The gaming industry is constantly expanding and while current generation consoles are slowly dying, next generation machines are rapidly emerging, gaining gamers interests along the way. Of the current generation console systems, the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube have all captured a share of the gaming market. The Xbox 360 will face some heated competition when Sony releases its successor to the PS2 and Nintendo revolutionizes gaming with its Wii. When we add the P.C. into the equation, gamers will ultimately have the option of 4 gaming platforms in which to play their favorite titles.
Having identified this, developers are increasingly creating titles for more than one system. This recent trend has sparked criticisms among the gaming community. Concerns over the quality of multi-platform games have placed a great amount of pressure on developers to create titles for a specific machine. Largely associated with cross-platform titles is a lack of perceived quality due to developers focusing on multiple systems rather than one. Of course each system is different to the next. One system may contain greater processing power, while another greater graphic capabilities.
So who’s to blame for the creation of multi-platform games? Most people point their fingers straight at the big gun companies such as Sony or Microsoft. It is a common misconception that creators of the gaming systems themselves wish to publish cross-platform games. After all, Microsoft would prefer to keep games exclusively bound to their machines and vice versa. It is in fact the third party developers who choose to create multi-platform titles. While gamers will continue to complain, it seems only wise from an economical perspective to capitalize on a game through multiple systems.
Unfortunately the result of this is that developers in most cases compromise quality for quantity. In many situations, developers will focus on creating a game for one machine and then port it over to other systems. However a cross-platform path isn’t necessarily all bad and when approached with a different perspective can be a positive move. After all, you must consider the fact that not each gamer will own every machine. It can potentially become very expensive to own each platform and at the same time afford to purchase games. This way, gamers can still purchase their favorite game for a chosen platform without having to worry about availability.
The future of gaming is clearly heading along the path of multi-platform titles. However expect exclusive titles to remain in production. Sony and Microsoft for instance, offer up large ‘sums of cash’ to their larger developers to exclusively develop for their machines. While on the other hand, many developers still choose to create for one system, hoping to achieve a high quality game, winning over gamers alike. To add to this, many recent multi-platform developments have proven successful.
Take for example Resident Evil 4, a survival horror developed by Capcom. This game was released to the Gamecube in January of 2005 and greeted with rave reviews. Approximately 8 months later the same title was released again, however this time to the PS2. In similar fashion, the game was highly reviewed by gaming audience worldwide. There was very little difference between the two releases. Both featured the same game and story, while additional features were added to the PS2’s version of the title. The PS2 version was in fact a port from the Gamecube version. However unlike many multi-platform developments, developers Capcom placed a great deal of emphasis on transitioning the game from one system to the next and the results – an almost prefect game.
Unfortunately this is a route that many developers choose to bypass when developing cross-platform titles. It is wrong in any case to assume that all such developments are inferior. Quality cross-platform games do exist, however they are difficult to find. The world of gaming is constantly evolving and as changes take place new trends, either good or bad will emerge. We need to remember that developers will only create games that capture the interest of gamers. The bottom line is that developers will only continue to create low quality cross-platform titles if gamers support them. Ultimately it’s you, the gamer who holds all the power.