Perusing through the latest VGChartz sales #s for the week ending on Oct 22nd, I couldn’t help but notice that the PC version of Rage was non-existent amongst the top 50 ranked games based on retail sales, while the Xbox 360 version fell to #15 from #4 the week prior, and the PS3 version at #29 from #9 the week prior. Now, I don’t usually enjoy picking on specific games solely based on sales ranking, but this was a heavily marketed AAA title from what some would call, “the holy grail of PC developers” — ID Software — which is now in its fourth official week of retail sale. In its 2nd week alone, it only turned a measly total of 43,984 units.
So what does this really say about the game and/or the future of the PC platform, you ask?
Well, some people out there may jump to immediate conclusions to reiterate the same old stuff we’ve been hearing for years, such as, “the PC is dead” or “piracy is the cancer eating away at the future of PC gaming,” or “the PS3 [or 360] is the most advanced system EVARRR!!@#!!,” etc., etc. But in reality, you need not look far to realize that the heavy slump in sales across the PC platform, when compared to that of its console counterparts, can easily be attributed to a piss poor launch on the part of Bethesda Softworks (Rage’s publisher) and ID Software due to a bug-addled day one release, the lack of proper working video drivers, and in failing to properly deliver on the expectations which they themselves created while loading up the “hype train” for Rage’s departure on Oct 4th — Not necessarily the decline of the PC platform.
When we compare total sales numbers across all three platforms (those being the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC), it becomes evident that Rage has even performed well below expectations across consoles as well — with the Xbox 360 version selling the most.
John Carmack, CEO of ID Software, made several statements in a recent Kotaku interview that also didn’t exactly help to polish up his company’s now tarnished image in the eyes of PC gamers, either, when he stated, “We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games[…]That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions [of Rage] will have larger audiences than the PC version.”
Following those comments, ID Software did release a massive patch aimed at shoring up some of the major game-stopping, graphic-related bugs that were preventing PC gamers from enjoying the Rage experience in the way it was intended. The next patch, announced on Oct 15th, promises to alleviate the systemic blurry texture issue a majority (if not all) people are still experiencing — myself included — but Id is still quite a ways from fully addressing bugs that should have been squashed during testing.
Until then, it remains to be seen if Rage can bounce back from its troubled launch. Although, I wouldn’t necessarily hold my breath.