October 28th, 2010
Call us unreasonable, but these seven “product features” really make us salivate when it comes to playing PC games.
- Complete control. Designers, listen up. So long as keyboards and mice rule the desktop, which they still do, make them your priority. At the same time, empower your players with customizable inputs and cursor sensitivity. Make players feel in control. And of course, take the time to support gamepads, racing wheels, and joysticks where applicable. Do that, and we’ll bend over backwards to play your intriguing games.
- Scalable graphics. Not everyone has Alienware. But everyone has a computer. Make sure your games can play on the lowest common denominator. The more the merrier. That said, make sure your graphics can scale, to the max, so die-hard players can get the most out of their games (e.g. tessellation).
- Download now. I know a lot of collectors still like discs and whatnot. For everyone else, we want speed and convenience. Downloadable games are the best way to achieve that. In fact, I lost count the number of times I’ve heard people say they won’t buy a game “unless its on Steam” as a download. Same goes for expansion packs. Keep ‘em coming.
- Free multiplayer. As is par for the course, online multiplayer has largely remained free on PC. Keep it that way. It's entrenched in our DNA and completely reasonable. Those intertubes don’t cost you any extra money, so don’t nickle and dime us. Do that (along with making a fun game) and we’ll remember your name, and buy your next game. Oh, and dedicated servers are also a plus, provided they are no strings attached.
- Cheaper prices. I’ll get right to it, since you don’t have to pay an $8 “console fee” to release games on PC, pass on the savings. Don’t make me pay the same console price while you get better margin. While I’m on the subject, keep the freemium games coming. Games like League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Bloodline Champions and Battlefield: Heroes. Awesome idea. Better, yet, make those deep Valve discounts at $30 or less permanent. I promise I’ll buy a lot more games at $15-30.
- Maximum usability. When I’m playing your game, don’t make me think. It’s annoying. Let me advance the game at will (i.e. skip stuff). Make the menus self-explanatory. But most important, don’t complicate your gameplay. Make it simple. Like shooting someone in the face a gazillion times (Hi, Team Fortress!) Or moving a little orb around for hours on end.
- Community mods. If we didn’t like to futz with stuff we wouldn’t own a PC. We’d own a console or Mac. Since that’s not the case, give us some mod tools so we can make our own levels. You know, user-generated stuff. It’s awesome. I know. I grew up playing Unreal Tournament: Tiny Shooters Bathroom Edition that some kid made.
Brownie points: Command prompt. Just sayin’.
[Special thanks to Mark Nielsen, Wayne Ferguson, and Chris Sutphen for their input]
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