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Topic: Port vs not a port

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DTMOF84

Is the term “port” over used? Every game that has been coming out lately is being called a port. What dictates these games being meant for Xbox or PlayStation over the Switch? Why are they not called ports on the other systems? Doom for example is on all three current gen systems along with PC. But the Switch is a port. It’s like everyone only expects Mario and Zeld games on the Nintendo systems. Is it considered a port because of a lack of features or graphics? I’d like to hear input on it for my knowledge.

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Madelleste

To me, a port means they have to change or adapt the infrastructure/coding of a game in order for it to work on another system. Most of the time, these ports are done by smaller teams and not the original development teams.

For instance: Doom was developed by id Software for PC, Xbox One and PS4 simultaneously, which makes these the original versions and not ports. The Switch version was co-developed by Panic Button, changing a lot of its coding in order for it to work on the system, making it a port.

Madelleste

toiletduck

Interesting topic. I was wondering about this myself. More specifically: why is BOTW considered a port even though it was available for Wii U and Switch at (almost?) the same day?

toiletduck

MarcelRguez

Yup, @Madelleste nailed it. It's about what platforms the game was targeting before being originally released.

@toiletduck That one's a bit trickier, but it's because people assume the game started development as a Wii U title and, at some point, Nintendo decided to publish the game on the Switch as well. So, even if the game wasn't finished at that point, they still began production of the Switch version after the Wii U version was underway.

Edited on by MarcelRguez

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Madelleste

I would also like to take the opportunity to say the following.

Porting games is not a bad thing. The industry wouldn't be able to survive without ports. Smaller studios in particular benefit a great deal from ports. They often only have the budget to develop a game for one particular system, be it PC or a console. When the game is done and it sells well, they can afford to port it to other systems. The money they make on those then go into development of new games.
It's a cycle, and a very beautiful one at that.

Madelleste

darkfenrir

I would say it's a port... if it doesn't release on very near time date.

So if one releases at ALL platform at once, no that's not port, that's multi platform release. But if that game releases 3 months after, can be port? Something along like that.

darkfenrir

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DTMOF84

@Madelleste that’s understandable for Doom. But there seems to be other games that easily work just as well on Switch and are still called ports. I’m not educated on the ins and outs of programming or anything, but something like Rocket League or Minecraft are often called ports. In some ways it’s a term probably misused.

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Delibheel

A port is a game that already existed that has been reworked to be playable in a different console.

For example, Minecraft on the Switch is a port of the legacy console edition of Minecraft.

Edited on by Delibheel

Yeah I don’t know either.

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DTMOF84

Meowpheel wrote:

A port is a game that already existed that has been reworked to be playable in a different console.

For example, Minecraft on the Switch is a port of the legacy console edition of Minecraft.

Then doesn’t every game need reworked to work on one system to the next?

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Tibob

"Rework" can mean nothing and everything. When they port Shovel Knight, the game remains the same. Doom or Rocket League needed downgrading to run on Switch.

But anyway all those games already existed prior to their Switch release (prior to the system's release actually) so there is no debate that they were ported (according to google, port = "transfer (software) from one system or machine to another"). The degree of "reworking" involved has no impact on that fact.

Tibob

link3710

@DTMOF84 Yeah, every release of Rocket League and Minecraft on every console are ports. The original versions were PC. Again, ports aren't a bad thing (despite what some people around here say). Basically all a port is saying is that the game wasn't originally developed with the hardware it is currently running on in mind. However, with enough work put into it, a port can be better than the original release.

Take a look at Hyrule Warriors. The original Wii U release had maybe 1/3 the content of the new release before DLC. Not only does the Switch version pack in all that DLC, it also includes all the added content that was created for Legends, and restores the content that was cut for legends, and enhances content, and adds in a few new pieces (New costumes, My Fairy updates). And on top of that, it runs better than the original release did as well.

Anyways, the rest of the point is this. Ports are meant to be more or less direct translations of the previous games. Remasters are like Wind Waker HD, that feature new assets, lighting etc, but are still the original game. Remakes are like Shadow of the Colossus or Ratchet and Clank where the game is made again from scratch. So ports are probably half or more of the games released these days, because why limit games to a single platform?

link3710

Delibheel

A remaster is a port that has received a refinement in graphics, and maybe some other mechanics. To bring it a bit in line with the expected standard of the new console.

A remake is a game that has been, well, remade. Sometimes nothing of the original work remains. When the product changes so much that it becomes its own thing but is still based on the original game, then it becomes a reimagining.

Edited on by Delibheel

Yeah I don’t know either.

