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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Third party developers and Platform specific features: Should there be more effort made?

Over the several generations of console gaming, each Platform holder has included and designed unique input features and controllers to distinguish themselves from the competition, in the hopes that developers will pick up on them, and nurture them into industry standard hardware. Nintendo has turned this strategy into a cottage industry, but Sony has also historically added new input methods to its controllers, and Microsoft even started doing the same with the Xbox One's Rumble triggers for example.

Yet whenever any of these companies do something distinctive with their hardware, the outcome is usually the same. Unless its an exclusive, most developers of multiplatform titles will ignore these features for one reason or another. Now I understand that games can be time consuming and/or expensive to make, and if you're already stretched thin between three or four platforms, and have a deadline approaching, you often have little choice but to homogenize the feature set across each version, rather than leverage a specific platform's features. And I get that not every game needs motion controls, or high tech haptics, or giant glowy light bar gimmicks to be good.

That being said, I do think some developers should implement a platform's unique features where it makes the most sense in certain games. It sets that version apart from the others, and can help be a nice little bonus for those who pick that console for the game instead of the others. For example, we're now in 2020, and for some reason gyro-assisted aiming STILL isn't a standard option in most PS4 shooters. I know it may be due to motion still having a "LOL Waggle" stigma among PlayStation gamers, but anybody who's used it in Switch or PC shooters can tell you that it obliterates the clunky analog-stick only aiming, offering precision and speed that's only second to a mouse. It's not like it takes that long to implement either, developers have direct access to the gyroscope, just implement it the way they do in Switch games, and people will use it. Another example, if the touchpad is just going to be a glorified map button in many games, then at the very least, developers, should let us use it to actually navigate the map with scroll, and zoom gestures.

I'm not advocating for platform controller gimmicks to be ham-fisted into games for the sake of it, but I wish developers would take a specific platform's capabilities into consideration more often for multiplatform titles. If they aren't going to make an exclusive, then they can at least make that version more distinct from the others.

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If a platform holder wants to sell his platform, he should put in the work to do so. 3rd party developers are trying to sell games, not hardware or digital storefronts.

If I was a developer and I'm already forced to code for a million different platforms and someone wants me to code extra features for singular platforms for no extra gain I'd show them a middle finger.

Last edited by vivster - on 02 May 2020

If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

Every platform specific feature I've seen so far has been bad, so no I don't think devs should intentionally make their games worse.

If it makes sense for the game, sure

What's the incentive for the developer? They want to sell as many copies as possible and usually focus on making viable versions, it's already complicated enough making software for so many different platforms with such varying performance and capacities. Add to that the relatively fickle nature of the market, and they have no guarantees that platform-specific features will actually result in better sales, which would make it a waste. For me, developers have less responsibility for creating unique experiences on every single platform than the manufacturer and purveyor of the platform itself has for creating a simple and welcoming developer environment with manageable tools and functionality. Any manufacturer who complains of developers not making use of niche or gimmicky features on their platform is wholly to blame themselves; there is usually close to no incentive, especially if there's easier money to be made elsewhere. Some of the above-mentioned factors were the downfall of 3rd party support for the Wii U, among others.