Ironically, given it what food was in the PC gaming business a long time before it had consoles, Microsoft has caught lots of flack lately for leaving PC gaming behind.
While the kind of Blizzard and Valve always put out excellent PC games every year, Microsoft’s support from the platform has felt just like an afterthought, with PC ports of console games which may have arrived late or otherwise at all.
Announced with this year’s E3, the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative was meant to change all of that. But the reality leaves something being desired right now.
For the uninitiated, the initiative is often a cross-buy scheme for Xbox and Windows that permits you to obtain a game once and are on both the Xbox One video gaming system and Windows PC platform.
Microsoft positioned the scheme as bringing parity for the two bits of hardware, which might receive simultaneous game releases and convey to an end the criticism that Microsoft has left the Windows platform to prioritise a hardware.
But to my opinion, the initiative, at the least on PC, hasn’t had a great start.
The Xbox One version of Forza Horizon 3, one with the initiative’s first games, may be well-received. Our own review referred to it as “a petrol-head’s dream” and elsewhere its arcade thrills and sumptuous visuals are already a hit with critics.
Meanwhile the launch of the PC version was plagued with performance conditions that make it really a struggle to relish.
I downloaded the experience on a machine pre-loaded with a 4th generation i7 processor along with a GTX 970 – a great setup that, although it is not at the “overkill” end of gaming PC specs remains more than respectable. Yet my system struggled to maintain a great 30 fps, and 60 fps (that’s more or less required for a fast-paced driving game similar to this) was nearly impossible.
To its credit, Microsoft is fitting in with rectify these performance problems with patches, but finding a working PC version on the game 3-4 months after its Xbox release isn’t what Xbox Play Anywhere, which was designed to mean equality between your two platforms, is dependant on.
Gears of Store
My problems would not end with Forza Horizon 3 Credits; problems with the Windows Store have prevented me from playing Gears of War 4 entirely.
In it, the devil’s within the patches. After getting through a monstrous 54GB download that took a whole weekend to squeeze down my puny 8Mb connection to the web, I was told I needed to download another patch.
At only a couple of megabytes, this patch should are already downloaded within minutes. But for unknown reasons the store would generate a mistake every time I tried to download hidden update.
The result was that I wasn’t capable of play 1 second of Gears of War 4.
It’s besides me – the state run Gears forums are plagued by people experiencing similar issues, with the Windows Store simply being struggle to patch their game, as well as their game refusing to start without a patch being installed.
If this example sounds much too familiar you then might be remembering Microsoft’s previous work for balance a PC gaming platform, Games for Windows Live, that has been roundly criticised for the time for leaving people not able to play games that they’d purchased.
I’m not gonna claim that the latest incarnation from the Windows Store is anywhere close to bad as GFW Live was, though the similarities are frustrating.
Instead of opting for just a well-developed and trusted store like Steam and even Origin (which after many years of attention from EA isn’t the mess it was formerly), Microsoft has chosen yet again to create a unique marketplace, and thus far it doesn’t look up to your task.
Xbox Play Anywhere, sometime?
Xbox Play Anywhere hasn’t had the top start in life. Two of the earliest games have received mishandled releases, one through PC performance issues and another through patching problems.
Both these stumbles are understandable. Quality control on the PC platform, featuring its numerous different hardware configurations, is quite a bit more difficult compared to consoles, and digital marketplaces are exceedingly complex components of infrastructure.
That either game has brought a release on PC whatsoever is a step inside right direction for Microsoft. This is the first Forza game show up on the PC, and past Gears of War games have hit the PC months, in any other case years, after their console releases.
But it’s clear that we’ve got a considerable ways to go prior to a two platforms are treated as complete equals.
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