Platform/system requirements in video game posts March 1, 2020 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Many thanks to everyone who makes MetaFilter posts about cool new video games! And one request: When possible, could these posts please include information about which platforms the game runs on?

This detail is often surprisingly hard to find in reviews or trailers. For many of us, it makes the difference whether we’ll be able to play the game at home or not. Including the platform in the tags would also be useful for things like filtering and searching.

(Special thanks to Fizz who responded by memail to my comment about this, and suggested I post this to MetaTalk. I’ll let him provide his point of view in the comments.)
posted by mbrubeck to Etiquette/Policy at 3:26 PM (33 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

So one reason I've kind of avoided posting too many links to STEAM, PS4, XBOX, Nintendo etc. is that I worry if it veers too close to pepsiblue. I don't work in that industry and I'm not going to profit off of links to these platforms, but still I worry a bit about how it is perceived.

It's no surprise that I love video games and enjoy posting about gaming culture/news on the blue. But I try to provide links to various gaming journalism sites so that it makes for a better discussion about the topic at hand and isn't just straight up an advertisement.

I realize that trailers are maybe in a grey area as they're meant to tease our interest and are a form of marketing/advertising. Many people share teasers/trailers for various films, television series, etc.

Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I would love to hear what others think about how adding those links would change the framing of this type of post.
posted by Fizz at 3:48 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Re-reading the Meta, I'm seeing that it's tagging that is mostly being requested. I have no problem doing that. I was thinking more in terms of direct linking to the actual companies/platforms that offer a game, which would feel a bit more like straight up pepsiblue.

But tags are easy to add and I can make a mental note to just throw those in so that people understand what platforms said game is available on. Still interested in what others have to say though.
posted by Fizz at 3:51 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my point of view is that I don’t have a Windows gaming rig at the moment, or a current-generation PlayStation or Xbox, but I do have a Mac and a Switch. Figuring out whether I can play a new game can be frustrating, especially when PC-centric reviewers don’t bother to mention that a console version exists.

Even without store links, just mentioning something like “Robo Mongoose is coming out in Spring 2024 for Mac, PC, and PS5” would be useful for me.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:54 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


So one reason I've kind of avoided posting too many links to STEAM, PS4, XBOX, Nintendo etc. is that I worry if it veers too close to pepsiblue. I don't work in that industry and I'm not going to profit off of links to these platforms, but still I worry a bit about how it is perceived.

I personally appreciate your approach Fizz, and that includes your thoughts on tags, so as far as I'm concerned, your posts are great and added tags for systems won't be a problem.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:55 PM on March 1


Co-signed. I think caution is a good trait to have but I think this would be okay. I do feel like gaming posts are better if they include at least some other information about the game (link to longer article, something about the history of the game or hthe company that made it, if it's in a series, something about the series, etc) because as a mostly non-gamer, I still like to know what's happening in the gaming world. So in the same way a good post about a new movie would include more than just the trailer, a lot of the time, a gaming post with some more information would be good for people who either don't have that platform (in line with the OP here) or who just like reading about things.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 4:07 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


And also if you could put the information in the text as well as the tags because the tags don't display on mobile classic.

I was thinking more in terms of direct linking to the actual companies/platforms that offer a game, which would feel a bit more like straight up pepsiblue.
I don't think it's pepsiblue because you're not including the information with the intent to publicize the company but with the intent to provide necessary information. I don't understand why the platform has to be a big secret.
posted by bleep at 5:15 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Also I think it's funny to find out that this bothers other people too, I thought it must be something everyone else was OK with because it's always like this. It deeply doesn't make any sense to me.
posted by bleep at 6:22 PM on March 1


I'm for platform informing.
three times fast
posted by clavdivs at 6:33 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


I don't really like this idea because "where can I run this?" can get pretty complicated. Some examples:

* There are various services that let you play games from one system on another. PlayStation Now lets you play some PS2/PS3/PS4 games on Windows PC if you have an appropriate proprietary controller. Xbox Play Anywhere is similar for playing Xbox games on PC.

* Some games have unusual platform situations. FTL is available directly in the browser if you buy it from the Humble Store. It's also available on iPad but not iPhone. KOTOR is available on iPhone but the text is, in my opinion, unplayably small. Rocket League is currently available for macOS and Linux but the developers are dropping official support for those platforms this month.

* Steam's ProtonDB software lets you play Windows games in macOS or Linux with varying degrees of success.

* A game can be on sale at different prices at different stores. Disco Elysium is currently 20% off at Steam but full price at GOG. (By the way, you can find game sales at the GameDeals subreddit or IsThereAnyDeal.com.)

* VR has its own quirks. There are four different Oculus headsets with different stores (meaning, available games) for each. You can play Oculus Rift content on the Oculus Quest if you plug the Quest into a PC with an Oculus Link. You can play some Oculus exclusives on the Vive hardware with the open-source Revive software. The upcoming Half Life: Alyx game will apparently have extra functionality available for those using the super expensive Valve Index hardware. Resident Evil 7 is available on many platforms as a regular game but is only in VR on PlayStation VR.

