Victim of Technocide

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To those who think that WoW / Blizzard is in any way the example that shows PC gaming is a-okay, please take a look at this list of PC game sales for Feb 2009. Blizzard has 6 spots with 3 for WoW and 3 split by Warcraft III, Starcraft and Diablo. Yeah, Diablo. The series is a good game, but that box first released in 2003 (according to Amazon). Diablo II launched in 2000. Let's not even talk about how old Diablo is. We've got a game that is 9-ish years old yet is still in the Top 20 PC monthly sales.

Then take a look at the other titles. The Sims takes up 5 spots. So 11 out of the top 20 sales for PC games in that month come from two companies and are franchises. Looking at the rest of the titles I don't see much new blood coming in. Left 4 Dead, two Spore titles, that's about it.

Yeah, digital distribution comes into it, but PC developers still want games on shelves because not everyone has access to high-speed internet that will let players download several GBs for a game. It might be growing, but it isn't as important for mainstream game releases as some might want to think.

The PC games market is stagnant because the growth is in only two areas: MMOs and casual games (perhaps browser-based or download-light titles). If a developer is creating something outside of that range, they usually look at consoles or cross-platform options. Piracy on the PC certainly doesn't help them head towards PCs either.

Kojiro ftt:
I think it could have been avoided if the marketing of graphics cards didn't get so out of hand. In the beginning, it was Voodoo 2, 3, 4, etc as Shamus has mentioned. But then marketing got involved in naming the chipsets. Next thing you know, you can buy a GeForce 3 and it would actually be WORSE than your GeForce 2, because you bought the retarded GS version, or whatever the tag is they came up with that week. That's when the market became unnavigable. You couldn't just say "I need a better card" and find one with a bigger number than the one you already had. You have to research stuff so you don't get hoodwinked by marketing. To GeForce and ATI, I say a big "Fuck You" and good riddance.

Now I just wish consoles and their games would natively support keyboard and mouse input...

I totally agree with this: I blame the graphics card manufacturers for creating such an unholy mess of chipsets and marketing bullshit.

scobie:
A nice article and some good points. Seems to fit pretty well with my own experiences. My computer is most definitely a "regular" computer, and I am for the most part a console gamer because I know my 360 will be able to run the games I want without fuss and they'll look pretty. When I play on my computer it's because I want to play a game that either hasn't been released on a console or simply won't play well without mouse and keyboard, mainly strategy games (unlike a lot of PC gamers I have no problem with console FPSs).

onelifecrisis:
My real problem with consoles is actually the games themselves. I think I'm not alone in this, given the number PC gamers who describe console games (and console ports) as "dumbed down". But consoles have only (relatively) recently risen to the forefront of gaming, and gaming itself has only recently risen to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and so now we enter into an interesting time: the console gaming generation are growing up, and I wonder whether they will grow out of games or not. If not - meaning, if a significant number want to carry on playing games into their adulthood - then we may see a shift in the consumers towards console games that aren't so "dumbed down", and then it would only be a matter of time before the industry responded to that shift. If and when that happens I just might be tempted to make the jump to console land.

Interesting idea. However, I'd like to make the point that a great many console owners are already adults. Now, for whatever reason, consoles are the platform of choice for the mainstream gamer. This means that by their nature consoles offer games that are simpler and easier to get into (not necessarily a bad thing, it depends on your tastes). I'm not sure how relevant the age demographics of console gamers are. I'd also like to make the point that the complexity of a game's interface and the commands that can be input, and therefore the complexity of the game itself, is necessarily limited by the fact that most console gamers will always play their games with a simple console controller. This might be a factor that does not depend on intentional "dumbing down". There's still no excuse for not releasing Shadow of Chernobyl on consoles, though. Grrr.

I agree that games are limited by their controllers, and perhaps you're right about there being a lot of adult console gamers (anyone got some hard stats on this?) but I hope you're wrong!

