Why is there no console version of any X game?

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Tamina
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Why is there no console version of any X game?

Post by Tamina » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 12:26

PS, XBox or even the Nintendo Switch has enough power to run X3 TC/AP at least.
The games have controller support, DirectX and OpenGL.

Soooooooo... what keeps Egosoft from simply* porting those games.
I could imagine a Switch version. Would probably reach a lot new players.


*Already marked that for you.

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Post by Alan Phipps » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 12:49

As to porting older X games which your question also related to, well they did a good job with retrospect in-house Mac and Linux ports but I doubt that they currently have any major resources to spare for additional development work and testing for other platforms just now.

Since this is the X4 forum, I'd rather let them get that game going on the PC first than worry too much about the later prospect of porting it elsewhere. I'm not totally discounting there being quickly-following Mac and Linux versions though. That's just my personal opinion.
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The Q
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Post by The Q » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 14:05

I see a couple of problems:
- Weak single core performance of consoles vs. Single-Core Engine of X3
- Different hardware for consoles <-> PC certainly requires optimisation to an unknown extend
- No proper scaling for larger resolutions; HUD elements are designed for 1:1 pixel mapping
- Interface was designed for keyboard & mouse interaction; Gamepads only have limited buttons (limited hotkeys); no virtual keyboard
- No experience with releasing on consoles, no market share
- Unclear market situation / revenue for an almost 10 years-old game (X3TC); cost for porting may exceed profit
- Different game and graphics engines for X3/XR & X4: Porting this game has no advantage for porting future games
- Small team size: Every additional project takes away man power from other projects, thus increasing development times and costs; jeopardising the overall quality of current projects (for example see Bioware's parallel work on ME:A and Anthem)
- Negative reputation among existing X-fans, generally PC gamers, who consider investment in console games a waste of time.
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Post by Tamina » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 15:19

Alan Phipps wrote:[...]I doubt that they currently have any major resources to spare[...]
Good point, even though "ressources to spare" are derived from estimated profits. This would mean Egosoft just sees no profitable market.
The Q wrote:I see a couple of problems:
- Weak single core performance of consoles vs. Single-Core Engine of X3
- Different hardware for consoles <-> PC certainly requires optimisation to an unknown extend
- No proper scaling for larger resolutions; HUD elements are designed for 1:1 pixel mapping
- Interface was designed for keyboard & mouse interaction; Gamepads only have limited buttons (limited hotkeys); no virtual keyboard
- No experience with releasing on consoles, no market share
- Unclear market situation / revenue for an almost 10 years-old game (X3TC); cost for porting may exceed profit
- Different game and graphics engines for X3/XR & X4: Porting this game has no advantage for porting future games
- Small team size: Every additional project takes away man power from other projects, thus increasing development times and costs; jeopardising the overall quality of current projects (for example see Bioware's parallel work on ME:A and Anthem)
- Negative reputation among existing X-fans, generally PC gamers, who consider investment in console games a waste of time.
- The recommended CPU for AP is a 2c@2.0 GHz. This is easily beaten by any of them, even the Switch.
- Its similar hardware you can find on any PC and they are supporting the same APIs.
- HUD needs to be enlarged, yes. How difficult can that be?
- It works pretty good with a controller
[- No comment on the business answers : Could be or could not be]

> All in all the only technical problem is the HUD which needs to be bigger.
> A release of X3 could additionally bind possible future customers to X4 on the PC. There aren't many competitors, on the Switch there is NONE! 100 % instant market share with negligible effort!
Could be a good investment to invest in one or two additional developers. *cough*

Worst case scenario is the target audience of the various consoles not accepting the game mechanics.

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Post by Ketraar » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 16:17

Tamina wrote:- HUD needs to be enlarged, yes. How difficult can that be?
You should never ask how hard it can be, its irrelevant. Instead ask how much effort it would take, aka how much it would cost.

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Re: Why is there no console version of any X game?

Post by TVCD » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 17:24

Tamina wrote:PS, XBox or even the Nintendo Switch has enough power to run X3 TC/AP at least.
The games have controller support, DirectX and OpenGL.

Soooooooo... what keeps Egosoft from simply* porting those games.
I could imagine a Switch version. Would probably reach a lot new players.


