Many Eastern publishers like Square Enix and Bandai Namco have had a long-standing relationship with Sony’s Playstation consoles, but not so much with the Xbox or PC. The reason? Lack of PC gamers back home and a dearth of JRPG fans on the platforms in the West. Times are changing though and the recent release of Final Fantasy XV’s Windows Edition marked this shift.
Recent years saw the release of Falcom’s Legend of Heroes and Bandai Namco’s Tales as well Ni no Kuni II on Steam. These are huge JRPGs that used to be limited to consoles, mostly just the PS3/4, but the fact that they were released on PC, the same day as their console counterparts makes it clear that trends are truly changing.
JRPGs aren’t the only games that have traditionally shied away from the pixel rich world of PC gaming. Take 2’s Red Dead Redemption was a massively popular game that didn’t release on PC, ever. Some PC gamers regret that to this day. Once more, at the time of writing, a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 hasn’t been confirmed but we’re confident that Take 2’s wild west adventure will eventually have the pleasure of running at 4K ultra. GTA V (also from T2) saw a delayed release on PC, although when it did come out together with the PS4/XB1 versions, it was reasonably polished.
Bungie’s Destiny is yet another cult classic that didn’t come to PC. It’s much anticipated sequel however embraced the platform and was so well received that it became Activision’s most sold PC game. The port was developed in collaboration with NVIDIA and runs superbly on a wide range of systems.
One of the core arguments that often comes up in these discussions involves exclusives. While Sony’s much acclaimed FPX will probably never make their way to other platforms, third party developers like Sega have been working for quite some time to bring their older titles to Steam and other PC platforms. Microsoft has also been trying to merge Xbox and Windows into a unified eco-system to leverage the benefits of modern PCs. Although most PC gamers are wary of the Xbox Live Store, one benefit it does bring along with it is the arrival of Xbox exclusives on Windows. They may be few for the time being but that will possibly change in the future.
The other side of this age old discussion is the shrinking lifespans of consoles. Traditionally the average viability of popular game consoles (like Sony’s PS and Microsoft’s Xbox) has been 6 years. This extended duration justified the high prices of AAA games on consoles compared to Steam and other PC platforms. But by releasing the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro a mere four years after the PS4 and XB1, Sony and MS have discarded this long running cycle.
So does this render the older PS4 and Xbox One obsolete? No, but as the resolution race heads towards 4K+ screens, these consoles are merely limited to 1080p and even sub-1080p resolutions and that too, often with an FPS cap of 30. The new, more powerful versions of existing consoles is for gamers wanting to climb up the resolution ladder or simply desiring better frame-rates. However this defeats the main purpose of consoles, as PC gamers also tend to upgrade their rigs every 2-3 years.
As hardware keeps on getting more and more powerful, consoles will eventually become obsolete. For the time being though, we’ll probably see multiple consoles with varying configurations released across a single generation to keep up with the rapid strides on the hardware side.
In the end, gamers want different things from their gaming machines and it would be fair to say that many prefer smoother frame rates and better visuals, and are willing to pay the extra bucks for it. Then again isn’t that what PCs are for? Sure, you won’t get those mega-exclusives, but do a handful of exclusives justify spending $500 on a console? The answers to all these questions will vary from person to person, but it’ll be interesting to see how the majority (of gamers) feels about it. What are your thoughts on this?