The announcement of a PC version of Azure Striker Gunvolt has me surprised and a little bit mad when it really shouldn’t have. The increasing publisher support of the PC, mostly through Steam, hasn’t quite reached the point where it’s ubiquitous and you can expect every third party game to end up on Steam. It is however reaching a point where you have to seriously think about the possibility with each individual game. The only discernible pattern of probability I can see is the publisher of each game.
Why is waiting for a PC version important to me? I guess it just matters if you’re a so-called “PC gamer,” but more specifically I’ve just become accustomed to the increased freedom the platform gives me. I paid $15 for Gunvolt thinking that game would be tied to the 3DS forever (and my specific 3DS because of Nintendo’s digital policies). Now I find out if I pay another $15 in a few days I can just play the game on any of my computers, and for the foreseeable future since Windows has the best track record of backwards compatibility. Running the game in 1080p and possibly 60 frames per second is a perk, but the main appeal of PC to me has become the greater sense of ownership over the software I buy. Even games tied to my Steam account can be theoretically cracked.
I guess at this point you can expect pretty much any third party western game to have a PC release. The only exceptions I can think of from the last several years are Destiny and Red Dead Redemption. It’s the Japanese publishers that are currently in the process of slowly increasing PC support, but a lot of them are still cautious so we still have the default assumption their console games will remain console games. The ones that have and haven’t start to make a little more sense when you look at their publishers.
I think I should have expected the Steam announcement for Gunvolt seeing how Mighty Number 9 is coming out on basically everything. It was really Gunvolt’s spiritual connection to the Game Boy Advance Mega Man Zero games that threw us off. Today we look at the upcoming PC English release of Nobunaga’s Ambition Sphere of Influence as a surprise, but Koei Tecmo has seen some of the most acceleration of PC support among Japanese publishers.
Capcom has perhaps been one of the earliest Japanese supporters of the “Steam era,” stretching all the way back to Onimusha 3 and the original Lost Planet. The one exception from Capcom that continues to elude and disappoint though is Dragon’s Dogma. It might be the one third party game I’m thinking of caving and buying on PS3, but I’m still afraid the moment I do Capcom will announce a PC version. Konami has been fully supportive with what few non-mobile games it’s making these days. Square Enix is doing PC ports of almost all its Japanese stuff these days, to the point where I do believe we’ll at some point get PC versions of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3, even if they come after the console versions. Probably not Dragon Quest XI though.
I think Namco has been the most laggard of the big Japanese publishers as of right now. Most of its major stuff is coming to PC now, even Tales games, but people had to beg for Dark Souls, and there’es no sign of Namco fighting games on PC yet. The newest and slowest Japanese supporters of PC have probably been the really niche companies like Idea Factory or Acquire Corp, but now we’re even getting games like Akiba’s Trip on Steam. Where will it end?
Two companies in that sector I can think of that haven’t even tried PC releases yet are Atlus and Nippon Ichi Software. Atlus has published some games on Steam but none from its internal development, and there’s no indication the likes of Shin Megami Tensei will come to PC for right now. From what I can tell NIS is still devoted to PlayStation, but recent announcements indicate it will support PC in the future…
- Wow. I just realized three publishers mentioned in this article are combinations of other publishers: Square Enix, Namco Bandai, and Koei Tecmo.
- Good article. http://femhype.com/2015/08/21/top-8-women-girls-of-color-in-games-who-deserved-better/
- Some good advice on grammar policing. There’s a time and place for it. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-when-grammar-matters-and-when-it-doesnt-20150821-story.html
- A 4,000-year-old Egyptian board game is now on Steam. store.steampowered.com/app/391580
- Timespinner is headed to PAX. http://lunarraygames.tumblr.com/post/127106039484/ks-update-timespinner-is-going-to-pax-prime
- This is a really good article on the supposed audiences of video games, and not just on Steam either. https://medium.com/steam-spy/your-target-audience-doesn-t-exist-999b78aa77ae