Deceptive Marketing?

Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

Last year when EA was showing off Battlefield 3 they spent most of the year showing off only the PC version. They were pretty upfront with the matter but if all you did was watch a commercial on TV then you might have been disappointed when your shiny new game didn't look anywhere near as good as the version from the trailer. Now for a lot of people graphics don't matter and getting a watered down version of the game wasn't a huge loss. I'll argue that getting it at only 30 fps was a bigger loss especially for those use to the smoothness of Call of Duty. Regardless, while EA never outright lied, for those who didn't do their research there could have been a big blow to the face when they started playing their game.

This year EA did a repeat of last year. Except this time they showed virtually every game at their press conference off on the PC. And this time they didn't own up to it right after. But this year it wasn't just EA. Ubisoft was only showing its games on PC (I understand that this was the case even at Sony and Microsoft's press conferences), Tomb Raider was running on a PC, RE6 was running on a PC, everything was running on a PC. The only games actually running on the consoles they were being displayed on were the exclusives (You Halo and God of War and so forth). Now arguably Sony's exclusives especially looked better than most anything anyone else was showing save for maybe Watch Dogs and the stuff confirmed to be next gen. But the question is, for all of these third party games, will they actually look and run anywhere near as well on a console as they did on PC? The answer is obviously no. At best they will look pretty close but run at half the frame rate. At worst you will get the type of game we saw at the end of the last generation, where games looked decidedly worse on consoles than on PC. The question is, which games are going to look good regardless of system and which won't? And furthermore will gamers have any heads up in advance or will we be at the whim of critics to tell us what games are functional on consoles and what games aren't?

It's going to be an interesting year and a half until the launch of next gen systems and in that time I expect PC gaming will see a big explosion in popularity as people await a console that can keep up with the PC's on the market already. As someone who buys most of his games on the PC I think it is great that developers aren't holding back when it comes to their latest engines, but I also feel bad for those who don't do their research and end up buying something that doesn't work how they thought it would. What do you guys think? Do graphics and performance matter enough to you that this is going to be a problem? Or are you content with the graphics of current gen systems even after seeing what the next gen will be capable of at this year's show?

Oh and as a final note, thanks to everyone who took my survey over the past 24 hours. I got over 150 responses thanks to you guys so I'm set to go other than needing to get some more girls to take the survey. Didn't think of that skew when I posted it here. Oh well. So thanks everyone! I really appreciate it!

#1 Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

Last year when EA was showing off Battlefield 3 they spent most of the year showing off only the PC version. They were pretty upfront with the matter but if all you did was watch a commercial on TV then you might have been disappointed when your shiny new game didn't look anywhere near as good as the version from the trailer. Now for a lot of people graphics don't matter and getting a watered down version of the game wasn't a huge loss. I'll argue that getting it at only 30 fps was a bigger loss especially for those use to the smoothness of Call of Duty. Regardless, while EA never outright lied, for those who didn't do their research there could have been a big blow to the face when they started playing their game.

This year EA did a repeat of last year. Except this time they showed virtually every game at their press conference off on the PC. And this time they didn't own up to it right after. But this year it wasn't just EA. Ubisoft was only showing its games on PC (I understand that this was the case even at Sony and Microsoft's press conferences), Tomb Raider was running on a PC, RE6 was running on a PC, everything was running on a PC. The only games actually running on the consoles they were being displayed on were the exclusives (You Halo and God of War and so forth). Now arguably Sony's exclusives especially looked better than most anything anyone else was showing save for maybe Watch Dogs and the stuff confirmed to be next gen. But the question is, for all of these third party games, will they actually look and run anywhere near as well on a console as they did on PC? The answer is obviously no. At best they will look pretty close but run at half the frame rate. At worst you will get the type of game we saw at the end of the last generation, where games looked decidedly worse on consoles than on PC. The question is, which games are going to look good regardless of system and which won't? And furthermore will gamers have any heads up in advance or will we be at the whim of critics to tell us what games are functional on consoles and what games aren't?

