Ah, Elden Ring. A game that I’ve been waiting to get my grubby hands on for quite some time. While the game has been delayed for another month, Bandi Namco surprised us with news of the upcoming network test available for the PlayStation and Xbox platforms. However, as you may have noticed, the PC is not included in the Elden Ring closed network test. Now, while I typically get frustrated when the PC is left out of demos and beta tests, I understand why that’s happening. However, after looking on Twitter and Reddit, it seems that there are quite a few who don’t get why the PC is being left out.
Of course, I’m not privy to why this is, but that’s never stopped me from speculating before, and I think I have three good ideas for why the PC is absent from the network test.
Maybe the PC version isn’t as far along as the console versions.
When it comes to developing games, sure developers use PCs to get the work done. But that doesn’t mean that the PC version of any specific game is the main focus. When it comes to Elden Ring, it very well could be that the PC version isn’t as far along in development as the console version. While the Elden Ring network test is basically Fromsoftware and Bandai Namco performing a test to see just how well the networking piece on the console performs under pressure, in the end, it’s still a demo. Granted a much smaller beta than we’re used to, but it is a demo nonetheless.
If the PC version isn’t ready, or at the point where Fromsoftware wants to show the PC version off, they won’t do it. And they shouldn’t do it. Sadly, when people see a demo, some consider it early access or a representation of the final build. If the demo is amazing, it works out in a developer’s favor. But when it’s not, and other are bugs and glitches everywhere, people will take to Twitter and Reddit to let the entire world know.
It’s likely for the best.
They don’t need to test the PC networking.
So, this is more speculation than usual, but let’s run with this, ok? Perhaps there’s little to no need to test the PC version of Elden Ring when it comes to the networking bits. Now, we don’t know how Elden Ring is going to work as Fromsoftware hasn’t said anything as of yet. That said, it could work one of two ways; It could work like Demon’s Souls, where there are dedicated servers that players were required to log into as this influenced the World Tendency. With the Dark Souls games, things were changed to handle authentication (logging in and restricting you if you were caught cheating) and handling matchmaking duties. Everything else in Dark Souls was handled by Peer to Peer (P2P), meaning your console or PC handled the hosting duties.
In all likelihood, Elden Ring will utilize the same system as Dark Souls does due to the cost savings and less maintenance. Think about it. If they hosted servers for each platform, that would end up costing them a pretty penny. Now, Bandai Namco would utilize authentication and matchmaking servers while your consoles and PC handle hosting duties; it would be cheaper, plus less overhead. This also means the PC wouldn’t be as restricted as the PlayStation or Xbox consoles; you don’t have to pay to play PC games that require an internet connection. You’ll need PlayStation Network or Xbox Live services on the consoles, which are more servers in front of the Elden Ring authentication and matchmaking servers.
It’s just a thought, but if you think about it, it makes sense.
Fromsoftware doesn’t want Elden Ring to be datamined.
Let’s be completely honest with ourselves for a moment. Despite every reason I’ve provided so far, Fromsoftware and Bandai Namco have likely excluded the PC for one specific reason; they don’t want the game datamined. It’s not a new concept, and every time a game gets a demo for the PC platform, there are people waiting to dive into the game’s code to grab whatever information that can. This includes code that wasn’t meant to be seen outside of the developer’s eyes or even red herrings that have been placed into the game.
It happens over and over with most games, including consoles, but the majority of datamining happens with PC games. Just look at what happened to the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta that was released a few months ago. There was code viewed that caused a number of people to assume 343i included a battle royale mode in Halo Infinite. Elden Ring is Fromsoftware’s most ambitious title to date, and I’m sure they don’t want anything leaked before the game officially is released. Sadly, because PC gamers love to datamine every damned thing, we ultimately suffer in the end.
Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but I’m pretty sure I’m either correct or partially correct on a few of these points. Regardless, I’ll be partaking in the Elder Ring network test when it takes place in November 2021. Well, I will be assuming I get an invitation, that is. If I do, look forward to my impressions of the network test, if I can pull myself away from the game.
To partake in this Elden Ring network test, you’ll have to sign up at this link before November 1, 2021. The Elden Ring closed network test will be playable throughout the weekend of November 12-14 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S during the following time blocks:
November 12: 3 AM to 6 AM PST / 6 AM to 9 AM EST
November 12: 7 PM to 10 PM PST / 10 PM to 1 AM EST
November 13: 11 AM to 2 PM PST / 1 PM to 5 PM EST
November 14: 3 AM to 6 AM PST / 6 AM to 9 AM EST
November 14: 7 PM to 10 PM PST / 10 PM to 1 AM EST
As for Elden Ring, the game will be released on February 25, 2022, after being delayed from its original January 21, 2022 release date.
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