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No Man's Sky launch on PC puts a big dent in the resurgence of computer gaming

John Brandon | Aug. 15, 2016
The No Man's Sky launch on PC is a terrible nightmare. Some gamers have even decided to wait for bug fixes. This is not a good sign.

It’s amazing. There should be a “gaming” mode for PC that literally runs as though you have an Xbox One inside your Acer. Maybe that’s a major technical challenge, maybe it's been tried before, but I doubt it. When you use this Xbox mode on your PC (it could even boot to the Xbox logo), it should first verify you have everything in working order before you ever install a PC game. You would get one patch to apply if you want the latest version. Even then, games should run in that “base” mode without crashing. The reason No Man’s Sky runs smoothly on the PS4 is due to the testing environment. They playtested on one predictable platform. With a small team, there was no way to test No Man’s Sky on multiple PC configuration, and it shows.

(By the way, I know there’s a way to stream an Xbox One game to a PC over Wi-Fi, and there's even a tweak to make it work better. That’s not what I mean here. I’m talking about grabbing the game from Steam and playing right away, no console required.)

Even if there isn’t a gaming mode that actually works (and I know it would require support from the industry to make that happen, plus a lot of other steps), Windows itself should be part of the solution. Microsoft still seems to take a hands-off approach, and that’s mostly a good thing -- they are not as touchy about the ecosystem as Apple. Yet, it also means there are some many, many compatibility nightmares when it comes to brand new PC games unless you are EA or some other big studio.

No Man’s Sky is an ambitious game. It shifts the momentum back to classic adventure gaming, the kind that does not involve blood and ammo. I’m all for that. Yet, on PC, it is a major step backwards if it means the install fails. When a PC gamer says they’ll switch to PS4 or wait for bug fixes, you know there’s trouble.

 

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