It's going to be an interesting year and a half until the launch of next gen systems and in that time I expect PC gaming will see a big explosion in popularity as people await a console that can keep up with the PC's on the market already. As someone who buys most of his games on the PC I think it is great that developers aren't holding back when it comes to their latest engines, but I also feel bad for those who don't do their research and end up buying something that doesn't work how they thought it would. What do you guys think? Do graphics and performance matter enough to you that this is going to be a problem? Or are you content with the graphics of current gen systems even after seeing what the next gen will be capable of at this year's show?

Oh and as a final note, thanks to everyone who took my survey over the past 24 hours. I got over 150 responses thanks to you guys so I'm set to go other than needing to get some more girls to take the survey. Didn't think of that skew when I posted it here. Oh well. So thanks everyone! I really appreciate it!

#2 Posted by rick9109 (154 posts) -

I honestly wasn't that impressed with THIS generation's graphical leap. Most triple A holiday launch games of course look beautiful, but an average PS3 game doesn't look better than a PS2 game the way that PS2 games looks compared to a PS1 game. Especially since sports games pretty much just stopped coming out on PS2 last year, a lot of those games were just a bit brighter (and in some cases, the PS2 versions actually ran better).

#3 Posted by mufujifi (49 posts) -

I think at this point, most gamers should be aware that console version of games would be slightly inferior in terms of graphics and performance. If they're still not aware of this, I'm not very sure how to comment on that. It might seem unfair, but think about the time and money PC gamers put into upgrading their computers - there should be a reward at the end for their effort. Console gamers; they spend a set amount of money for a machine that's limited in its capabilities and have to simply accept that fact. If a console system comes out that could actually rival that of a PC, well, the gaming world should simply rejoice at this technical achievement shouldn't they?

I have a decent computer and consoles. I'm still primarily a console gamer despite knowing the differences and owning way more PC titles than I really should. Performances and especially graphics have never bothered me before, because at the end of the day, I would rather say I enjoyed the experience. That's a highly nonchalant and cliche thing to say, but I just think one less person to add onto the endless debate between PC and console gaming is a good thing.

Although I can't deny that I AM impressed at what PC gaming is capable of.

#4 Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

@rick9109: It's a problem of diminishing returns honestly. Looking at next gen stuff, it looks close enough to photorealistic that I don't really see the need to ever make a game that looks better then that Final Fantasy tech demo. Look at 2D games. At some point 2D games just couldn't look any better from a technical standpoint. You can display the sprites in higher resolutions but the difference between Rayman Origins and something on the Sega Saturn is not that large at all and the difference between Rayman and what Nintendo does on the Wii is pretty much a matter of screen resolution. Essentially we hit the point sometime early last decade where a computer could run virtually any 2D game. You just couldn't make it look any better. 3D games are going to hit that point pretty soon. I think next generation is the PS1 generation of 3D. It is the point where you can make virtually anything you want at 720p and really it's only at 1080p and above resolutions where there are limits and in terms of resolution, the difference between 1080p and the new 4K TV's is not that much. Essentially we are at the point where to the average person, graphics will be good enough. Yea they could probably still get better for another generation beyond the next one, but with every new generation from now on the visual jump will become less and less noticeable. I think that the difference in quality between an early PS2 game and The Last of Us is huge. But the difference between God of War 2 and The Last of Us is much less than a late gen PS1 game vs God of War 2.

#5 Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

@mufujifi: I think the key term you used there was slightly inferior. That has been true for most of this generation. But I think over the remainder of this generation we are going to see games that look vastly inferior to the PC version. Not to get technical, but there were several effects in Watch Dogs that consoles simply cannot do. One of the things that made that shootout scene look so good was the reflection models on the cars and on the puddles on the ground. Running that effect in combination with the rest of the game is simply impossible on a current gen console. The volumetric smoke in the theater, also impossible in combination with the rest of the effects. There were also more dynamic lights than I've ever seen on a console game, and the ambient occlusion was using a DX11 level effect not the low quality SSAO seen on consoles this generation. And lastly, they had to have been using Nvidia's new AA technique in their 600 series to get that level of smoothness to the edges. Take away all of those effects and the result is a game that looks like a current gen game. It won't look "slightly inferior" it will look like an entirely different product. Something on the level of Half Life 2 for the original Xbox. What you saw in that demo was a next gen game. Now a bunch of the other demos looked possible on current gen systems, save for some effects here and there, but there were others were I was just noting effects that I don't think we'll ever see on a 360. We'll see how it works out but I have a feeling some games we saw at E3 are going to look vastly different when they actually reach gamers' hands.

