Depending on who you ask, PC gaming is either dying or thriving.
Arthur Bruno, co-head of Cambridge, Mass.-based Crate Entertainment isn’t saying that PC gaming is doomed, but admits that it’s difficult to ignore a supposedly safer risk-to-reward ratio in console development.
“I think the problem [with PC developement] is two-fold: lower sales potential and higher risk,” Bruno said in an interview with Edge. “People can say what they want about the number of PC gaming machines being sold each year but the reality is that most titles released for both PC and Xbox 360 see higher sales of the console version, in some cases more than double even with a simultaneous release.”
Bruno has first-hand experience in the trials and tribulations of PC game development. Prior to founding Crate nearly a year ago, Bruno was lead designer at Iron Lore Entertainment, makers of the PC-only 2006 RPG Titan Quest, a critically-acclaimed game that earned the dev house a Game Developers Choice Award for best new studio.
Despite its accomplishments, Iron Lore was forced to shutter in 2008, unable to secure funding for the development of Black Legion–a console RPG that Crate now owns. (Black Legion concept art pictured.)
“The most obvious factor people talk about is higher piracy rates on PC,” Bruno said regarding more specific risks associated with PC development. “Another possible factor is the number of titles PC gamers buy each year compared to the average console gamer. I could go on speculating about different factors but the ultimate reality for us is that publishers seem to be primarily interested in console development opportunities right now and that dictates what we can sell them on.”
Bruno still has an apparent affinity for the PC as a gaming platform, saying he’d still like to develop for desktop gamers. After all, he said, porting from Xbox 360 to PC is “relatively cheap.”
“…I think there is a very good chance we’d port Black Legion to PC but that’s a call we’re leaving up to prospective publishers.”