Chris Taylor is Wrong

So Chris Taylor, he of Total Annihilation fame, is demagoguing about how to “save PC gaming”.  Of course, he’s got it wrong.

Putting aside the fact that he’s an irrelevant fucktard, a one-hit-wonder of a game developer whose library is a cavalcade of mediocrity, to ape the inimitable Yahtzee, he’s on the wrong path.

Taylor says that the future of gaming is in “Secure PC Gaming” a nebulous term that in hu-man language means “draconian copy protection”.  He claims the problem is widespread piracy, and that the only way to save PC gaming is to inconvenience everyone.  This is wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

As the music and film industries have so valiantly failed to learn, piracy is not the problem, it is the symptom of the problem.  Namely, barriers to entry including, but not limited to, rising costs and draconian copy protection.  Simply put, the problem is that it is easier to pirate something than to acquire it legally.  PC gaming, however, has another problem, a great big problem so glaring that the herculean effort required to ignore it defies the laws of science.

It’s the system requirements.

Let’s put this in perspective, I am a life-long PC gamer, I cut my teeth on this stuff.  I’ve long supported the platform and it is my fervent belief that the mouse and keyboard are the gaming equivalent of lightsabers, that is to say, “finer weapons, for a more civilized age.”   My computer is four months old, it has a processor that can think faster than God and enough RAM to store the collected knowledge of humanity.  It cannot run Crysis above “low” settings.  It cannot even meet minimums for the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed port.  Considering it rarely runs above 1280×720, this is ridiculous.

There are PC games being made these days for a machine that does not fucking exist.  That is the problem, not piracy.  The solution is simple, though.  In fact, several companies are already doing monstrous business by using it!

Stop competing with the consoles.

World of Warcraft can run on just about anything.  Ditto for The Sims.  I bet Spore won’t require a demonically-empowered quantum-shitstomper of a machine to run, either.  The fact is, the PC cannot, nor should it compete for graphical supremacy with the consoles.  They’ve got the high ground, they’ve usurped the mantle of prettiest princess at the ball.  Making games that people can’t play is capital-R Retarded.

Make games that will run on three-year-old machines.  At the very least, don’t develop for hardware that doesn’t exist.  Sell your games through Steam, and for god’s sake don’t saddle retail boxes with restrictive DRM.  A CD-Key is enough.  I don’t know a single person among my friends and acquaintances who pirated StarCraft.  Everyone bought it, and they bought it because the online experience was so compelling that they would rather have paid the cost of entry than found some arcane method of circumventing that barrier.  To my knowledge, it had no copy protection beyond a CD-Key and requiring the disc in the drive.  None.

The audience for PC gaming is there, Blizzard has proven it time and time again.  They don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their computers, at least not along the schedules that PC developers have decided upon.  Chris Taylor wants to punish consumers for a problem that he doesn’t even understand.  For my part I’m glad no one in their right mind would listen to him.