Where is the love for widescreen gaming?

Why do expensive triple monitor setups gets so little love from developers?
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For those who don’t know, widescreen gaming = triple monitor gaming.

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I have 3 24″ monitors strapped to a stand and plugged into a GTX space-heater of a graphics card. I also enjoy a 5.1 surround sound setup. I build the system primarily for audio and video editing, but with the full intention of widescreen gaming. OK, I’ll be honest. I built the system because it’s freaking awesome. I can do 99% of what I need to do on my phone and a Bluetooth keyboard. Just don’t tell that to my accountant. (Ha! Accountant).

By widescreen gaming, I am not talking about 16:9 letterboxed DVD’s. I’m looking at an resolution closer to 1080 x 5760. The immersion factor in systems like this is astounding. Ineffable, really. Racing games in particular benefit from widescreen gaming. (Just trust me on this one).

[There would be a photo of me playing a triple monitor racing game here if PAX had better wifi coverage. It’s a really nice photo, my hair is perfect and everything. Just try and picture it in your head, I guess]

Triple monitor gaming is AWESOME. Bold and all caps are completely deserved. Nearly any game can benefit from getting wide. So… Why don’t game developers support it? Developers are building support for 3D gaming but forgetting about people who just have more screens. (I’m looking at you, Spore). (Shut up, Spore was decent).

[Here would be a photo of a 3 monitors that are also 3D. I was going to make a joke about such a super-small market share. But again, poor PAX internet connection].

OK, I know what you are saying.

  1. There are hacks to make it work. Ok. Fine. Yes, there are. I play TF2 on my widescreen system (Go ahead and judge me). But these are buggy and crash often, and nobody wants a hack when [good] native support is an alternative.
  2. The game engines don’t support it. In that case, please redirect my finger at who holds blame. The game engines should start supporting triple monitor gaming
  3. Widescreen gamer’s hold too small of a market for game developers to spend the resources testing it. OK, I concede. Us widescreen gamer’s are a fairly small market. But we are a loyal market. Widescreen gamer’s tend to play all of the games that support widescreen gamer’s. If the developer is nice to us, we will be nice to you.
  4. It’s too expensive to test and debug. It is expensive. But widescreen setups are getting cheaper every day, and more and more consumers are starting to own one. The market is only growing*. Once you go widescreen, you don’t go back*. 

*These claims are according to at least 2 widescreen gamer’s I once talked to on chat roulette.

Only super-de-duper AAA games coming from household-name developers have decent support for us. And these games are expensive! Really expensive! Out of my budget expensive (my budget went poof on that graphics card. No regrets, I save a bundle on my heating bill).

Of course, the small indy game developer is not going to benefit from supporting such a small segment of potential audience. These indy guys should be more concerned their games can run on small or medium sized screens (something else that gets forgotten about). That said, I will review any indy game 5/5 stars if they do support widescreen gaming. (Note: All of my reviews are pure, critical, and unbiased)

But why do many AAA titles have such poor support for widescreen gaming? Here at PAX east, hardware developers are showing off their graphics cards and systems with triple monitors demo-ing crysis. (and pretty much just crysis).

Here, ASUS shows us the good stuff.

At least the hardware developers know how freaking awesome widescreen gamer is. Let’s hope the software developers will catch up soon.

Please, game developers, please provide better support for widescreen gaming!

And don’t get me started about 5.1 audio….

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