*Already marked that for you.
Have not we already discussed it in the German forum? Cats have a bad memory. :P Today could run on any smartphone X2. But I prefer to play on the PC with hotas than on the console. You can already play Rebirth with Xbox Controller. That's no different with Steamlink or the HTPC on a TV. :wink:
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Post by Skeeter » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 18:01

AFAIK egosoft have on a number of occasions tried developing X games with consoles in mind but during development they thought it was a mistake for some reason or another and dropped it in favour of just a pc release.

I'm pretty sure in this X news one of the reasons which I don't think they said that the new UI for x2 expansion which was turned into x3, was based on a attempt to make the UI more suitable for consoles at the time but dropped as probably one of a number of reasons why that never made x3 a console game.

https://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200410_ ... lNews.html

Pics in there showing big icons for UI.
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Post by The Q » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 18:43

Tamina wrote:- The recommended CPU for AP is a 2c@2.0 GHz. This is easily beaten by any of them, even the Switch.
- Its similar hardware you can find on any PC and they are supporting the same APIs.
- HUD needs to be enlarged, yes. How difficult can that be?
- It works pretty good with a controller
- System specs are generally written in order so that a lot of people will buy the game. They have nothing to do with the real system requirements, especially in a game like X where you cannot guarantee a stable framerate for all situations (especially when amassing more assets). You can have a look through the X3TC/X3AP forums and I'm sure you will find lots of people with above recommended specs who still report about performance problems.
- I'm afraid, but "similar hardware" or "similar API" with regards to PC or console hardware means nothing. Optimisation is key. When X Rebirth was released people had similar hardware configurations (sometimes even on the same OS) and still got different FPS rates, with lower specs hardware sometimes even resulting in better or more stable FPS. Another example would be Dark Souls. When ported to PC, PC players with much more powerful hardware than the PS3 or XBox360 it was designed for reported about huge performance problems, which the producer of From Software commented as follows:
Dark Souls developer From Software is having a torrid time getting its beloved action RPG up and running on PC and has confirmed it isn't including any optimisations for desktop gamers.

Producer Daisuke Uchiyama told Eurogamer that it had underestimated how tough it would be to port the game across.

"To be completely honest, we're having a tough time doing it due to our lack of experience and knowledge in terms of porting to PC. First we thought it would be a breeze, but it's turned out not to be the case. We're still developing right now - we're crunching right now."
Besides, reading the Technical specifications section of the Wikipedia article about the Switch it tells me about a "custom" SoC, a "custom API" and a processor core clock speed of 1 GHz. That doesn't sound that similar to me.
- Well, the resolution problem is known since X3R times, obviously with different market shares of high resolution displays throughout the years (so the problem was certainly less apparent in the early years of X3). Nevertheless, there hasn't been any real improvement for this (except for a couple of menu size increasements with X3AP), neither via modding nor via an offical update. Thus, I would guess it's not only a matter of changing some image files, but requires coding changes which may be not as easy to do as you would hope.
- But you still have some limitations in comparison with using a mouse & keyboard, don't you? Thinking of any text input and using shortcuts in contrast to going through menus here.
Tamina wrote:A release of X3 could additionally bind possible future customers to X4 on the PC. ...
Possible.
Tamina wrote:... There aren't many competitors, on the Switch there is NONE! ...
Possbile. I don't know that, I don't have a Switch. But then I would wonder why this is the case, whether there may be one or more reasons why other developers and studios haven't targeted the switch yet?
Tamina wrote:... 100 % instant market share with negligible effort!
That's not really how it works though. First of all, if you have to hire two additional developers the effort can hardly be negligible. And again I doubt it's that easy to port something to a console as you think it would be. Secondly, if no one knows you, no one buys from you - even if you have the best product in the world. So even if Egosoft would release to the Nintendo Switch, not every Switch player would automatically buy their product. Advertisement is key here, and naturally advertisement costs money. Thirdly who buys your product also vastly depends on what consumers the relevant platform has. With the Nintendo switch I would imagine that you have mainly casual players, players interested in fantasy worlds, players interested in good storytelling and character development, and adventure games. That's not really what the X games are standing for though. (Well, adventure to certain a degree, but with a different implementation as most Switch only players are used to.) Fourthly, games not designed for specific hardware will have a hard time convincing players of that specific hardware. Or worded differently: Players of specific hardware can tell pretty easily if a game was designed for it or not. And if it hasn't, that can quickly lead to a negative reception of the game. (Looking at all console to PC ports without free saving, no proper camera control and none adjustable key configuration.)
TVCD wrote:Today could run on any smartphone X2.
Like Yoda starting to speak we now do? :P I have two smartphones in my household and I'm convinced that none can run X2.
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Post by TVCD » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 18:57

The Q wrote:
TVCD wrote:Today could run on any smartphone X2.
Like Yoda starting to speak we now do? :P I have two smartphones in my household and I'm convinced that none can run X2.
Yeah I write from the phone. ;) Swift Key has problems with German English autocollutation. :D

Depends on how old the phones are. :P GTA San Andreas also runs on smartphones and has the same system requirements as X2.
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Re: Why is there no console version of any X game?

