Bethesda: Piracy, Drivers, Makes Developing for PC “a Headache”

In an interview with Joystiq, Bethesda VP of Marketing Pete Hines stated that, “From a technical standpoint, yes, the PC is a headache. It just is – a million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc.”

As an example, Hines pointed to Rage’s disastrous launch.

As you saw with Rage, all it takes is some bad video card drivers and years of hard work comes off as ‘buggy’, when in fact it’s a really solid, stable game.

Of course, no argument against the PC platform can be made without playing the piracy card, so it’s no surprise that Hines brought that up as another issue PC developers face. However, some good news did come out of it:

We do the best we can to protect [the game] without resorting to Draconian measures, and we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the Creation Kit and the ability to create and add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game.

Are we ever looking forward to those mods — hopefully one will be made to add full DirectX 11 support and high-res textures if Bethesda doesn’t.

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21 Comments on Bethesda: Piracy, Drivers, Makes Developing for PC “a Headache”


On November 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

You know…

Scumbags always start showing their feathers sooner or later. Who the made the Elder scrolls name in the first place?
Lets see..
Daggerfall? PC
Morrowind? PC
Oblivion? You might say PC AND Xbox360, but without the PC mods that pushed the game 5 years on, I’m pretty sure the hype of skyrim would be no where near the volume it is right now. Infact that goes true for morrowind’s mods also.

Then Mr. Scumbag attacks the PC….And his example is “Rage’s horrible launch”. Well what the face (sorry I tried not to cuss) left out is that Rage was actually developed on the consoles first and then somewhat ported to the PC. He also Left out the bigger part of his argument which was John Carmack admitting that developing on consoles was a big mistake.

I have a feeling that this guy is being all defensive regarding the PC crowd because he has a feeling that people on the pc will pickup that skyrim might be a console port.
Oh well I never preordered this game, and not sure I’m buying it anyways. Not like he cares about his pc sales…

Excuses, excuses, excuses...

On November 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

They’re still blaming the screwup of a release that Rage was on drivers? What a load of nonsense, it is their own responsibility to test games before release and they could just have provided the drivers they used in testing and worked fine for them. Presuming they actually did testing. Lets not forget the slew of patches released for Rage to address problems what were supposedly driver problems. Give me a break, go test your damn games before blaming everyone else for the problems.

Also if they release a game that needs special attention on the driver side it’s also their responsibility to make sure the driver vendors have time to address any problems. Can’t exactly expect the driver vendors to tailor drivers to something they’ve never seen before. Again this brings it back to testing the game, how did they actually test the game if there were supposedly no drivers to properly run the game, scary conclusion is that they simply didn’t do any worthwhile testing.

So Carmack and Pete Hines can stick their driver mumbojumbo and learn to take responsibility.

As for the piracy, they seem to be under the delusion that there isn’t piracy on the consoles, when the pirate versions of these games are normally released for the consoles before the PC versions. Using Skyrim as an example the pirate copy on the Xbox 360 was out on 01/11, at least 10 days before the PC pirate copy became available.

Also it’s not as if the PC is a new platform, suddenly complaining about things that are the norm makes someone come off as nothing but a whining brat trying to either rationalise something to others or themselves, meanwhile there are many games being released on the PC without “driver” problems or being crippled because of the console.

Does a single thing this Pete Hines says stand up to scrutiny.


On November 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

They know there will be glitches that are on their hands but they are quick to blame everyone else before themselves. I’ve already seen a glitch online of a giant hitting someone once and sending them flying through the air, isn’t even a rare glitch, seems to happen very often.

This is just pathetic and a real shame to see a company come out with this kind of talk. Only ones to blame are themselves, not the customer for using a PC or the graphics card companies for their drivers (though that last update for Nvidia almost fried my card), it’s also not the pirates fault either since there is pirating on both PC and console.

CJ Miozzi

On November 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I love how developers and publishers just ignore console piracy.


On November 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

You know, Piracy didn’t seem to be this GIANT ISSUE for the past 30 damn years PC gaming has been prevalent; yeah there was stuff like “DONT COPY THAT FLOPPY” rap song in the late 80′s/early 90′s, but it was never “People pirate games on PCs! We must never make a good game for the PC!”

