Mafia III - 3

Developers. Publishers. Lend me your ears!

If you’re making a video game for the PC platform right now, it needs to be at least running at 60fps. This might be tough, I get it it. It’ll probably cause a lot of work and frustration, but it’s time to adopt 60fps as the standard in PC gaming, without exception.

I prefer my games without frame rate caps. For instance, I play an absolute ton of Overwatch. 200+ hours and counting. That game is uncapped if you set it to be, and I normally find myself up in the 140-ish frames per second range. If something’s running on my PC that drops it even to 60, I notice.

I get that there’s this argument for more cinematic look with games running at 30fps (though, if you’re trying to be cinematic, you’d need to aim for 24fps and find a way to simulate shutter flicker). This isn’t about that argument, quite frankly. It’s about what the community at large demands.

It doesn’t matter how you perceive the importance of a game’s frame rate. It’s about your consumers, and your consumers have made themselves loud and clear on this issue.

Vocal gamers require solid frame rate performance. Not only that, those of the PC crowd specifically see 30fps as a subpar game. That’s it. If you make games for the PC, that’s your audience. If you release a game that’s capped at 30fps, you will upset your audience.

Allow me to craft a metaphor.

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that we’re talking about the world of craft beer. You developers are now brewers, and you own craft breweries that have managed to distribute nationally. Your biggest and most vocal consumers operate subreddits like /r/CraftBeerMasterRace or post on message boards like NeoHOPs. These drinkers are ravenous for your beverage, and they have exceptionally discerning tastes.

Now, you decide that you’re going to hype up this fresh batch of a madman’s blend of sour and stout, and you tell the community that this is going to be the best damn beer they’ve ever consumed. You release salivating pictures and preview taste tests from beer reviewers around the world.


Then the full batch is ready, the shipment date is here and you send out your sour stout. There was a technical problem, and you had to go with the six-row barley instead of the two. Now you’ve crafted a sour stout that’s thin and grainy when it should have been fuller and maltier. It tastes closer to Coors than craft, and you’re hoping those beer communities I mentioned above aren’t going to notice.

Dudes and dudettes. They’re going to notice. They’re going to notice, and they’re going to be loud as crap.

Consumers are setting the standard, it’s your job to follow it.

It doesn’t matter if your game faced too many technical problems to achieve 60fps. It’s time to realize that if you want the PC fanbase to be satisfied with your product, achieving that 60fps marker is a requirement.

Look at Hyper Light Drifter. This is a fantastic game, and I played it on the PC at launch when it was locked to 30. I didn’t mind the framerate cap, but there was a vocal pack of gamers who denounced the title on launch, stating that they’d never buy an action-focused title that kept itself limited to a slower frame rate.

Heart Machine went back into development, reworking hundreds of thousands of lines of code, and they just put out a free patch that allowed for 60fps play on the PC. Hyper Light Drifter made a lot of PC fans happy.

Today, Mafia III released. As soon as the game launched, the publisher stepped up and immediately admitted that it was capped at 30fps and that they were working to bring it to 60fps. That patch should be coming this weekend.

The problem? The game’s been out for less than 12 hours at the time of drafting this story, and it’s loaded with Steam reviews absolutely slamming it for locking at 30fps. These gamers find the lock inexcusable. It’s no longer smart to even attempt to put out a game that runs at 30fps on PC.

Really. Don’t do it.

Your consumer base isn’t happy with it. They’re some of the most vocal consumers in the world, too, so they won’t shut up if you do release a game at 30fps. They’ll hit your review scores on Steam, Metacritic, Amazon and other outlets. They’ll yell on Facebook and Twitter. They’ll let the world know that your game isn’t meeting their quality requirements.

It’s time to accept that 60fps is the standard on PC, and it’s time to realize that shipping anything that doesn’t live up to that mark is downright bad for business.