about how hard it is to develop for PC, what kind of mess would they make of developing to bare metal?

How's about they shut up and stop developing games, and just concentrate on the engines, since that seems to be what they're good at?
fluxtatic 11th November 2011, 07:23 Quote
Bit of a derp, there. I meant id, naturally, not all of Bethesda. Other than the 'shut up', that remains in effect to Bethesda.
Bauul 11th November 2011, 07:50 Quote
In fairness, developing for PC is harder than developing for the consoles, simply because of the none standardised hardware.

From the point of view of a publisher who perhaps is more interested in consoles (due to the much greater returns), worrying about getting a game to work on all PCs when it's pretty simple for a console would probably seem like an unneeded headache.

The fact that Bethesda are willing to develop for PC at all when sales are often less than 10% of the total but require extra compatability effort is a plus all by itself.

Sent from Bittech Android app
PlayedStation 11th November 2011, 12:29 Quote
If i walked into my office, sat down with my boss and said: My job is hard.

I'd expect no sympathy whatsoever. It's what you get paid to do. If it was easy, we'd all be doing it no?


Hines, do one.
Hazda 11th November 2011, 12:34 Quote
It's true they are getting a little sloppy since Morrowind. I would just be happy if the games in the future (unsure about Skyrim) doesn't have mouse acell problems.
AstralWanderer 11th November 2011, 13:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bit-Tech Review
Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM.
WAKE UP BIT-TECH, SKYRIM USES STEAMWORKS!

That means having to create a Steam account and the not-so-implausible situation of losing the game (and any other Steamworks or Steam-purchased content) if the account gets suspended.

Bit-Tech's casual approach to DRM in games (i.e. not including any details) is annoying enough but flagging a release as near-DRM-free when it uses one of the tightest DRM systems (only the always-on systems like Ubisoft's impose tighter restrictions) shows that the reviewer has got drunk on Bethesda's PR Kool-Aid.

And yes, I'll be boycotting this as I've done every other game requiring online activation (and I do own both Morrowind and Oblivion).
Gunsmith 11th November 2011, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
WAKE UP BIT-TECH, SKYRIM USES STEAMWORKS!

That means having to create a Steam account and the not-so-implausible situation of losing the game (and any other Steamworks or Steam-purchased content) if the account gets suspended.

Bit-Tech's casual approach to DRM in games (i.e. not including any details) is annoying enough but flagging a release as near-DRM-free when it uses one of the tightest DRM systems (only the always-on systems like Ubisoft's impose tighter restrictions) shows that the reviewer has got drunk on Bethesda's PR Kool-Aid.

And yes, I'll be boycotting this as I've done every other game requiring online activation (and I do own both Morrowind and Oblivion).

cant tell if sarcastic or stupid....
Glix 11th November 2011, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bit-Tech Review
Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM.
WAKE UP BIT-TECH, SKYRIM USES STEAMWORKS!

That means having to create a Steam account and the not-so-implausible situation of losing the game (and any other Steamworks or Steam-purchased content) if the account gets suspended.

Bit-Tech's casual approach to DRM in games (i.e. not including any details) is annoying enough but flagging a release as near-DRM-free when it uses one of the tightest DRM systems (only the always-on systems like Ubisoft's impose tighter restrictions) shows that the reviewer has got drunk on Bethesda's PR Kool-Aid.

And yes, I'll be boycotting this as I've done every other game requiring online activation (and I do own both Morrowind and Oblivion).

This. Hate how it is the accepted norm not to mention DRM in a review when essentially it can affect the consumer.
Glix 11th November 2011, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
-snip-.

cant tell if sarcastic or stupid....

Can't tell if trolling or baiting. ;)
AstralWanderer 11th November 2011, 14:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
cant tell if sarcastic or stupid....
I know - don't feed. But in case this is Steamlove speaking, take a gander here...
Star*Dagger 11th November 2011, 19:56 Quote
The problem is that so many so called Gamers out there try to play with their outdated dual core systems and 4000 series Radeons.

Upgrade yearly (at least) or do not cry!

S*D

P.S. If you are still using XP, delete it from your hard drive, smash the hard drive, melt the metal parts and make a knife, then stab it into your head many times!
Blazza181 11th November 2011, 20:01 Quote
Heyheyhey. What's so wrong with dual core gamers and HD4000 users?

