Oh they'll play a role but the developers usually don't have to worry about it. Like you said, the vendor distributed a firmware patch to fix it, so it was an issue with the motherboard and not the game.
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Obviously, the point is that they don't have to code them for each seperate card. There is a point at which they can generalize.
I think you're exagerating the amount of configurations developers deal with. Motherboard version is largely irrelevant. X CPU, well, if the software is designed to scale on the amount of cores, then the only concern is if the CPU is fast enough to execute what you need it to. Well, its the same with single threaded games but I would hazard a guess that most AAA games are capable of scaling. As for videocards, its largely about what feature set it has, and many of them share the same feature set, within similar performance brackets. So its more like they are looking at groups of videocards rather than each individual one.
Since PC games tend to have a set of options you can fiddle with, if the game doesn't run smoothly at one of the presets usually you can adjust it to perform better on your particular machine. Not all games do this but you can safely blame the developer/publisher for this.
As for modding consoles, people who don't know how exactly can easily get it done at a local modding store. I think its fair to say that if you are aware your console can be modded to play burned games then it is likely you are aware you can pay someone to do it.
I'm also in Canada, and they already do throttle it (Bell/Rogers/Cogeco). Bell throttles your download speed during busy hours, and Rogers/Cogeco throttle your upload speed 24/7. I've gotten around it thanks to a feature offered by a reseller of Bell's lines. Not entirely sure how it works. It's called MLPPP, and I think that its usually used to bond 2 DSL lines together, but you can use it with a single line and for some reason clients aren't throttled when they have it enabled (requires a custom firmware however, eg. http://fixppp.org/). Who knows how long this will last though..
No, but the point is just that there are more keys, period. An example of how that could be useful, consider a shooter which allows you to carry more than 2 guns (although that has become the norm as of late, probably due to the rise in popularity of shooters on the console). You could easily use the number keys on the KB to select different weapons, whereas on a controller, you'd have to cycle through them. Also, leaning is pretty much non-existent on the consoles because of the lack of buttons.
I think its perfectly sane to compare the two. They're different hardware, but they share the exact same purpose: a control scheme for video games. You could argue that a KB has more purpose than that, but the same could be said about the controller as well.
Some games do.. like UT3 for PS3. However, there's something that's just not right with the controls. the mouse feels sluggish, probably because they didn't optimize the controls for a mouse. Very frustrating.
So how did 40 million WoW players get WoW running on their cellphones?