Bethesda Softworks has admitted that developing for the PC is a "headache" compared to consoles due to differing user hardware configurations and the threat of piracy hampering sales.
The PC version of the recently released Rage, developed by Id Software and published by Bethesda, was beset with issues on release, requiring a post-launch patch to fix driver-related bugs and add advanced graphics options. At the time, Id co-founder John Carmack admitted: "Half our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work."
Speaking to Joystiq, VP of marketing Pete Hines said: "From a technical standpoint, yes, the PC is a headache. A million different possibilities of hardware, drivers, etc. 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."
Hines also acknowledges that dealing with the threat of piracy without alienating your paying customers is another concern unique to the platform. "Unless you decide not to make your games available for PC, it's a problem and you have to deal with it," he said. "So we do the best we can to protect it without resorting to [DRM], and we continue to enthusiastically support our PC fans with things like the creation kit and the ability to add unlimited amounts of mods and content to your existing PC game."
Despite the problems with Rage's launch, Hines said that PC players will be "very pleased" with the performance of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which launches for PC and consoles tomorrow.