Its those eijits who try to play crysis on a 6y.o. laptop who are the people who to be wary of. :p
Bauul 11th November 2011, 20:42 Quote
Quote:
<p><i><font color="#0A64A4">"Bethesda's own response to the threat of piracy has been to hand extra resources to PC gamers in the form of a mod support, rather than restricting the experience with DRM."</font></i></p>WAKE UP BIT-TECH, SKYRIM USES STEAMWORKS!
<br/>
<br/>That means having to create a Steam account and the not-so-implausible situation of losing the game (and any other Steamworks or Steam-purchased content) if [url=http://www.google.com/search?q=steam+account+suspended]the account gets suspended.
<br/>
<br/>Bit-Tech's casual approach to DRM in games (i.e. not including any details) is annoying enough but flagging a release as near-DRM-free when it uses one of the tightest DRM systems (only the always-on systems like Ubisoft's impose tighter restrictions) shows that the reviewer has got drunk on Bethesda's PR Kool-Aid.
<br/>
<br/>And yes, I'll be boycotting this as I've done every other game requiring online activation (and I do own both Morrowind and Oblivion).

I think you're doing yourself a disservice in this case.

Do you see there's a lack of logic in depriving yourself of great games just because of the minute possibility you may lose ownership of the games at some point in the future? These are £30 games, not a house.

Unless you feel that by boycotting the games you'll help to change the industry, which is commendable, but you're fighting against something 98% of PC gamers not only don't mind but often actively promote.

I'm not saying Steam is the perfect solution in a perfect world, but it's a half decent solution in a problematic world. And as they say, when in Rome...

Sent from Bittech Android app
xinaes 11th November 2011, 22:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Difficult to argue that PC won't be harder to develop for, to be honest. It's like web browsers and HTML, CSS and Javascript. OK, well, not quite that bad, perhaps

HA! good one...
Anfield 12th November 2011, 01:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
SKYRIM USES STEAMWORKS!

That means having to create a Steam account and the not-so-implausible situation of losing the game (and any other Steamworks or Steam-purchased content) if the account gets suspended.

Of course you loose the Games you have on Steam if you are naughty enough to get the Account suspended, but there is a simple way around that problem, behave yourself when playing online...

As for Steamworks, I have a 3 digit number of Games on Steam, none of them ever refused to install or run due to Steamworks, while other DRM Systems cause issues like for example telling me I've installed it too often, cd key would not be valid, disc not recognized and so on, so Steamworks is the least annoying DRM System.

Of course no DRM at all would be even nicer, but lets face it, thats never going to happen anyway.
AstralWanderer 12th November 2011, 08:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
Upgrade yearly (at least) or do not cry!
If you're having to update yearly, then there's something severely wrong with your choice of system. A well-chosen setup should be usable for at least 3-4 years (with a willingness to compromise on graphics settings at the end of its lifespan).

There's no doubt that the hardware industry owes a lot to those prepared to dash out for the latest GPU/CPU/RAM every 3 months, but measured in terms of money/performance gain it's a very inefficient and expensive habit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
P.S. If you are still using XP, delete it from your hard drive, smash the hard drive, melt the metal parts and make a knife, then stab it into your head many times!
XP is still perfectably usable (I run it on my gaming system and greatly prefer it over Win7, when properly configured) and will likely continue to be for some years yet. If you are a long-term gamer (with a collection spanning a decade or so) then XP will likely be a better choice due to its superior compatibility with older Windows games (thanks to Win7's imperfect DirectX9 emulation) and that's without considering the issues that 64-bit Windows adds to the party.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Do you see there's a lack of logic in depriving yourself of great games just because of the minute possibility you may lose ownership of the games at some point in the future? These are £30 games, not a house.
100 £30 games may not make a house, but would come to a half-decent car so their longevity is something that should be valued.

I have a games collection going back to the 1990's - including genre-definers like Homeworld, Thief 2 and Imperium Galactica which I still fire up occasionally. The companies (and programmers) behind such classics have mostly long gone and if these classics had required any form of online activation, odds are that I would not be able to play them now - ShamusYoung's Authorization Servers article highlights the problems inherent with such systems and you can see a sterling example in the Two Worlds Official Activation Thread for a game released just 4 years ago (though thankfully also available DRM-free on GOG).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Unless you feel that by boycotting the games you'll help to change the industry, which is commendable, but you're fighting against something 98% of PC gamers not only don't mind but often actively promote.
Companies will change if enough pressure is brought to bear - consider the backlash against Starforce as one example. Another was Atari's decision to remove Securom's disk check from Neverwinter Nights 2, influenced by this mammoth thread.