These people need to get off their collective asses and not just half-ass stuff so they make some extra money: When you make a -GOOD- game, and price it well, the sales of the game will far outpass what you might have made from people pirating it.

Also Consoles see a hell of a lot of piracy as well, they never seem to bring that up.


On November 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm

From a technical standpoint, every personal computer works the same,
that’s why you can use an operating system on them in the first place and buy a ‘game’ for it. That’s all I’m saying.


On November 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm


I ING KNEW IT (read my first post at the end)


Once you’ve been there and done that, you know Developers will talk about the PC but in reality it’s just a defensive mechanism because they know they effed up


On November 11, 2011 at 4:54 am

Yes, we are all aware that the PC platform is not as homogenized as the consoles. However anyone who is a serious gamer hobbyist has a PC, period. There is no platform capable of the PC experience presently. And, Bethesda, ya gotta know that we love our RPGs. Please for the sake of god take the time to do things right, and give us decent textures and a UI that works. I am patiently waiting for the update.


On November 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm

This is sad really, all those UI and mouse issues killed the game for me, i fail to understand how is it getting so many stellar reviews when it has all those problems.

also it had over 200k people playng it on steam at the same time today, which was by far the most played game at the time i looked, which is no small feat.

i hope that show Bethesda that PC gamers are no laughing matter

Psion Kelmor

On November 12, 2011 at 4:04 am

Alright, all of the good points have already been made in a surprisingly intelligent manner, per internet standards, however I still feel this urgent need to touch upon one particular point. Stop. Blaming. Drivers. Period. All, and I stress all personal computers running the Windows and Linux operating systems, are, essentially, the same damn thing. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out, let alone an AAA title releasing juggernaut of a game developer. Here, download CPUZ on every single computer in your home from the oldest machine you own to the newest, jot down what this program records, and compare notes between each computer. You will notice a trend. Each of these machines operates on the same principle elements and instruction sets. The only key differences you need make yourself aware of lie in hardware capability. This is easily remedied by creating a game that can scale, with both low resolution and high resolution textures via complex tweaking options. For the less tech savvy person, you’d have to include an auto adjust option.

To put this more simplistically, if you are not much of a reader, developing in a way that accounts for a myriad of specifications and builds is a cake walk that should have been taken care of at the precipice of any companies development cycle. As for accounting for driver settings, you are developing this game on a PC correct? Then you have both Ati, and Nvidia drivers to play with, thus you should already have a firm understanding of what parameters your operating in. If you decide that you’d like to include a feature into a game that current drivers do not support, it is up to you, as a game developer to provide hardware venders with a copy of your game, else they cannot possibly include said new feature.

My last conjecture revolves around the possible flack I may or may not get for this post (hence the word conjecture), thus I will defend my argument with citation.

I am a budding indie developer myself, and I have been working with the Unreal Development kit for almost two years, tweaking their engine to where it is almost no longer Unreal Engine 3. I can say I have experienced not one problem mentioned above during my development cycle, not a single one. I had the newest drivers, I had the engine, I did some research on what hardware platforms were most popular amongst PC users, and drew a box for myself with which I needed to operate in. I also grabbed the Physx SDK from Nvidia, and the Direct X SDK from microsoft so that I would be able to include their most up to date Api within my game. If I, one person, can so easily acomplish this, than it leaves me to wonder just what is going though the minds of these game developers. I smell subterfuge, perhaps a large payoff from Microsoft, as even the Ps3 isn’t getting much love these days, or just plain laziness.

Which ever it may be, I’ll wait this out, and allow the economy to speak for its self. PC gaming is set to overtake console gaming soon, if it hasn’t already. I’ll write another MOD for this Oblivion Engine, just as I have in the past. It will bring back fond memories, such as, tweaking Fallout 3, and New Vegas to believe I had an older graphics card so that I could remove the games stuttering problems.


On November 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

You can’t easily take back a game if you don’t like it.. I pirated Oblivion, and I loved it, I now own a legal copy of Oblivion. I bought Alice Madness Returns without pirating it first.. huge mistake, hated the game and could not return it. The store would not take it back.

