Imagine the world’s best pizza restaurant - stay with me here - where they served the world’s best pizza. All of your friends have been there and told you how amazing the pizza is; how delicious and creamy it is. How the tomato sauce is so fresh and tasty that you’ll never want another type of pizza from anywhere else ever again.
Now imagine being told by the head chef himself that your pizza will take a year to cook. Not for any other customers at the restaurant, just yours. Would you even still want it once 365 days had passed?
Obviously, with talk of their new project reaching fever pitch (Grand Theft Auto VI, surely?) I’m using this ridiculous analogy to talk about Rockstar’s crazy release strategies (At least I think I am? Who’s up for a Food-Debate spin-off site?) for huge franchises like Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar has a long-running track record of releasing its games on consoles first before making a PC port, often making us wait years for a slice of that gaming goodness. And whilst there are some positives to this, we think it’s time Rockstar stops the madness.
First of all, it feels like Rockstar has a grudge against PC players (Maybe daddy PC once left to go get a pack of cigarettes and never came home to baby Rockstar, but one can only speculate). While the PC ports of Rockstar’s games have always been met with the same, if not better, praise as the console versions (usually increasing online player count and adding certain PC-only features like GTA 4’s custom music channel) they always seemed like features that could be in the base game already. To my mind there’s no reason that a PC port would take that much longer. Many other games that are just as expansive and detailed were released at the same time on consoles as they were on PC, like The Witcher III.
So why has Rockstar not caught on like everyone else? Aside from making more and more money from people buying multiple versions, as this article explains, I really can’t think of many reasons! But for the sake of a debate let’s break it all down and look at some numbers for Rockstar’s last 3 games they released to both console and PC:
Console: April 2008
PC: December 2008
Wait: 8 Months
Console: September 2013
Next-Gen console: November 2014
PC: April 2015
Wait: 19 Months
Console: October 2018
PC: November 2019
Wait: 13 Months
So GTA 4 took eight months to come to PC, RDR 2 took just over a year. Those are almost and I mean almost acceptable when the games are such high quality. But GTA 5 took nearly two years to come to PC! Granted they did re-release the game for next-gen consoles at the time, but why did it take another four months after that to port to PC?
That’s not even mentioning the fact that the first Red Dead Redemption game never even made it to PC! Maybe Rockstar thinks it’s too late now, but I certainly have very fond memories of the Undead Nightmare DLC: shooting zombies’ faces and taming the great horse of war. Come on Rockstar, PC players are people too!
Maybe Rockstar wanted to see how long they could make PC players wait before people started complaining and PC sales were lost. If they really did learn from their mistakes when it came to Red Dead Redemption 2’s year-long wait then hopefully the next game won't have us twiddling our thumbs quite so long, though I doubt it very much. Another reason for Rockstar might be the all-popular debate around piracy in video games as it’s notoriously easier to pirate games on PC than game consoles which could certainly affect Rockstar's sales.
Okay I’m feeling a bit negative now and this is supposed to be a debate after all, so let’s try and look at some positives that come out of waiting:
The first one that comes to mind is patches and bugs. After waiting at least a whole year you have the benefit of all the major bugs being fixed, some still make their way through to PC but at least most of the big ones are patched out by that time.
You also have more time to upgrade your hardware; with consoles offering affordable tech-in-a-box, as a PC player you can constantly upgrade your rig to stay well ahead of the curve and enjoy a better looking and performing game. A entire year is a long time to save up and make sure you can at least play the latest Rockstar game with the minimum requirements, or push even further beyond the recommended specs if you're after the premium experience.
Whatever the reason, when GTA VI is inevitably announced it’s safe to assume that PC players will be waiting at least a year until there’s a port for them. But for now we have to remain content that our pizza will take a long time to cook, or we can steal a slice from one of our neighbours, but let’s face it: it’s not the same as having your own pizza.
What do you think? Should Rockstar release their games at the same time on both consoles and PC? Or is the wait worth it? Let us know what you think!