The problem arises when people don't protest enough - EA decided against online activation for Dragon Age: Origins, but required it for the DLC. Based upon the DLC sales, they presumably decided it would be OK to require online activation for DA2.

As for the 98% promotion by PC gamers, I'm going to suggest that most simply haven't considered the downsides because they're not in-your-face like disk checks were. However while disk checks were annoying, you didn't risk losing your software as long as you took good care of the media. With Steam and similar systems, your entire collection can be wiped in a blink of an eye - some Steam examples here, here, here, here and here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
And as they say, when in Rome...
So your answer is to follow the herd and hope things don't get worse? Well consider this - with 35 million active accounts, Valve could boost their annual income by almost £1.7 billion by imposing a £5 monthly fee on accounts (assuming an 80% acceptance rate - since not paying would mean losing access to all purchased Steam games, this is likely a conservative estimate). Provision for such a charge has been made in section 4B of the Steam EULA (subject to 30 days notice) and the EULA is even helpfully titled a "Subscriber Agreement" just to make it clear.

Of course, as more people sign up and amass greater Steam collections, the possible income from such a fee increases geometrically (a higher charge could be levied with larger collections and more money at stake). So I would suggest that playing the role of a "digital doormat" is unlikely to be the best policy long-term.

Your proposition that there is a "minute possibility you may lose ownership" of Steam games is correct, but only because you never owned anything purchased from Steam in the first place (Steam EULA section 2A: "The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software."). The risk is in losing access to the games you've (effectively) rented and that, I would argue, is inevitable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
Of course you loose the Games you have on Steam if you are naughty enough to get the Account suspended, but there is a simple way around that problem, behave yourself when playing online...
Check the examples linked to above - none of them were linked to online misconduct. Paypal is a major cause, but the fact that Valve choose to disable entire accounts (rather than just the purchases in dispute) without warning (Paypal is notorious for reversing transactions on a whim, so Valve should be cutting customers some slack here, with a weeks' warning or so) should indicate how little regard they have for consumer rights.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
As for Steamworks, I have a 3 digit number of Games on Steam, none of them ever refused to install or run due to Steamworks, while other DRM Systems cause issues like for example telling me I've installed it too often, cd key would not be valid, disc not recognized and so on, so Steamworks is the least annoying DRM System.
Now consider how much that 3-digit collection would cost to replace (at non-sale prices) and how much of a monthly fee you would be prepared to endure to maintain access to it. No need to provide details - just consider it...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
Of course no DRM at all would be even nicer, but lets face it, thats never going to happen anyway.
GOG have been offering DRM-free downloads for 3-4 years now. Smaller distributors like GamersFront and most (but not all) of the indies highlighted in ShowMeTheGames also do DRM-free products as do collections like the HumbleBundle and (mostly) IndieRoyale (when I contacted IndieRoyale to request a DRM-free alternative to their first bundle, which had the Steam-compulsory Sanctum, they responded saying they had received similar requests - the 2nd bundle had DRM-free options on all items).

Retail games from smaller publishers tend to be DRM-free also, so hassle-free risk-free content is available for those prepared to search for it.
Phil Rhodes 12th November 2011, 14:58 Quote
The Shamus Young article eloquently states an argument I've been pushing for some time. He's right, and it's going to be a crippling shame in ten or fifteen years time when no current games can be played anymore. I still play Total Annihilation, I still play Oni.

I completely agree with more or less everything he says. You'll put up a patch removing the DRM? While you're going messily out of business? Oh yes, of course. I'm sure the receivers are going to authorise you to spend time doing that, just to be nice. Lawyers are lovely that way.
Bauul 12th November 2011, 16:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
sensible words

The way I see it is platforms like Steam are here to stay, simply because they are so popular. They might be popular because most gamers haven't thought through the risks, but that doesn't mean it isn't here to stay in all likelihood.

Yes Valve could turn evil and blackmail you for all the games, and yes purchasing games through Steam is the most pitiful version of "buying" ever concieved. It's true, if there's a non DRM alternative, it's always perferable.

