I'm reading a lot of negative vibes towards Bethesda because of their problems getting Dawnguard released for PS3. I'm a PS3 owner, and I play Skyrim on my PS3 quite a lot, and so I'm really looking forward to Dawnguard and Hearthfire coming out. As you can imagine, I'm really disappointed that Dawnguard hasn't been released yet, and may never see the light of day. However, I do think the attitude that some people have is pretty unhelpful - on Pete Hines's Twitter feed, there are almost daily tweets of abuse and foul language, not to mention what's said on forums like this.
It seems clear that Bethesda have a problem developing for PS3, in a way that doesn't seem to affect Xbox or PC development. Maybe it's Bethesda's fault for being poor developers, or maybe it's Sony's fault for having a such a restrictive platform to develop for. None of us knows for sure, and it doesn't matter. The point is, Bethesda didn't have to release Skyrim for PS3 at all. They could have simply walked away, knowing how difficult the PS3 can be to develop for, especially with a game based on a pre-existing engine. I, for one, am grateful to Bethesda for bothering to release a PS3 version of Skyrim at all. Yes, they are doing it for the money, but then how many developers don't do it for the money? If developers didn't make any money, we wouldn't have any console games.
So, Bethesda took the step to release Skyrim for PS3. I think that's a good thing. It may have come out with a few bugs (and I have encountered a few bugs, but not enough to stop me enjoying the game), but the majority of those have been ironed out (at least in my experience). Bethesda wouldn't be the first developer to release a bug-ridden game and just leave it, so I'm grateful to them for the bug fixes and patches. Ok, many multiplatform games (Arkham Asylum etc) come out almost completely bug-free, but think of this way; if Bethesda could produce bug-free games at launch, don't you think they'd do that? It seems logical to me that it's in Bethesda's interest more than anyone's that their games are bug free. Unfortunately, the nature of their games (in particular the engine they use and the complexity of the games' mechanics) means their games are almost impossible to release bug-free, at least not without spending literally millions of pounds in development time.
Again, what's the alternative? Well Bethesda could have taken the decision to simply not bother releasing Skyrim. Plenty of devs only release games on Xbox and PC, partly because they are so relatively simple to develop for - personally, I'm glad that Bethesda isn't one of them. Skyrim has a few bugs, there's no doubt about that. But it's certainly playable, and it's a great game. On balance, I think the last few months of patching have been worth the wait, and now PS3 owners can play Skyrim with a much lower number of bugs and glitches.
But then the expansions start cropping up. This is the big one, especially since Microsoft apparently "paid" Bethesda to give them a month's exclusivity. What we do know, if that there has never been any confirmation that Microsoft paid Bethesda anything. I personally don't think it's likely that they did. What does seem likely is that Microsoft offered some sort of mutual promotion deal, where Microsoft would promote Skyrim, and in particular its expansions, with TV, web and print adverts that state "coming to Xbox 360" and "Coming to Xbox Live", in exchange for this one month exclusivity period. What is also clear, is that this is nothing new - developers and publishers have been forming these kinds of agreements for years. If you think Bethesda are wrong for doing this, then you need to think about how many developers not only do the same thing, but actually offer total exclusivity to one platform. Look at Insomniac and the Resistance games - they were only ever released on PS3, and you can bet anything Sony gave them all kinds of development and advertising support - possibly even financial support. Does this mean that Insomniac are "greedy", "money grabbing" developers? No, of course it doesn't.
Every developer makes its own decisions on which platforms to support and develop for, and that's their choice and their responsibility. As gamers, we pick a platform and get what we can. If you don't like it, sell your console and buy a different one. If want all the best games, then you'll have to buy two consoles. If you can't afford it, then that's just life I'm afraid; you can't always have everything. Think what you like, but Xbox gamers aren't "entitled" to play PS3 exclusives like Uncharted, and PS3 gamers aren't "entitled" to play Xbox exclusives like Gears of War. If Bethesda want to develop games exclusively for Microsoft platforms, that's up to them. I'm glad they don't, but having read some of hideous, personally abusive and disgusting comments from disgruntled PS3 gamers, I wouldn't blame them if they did. Likewise, if Bethesda want to release DLC for just one platform, that's up to them. Why shouldn't they? You buy a game to play it 'out of the box', and anything else you get is an extra. Personally, I would be gutted if Bethesda decided to bypass the PS3 for Skyrim's DLC, but I'm not entitled to it. If a game is not worth buying without the DLC, then don't buy it - or at least wait until the DLC is out.