So now I have pirated Skyrim, but from what I have seen so far, I will not be buying it. You know, back in the day, game companies used to provide demos… I didn’t have to pirate it to try it.

The reason you all have so much piracy is because the stores won’t take back games we don’t like, and you do not provide us with demos to try the game before we buy it, so we are metaphorically buying a big question mark and hoping we don’t regret it. That doesn’t work for me anymore, game companies have burned me too many times.

A large chunk of those who pirate the game will buy it if it is good. Those who don’t probably can’t afford it without sacrificing necessities, you know, like food, rent, bills. When you’re making minimum wage and paying out the ass for rent (in California), you can’t always splurge on games. Some may say they shouldn’t be enjoying games anyway at that point, and to them, I say “ you”, in the most heart-felt way those words can mean. Just because someone doesn’t make as much money doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy basic entertainment. Most people seem to be grossly underpaid for what they do while other people are grossly overpaid for doing nearly nothing.

I will check back on this game in a few weeks, hopefully Bethseda will redeem themselves and I will purchase this game at that point. I’m counting on you guys to make this better, I would love to hand you my money when you deserve it, but a console-gamer I am not.


On November 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

This pathetic statement from you mr. Hines just proved how uninterested you are of making these games for pc. The state that this game is on release at PC shows that your company isn’t interested neither. You rather do games with 5-7 year old graphics and limitations of that old technology – it is cheaper and easier for you. Developing games for PC is headache only if that is what you decide it to be because you don’t like to do PC games anymore and you are not willing to do take time and effort to do proper developing and testing on PC – doing a PC game at all.
There are companies who can and are willing to do both console and pc games well – clearly Bethesda isn’t one. But when you come to say ridiculous things like you said, I’m going to send my Skyrim which I pre-ordered and haven’t arrived yet right back when it arrives.
When you respect me as a PC gamer so little like your words and actions prove – you don’t get my money.


On November 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm

@Sequestrum : nail/head. I pirated Oblivion as well. Loved the hell out of it. Bought it soon after. Kept loving it. Explored every nook and cranny. Did all exploits, created all potions, defeated every situation in every possible way, made my own maps, spend literally hundreds if not thousands of hours on that game. Pure awesomeness. Not because it was so immersive or anything – because it really wasn’t. But it seemed obvious to me that it was never intended to be. Oblivion was one really really humongous 3D polygon/procedurally crafted feast of gamer freedom. Now that was something worth paying for. The piracy only made more PC players interested and a lot of them went out and bought the game. The number of people who would actually buy a game if unable to pirate it (instead of going to another pirateable game) is so small that it can be disregarded if set against the extra coverage in the market you get if you just exploit the enthusiasm of tweakers instead of trying to tone it down.


On November 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Hmmz, my story wasn’t finished – forgot to copypaste the next paragraph… I meant to add:

So I went out and bought Skyrim the second it was released. Installed it, even got over the fact that it forced me to use the BBIWY horror that is Steam (hell, a single player, standalone game that forces me to have a permanent internet connection, I hate that), and got the biggest game-related disappointment of my life. There’s all sorts of wrong with this game. Not technically – it runs fine, I haven’t had crashes/lags or anything… But gameplaywise and port-wise. That has nothing to to with piracy and nothing to do with drivers – it has to do with just not giving a crap about the overall experience but just giving all single people working on the project a lot of fun with their single trick. I’m sure the audio technicians had a blast figuring out how to model sounds based on environment information. Just as the texture artists had fun mixing small scale and large scale art together. Just as the physics people had fun with creating gorgeous effects with sun-/moonlight, shadows, weather effects etc..

But two very important questions were obviously totally disregarded in making this game:
1) Does it all fit together? Is it immersive?
2) Does the whole game work well on all platforms it was intended for, and have we had it tested it on setups that are actually used in homes of consumers?

Which can be summed up to one question, now that I think about it:
— Do we actually care about the gamers, or do we only care about each and every one in the development team being able to do their own little trick…


On November 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm

It’s not really surprising it ended this way…i agree with people saying they are just making excuses…we are in 2011, but sadly their games are still somewhere in 2005-08..full of bugs, bad design on the UI,awfull animations/combat etc.

