As video game aficionados, we're often waiting for exciting news about the future of the gaming industry, whether it's about games, hardware, platforms, or tech in general. By now you’ve probably already seen the announcements of Microsoft and Sony’s new consoles and their spec sheets. Both are based on customized AMD Zen 2 CPUs, AMD RDNA 2 GPU architecture, GDDR6 RAM, and ultra-fast M.2 NVMe SSDs; these new babies will deliver, at least on paper, satisfying experiences to their future owners. They also give us a glimpse of what will come to our beautiful PCs soon.
Speaking about this, we can hear you guys already: "But NQ, why are you caring about consoles since you're PC focused since the beginning?" Good question. As a Windows PC exclusive developer, we indeed want to take the time to explain why Dual Universe will stay a PC exclusive game for the time being. So no need to go guns blazing in the comments, please let us explain things first ;)
We get that a lot
We get the console question port of DU a lot. Like, a lot. And we totally get it. Sometimes, playing on your couch is nice. A lot of PC players do it already, whether by putting a dedicated PC in the living-room or by streaming a video feed via Steam Link or Nvidia GameStream, for example.
Sometimes, a console is also a more affordable and easy-to-use gaming machine than a high-end PC, and that is totally understandable. So lots of people interested in our disruptive game would like to see a PS4 or an Xbox One port. After all, it's the system they own, right? It's close to PC specs too and they may think it would be feasible. And we're happy for their interest in our project!
The thing is, and we’ve explained this a lot since the Kickstarter campaign, that there was no way to run DU on current console gen hardware — even on the latest Xbox One X and PS4 Pro iterations. DU was designed with the PC tech and ergonomic possibilities in mind from the beginning. And then, the recent announcements of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X gave many among you some new hopes.
Spec sheets comparison from Eurogamer
I want to believe
In theory, the next-gen consoles could run Dual Universe, really. They could even provide a very decent if not pleasant experience with the game. But raw technical specs are not everything. All of DU's interactions and global ergonomics have been designed with a keyboard and mouse in mind. Considering the vast amount of things you can do in-game, reworking everything to make things 100% compatible with a gamepad would represent a significant amount of development time (both code-wise and interface-wise).
As a small indie company, even with the strength of our two studios in Paris and Montréal, we have to continue to be careful about how we manage our production. Releasing several versions of a game is something we just chose not to do right now. This doesn't mean it could never happen, it's just that it would demand extra requirements to fulfill than just wanting to share our dream project with an even bigger audience.
In order to have a console version, you have to have extra manpower, money, and various extra resources, and even with these, you have strict manufacturer’s processes outside of your purview to respect. That's fully understandable; the platform holders do whatever they want with their platforms and to grow their businesses within the rules they set, that's how the game works.
Porting DU on consoles would probably require us to work with several partners (outsourcing companies and/or a publisher) and while we talk with everybody in the industry like all studios, nothing has ever been signed in that prospect yet. Releasing Dual Universe on consoles to preserve the initial “everybody at the same place at the same time” promise would also require some evolutions regarding the cross-play policy and while some encouraging efforts have been made the past couple of years, time will tell how and when games will become more easily playable between several platforms, without even being platform agnostic.
For now, Novaquark will remain focused as a PC developer, but who knows? We have an amazing community of Alpha testers that help us refine everything, and we're headed into Beta at 100% of our capacity! To discuss this topic with your fellow Noveans, be sure to head over to the official forum post here. We're very happy to have you aboard on this crazy journey! Let's DU it!
The Novaquark Team