So there's a lot going on here. I'd actually be more comfortable with this if it were intended for "experienced" gamers, because they can sort out the details for themselves. Inexperienced gamers though might follow a link to Steam and buy a game there when it was on sale at GOG, end up overpaying, and later find out and get annoyed. They might miss out on some game because they didn't realize they can play it on the iPad they usually only read books on. It also seems like a hassle for the poster to get this all right, especially when it might end up costing some members money if they get it wrong.

I'm more leaning toward letting people do their own research or asking in the discussion if have a specific question, as unsatisfying as that is. However, I'm not really making these gaming posts, needing platform tagging in other people's posts, or even volunteering to answer platform questions in the discussions, so this doesn't really affect me personally either way. So I don't know how much my opinion counts here.
posted by bright flowers at 7:32 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Granted, there are some complicated cases. But:
  1. I never suggested linking to store pages; that was a separate but related issue that it seems Fizz has been thinking about.
  2. There are also a lot of really simple cases where "this is a Nintendo Switch game" or "this is a PS4 game" will tell me exactly what I want to know.

posted by mbrubeck at 7:42 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Extremely minor correction: the Steam software is Proton, not ProtonDB.
posted by bright flowers at 7:47 PM on March 1


Not that this should affect whether people should tag platforms or not (which I don't think I've been particularly good at in the past, but is a good idea), but there is the further wrinkle that oftentimes a "major console" (read: xbox/ps) exclusive is only actually a timed exclusive so fast forward 6 months to a year and it will be available on the other one.
posted by juv3nal at 7:57 PM on March 1


I'd like to see a mention of the platforms a game is on in gaming posts. (I don't think a link is necessary or a good idea. I also don't think tags go far enough, since many of us don't see them.) Just a sentence that said where the game is being released would be useful.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:31 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Absolutely not to be flighty here but I'm genuinely surprised at this request - possibly just because a) I've really never found it takes more than a quick Google and b) I only own a switch and the cheap xbox, so now I assume I won't be able to play most big new things but still am really interested to read about games.

Generally I just... Like reading any good game posts, and if the release situation is simple enough not to be onerous for the post author to describe, it's also so quick to search "GAMENAME platform" I've never felt concerned by it... but clearly I'm out of step with at least a significant chunk of mefites here.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:09 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


I won't even bother detailing the highly idiosyncratic nature of my gaming interests, except to say that I've bought like ~6 games in the past three years and at least half of them were because I learned of them here. I certainly can Google but I would really appreciate an inline note (I've can count on one hand the number of times I've noticed tags in the past ten years). Also a belated thanks to Fizz and the other avid games posters. I really enjoy and appreciate the posts - one of the best genres/segments of the site.
posted by 99_ at 11:00 PM on March 1


I would find this super useful - I got all excited about Tetris 99 before realising it was Switch-only, and it's going to be at least a few years before there's a Switch in my future.
posted by terretu at 1:20 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Yes, this is a great idea and I would also super appreciate it. Will make me much more likely to spend time with a games post if I know I can run it, and will avoid the disappointing experience of getting hyped for a game only to realize it isn’t out for Mac.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:27 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think this needs to be super-nuanced and highly accurate and I don't think links to buy a game are necessary (or necessarily a good idea, unless they're to amazon and MeFi can get a cut of the affiliate money). I just want to know if we're talking a web game I can play, a mobile game I can play if I download it first, or a PC or console game that I am never going to be able to play. I might still be interested in reading about games I can't play, but I'm interested in a different way and at different times.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:56 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


If this is just informally asking Fizz to tag trailer/release announcement posts and he's okay with it then sure, why not. If people need to feel obligated to tag every Skyrim post with its half-dozen platforms, less good.

Also, not to substitute for tagging but just so people know, the platforms are usually listed clearly on the Wikipedia page for the game, for example Atomic Heart which inspired the post that led to this MetaTalk.
posted by bright flowers at 8:02 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


The reason I've appreciated Fizz's thoughtfulness on this subject is that I really don't like the idea of making Metafilter posts seem at all like a shopper's guide and/or one where posts are read or skipped purely because of what kind of system one owns, or other like commercial oriented reasons, because I think that does detract from the nature of the site and in how links are meant to be shared.

The posts should, and have, I think, stood up as worthy and interesting because of their content and Fizz's presentation, not of interest to everyone certainly, but still of enough interest that even some of us who own no system and don't play games often can get something worthwhile form them. While tagging is fine, going further feels to me like it does start to lean towards posts made for consumers of certain goods rather than something meant to be enjoyed by the site as a whole.