Post by adeine » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 19:24

Tamina wrote:PS, XBox or even the Nintendo Switch has enough power to run X3 TC/AP at least.
The games have controller support, DirectX and OpenGL.

Soooooooo... what keeps Egosoft from simply* porting those games.
I could imagine a Switch version. Would probably reach a lot new players.


*Already marked that for you.
In order for it to play well on console, it'd have to be a different, stripped down version like XR: VR (except without any of the benefits) with redone controls. Having to do this would eat up a lot of resources while delivering an inferior experience to the game on PC.

The second, and kind of even worse problem is that consoles don't allow you to easily mod games. Since X games are partly what they are because of the vibrant modding community and easy mod-ability (I imagine the number of people playing X3 purely vanilla these days is fairly small, whereas with mods the game has a sizeable player base) this would have to be addressed some way. Setting up a modding platform on console is another major headache to add to the control and gameplay issues, and I'm honestly not sure how it could be accomplished given a lot of mods are no longer maintained, so getting permission from the original authors will largely be impossible.

ETA: And I know it hasn't been outright said, but please, let's not encourage anyone to make the mistake of intentionally crippling X4 and what it could be so porting it to consoles might be easier down the line. This was part of why X:R was so broken to begin with, IIRC.

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Post by wizaerd » Mon, 19. Mar 18, 21:37

I'd certainly love to see an X game on console. The controller really isn't a limitation anymore with button combinations. Elite Dangerous has done a phenomenal job with with controller support.

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Post by [FFCW]Urizen » Tue, 20. Mar 18, 12:44

The Q wrote:- I'm afraid, but "similar hardware" or "similar API" with regards to PC or console hardware means nothing. Optimisation is key. When X Rebirth was released people had similar hardware configurations (sometimes even on the same OS) and still got different FPS rates, with lower specs hardware sometimes even resulting in better or more stable FPS. Another example would be Dark Souls. When ported to PC, PC players with much more powerful hardware than the PS3 or XBox360 it was designed for reported about huge performance problems, which the producer of From Software commented as follows:
Dark Souls developer From Software is having a torrid time getting its beloved action RPG up and running on PC and has confirmed it isn't including any optimisations for desktop gamers.

Producer Daisuke Uchiyama told Eurogamer that it had underestimated how tough it would be to port the game across.

"To be completely honest, we're having a tough time doing it due to our lack of experience and knowledge in terms of porting to PC. First we thought it would be a breeze, but it's turned out not to be the case. We're still developing right now - we're crunching right now."
Porting from Console to PC is infinitely harder than the other way around, due to the infinite combinations of Hard- and Software available. When you port to console you know that you will have a Jaguar APU (XBone and PS4) with a Radeon R5 and 8(?)GB of shared Memory. You also know the OS in use, down to the patches.
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Post by Dreez » Thu, 22. Mar 18, 05:19

X-Rebirth was originally made for consoles, look how that turned out :roll: .

X-games are best on PC, simple as that.

I challenge anyone to build a stationcomplex in X3TC, or manouver the many layers of menus
by using a single controller.. i dare you.

Not only that, but the fastpaced combat in smaller ships requires alot of precision to hit your enemies,
precision that can't be achieved using a controller, unless you have aim-assist.

So.. play your X-games on PC.
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Post by CBJ » Thu, 22. Mar 18, 11:21

Dreez wrote:X-Rebirth was originally made for consoles, look how that turned out
Here we go again. No, it was not originally made for consoles.

Yes, it was originally designed with a controller in mind, largely because Steam were heavily pushing their "Big Picture" concept at the time. And yes, there were experiments with porting to a console, just as there have been with at least two previous X series games. But the game's primary development was done on a PC, for a PC.

I won't bother to re-iterate why none of those console experiments were particularly successful, since The Q and adeine have covered most of it pretty well.

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Post by Meiyo » Fri, 30. Mar 18, 02:31

Console is a garbage for that saga and a real problem for the PC version.

So please, never mind about Xseries on console.
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