Gaming: Developing for stand alone device (console) vs. PC (many devices)

After seeing bug after bug in newly released games I have come to a few conclusions in the gaming world: If you are going to create a game or a simulation, whether it be for fun, entertainment, professional, or training purposes, it will be a much better user experience if you design it for a certain system i.e., xbox, iPad, PS3, Android ICS, etc. That way when it is released there are not tons of errors because my machine has a different type of gpu card.

What I notice in the world of gaming and simulations is that one releases a game that should run on many different systems and then many unforeseen issue arise. This is usually caused by people having old or different versions of browsers, different GPU cards, incorrect settings, different sized monitor, etc. While we try to control for this in companies when designing training or in the game world by describing minimum specs, its still just not that efficient.

In fact, this even translates into the HTML5 vs flash debate because if you are developing specifically for the iPad you might need to use HTML5. However, that HTML5 app probably will not work on the PC or Android device correctly. Thus the need to release multiple versions or include a lot of extra code. This same thing happens to so many games and simulations. The latest example being the new Star Wars game by Bioware (SWTOR). They released this game a bit early and many users are having lag or frames-per-second (FPS) issues and now they need to find and fix them. So what is the solution?

There are a couple of workarounds but no single solution. One would be to develop for one device only, such as the iPad or xbox. This is actually what I love about the xbox or iPad. If I buy an xbox game or iPad app I know it will run flawlessly for the most part on my machine because it was designed for my machine. However this becomes impossible when trying to reach all audiences as too many users have other machines such as PCs. My personal solution? Create a standard for devices each year or every few years that all devices released during that time should have. So if that standard includes a certain amount of memory, gpu, html5, flash, etc then all devices would have it and thus be able to run game and simulations released during that time.

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