We think the PC is pretty great. We love how many different niche interests it caters to, we love how thin the barrier between developers and their communities can be, and we love how many utterly fantastic harebrained games are out there. But you could argue that we’re a little biased, we’re a PC gaming website.
So, to make our case for us, we contacted developers who choose to make games for PC. And they replied in their droves.
John Romero (id, Ion Storm, Doom, Daikatana)
I’ve always been a PC gamer, as in Personal Computer, whether it’s an Apple II, C64, Atari 800, Mac, or DOS/Windows computer, because I prefer the keyboard and mouse as input devices, I like being able to choose how fast my games will run based on the hardware I’ve bought, and I love games that are designed to be played for long periods of time. When a new FPS comes out that I like, I want to spend all my time playing it, which might mean 12 hours a day.
Because I love playing games on PC more than anything else, I choose to make games for it as well. I’ve only made one game in my entire career for a console first (Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows), and few for mobile first. Mobile is definitely interesting to me, so I’ll be making more of those. But for big, involved games, it’s all about the PC (OS X preferred).
David Goldfarb (DICE, Overkill, Battlefield 3, Payday 2)
@jBenson ah. Patching is as simple as just rolling out your update.
— David Goldfarb (@locust9) May 2, 2014
Clive Moody (Codemasters, Grid: Autosport)
Certainly for racing games, we know it’s a place where our core audience are. It’s their platform of choice. These are guys who are not afraid of having a decent rig and a decent racing setup. Also, the PC, because hardware's constantly updating, faster than the console cycle, it means we can find new ways of pushing, new techniques. Whether it’s graphics techniques or fun stuff with new peripherals, there’s always something new or cutting edge. It’s a lot of fun for us, it’s a lot of fun for the tech guys to get their hands on that, but it also means that we can do some special stuff that we can’t do on console - just because of the nature of how they are, they’re a closed system.
Mark Skaggs (Zynga, Westwood, Farmville, Command & Conquer: Generals)
@jBenson I'm working on a mobile game now. When I did PC development, I liked freedom from console manufacturers rules/speed to market.
— Mark Skaggs (@mark_skaggs) May 5, 2014
Chris Taylor (Gas Powered Games, Supreme Commander, Total Annihilation)
For me it started in 1980, when I got my first computer... Though not really considered a PC by today's standards, it very much was (a TRS-80). For years PC's were more powerful than their console counterparts, and for good reason, they were 10-20 times as much money. They were the Ferrari's compared to the console econo cars.
During the late 90's (or so) the price/performance argument for consoles was undeniably compelling (and hardware subsidy played a part in this I'm sure). But alas, consoles still did not, and do not, give you what a PC gives you, despite the price. PC's are evolving monthly, and this new round of consoles will be underpowered within a year or two, but we'll likely be stuck with them for a decade.
Though I've gone from a desktop to a laptop, my heart, and mind, belongs to PC.
Henrik Fåhraeus (Paradox Interactive, Crusader Kings II)
To put it succinctly, I love making computer games because I love playing computer games. Of course, there is more to it than that, but mostly it really is about the kind of games I play myself - and those games are not well suited to tablets or consoles. Unless we're talking about some very specific genres, computers, with their mouse and keyboard, allow for an interface that is both more powerful and more accessible than any I have yet to see on a console or tablet. Although I personally prefer strategy and role-playing games, I even think shooters are best played with mouse and keyboard - the only time I find a controller truly superior is when playing fighting games. When it comes to the kind of games wemake at Paradox Development Studio, with all of our tooltips and buttons, it is quite hard to conceive of a GUI and control scheme using a pad or controller that would even be acceptable (although the touch interface of Civilization V does a pretty good job).
There are also various rating and certification issues that we simply don't have to factor in when developing computer games for PC. E.g. console and tablet games are thoroughly scrutinized by the platform owners (Sony, Microsoft, Apple) during a strict approval process where they may want significant changes made to the game prior to release. Publishing through Steam makes our lives so much easier these days with its simple deployment and patching system. In the end though, it comes down to the fact that complex strategy games - the games I love the most - are best suited to computers. I only fire up my Xbox when I want to play a fighting game, and only play on my iPad when traveling, or in front of the TV while my fiancée is watching some sitcom.
Richard Garriott (Portalarium, Origin, Shroud of the Avatar, Ultima)
@jBenson Open platform, mouse, keyboard, continuous improvements vs buy whole new platform periodically.
— Richard Garriott (@RichardGarriott) May 2, 2014
Paul Taylor (Mode7 Games, Frozen Endzone, Frozen Synapse)
We're PC gamers at heart: our major influences were mid- and late-90's PC games. We really felt like, in that era, developers took time to thoroughly explore an interesting concept and fully flesh it out.
We still believe that's what the PC audience want today, so that's where we feel that our work fits best.
The freedom you get from developing on PC is also very important to us: you can sell your games direct to customers, you can support or integrate any new tech that comes along and you can basically choose to develop in any way you want.
John Smedley (SOE, Planetside 2)
@jBenson there are no rules so it's far easier to innovate.
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) May 3, 2014
Mark Morris (Introversion, Prison Architect)
It’s because no one controls the PC. We’re free to make whatever kind of game we like and even if no one in the whole wants to help us sell it, we can still set up a website and start shifting units. There’s no certification or quality requirement, no expensive dev kits and a long tail which we’ve seen last for 13 years. The real question is why the hell would anybody develop for anything else?