Flamebait Friday Debate / Editorial: Starcraft 2 Is A Shining Example Of Why I Stopped Playing PC Games

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You would expect this to be one of those usual PC gaming vs console gaming debates, but today’s debate is a little different, because I have a lot of moaning to do.

You see, here’s my story in a nutshell. Starcraft 2 is one of the biggest games to be released this decade, and I would quite like to play it. A review copy is on its way to us, but I wanted to find out if my laptop was good enough to review it so that I could either a:) do that or b:) send it on to another reviewer with a better PC.

It’s been a day since I first installed the full game with a trial code and after a lot of work and effort, I still haven’t been able to get it to work.

Let me clarify a few things first. Number one, I am a Mac user which means that the simple fact that I even get to play Starcraft 2 on my machine is already supposed to be a huge bonus. Number two, I currently use a 13″ Macbook Pro laptop, which while being great for work, is admittedly not exactly what you would call a gaming rig. This however, doesn’t actually all matter when you can’t even get the game to run in the first place due to something silly, like a patch update.

I managed to get myself a trial code, so that i could download the whole game so long, and then test it out for a few hours to see how it handles. I was already worried that my machine wouldn’t be able to handle the games requirements, even though the minimum specs really didn’t seem too bad.

The problem is that after downloading a 7GB installer, and then waiting half an hour to install the game, it already had a patch that needed to be downloaded, the day after its release. Patches happen, I have accepted that fact, so I didn’t really have a problem with that. The actual issue arose when my patch download, for no apparent reason, stopped at 66% and told me that it had multiple issues with saving data.

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Now this is where my real issue with PC gaming begins. I did what any PC gamer does at this point, I hit up the official support forums, as well as googled my issue to see if anyone else had the problem.

I had to spend hours going through forum threads, support pages and whatnot trying to fix my issue, and the worst part is that with strange problems like this, we all know where it leads to next.

Before I knew it, I was deleting cached files, restarting my computer, trying the download again with the firewall off, trying to find places to manually download the patch and so on and so on. Heck, I even stumbled upon a major issue with the games installation that comes down to case sensitivity. yEs, CaSE seNsitivity is causing the game to not install for a lot of people with specific format types on their drives.

Once you start going through these support forums, you realise just how many different issues there are, and how many of them aren’t solved, and possibly will never be. Which means that somewhere out there, there is a die-hard Starcraft 2 fan that can’t play the game he just waited 12 years for and bought, and can’t just afford to go get another rig as a solution.

What I really don’t understand is what the beta was for, if the game was still going to release with so many problems. (I actually know for a fact that the “case sensitive” issue was reported by a beta tester, and Blizzard were aware of it but it still exists in the final release).

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It’s at this point where I obviously want to play the console gaming card. With any of my consoles, when a new game comes out, I simply get home, pop the game into my drive, and play. No mess, no fuss.

It has now been an entire day since I installed Starcraft 2, and I still haven’t even seen the game. The problem is that when you develop a game for one or two consoles, you developer the game, you test it on those consoles, and when it works on one, it pretty much works on all of them. With PC gaming, developers have to develop code that will work not only on one type of machine, but an infinite ocean of configurations involving processors, graphics cards, motherboards and operating systems as well.

I don’t want to have to by a whole new machine as a solution, I don’t want to have to have an issue because the game doesn’t like my specific configuration, and I sure as hell don’t want to sit reading through countless support pages and forum threads to try and fix my problem.

I am a gamer dammit, I like playing games and I want as little as possible to get between me and actually playing those games. I don’t want to have to deal with files, folders and configuration doodads. When it comes to consoles, everything is set out in a specific way, and it works. If you play a Playstation 3 game and it needs a patch, it connects to PSN and downloads a patch the same way that every other game does.

The one shining beacon of light that the PC has at the moment is Steam. Steam is a platform that works just as well as Xbox Live or PSN. Everything is in one place, and uses the same systems to get things done and so far, I have had a really great experience with it. It does however, still not fix the issue of a having a bazillion different configurations that need to be catered to.

PC gaming is a bitch sometimes, and it’s something that I don’t want to deal with when things go sour.

For now, I’m over it. I’m sick and tired of wasting my time trying to get something to work, when all I wanted to do was try and play what looks like a really great game. I guess I’ll go and play some more console games now, because the PC games don’t want to let me play with them.

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Ok, that’s my bitching done, so let’s get onto the debate question. What do you think of all this? Will PC gaming always have problems because they are not dedicated gaming systems? Am I just unlucky, or insane? Would you rather be sitting on a couch instead of at a desk?

This covers everything there is to cover between PC gaming and console gaming. So let us know what you think below.

Last Updated: July 30, 2010

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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