The PC is making the consoles its bitch. Or so onetime Doom designer John Romero would have us believe.
“With PC you have free-to-play and Steam games for five bucks,” said Romero. “The PC is decimating console, just through price. Free-to-play has killed a hundred AAA studios.”
Romero’s last PC game was the free-to-play Ghost Recon Commander. Eventually, he reckons, the model’s going to lose its stigma.
“People will settle into [the mindset] that there is a really fair way of doing it, and the other way is the dirty way,” he told GamesIndustry. “Hopefully that other way is easily noticeable by people and the quality design of freemium rises and becomes a standard.
“That’s what everybody is working hard on. People are spending a lot of time trying to design this the right way. They want people to want to give them money, not have to. If you have to give money, you’re doing it wrong.”
Free and cheap games are a modern advantage the PC has over the consoles. But some of the reasons Romero prefers the PC are old favourites.
“The problem with console is that it takes a long time for a full cycle,” he said. “With PCs, it’s a continually evolving platform, and one that supports backward compatibility, and you can use a controller if you want; if I want to play a game that’s [made] in DOS from the ‘80s I can, it’s not a problem.
“You can’t do that on a console. Consoles aren’t good at playing everything. With PCs if you want a faster system you can just plug in some new video cards, put faster memory in it, and you’ll always have the best machine that blows away PS4 or Xbox One.”
Do you see yourself coming around to free-to-play anytime soon? Last year, BioWare reported that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s free to play option was bringing in thousands of new players every day.