The only reason why they “support” their pc fans, is becouse of modders, that are fixing their and hyping the game that way…making cash for them.

If they wouldnt have them…lets be honest, noone would care about their games after couple of months…”dont worry about the pc version of skyrim, the modders will fix that for us, just like they did with oblivion ;)
I been a big fan of the tes series, but before the release of skyrim i had this feeling to rather wait with buying…good thing i did…seeing how they go more and more console and the pc version is in bad state…
When the pursue of excellence is exchanged for the pursue of cash, this is what happens…luckly there are still game companies out there that do good games…im not going to longer put money on this company.


On November 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

This is the first game I would really like to get a refund on – all the hype and we got … a console game on PC! I expect a few bugs, but not this many. Audio problems, leggo style noses, varying quality in the graphics (some is great others look like they are from Morrowind) And worst of all – the console UI forced onto a mouse keyboard setup with obvious lack of attention to what has been done with PC interfaces for the last 20 years. It takes 2 mouse clicks to bind a hotkey in Oblivion – and 8 steps in Skyrim – and they call this an improvement? Beth actually promised us a special UI for PC – yup, we got it all right, the default control for a PC is an xbox controller. Now isn’t that special?

Beth needs to hire more QA people and actually listen to what they say instead of believing the marketing people when they claim they know more than QA about what PC players really want. ( a wannabe xbox) What really hurts is that the marketing people will get a big bonus for this POS.


On November 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm


Sadly its obvious that they wont longer stay with the pc…they are now purely aiming for the consoles…and i dare to say next tes might not be even ported to pc….but honestly i would rather if not…looking at what they did with skyrim, is like putting a knife in my back…i waited years for this???…they should be ashamed.

As people already said…the modded oblivion was pushed for years hyping this company to heavens…but all this thanks to their dedicated fans who never stoped believe in them..and this is what they got.

No wonder we never got to see any reviews on the pc game or any presentation…it was and they knew it…i hope they choke on all that cash they got.


On November 19, 2011 at 8:24 am

I am pretty sure what he meant by “developing for PC is headache” remark, actually ment – “porting console games to PC is headache. To get port running on PC properly is a headache” and finally “its just so much cheaper to port stuff to PC and not change almost anything about it”

Cmoon every gamer understands there are bugs and whatnot and there will always be patches to fix those but not using extra capabilities that come from superior controlling mechanism and superior harware is just careless and sad.

For god sakes would it have been so difficult to implement UI that is meant to be used with a mouse and some actual keyboard support. It was done in oblivion and most of the mods that were a necessity like UI mods were developed by single person, for free. So yeah shame on you Bethesda……..


On November 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Oh man I was on the verge of buying the game after pirating just to support Bethesda but not any more. I might buy it on PS3 if I get one though. Game developers are obviously giving up on PC, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.


On November 22, 2011 at 5:14 am

Oh really Pete? You know what’s a real headache? That you are lying to people’s faces and I’m sure most of them are buying it, THAT’S a real headache here. You know I am a game developer as well, and what you say is nothing more that a bunch of self-righteous bull.
There are tens of thousands of PC games which have done it right, so why couldn’t you? I’ll tell you – because Bethesda are a bunch of lazy self-righteous s. Why has Skyrim ty GUI on PC? Why has Skyrim 5-year old graphics compared to today’s PC standard? Do you really think it has something to do with “video drivers” and such? Hello, we have Windows, we have DirectX. In other words, APIs that help us abstract those “thousands of cominations of hardware and software” and if you cannot use them effectively, the only ones to blame are yourselves. How dare you badmouth driver programmers – they are one of the few nowadays developers who have actually some skill and are able to optimize properly.


On December 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

@Adam Don’t do it…PS3 version is more of a wreck than PC is.

@Scorpius Yep. Pretty much word for word. The game is still worth playing overall (If someone hadn’t bought it for me I definitely would’ve waited to find it in the bargain bin in a year though) but holy hell if I can’t wait for the UI mods in January…