Well, what better way to unexpectedly announce the release time frame for Grand Theft Auto V. We saw a tonne of new information about upcoming games today, but in my opinion the GTA V port is at the top. There is no doubt the console versions will greatly benefit from the hardware of the next-gen consoles, but will the PC port suffer yet again?
The track histories for console to PC ports are pretty average unfortunately despite being able to take advantage of powerful hardware. So what exactly makes PC ports suffer? Well off the top of my head I would most likely say due to a lack of effort or a short timeframe to properly optimize all the graphics and mechanics. Even sales figures could be an indicator for their reluctance to put their full effort into the transformation. On console, Grand Theft Auto IV sold over 6 million copies in its first week. For Grand Theft Auto V, it made over 1$ billion dollars in its first three days and became one of the quickest selling forms of entertainment. Unfortunately the PC market hasn’t been a rich vein for sales, as of 31st May, 2014, GTA IV on PC has sold only 0.81 million copies to date. It is an unfair comparison though simply because the PC editions tend to come much later and consoles are arguably more popular.
Thus, Grand Theft Auto IV was a victim of poor optimization and unfortunately it never reached its full potential on PC. But I feel this time it might be different, simply because Rockstar should be well aware by how many people want this game not only on their next-gen consoles, but also their PC’s. A few months back there was a petition going around to urge Rockstar to push for a PC version of GTA V and it reached close to 100,000 signatures. It definitely isn’t a substantial amount of people, but if the game only sold 100k of copies, it would still equate to roughly 7$ million AUD if sold at $70 a copy. But there is no doubt that far more than 100k copies would sell worldwide.
Rockstar have already eclipsed their epic budget of $250 million by a long shot, so the financial reward can only increase by expanding the target audience. It will never reach the financial rewards of consoles simply because consoles are more widespread than PC gaming, but the PC gaming community has been growing rapidly.
Lots of gamers are taking advantage of the rapid rate of technology which results in far more powerful computers. Every few months better graphics cards are released, powerful processors are being made and the overall performance far outpaces the strength of the consoles.
This is the idea I hope Rockstar will take with them as their ports take place. They will make money no doubt so that isn’t an issue, what they should strive for it to make the best GTA V they can possibly make. Nothing would satisfy PC gamers more than playing a console ported game to its full potential on their powerful rigs. We saw just how awesome the game looked on past-gen consoles, so it can only get better when played on a well-built machine.
For some reason I have seen people give up the reasoning that because computers vary in terms of hardware, they can’t properly optimize the game to suit each computer. It is complete nonsense, each PC game is usually well-equipped to deal with this due to the abundance of graphic options to choose from. If you have a weak computer, you chuck all the settings down to low and obviously a powerful computer can handle the best graphics. There really is no excuse given just how big of a company they are. They have the financial power, the social reach and the employees to do it.
PC gamers will want a product that they can take advantage of immediately with not only just graphic options, but for the modding community as well. It isn’t fair to release the game which obviously works so well on consoles to suffer on a PC. I have no doubt that the modding community will be licking their lips at this announcement, already planning how they can take advantage of the game.
So, thank you Rockstar for finally releasing this exciting information, but there are no excuses for failure this time.