For PC gamers, a gaming rig is like the nerd equivalent of a fashion statement.
For game developers, however, it makes striving for compatibility a much bigger challenge than matching shirts and pants.
I thought that metaphor was so good when I read it, that I just had to share it. However, I also thought this was absolutely hilarious:
Anyway, the quotes are from an article I was reading on Engadget about the difficulty for game developers to make their game compatible with all the different possible setups and configurations around for the PC today. It got me thinking how it would be so much easier if PCs were more like games consoles and if they ever will be. A few days ago, it was 12 minutes until dinner was about to be ready, so I suggested to Ash (boyfriend/flatmate) to play F1 on the Xbox. By the time we signed in, loaded it up and set up the multiplayer, we had about 8 minutes left, time for one circuit.
->Player 1 has disconnected.
The batteries were dead so we found a some replacements. Why is it you can never find the right batteries in the battery draw and always end up using the ones out of the remote control?
So, with 5 minutes to go, we fly down the straight and battle it out on the first corner.
->Player 2 has disconnected.
Dinner was ready and we remembered why we never play on the Xbox and really only use it to access the stora box or watch iPlayer. This is because we each have our own gaming rig upstairs, with better graphics, surround sound headphones and mic, and most importantly a keyboard and mouse. Here’s hoping the Xbox “720” introduces some kind of WASD keypad and mini mouse. I think you gain a certain sense of control and engrossment that is lost with a thumb stick. Plus I bet it would port over a good number of “medium-core” PC gamers who can’t afford or don’t want to keep updating to better graphics cards etc.
After reading this article, I can better understand why Rockstar games decided against releasing GTA V for PC. I hope they change their mind otherwise other companies might start following suit. It obviously takes a lot of work, before and continuing indefinitely after release, to make it available for as many people as possible. So I think in the future PC’s are going to have to standardise somewhat, with fewer different brands and core technologies. The article also mentioned self customisation to be contributing to the compatibility problems so logically this must also be dampened. Though, this doesn’t only just go for the PC. There are so many new technologies around. So many different protocols, data formats and hardware. And everyone is trying to integrate everything with everything else. Surely the only solution is to decide upon a set standard and stick to it. Or as I though when I was taking my Distributed Systems module at university, “if only they could shut down the internet and just start again”. But they can’t. On top of this, user’s are doing the opposite. Now, more than ever, people are creating things in their bedroom, posting on the web and passing their creations on to other people. So complete standardisation will never happen. But I think something will have to change soon or the world of technology will either become unmanageable or companies will find it too difficult to make new things work.
As a finishing note, I’d like to leave you with a thought. Technology is one of those things that we imagine will be with us now for the rest of time – like electricity or cars. I wonder what the next thing like that will be. In 200 years, everyone could be travelling to work in personal flight suits or online shopping delivered through teleporters. You never know.