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PC Gaming Alliance plan to uphold technical standards in new games with certification system

This is a quite-fascinating idea - up there with communism, straddling the thin line between ‘we need this’ and ‘it’ll never work’. The PC Gaming Alliance are planning to launch a certification program for PC games, which will allow players to buy games on release confident that they’re not bug-ridden technical dross.

The PCGA’s plan is to introduce a quality bar for PC games - an official logo on the (virtual) box so that you’d know Battlefield 5 stood a reasonable chance of running on a computer in the wild before purchase. 

They hope to charge developers for certification - much like the console manufacturers do, but at far lower prices. Studios and indies would expect to pay $500 if they’re willing to test the game themselves, or $2,500 to have the PCGA help test it.

The games will be required to meet exacting technical standards - for instance, 720p on medium settings, a consistent 30 frames per second and controller support for multiplatform titles - though PCGA president Matt Ployhar says meeting them won’t be a tax on developers’ valuable time.

“We don't need to have it completely locked down and so restrictive,” he told Gamasutra. “We don't need to tell people, ‘This is your minimum configuration’. But, you still need to hit a certain quality bar.”

The programme will be OS-agnostic, which Ployhar suggests will “future-proof” the system as Linux-run Steam Machines begin to loom on the horizon. It’s already enjoying a “soft launch” with early adopters, and will launch officially in March with finalised spec requirements.

There’s evidently a place for such a system - Battlefield 4 was just the latest in a series of bollocksed-up releases from major PC developers. But the cost could be prohibitive, and the PCGA require widespread adoption before they can hope for the average PC gamer to recognise their logo. Do you think it’ll work?

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Shriven's picture

Any system which shows up how shit a game is before purchase needs to be championed.

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unwanted's picture

This would be great. It might raise the prices of games but, I don't think it will matter. We'll just wait for sales like always. Too bad it will never work. I don't think companies have a QA department anymore. That's what the early adopters are for.

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UntoldAv3nGer's picture

Such a good idea. Could work, never know.

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I3LiP's picture

I was thinking the other day that the industry really needed some kind of independent quality assessment of titles, but I don't think this is really the right way to go about it. What we really need is a non-profit organisation that will quality assess titles for the benefit of the community and not for commercial gain. As it stands it seems like simply something big developers will purchase just so they can say "Hey look, we have the stamp, we must be good." regardless of their actual dedication to what such a mark should represent.

I'd like to see some kind of logo awarded to games and developers that show a certain amount of understanding and dedication to the PC gaming community irrespective of whether they are willing to shell out $500 on it. Something that has stricter standards - 30fps @ 720p is, frankly, setting the bar appallingly low for modern gaming and would seem to encourage developers to be 'good enough' rather than actually promoting excellence. It needs to take into account not just optimisation and lack of bugs but other facets of the industry that have been slipping recently. Poor business practice and a gross over reliance on DLC that never would have been acceptable even a decade ago.

I want a logo that says, "These guys are cool, they are going to deliver a solid product and arn't going to rip you off. They arn't going to cut corners or stuff your machine full of godawful drm. Remember those days when devs would release patches with new features and maps and bugfixes and they wouldn't charge you £10 for it? These guys do too." Lets just reward the guys who arn't trying to rip us off and I think we'll all benefit from it.

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