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LuckyLand

Doom is considered a port because when it was created Switch did not even existed yet. That's obviously a port.

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NaviAndMii

I saw a few negative comments after the last Direct regarding titles such as Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy and South Park: Fractured But Whole much to the effect of; 'Oh great! More ports!" - which felt a little unreasonable.

Don't get me wrong, they are of course - by definition - 'ports' ..but the negative sentiments (by some) seemed a little over the top considering that they were only originally released on other platforms a few months earlier.

For me, these ports seem to come in a few different flavours; there are 'classics' (eg. Vs. Super Mario Bros.),
'modern classics' (Skyrim, Minecraft etc), 'new-ish' games (eg. DOOM), 'cash-grabs' (long dormant games, dragged and dropped on to a new console while its library is still growing - and, in doing so, making more money than they'd otherwise deserve) and the just plain 'lazy' (poorly optimised, sub-standard games) ..and it's only really the latter two that we need worry about

As far as I'm concerned, ports are (generally speaking) a good thing - to me, games like DOOM, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket League etc feel like they're just 'bringing the Switch up to speed' more than anything else...and they're very much welcome - so long as they don't fall in to the 'cash grab' or 'lazy' categories!

EDIT: I realise that I've taken a bit of a tangent there - consider them (completely made up) 'sub definitions'

EDIT 2: See below - just adding another one in there too; 'B-titles' - a nice little game (but perhaps not truly a 'classic') which doesn't really belong in any of the above sub-categories

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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DTMOF84

Tibob wrote:

"Rework" can mean nothing and everything. When they port Shovel Knight, the game remains the same. Doom or Rocket League needed downgrading to run on Switch.

But anyway all those games already existed prior to their Switch release (prior to the system's release actually) so there is no debate that they were ported (according to google, port = "transfer (software) from one system or machine to another"). The degree of "reworking" involved has no impact on that fact.

According to the Google definition, then every game is technically a port if it is on more than one system or platform. That’s kind of what I am getting at with it being a term constantly thrown out there. The way it’s used makes it seem as if none of these games belonged on Switch in the first place. Doom is ported on Xbox One and PS4 because it is also on PC and technically can run at higher specs on there.

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DTMOF84

@NaviAndMii I agree with you on everything you said. Bring on everything they can for Switch. I hate the arguments though about how Doom shouldn’t have been $60 on Switch because it was less on everything else. Plenty of people here cried over that one. If that’s their argument then shouldn’t all games only be $20 when they come out? No one is making them buy it or not. I’m waiting for Wolfemstein 2 so I can play it on Switch rather than my Xbox. I would have bought for $60 in October new if I played on Xbox. I’ll pay it this year for Switch.

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link3710

@NaviAndMii Just out of curiousity, what would you call the THQ Nordic games like De Blob, Darksiders, Titan Quest, The Book of Unwritten Tales or Legend of Kay that are being ported to every system imaginable. They're pretty much all solid B-titles, but would they be cash grabs still from your listing?

link3710

NaviAndMii

@DTMOF84 Yeah, definitely - totally agree! I decided to wait for the Switch version as well - and since development started, I'm pretty sure that work has barely stopped - first with MachineGames making the original game, then Panic Button taking over and optimising it for Switch...it's 'new-ish' (and just plain 'new' for Switch) so I've got no complaints about paying full price for it either - if anything, even more work has gone in to it, so the price seems reasonable enough to me.

@link3710 I haven't actually played any of those games, so it'd probably be unfair of me to comment...but, based on how you describe them, I'm more than happy to throw another sub-definition - 'B-titles' - in to the mix (..that'd cover stuff like World of Goo quite nicely as well - not necessarily a 'classic', but not particularly 'cash grabby' either - yeah, I think 'B-titles' fits pretty well!)

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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TheLZdragon

Well, here are the terms I'd use:

"Version" - where a game is released on multiple formats at release. Examples: Multiplatform games, Breath of the Wild, etc.
"Port" - a version of the game released after launch. Example: South Park, Bayonetta 1 and 2, etc.
"Remake" and "Remaster" - where a game is updated to a more modern version typically on a newer console or PC

Now there is a lot of gray area too, but I like to keep things simple

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jump

TheLZdragon wrote:

Well, here are the terms I'd use:

"Version" - where a game is released on multiple formats at release. Examples: Multiplatform games, Breath of the Wild, etc.
"Port" - a version of the game released after launch. Example: South Park, Bayonetta 1 and 2, etc.
"Remake" and "Remaster" - where a game is updated to a more modern version typically on a newer console or PC

Now there is a lot of gray area too, but I like to keep things simple

Genuine question, what does virtual console come under?

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