The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a non-profit organisation formed in 2008 to promote and improve PC gaming, announced they’re finalising a certification programme for launch in March. The PCGA consists of a number of high-profile PC focused companies (such as Alienware, EPIC and Razer) with a focus on performing market research and enhancing the PC gaming experience.
The certification programme aims at providing consumers with a level of confidence when they purchase a PC game with the PCGA certification label, in a manner similar to Games for Windows. Yes, that Games for Windows, responsible for the quality encountered in titles like Dark Souls on the PC. Games for Windows was effectively discontinued in August this year. Unlike Microsoft’s outing, the PCGA says the certification is OS-agnostic and will focus on eliminating some of the problems associated with certification, such as high costs and minimum configuration specs.
Some of the criteria listed are 720p resolution at medium settings, a minimum 30 frames per second and controller support for multiplatform titles.
Says PCGA president Matt Ployhar: “We don’t need to have it completely locked down and so restrictive. But, you have to hit a certain quality bar.” Certification is free for PCGA members, $500 for non-PCGA members, and $2,500 if the developer wants the PCGA to help with certification.
While I am all for a decent certification programme that reduces the number of hoops a PC gamer would need to jump through to ‘fix’ PC games (how many PC gamers can say they’ve never had to edit a config file or install a custom patch at some point in their life?), the PCGA certification will need to provide real incentive to draw in indies and smaller developer houses. With the advent of the Early Access system of Steam, paid betas, multiple storefronts with different DRM requirements and regular updates, the PC gaming arena is becoming a notoriously difficult platform to govern, which is both a weakness and one of its greatest strengths.
So what do you think? Ultimately pointless, or a welcome addition to PC gaming ascension?