Even the most dedicated gamers will admit that PC gaming has become quite a joke due to anti-consumer policies by publishers. The problem isn’t even badly optimized games, or the expensive prices that some publishers charge. After all, that’s not a global problem. However, discs used for PC gaming are quickly becoming an industry-wide problem.
This year, Konami graced us with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on PC. It’s a superb port for a title in a series that has been long connected to PlayStation games. But why release it on a DVD that basically contains a Steam installer of a few megabytes, leaving the gamer to download 28GB?
However, the Japanese publisher is not alone. Bethesda launched post-apocalyptic role-playing Fallout 4 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Intending to get it on disc? Before you can explore the wastelands, you still have to download 20GB.
The justification for depleting your bandwidth even though you are purchasing physical copies on discs that can hold the whole game isn’t very consoling either. With regards to Konami, it was a time crunch to make sure Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ships on console versions at the same time as PC games.
Whether you want to view these to be pathetic excuses or genuine alibis, you cannot deny that paying, legitimate customers get the short end of the stick. Yes, a wide majority of PC gamers have moved to the cozy confines of digital purchases, however, not everyone has access to the same bandwidth, hence why discs are important. They will always be important due to ISPs capping data, even in developed markets.
Worse still, it hinders the growth of PC gaming in countries such as India, where the install base of laptops and desktops outnumbers the amount of consoles available. The end result is pushing people towards piracy.
One could argue that DVD games aren’t cheap, however publishers are selling games on discs – the only problem is that the discs are empty.
There is more to this. It is not just about fighting piracy or meeting deadlines. This appears to be an effort at exploiting a platform to its fullest. In this case it’s Steam.
There is no advantage to us users at all, and it simply mocks Steam as a platform. Go through user reviews for games that use Steam on sites such as Flipkart and Amazon India and you will see a range of angry comments.
At a time when PC gaming is definitely getting better, PC publishers continue to take gamers for granted in a variety of ways, which will end up pushing individuals away from gaming altogether.