But what of the games that aren't available elsewhere? Life is too short to miss out on some amazing titles because you might lose them in the future. It'd be a shame if you couldn't play them in five years time, but does that mean you also shouldn't play them now?

As a hypothethical situation, would I have (for example) spent £30 on Left 4 Dead knowing that Valve would disable the game a year later? Absolutely. I'd pay £30 if they disabled it after six months, because those six months would have been more than worth £30. I'd rather they didn't obviously, but not to the extent I'd refuse to ever buy what has become one of my top five games.

I wholeheartedly agree we should always buy the non-DRM version when it's available, that way you send a message to the publishers without putting yourself out. But sacrifice ever playing dozens of amazing games because one day they might take them away? Doesn't sit right with me personally.
AstralWanderer 12th November 2011, 17:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
But what of the games that aren't available elsewhere? Life is too short to miss out on some amazing titles because you might lose them in the future. It'd be a shame if you couldn't play them in five years time, but does that mean you also shouldn't play them now?
If games are not available elsewhere (e.g. using Steamworks) then that makes it a monopoly. If you buy, you help that monopoly to expand - Valve are no fools here, they've made Steamworks available free for sound business reasons. They could doubtless go as far as paying developers for producing "Steam exclusives" and if they bring in a compulsory subscription fee, it would be a smart move for them to use at least part of the extra income to buy in more such exclusives ("Look, we're saving PC gaming by spending only half of this extra phat lewt on blow, hookers and Veyrons!").

A similar situation can be seen with UK television - Sky charge high subscription fees for their satellite service (typically double what European satellite broadcasters charge) and use that income to outbid the terrestrial services on popular shows. So if you subscribe to Sky, you're helping them knock down the free-to-view alternatives.

There are good and great games elsewhere without the DRM shackles as I noted in my last post. If you really enjoy a game, wouldn't you rather be able to revisit it as you please rather than having to look over your shoulder worrying about triggering some arbitrary ban?
Juu 12th November 2011, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Dagger
The problem is that so many so called Gamers out there try to play with their outdated dual core systems and 4000 series Radeons.

Upgrade yearly (at least) or do not cry!

S*D

P.S. If you are still using XP, delete it from your hard drive, smash the hard drive, melt the metal parts and make a knife, then stab it into your head many times!

+rep agree so much! Not only gamers it does my head in businesses I support who refuse to upgrade from SBS 2003 and XP!
Quote:
XP is still perfectably usable (I run it on my gaming system and greatly prefer it over Win7, when properly configured) and will likely continue to be for some years yet. If you are a long-term gamer (with a collection spanning a decade or so) then XP will likely be a better choice due to its superior compatibility with older Windows games (thanks to Win7's imperfect DirectX9 emulation) and that's without considering the issues that 64-bit Windows adds to the party.

You're gaming system must be awful if you're limiting yourself to DX9. XP is over 10 years old, it is more clunky than win7 and there really is no reason to stay with XP.

Dx9 emulation? Run virtual PC, so your beloved XP is only a double click away.
KayinBlack 12th November 2011, 19:35 Quote
It could be worse, because they chose to use Steam, I simply can't have Skyrim now. Steam does not mix with 10GB a month caps and sub-1MB connection speeds (which is as good as it gets here.)

Thanks, asses.
Blazza181 12th November 2011, 19:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
It could be worse, because they chose to use Steam, I simply can't have Skyrim now. Steam does not mix with 10GB a month caps and sub-1MB connection speeds (which is as good as it gets here.)

Thanks, asses.

I'm in the exact same position. Can't you install from disk? Or find a friend who already has it and copy his common game content? Because that's what I usually do.
Volund 12th November 2011, 21:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
Your proposition that there is a "minute possibility you may lose ownership" of Steam games is correct, but only because you never owned anything purchased from Steam in the first place (Steam EULA section 2A: "The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software."). The risk is in losing access to the games you've (effectively) rented and that, I would argue, is inevitable.

and the software LICENSE you bought for your precious Windows XP works exactly the same way.... Get used to it, you haven't owned probably 90+% of the software on your computer for years.
KayinBlack 12th November 2011, 21:45 Quote
I can crack it if I want to install it from disc, but if I have to do that, I may as well find an open connection and torrent it. It's the same amount of effort, one will not cause me to have to figure out offline modes and all the other junk (and I had a steam account when I had decent internet, and it wasn't too bad) and will just let me play.

