Why Are AAA PC Ports So Bad?

Massive companies with colossal war chests usually make AAA console games. Yet, when they port these titles to PC, they’re often riddled with tons of issues.

It’s so often that PC gamers get disappointed by what was supposed to be a good game ruined by bugs and performance issues. But why is that so?

Here’s why AAA PC ports are so problematic.

What Makes a Bad PC Port?

man frustrated at his laptop

The term “bad port” is thrown around quite often when it comes to console exclusives coming to PC. So, what is a bad port?


The most obvious thing about a bad port is the performance. Often these are low or jittery frame rates, even with high-end systems. Besides the performance issues, it can be plagued with visual and gameplay bugs. These kill the immersion, and some bugs prevent you from progressing through the game outright.

Another annoying thing about bad ports is the controls. Some games like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty are unplayable on a keyboard and mouse. Wo Long has the joystick dead zone implemented in mouse movement, making it impossible to move the camera slowly.

You should know, though, that not all games first launched on consoles are ports. Check out what ports, remakes, remasters, and reboots are if you want to know more about their differences and what they’re for.

What Causes Bad PC Ports?

God of War Screenshot

There are many ways that a PC port could go wrong: from corporate greed to just plain incompatibility. Here are the most common causes of PC ports not performing as they should.

Bad PC Ports Weren’t Developed With PCs in Mind

Consoles aren’t as powerful as high-end or even mid-range PCs. However, the components inside a console are all predictable. With this consistency in parts, developers can code their game in a way that makes the most out of the hardware it’s expected to play on.

Close Up Shot of Graphics Card in PC Setup

Consoles usually have a shared pool of system and graphics memory. While on computers with dedicated graphics cards, the system and graphics memory aren’t shared. Changing that very fundamental part of how the game works is quite tricky and could sometimes mean a massive overhaul, leading to performance issues.

Console games are developed to run as efficiently as possible on the hardware that they’re given. Considering that console games are sold to console gamers first, the developers have all the reasons to make the game cater to that market the most, leaving the PC gamers as an afterthought.

Corporate Greed Rushes PC Ports

Some ports have the potential to be good but are limited by investors that don’t understand what it takes to make a game. You’ve probably heard of rushed game releases for the sake of keeping investors happy; the same happens with ports.

person holding money banknotes

Ports have tight deadlines; working on an old existing project isn’t seen as very profitable, so they’re often quite rushed. To keep the main developers working on new projects, porting the game to PC is often outsourced to external companies with tight deadlines.

The infamous The Last of Us Part II is an example of this outsourcing. The game was ported to PC by Iron Galaxy—the same studio outsourced to port The Last of Us Part I to PC. Part I was also a bad PC port, with both games suffering memory and CPU management issues.

There are many more things that corporate greed is ruining; check out how the rising costs of games are affecting the industry as a whole to learn more.

Controls Are Treated as an Afterthought

Even when a port performs well, it can often stumble right at the controls. Some games just weren’t made for keyboard and mouse. This is often the case with souls-like RPG games that are console-first.

blue keyboard arrow keys
Image Credit: Jhet Borja

The Dark Souls series and even Elden Ring are known for lousy keyboard and mouse controls. Then again, this could be solved by just playing on a controller or gamepad. However, it’s quite upsetting for those that only have a keyboard and mouse or don’t want to play on a controller.

A few Resident Evil and Assassin’s Creed games have received complaints about their jerky mouse controls, especially when aiming weapons. The developers could have definitely done some more polishing, but most would rather have players use a controller over a mouse and keyboard.

Will PC Ports Improve?

A woman playing a game on a Desktop

Since console technology is getting so powerful that it can keep up with mid-range computers, it might become much easier for developers to create a game that runs well on both systems.

The demand for console games within the PC gaming space has only increased. And with more and more console games being ported to PC, we hope that the developers start creating games that work well with both systems. This way, there’ll be fewer headaches for everyone; the developers, the players, the investors, and everyone in between.

Some Games (Literally) Aren’t Made for the PC

Older games that are ported to PC are usually the ones that get the most complaints. Those games were made for consoles that don’t have as much power as we have today.

So long as console games aren’t made with PC in mind and deadlines are still impossibly tight, it’ll be hard to see a future where the term “bad PC port” isn’t a thing anymore.