I know no one is actually pushing for that outcome, but it feels like something that a few steps too far in that direction could have some unwelcome consequences, or something needing further discussion.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:30 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


The reason I've appreciated Fizz's thoughtfulness on this subject is that I really don't like the idea of making Metafilter posts seem at all like a shopper's guide and/or one where posts are read or skipped purely because of what kind of system one owns, or other like commercial oriented reasons, because I think that does detract from the nature of the site and in how links are meant to be shared.

This is how I approach all of the gaming posts I make. I'll add some meta-tags that indicate if its pc or switch or ps4, and leave the rest to some googling which can be easily done with a few clicks or just outright discussed in the post. Glad to see we're mostly on the same page, cheers.
posted by Fizz at 9:06 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


* There are various services that let you play games from one system on another. PlayStation Now lets you play some PS2/PS3/PS4 games on Windows PC if you have an appropriate proprietary controller.

PS2/PS3/PS4 and Windows (through PS-Now Streaming service)

Xbox Play Anywhere is similar for playing Xbox games on PC.

Xbox and Windows (through PS-Now Streaming Service)

* Some games have unusual platform situations. FTL is available directly in the browser if you buy it from the Humble Store.

PC

It's also available on iPad but not iPhone.
iPad

KOTOR is available on iPhone but the text is, in my opinion, unplayably small.
iPhone (accessibility issues - readibility)

Rocket League is currently available for macOS and Linux but the developers are dropping official support for those platforms this month.

Mac OS (soon unsupported), Linux (soon unsupported)


* Steam's ProtonDB software lets you play Windows games in macOS or Linux with varying degrees of success.
macOS or Linux (though not great)


* A game can be on sale at different prices at different stores. Disco Elysium is currently 20% off at Steam but full price at GOG. (By the way, you can find game sales at the GameDeals subreddit or IsThereAnyDeal.com.)

PC (or relevant platform)


* VR has its own quirks. There are four different Oculus headsets with different stores (meaning, available games) for each. You can play Oculus Rift content on the Oculus Quest if you plug the Quest into a PC with an Oculus Link.

PC (with expensive peripherals and high system requirements)

You can play some Oculus exclusives on the Vive hardware with the open-source Revive software.

PC (with expensive peripherals and high system requirements)

The upcoming Half Life: Alyx game will apparently have extra functionality available for those using the super expensive Valve Index hardware.

PC (with expensive peripherals and extra high system requirements)

Resident Evil 7 is available on many platforms as a regular game but is only in VR on PlayStation VR.

PC (non-vr), Playstation 4 (non-vr), XOne (non-vr) and Playstation 4 VR





I dunno, if people really think this will help their barriers to entry to some of these games, I'd definitely be down to help at least throw some platforms up. Otherwise, to me, it's comparable to discussing media and noting if it's on Hulu or something. Sure it's all accessible somehow, but in 2020, I find barriers to entry (even those that exist only in our minds), are worth addressing if it brings people more joy/fun.

posted by avalonian at 9:13 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


I like this. Just give basics/general info. The nuances can be discovered by those who need to look into it more. This doesn't have to be complicated.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 11:03 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


I cosign this request! I would prefer not including links unless they're affiliate links that Metafilter can get a cut of, but just some tags or a note somewhere about [Available now on X platform] would be great. Or even just if the poster comments right after posting with a little info about what platforms the game is available on.
posted by yasaman at 12:15 PM on March 2


I'm downed to be pinged and update in the comments what platforms games run on, though my response time will vary from *instantly* to *before I go home from work*
posted by avalonian at 1:36 PM on March 2


If you mean Windows say Windows. "PC" does not mean Windows.
posted by yonega at 1:44 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Is there a JustWatch or CanIStreamIt site equivalent for games? Input a title, and you get a chart listing which platforms it's available on? If so, would a link to that site in the tags be akin to putting an imdb link alonside Fanfare posts?
posted by bartleby at 11:35 PM on March 2


is this the new animal crossing/doom eternal mashup thread
posted by mittens at 12:17 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


If you mean Windows say Windows. "PC" does not mean Windows.

Fair point. Nothing on the internet gets things correct faster than getting things incorrect.
posted by avalonian at 1:52 PM on March 3


This is not PepsiBlue at all, unless all gameposts that aren't purely theory/meta based are PepsiBlue. I say post the info if you have it because, well, it'll save all the readers from searching for it themselves. It's non-trivial information related to the post that adds value. My vote is a strong yes if the OP doesn't mind the extra overhead.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:43 AM on March 4


I see this as being similar to noting a link as being behind a paywall or on YouTube/Twitter/Facebook. It's just half a sentence: "Game Name [Xbox, PS4, Windows] etc etc link link"

Yes games get released elsewhere later but you can just post that as a comment in the thread when that happens.
posted by divabat at 1:45 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I would also like this for apps/software - so many times I've seen links to interesting apps and then I can't use them!
posted by divabat at 2:01 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I'll put in another vote for using brackets:
Game Name [PS4/PC/Switch]
same as you would for [slyt] or [slnyt], as well as tags.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:36 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


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