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How do the versions for PC, PS3 and XBox of modern games (like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Need for Speed, etc.) compare to each other? Is a version for a given platform normally better than the others, are they equivalent, or it depends on the game?

Are there other aspects to be taken into account, besides platform performance (e.g., cheating, multiplayer, DLC availability)?

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closed as too broad by kalina, shanodin, Meraj99, cloudymusic, 3ventic Oct 30 '13 at 7:05

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I don't think this question has a definitive answer. You are polling our opinion here, which is not the kind of question suitable for this site. Can you narrow down or rephrase this? –  DrFish Sep 28 '11 at 11:10

5 Answers 5

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I think it depends on the game.

One way that some developers approach developing a game is to make it for one platform first, and then port that to the other platforms - this is typically called having a "lead" platform.

For example, from what I have read DICE is developing Battlefield 3 for the PC first, and then working on the console versions. This can be seen by all the early footage from the PC version, but not really seeing anything on the console versions until E3 this year. Also in this case, the PC version will support more players at once in multiplayer (up to 64 IIRC, not sure on that though).

However for a game like Modern Warfare 3, that (at least from what I've read) seems to focus on the Xbox 360 version first. This is definitely the case for DLC, since Activision has a deal with Microsoft to release all DLC for the 360 first. Also, I don't think they have finalized plans for Call of Duty Elite on the PC yet, due to potential issues with users running their own dedicated servers.

Overall, I think that in order to choose "correctly" you'll need to evaluate each game on its own merits. There are so many ways to develop a game that there really can't be any hard and fast rules that make a certain version always the best one.

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Unfortunately, too many times the PC has been getting the back seat in almost all respects lately. It makes me sad. :( –  Jeff Mercado Sep 27 '11 at 18:08

The main differentiators to me are how good a game looks on a certain platform, how easily it can be controlled using a console controller vs mouse and keyboard, how often I think I might start the game and how long I might play it in a single sitting. I also check community support (modding).

For example, 11-11-11 TES:Skyrim will be released. Since the scenery and stuff is likely to be much better looking on my pc, I favor the pc version. However, I will probably play it for long durations, so my couch (and console) win here. Controler-wise it will be hard to tell without playing the game. However I found TES:Oblivion playable with both mouse/keyboard and controller, so nobody wins there. The big winner here is the modding community. Since modding will most likely not be supported on the consoles, there is only one logical choice to make (for me), buy the game for the pc.

Other factors to consider might be the release date, availability of DLC, price, DRM and perhaps even portability (i.e. gaming on a laptop). Cheating is not so much a concern since when a game supports it, it most likely supports it on all platforms. A notable exception is of course cheating through modding which is a pc only affair.

As you can see, all decisions are strictly personal and depending on your circumstances. If your pc is near its retirement, the graphics argument could change in favor of the console. And while my couch is very comfortable, yours might not be.

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Did they confirm mod tools for skyrim? I think I read somewhere that the modding tools wont be shipping with the game nor will they be immediately available online at launch. –  OrioN Sep 28 '11 at 20:18
It is confirmed. You had me worried for a minute. –  Thorsal Sep 29 '11 at 15:44

Personally, I think it comes down with how you want to play it.

I'm a software developer by trade, so I get kinda tired being on a PC all day. Some games, if they aren't too point-and-clicky, suit me far more to be played on the XBox on my big gaming bean bag.

There are some that require a bit of thinking and plenty clicky - games that I will normally leave till the weekend and play on the PC.

I'd also say that it depends how your social group play it. I'd be happier playing Call of Duty on my PC, but my friends play it on the XBox and that's what makes it fun - so XBox it is.

Cheating, Griefers, DLC... these aspects can be important, but normally multi-platform releases are not too biased towards a single platform - and if it is, the reviewers will pick up on it pretty quick.

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+1 I think the major thing that pushes me to gaming on a console is that I spend the rest of my time developing games on the PC. It's nice to get away from that all together when I want to just sit and play a couple hours of Resident Evil or something. –  Marty Nov 2 '11 at 2:13

Generally, PC multiplayer is free whereas on the 360 it requires a paid Xbox LIVE Gold subscription.

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If it's an FPS/RPG hybrid like Deus Ex or STALKER then I'd go PC for superior graphics and control method, and also the availability of mods. Things like Modern Warfare it's not so clear-cut as they tend to be designed for consoles and they compensate for having to play with a pad (aim assist, huge hitboxes and so on).

For racing games and the like, unless you are going down the route of having a full wheel and pedals setup, I'd probably go with the consoles.

Sports sims and platformers I'd say console. Better with a pad in a living room.

Flight sims, strategy, RTS, all better on PC because of the keyboard and mouse.

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