Funny, wasn't that why they put the DRM there in the first place?
Blazza181 12th November 2011, 22:03 Quote
Usually, If you purchase a disk which uses steamworks (like Skyrim), you can legally install from disk. Also, if you've purchased the game, and a friend has the game, they can back it up to a USB stick, and then activate the backup process to your PC. I've done it before - works like a dream.
Bauul 12th November 2011, 22:27 Quote
Quote:
<p><i><font color="#0A64A4">"[url=http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?p=2872235]If you really enjoy a game, wouldn't you rather be able to revisit it as you please rather than having to look over your shoulder worrying about triggering some arbitrary ban?

Yes of course, but by your logic, I shouldn't play the game at all.

I think we're going to agree to disagree on this on. I respect your dedication to not buying DRM laden games, but I just couldn't do it. I would rather play the game now and be buggered by Valve in a few years time than not ever play it at all.

Better to have loved and lost etc.

Not that I can play anything anyway as my computer is currently in bits and missing the CPU, but that's another story!

Sent from Bittech Android app
AstralWanderer 13th November 2011, 10:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juu
You're gaming system must be awful if you're limiting yourself to DX9.
It does an excellent job of running a graphics beauty like Witcher 2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juu
XP is over 10 years old,...
Actually XP (or parts of it) is 18 years old (Windows NT, on which XP, Vista and Win7 are based was released in 1993). On the other hand, XP (or parts of it) is also 5 days old (at time of posting, looking at the most recent security update), like Win7. So to talk about an OS being "x years old" shows a lack of understanding of what an OS is. In comparison, Linux/Unix dates back to the 1960s and that age (or as others would consider it, maturity) hasn't caused it problems.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juu
...it is more clunky than win7
Here's a test for you - try opening Event Viewer on a Win7 system and an XP system and scrolling through the items. Notice how XP's event viewer can zip through an event list at lightning speed while Win7's puffs and pants to the point that you can see the individual lines being drawn. Now that's due to Event Viewer using .NET Framework in Vista/7, but is a clear example of "one step forward, two steps back".

Another example - look at the number of background processes Win7 has compared to WinXP. Even on a system stripped to the bare essentials you'll have a good few extra (such as dwm and a couple of instances of conhost) and more background services running (165 services listed for Win7 compared to 103 services listed for XP).

Then we have the use of file and registry redirection in Win7/Vista - that adds "clunkiness" whatever its justification.

XP isn't perfect - it has a number of dumb design issues (teletubby theming, control panel categories, "new" Start Menu) but these can be pruned back to (better) Win2000 settings. Win7 on the other hand makes some of those dumb designs compulsory (the Start Menu notably).

So saying WinXP is "clunkier" than Vista/7 is just demonstrating ignorance of Windows' internal working.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juu
... and there really is no reason to stay with XP.
There are several reasons but rather than repeat them all here, I'll point you to this post instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juu
Dx9 emulation? Run virtual PC, so your beloved XP is only a double click away.
You'd not researched this too well have you? What graphics card does Virtual PC emulate? An S3 Trio with 4MB RAM and no 3D acceleration? (i.e. incapable of DirectX at all, let alone DX9). What sort of jerk would try running Crysis on that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volund
and the software LICENSE you bought for your precious Windows XP works exactly the same way....
Not quite because the provisions aren't as enforceable - Microsoft can't magically disable everyone's XP disks (though Windows Activation allows them to come close). If you have an OEM copy (that requires no activation on a matching system) then you're OK. It is however one major reason why I prefer Win2K over XP (and spent some time trying to get Win2K installed initially - sadly even SP4 couldn't recognise PCI-E graphics cards).

However just because Microsoft chose to screw over their customers doesn't justify other companies following in their tracks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Yes of course, but by your logic, I shouldn't play the game at all.
My suggestion is to look further afield for companies that don't treat you like a criminal or digital serf. If companies like Valve, EA, Ubisoft, etc get away with more onerous DRM mechanisms, they will seek to increase their control over users rather than lessen it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
I think we're going to agree to disagree on this on...I would rather play the game now and be buggered by Valve in a few years time than not ever play it at all.
That's clearly your decision to make, and as long as it is a considered one looking at the downsides, there's little to criticise. It is the uninformed adulation that many seem to give Steam and its ilk that concerns me more.
GeorgeStorm 13th November 2011, 11:15 Quote
I have no desire to get the game, but I can see why people would be annoyed, if I were at home, it would take literally days to download it if you couldn't install from disk.