#6 Posted by mufujifi (49 posts) -

I honestly never noticed all those technical details in Watch Dogs. I was actually more focused on how the game plays. I suppose I would be more aware of the differences if I had spent more time with a higher-end PC and cranking out a game's maximum potential for me to be aware of how huge of a difference future PC gaming will be like. At this point, I think I'm quite content with any sort of inferior technical experiences in gaming. But that's not to say that I'm not looking forward to actually being made aware of it. That would be quite an achievement wouldn't it? A game that'll do nothing but make me take note of how vastly superior it is in every technical way.

Aside from Watch Dogs, what else caught your eye?

#7 Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

@mufujifi: The Last Of Us was my game of the show from a designer standpoint. When Naughty Dog said that none of what they showed was scripted my jaw just dropped. Having all those AI systems working in tandem with the animation system in such a realistic way is simply something I've never seen a game even come close to doing before. Now maybe the same couple tricks will be repeated over and over, but if they can make every fight seem as cinematic as what they showed without repeating the same four or five animations over and over I will hands down call it the most impressive piece of programming I have ever seen in a game from an AI and procedural animation standpoint. Star Wars 1313 looked better but pumping out more effects isn't really an amazing technical accomplishment as much as it is building an engine that is designed for computers that don't exist yet. The same goes for Watch Dogs. It's certainly impressive, but it's impressive not because they designed something impressive but because they were designing for next gen hardware. The Last of Us was designed for a current gen system, and it manages to look that good while using a lot of Cell resources to run all that AI. That blew my mind. And while it wasn't at the show, the Unreal 4 demonstration on Thursday was amazing again as a designer simply because of how intuitive it looked to build stuff in it. So many of those features are things that designers have been clamoring for since Unreal 3 came out. I hate designing things in Unreal 3. It is just unintuitive and difficult in a way a million dollar engine shouldn't be. This engine on the other hand just blew me away with how easy everything looked. If I had the money to drop on that engine for my company I would do it in a heartbeat. Whereas I would only use Unreal 3 if I was getting paid to use it. I would never choose it to make a game myself. So Epic totally floored me and honestly that was more impressive than any game I saw a trailer for. But I doubt any gamer cared all that much about it.

#8 Posted by lazyhoboguy (62 posts) -

Frame rates of games are a big a deal to me, graphics not so much. If they only are showing PC versions of games in the previews and dont tell us how the console versions will actually run that bothers me. Im especially worried for ps3 ports as developers like to be lazy and do crappy port jobs that lowers the frame rate even more.

#9 Posted by Brodehouse (10072 posts) -

You're mad about what platform they showed an incomplete game to the public.

I'm going to make a list from here on. And every time someone makes a topic, I'm going to write down what they're mad about. And after I have 1,000 (so three weeks) I'm going to post them.

#10 Posted by HarlequinRiot (1098 posts) -

@Raven10: Totally agree about The Last of Us. Just thinking about how hard it must be to make it all look so seamless makes my head spin.

Also, the general rule for console manufacturer press conferences is that games are shown running on the actual console. From what I heard, that was true even this year, but I could be wrong. If they were using a PC, that's kind of a bummer.

#11 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

I think in Europe you can get in trouble if you misrepresent a game.

#12 Posted by Raven10 (1847 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I'm not mad just interested. I think it will disappoint a lot of people but I have a good PC that I buy most of my games on so it doesn't really effect me. I just feel bad for the people who were deceived.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.