Sunday, March 14, 2010

Multiplayer Gaming Console vs PC

Me and a friend had an interesting discussion concerning multiplayer gaming experiences on the console vs the PC. We looked at several areas of both technical details and also personal subjective experiences with the community on both and below is some of what we feel is a representative list of average experience differences you can expect on both.

Game Size

We found that the console game size ranged from the average 4vs4 to a max of 8vs8. PC’s on the other hand started at around 8vs8 and seemed to reach their upper limit close to 25vs25 for many games that we tried.

Because of these differences we found that console multiplayer maps often placed players in a much smaller environments forcing players to run into each other more often.

PC environments especially the ones chosen for larger matches tend to be quite expansive and often required a level of team co-ordination in order to win.

On the flip side these same maps don’t scale well when there’s only a 4vs4 game. Think of games like TF2 these games only start to be playable at 8vs8 on the PC.

 

Player Mentality

One major difference is the player psyche of the console gamer and the PC gamer. We found that often times PC gamers lean more towards a true team co-ordinated effort vs what we found in consoles where although everyone is playing together there is no communication as to common strategy.

Worse still was we found that in many “team” based console games players would purposely undermine you in order to appear higher on the scoreboard rather than assist each other to come up with an overall victory.

 

Player Communication

This one was interesting before I played on the xbox 360 I always assumed that since everyone had a mic it was used to great effect in games. This turned out to be very untrue most games (I’m looking at you MW2) communication consists of complaints random burping noise or your one friend trying to tell you some useful info before he’s abruptly cut off by the next pre-pubescent teen in a rage scream because they just got killed.

PC communication is tricky although almost all games released now have mic support many still prefer to use the keyboard and do so to high efficiency. It is a bit disconnecting when half your players are typing and half ar talking. However the quality of in game chat is dramatically different the talkers are usually people that are actually talking about tactics or actively participating in how the game is unfolding. In almost all cases random people you meet are helpful and civil. The text chats can sometimes have bad comments thrown around but these are far easier to ignore and it would appear that these people are far to embarrassed to take their jack-assery in to pollute the voice channel.

 

Network

Xbox live is a fenced garden that you have to pay monthly for. Admittedly it’s a lot more populated than PSN I found that for several games on PSN matchmaking would just be unable to pair you up with someone due to lack of players for games just a few months after launch. The possibility of hosting your own server where the server op can play with the rules a bit is also gone.

In contrast because almost all PC’s are internet connected. Current games number in the thousands you’ll never have problems with match making. However things like a shared friend list and joining a friends game are less than automated on the PC unless you have steam.

 

Extended Play

Consoles simply don’t have the capability of creating more content for the game by the users. Aside from a select few examples consoles are purely you play what the publishers want you to play and that’s that.

True multiplayer PC gaming however has always had a hand in the modding scene in fact a lot of the best game ideas come to us first as experimental game concept ideas. With people running custom servers player driven content is loaded onto these custom servers and then players around the world tired with the stock experience can just go nuts with mods. Mods can sometimes be extremely entertaining but also completely mis-understood by publishers do it will never make it into a DLC.

 

Conclusions

This article really wasn’t suppose to point finger or conclude anything. It’s main purpose is to point out that the two platforms just from their heritage has some different expectations to them. I think it’s these gaps that PC gamers and Console gamers will never really see eye to eye.

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