People claim that games should be the same across all platforms, and anything less that this leads to one side being "shafted". I'm not sure where this idea comes from, but until this generation it's never been the case that a game is identical across all platforms. Like it or not, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are totally different beasts to program for, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some developers may be lucky or skilled enough to get an almost identical match across the two platforms, but this is very much dependent on the game engine as much as anything else. Using a pre-existing engine is always going to favour whatever platform the game was originally made for, and unfortunately for PS3 owners, Bethesda games have always been Microsoft orientated. Porting a Windows-based game engine to the Xbox platform is always going to be easier than porting to PlayStation.
What's strange about all these problems is that, instead of buying Bethesda's PS3 games and saying "yeah, this is actually a great game and I'm glad Bethesda brought it to PS3", some gamers blast comments all over the web about how people shouldn't Bethesda games any more, to show them they can't abuse PS3 owners. That's not going to work. If PS3 owners didn't buy Bethesda games, then pretty soon Bethesda would decide not to bother developing for PS3 at all. That's a fundamental rule of business, and Bethesda is a business just like any other developer.
The saddest thing about all of this, is that Bethesda want to release Dawnguard (and presumably Hearthfire) for PS3. It will make them money, and it will make PS3 owners happy. A win-win situation. The fact that they're struggling is a real shame for everyone, but there are things we can do about it. Many people have suggested that PS3 owners boycott Hearthfire if it's not free (or at least at a substantial discount) as an apology for the delay. That's insane. If PS3 owners want more support from Bethesda, go and buy Hearthfire as soon as it's released! Other people have resorted to name calling, personal abuse and other nasty messages to Bethesda. Again, this is totally insane. If you want Bethesda to continue to support the PS3 platform, then go and thank them on Twitter or on the forums for their support so far.
Whatever happens, it's clear that Bethesda want to release Dawnguard for PS3; and instead of being so destructive, PS3 owners should offer encouragement and support to help Bethesda do this. Then everyone's a winner.
Wow- no way I'm reading all that. Try this for some perspective instead- not looking good, is it?
It basically seems to come down to- PS3 is not good for games like Skyrim.
Probably what's happened is the pressure for PC/360 release forced programmers to focus more on those platforms. It's not really the programmers' fault, but Bethesda for not giving them enough time or resources to deliver the same experience on all the platforms.
I don't keep my ear to the ground as much as I should, but what you're saying is that Dawnguard may never be released on PS3?
Yeah it's not looking good. I've been a PlayStation gamer right back to when the PS1 was first released, but this Dawnguard fiasco was the last straw for me. I sold my PS3 on Monday and bought an Xbox 360.
Well done for keeping perspective.
From your perspective, it's logical to 'punish' Sony for Bethesdas failings.
That move is why asshats like Bethesda keep getting away with the crap they pull with every PS3 release. They are never held to account for their enept PS3 attempts.
I have been following this whole situation closely as Skyrim is a broken entity following the 1.7 patch (even after reinstall and new save) for me. It is comical to watch the masses shift their blame, purely because Bethesda isn't responding/biting. It's now Sonys fault for releasing a device with a shared memory pool. It's becoming idiotic and rather obvious.
I can't quite get my head around the whole 'blame Sony' business of this. If the PS3 does make it difficult for games like Skyrim then why did Bethesda bother realising it on there in the first place? Was it that hard for them to hold up their hands from the start and say 'this isn't going to work' and leave it exclusively for PC and Xbox? I'd be a lot happier if that was the case. Sure I would be have been annoyed at the time, but after a month I wouldn't care. I would have simply passed on playing it or saved up to get something that could. Instead of what I have now, which is a glitchy beyond reason game and endless 'will they/won't they' articles appearing about whether the DLC will make it to PS3.
Sure, you would still have gotten the same mad fanboys screaming hate and saying they're going out to buy an xbox, but they do that over every small issue anyway.
I dearly hope that someone out there is still beavering away getting the issues sorted.