Console games ported onto PC’s are often uncared for, messy and down-right unplayable; this is seen with the recent release of Arkham Knight on the PC. The development team Rocksteady reportedly outsourced the game to development team Iron Galaxy Studios – which helps explain the imbalance of performance from the console versions compared to the PC versions. The matter of the fact is that most major development teams need to outsource their projects to other teams in order to ensure that every platform will have a releasable version; of course this neglects the possibility that some issues will be overlooked and rushed. As a result, many early PC releases are now really buggy, frustrating and not worth purchasing. It’s an issue that needs to be tackled and dealt with by developers – whether it means delaying certain platform releases, or if it means delaying the overall release of the game – there needs to be a resolution. Warner Bros acknowledge these performance issues of Arkham Knight and their temporary solution is to halt PC sales until the issue is resolved. Was this the right way to go about it?
Perhaps it was.
The initial response about the problems was from the Arkham Knight support page forums:
We’re aware that some users are reporting performance issues with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. This is something that Rocksteady takes very seriously. We are working closely with our external PC development partner to make sure these issues get resolved as quickly as possible.
However this was then updated with the decision to stop PC sales (for now):
We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards. We greatly value our customers and know that while there are a significant amount of players who are enjoying the game on PC, we want to do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall.
Warner Bros are also redirecting those dissatisfied to Steam refunds. This is perhaps the key issue why this was the ‘right decision’. Previous sloppy game releases continued to be distributed while publishers promised patches to come in soon; it shows a lack of care for gamers as many can be mislead or uninformed of the current situation and still purchase a poorly released game. The new Steam refund policy can now effectively act as a detergent for publishers to rush gaming releases. Had Arkham Knight still remained available to purchase, more would download the games and more would demand for refunds when realising the performance issues. Warner Bros fears further refunds and hence has to act to prevent further purchases.
Steam refunds are essential in the PC gaming community as it heightens the necessity of quality from these games. Future publishers may fear the chance of high refunds and therefore ensure that the game they release contains a minimum sense of bugs and issues. By giving the players more control in what they purchase, it forces game developers to make a game worth releasing and purchasing.
Sure, freezing current sales could harm potential players willing to purchase the game, however it does convey a caring reputation from Warner Bros as they attempt to fix their mistakes.