The following piece is a guest blog entry. The views expressed in it are not necessarily those of Runway Games and are entirely those of the author. For more posts like this by the author, check out this page.
Editorial: Why PC Gamers Should Boycott Rockstar
This is my first official blog for Runway Games, but I am not going to pull any punches. It’s not my personality as a writer or as a person so in the words of a famous meme, “Brace yourselves.”
I’ve been a gamer for 28 years, a PC gamer for 23 years, and a PC enthusiast for 20 years. Those kind of credentials were earned through a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of Dr. Pepper (Now Coca Cola), and a lot of lost socialization in my formative years. Needless to say I have high expectations for my video games and my video game companies. It’s only fitting that I make my first blog post a rant about a company that has figuratively crapped all over the largest segment of gamers. My only question is: Why did you do it Rockstar?
Rockstar didn’t start out a console shill company. Oh no, quite the opposite. Rockstar’s first game was actually a PC exclusive(1). It wasn’t just a PC exclusive it was originally developed for MS-DOS and then PORTED to Playstation. That’s right the company now urinating all over the PC gaming community started out as a PC game maker. There is a little sadness in that irony.
Fast forward to 2008, after massive success on the games “Grand Theft Auto 3” and “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” Rockstar put out “Grand Theft Auto IV.” The game made hundreds of millions of dollars, set sales records(2), and took the world by storm; after a 6 month delay. It was released in April for Xbox360 and Playstation 3, but PC gamers were relegated to waiting until December of 2008 before we could get our hands on it. Perhaps it’s just me but getting a game 8 months after its release date seems like old news and that’s probably why it only debuted as the 7th best selling(3) game the week it debuted. That wasn’t GTA IV’s only shortcoming. The game played horrible on even the best hardware. It was obvious the game had been poorly ported and rushed.
This kind of frustrating inevitability is what we have to come to expect from Rockstar as PC gamers. It’s now 2015 and I am reading article after article of PC gaming sites heralding Rockstar for giving us GTA V. Why? The game was released in September 2013 for 360 and PS3. It was released in November of 2014 for Xbone and PS4. Why are PC gamers last in line? We have the best hardware and statistically PC gamers spend more money and have more money than their console counterparts(4). PC gamers spent 20 billion dollars on video games last year(5). Also, take into account that doesn’t include Steam, a group of 100 million gamers, because they don’t release their sales numbers. The number could be exponentially higher than that.
Let’s just put all that aside and talk about basic respect and loyalty for people that put you where you are. If it wasn’t for PC gamers Rockstar would never have made it past GTA 1. PC gamers are the ones who initially bought and played the game. We’re the ones who gave Rockstar the fiscal support it needed to become a monolith in the gaming industry.
I’ll leave you with this, a quote I made in my top ten games of all time list in 2006, “9. Grand Theft Auto 3 – Car Jacking, picking up prostitutes, beating up random people, and just causing citywide mayhem. I think this really doesn’t need much more of an explanation. GTA3 has saved police departments worldwide trillions in pent up aggression. Thank you Rockstar games Thank you.” I guess I shouldn’t have expected more from a company that profited off of violence and glorified criminal activity. What’s criminal is how they have treated the people that put them there. If you do anything this year don’t buy GTA 5, it’s akin to returning to a situation of domestic violence (I understand domestic abuse is serious and I am not downplaying its severity), just because they say they love us doesn’t mean they are going to stop abusing us. Stop going back PC gamers; it’s time to heal.
1 Hamilton, K.R. (22 March 1995). Race’N’Chase Game Design.