And XP FTW, only reason I've 'upgraded' to W7 is because I kept getting old to get an SSD, and I don't want tit dying so want TRIM support (which apparently XP doesn't have)
AstralWanderer 13th November 2011, 14:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm
...I kept getting old to get an SSD, and I don't want tit dying so want TRIM support (which apparently XP doesn't have)
Maybe too late (and OT) but I wouldn't worry too much over TRIM (or lack of) in XP - the background garbage collection in current SSDs should suffice for normal usage. I've been using SSDs on XP for the last 2 years and not seen significant performance loss. You'll also not have TRIM support in Vista/7 if you go for an SSD RAID setup currently.

The one thing you may need to do with WinXP on SSD is setting the partition alignment properly (see this OCZ forum thread for details) and, if installing XP, it may not be able to format a partition on SSD - in that case, install to a hard disk partition and then copy it across.

I've found partition alignment makes a big difference with Crucial C300s but very little with Samsungs so YMMV.
Demon_{Kamikaze} 14th November 2011, 08:11 Quote
Piracy is a problem on any platform, I'd go so far as to say that Piracy is a bigger problem on console than it is on PC. Simply because piracy on consoles is far easier than it is on PC.... Many people have 2 360's of PS3's one hacked the other is official for online gaming. Of course there is piracy on PC, but its down to the fact that over time, games developers have shot themselves in the foot...

A decade ago a map pack DLC was free, the majority of the DLC content as well came from the modding community, this made PC games massive and the primary platform, because you could do cool stuff for them. Now they are really restricted and the only extra content you can get for PC comes at a £10 cost for a pack of three maps normally 2 carbon copies from previous titles in the franchise and one new map.. That is not value for money *cough*CoD*cough*.

In conclusion, is all well and good Mr Hines, crying that PC development is difficult and full of pirating, but as they say, you make you bed you sleep in it.

As for the line on Driver issues, the solution to that one is seriously simple, distribute the correct display and audio drivers with the title... Problem solved...
general22 14th November 2011, 10:23 Quote
95 is better than XP, the design has more squares and it only runs 15 services.
the-beast 14th November 2011, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
GOG have been offering DRM-free downloads for 3-4 years now. Smaller distributors like GamersFront and most (but not all) of the indies highlighted in ShowMeTheGames also do DRM-free products as do collections like the HumbleBundle and (mostly) IndieRoyale (when I contacted IndieRoyale to request a DRM-free alternative to their first bundle, which had the Steam-compulsory Sanctum, they responded saying they had received similar requests - the 2nd bundle had DRM-free options on all items).

Thanks for the links to ShowMeTheGames, GamersFront and IndieRoyale I didn't know about them. GOG and HumbleBundle are great locations for DRM free games and I would urge everyone to use and support these companies.

I do use Steam myself, more out of need rather than desire. If a steamworks game is available for < £5 and my connection is not playing up, has not reached the monthly limit and its not available DRM free from anywhere else then I will buy it. But out of principle I do not buy them full price as I disagree with the DRM.

My main gripe with publishers is that they make games steamworks only, so then I have no choice as to what I want and from where. This is not the case with all publishers just the vast majority don't seam believe in customer choice.

How long before Skyrim is made available DRM free on GOG?

P.S. For anyone who wants a steam free copy of SOTS2 this may be of use: The-Non-Steam-Version-Request
AstralWanderer 14th November 2011, 16:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by the-beast
Thanks for the links...
Glad to hear you found them useful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the-beast
How long before Skyrim is made available DRM free on GOG?
Sadly we could be in for some wait given that no Bethesda games are currently offered (not even Morrowind).

GOG do have a Wanted page so it may help to register interest there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the-beast
P.S. For anyone who wants a steam free copy of SOTS2 this may be of use...
Hmmm...that seems to have attracted some high-level support! Thanks for the link...
feathers 24th May 2012, 10:37 Quote
The fact that skyrim PC is a headache shows. The game is designed first and foremost for consoles. I think they should forget the PC and focus on what they're most skilled at... making console games. Clearly they find it difficult creating games on a more complex/capable platform.
Gunsmith 24th May 2012, 10:38 Quote
FEATHERS! **** OFF!
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