Interesting article. GPUs propably had at least something to do with the downfall in popularity of PC gaming. However, it seems to me that the GPU market hasn't been pushing itself like it used to. A few years ago, i seem to remember thinking "Good God, they have the _000 series out now? Now I'm even more obsolete!" But lately, I haven't heard much on the GPU front. It probably has a lot to do with the current console generation doing so well, and the next generation nowhere in sight.

With games getting more and more expensive to make, I think hardware developers are getting more hesitant to push the bar higher. Hopefully this will give people time to "catch up" so to speak on hardware, or even better, encourage developers to develop less demanding games, breathing new life into PC gaming.

scobie:

onelifecrisis:
My real problem with consoles is actually the games themselves. I think I'm not alone in this, given the number PC gamers who describe console games (and console ports) as "dumbed down". But consoles have only (relatively) recently risen to the forefront of gaming, and gaming itself has only recently risen to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and so now we enter into an interesting time: the console gaming generation are growing up, and I wonder whether they will grow out of games or not. If not - meaning, if a significant number want to carry on playing games into their adulthood - then we may see a shift in the consumers towards console games that aren't so "dumbed down", and then it would only be a matter of time before the industry responded to that shift. If and when that happens I just might be tempted to make the jump to console land.

Interesting idea. However, I'd like to make the point that a great many console owners are already adults.

I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D

I definitely agree.

I mean, why do people think that casual PopCap games on PC are doing so much better than games like Crysis or the newest Unreal Tournament?

People can actually play Bookworm Deluxe on their PC.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

scobie:

onelifecrisis:
My real problem with consoles is actually the games themselves. I think I'm not alone in this, given the number PC gamers who describe console games (and console ports) as "dumbed down". But consoles have only (relatively) recently risen to the forefront of gaming, and gaming itself has only recently risen to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and so now we enter into an interesting time: the console gaming generation are growing up, and I wonder whether they will grow out of games or not. If not - meaning, if a significant number want to carry on playing games into their adulthood - then we may see a shift in the consumers towards console games that aren't so "dumbed down", and then it would only be a matter of time before the industry responded to that shift. If and when that happens I just might be tempted to make the jump to console land.

Interesting idea. However, I'd like to make the point that a great many console owners are already adults.

I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D

Har har, very funny. Nonsense, but funny. :p

More seriously, this little exhange gave me pause for thought and I did some digging. I found this:
http://www.webmediabrands.com/corporate/releases/02.11.06-gamerep.html
Note the date - 2002! That report is based on the US market, and from what other info I could gather it seems the average age is slightly younger in the global market taken as a whole, but even taking that into account it seems I'm well behind the times.

That article drew similar conclusions to mine - that content would have to mature - and yet it seems we were both wrong. Seven years after that was written the content hasn't matured at all (unless "matured" just means more blood and sex). I guess I can forget the idea that "Serious Games For Grown-ups" will ever materialise on consoles. Oh well...

Sorry for going OT, Shamus.

Having been around for a long time, I still remember the drunken conversations in the pub where I was the only person not really excited about the release of Windows 3.1.

Also the time where my techy friend told me that 3dfx cards were a waste of time, and then wondered why I started thrashing the hell out of him at Quake, because I could actually see the incoming rockets.

I wouldn't say it was the GPU that killed it though, rather the final stake through the heart.

Going back to the earlier days and the all encompassing genius that was around Elite. (A graphical shoote em up trading game in 32k???? That's nearly a millionth of normal hard disks now) It was the pressures of fitting things into the miniscule memory that really brought out the genius to the games market. Titles like The Last V8 (By the preformed Codemasters) and Kickstart which included stunning tracks by Rob Hubbard, graphics just on the side of visible but gameplay off the scale. And all because you simply didn't have that much to work with.

Knock it forward to today and you only really get the genius like L4D or GTA:VC in titles that have had an entire company dedicated to them. (Titles like The Path not withstanding), so recuperation of sales has become more important than player base. That's why the consoles took off, and were saturated with characters to sell them. (Even Commander Keen never really represented the PC)

People like things simple, and they were prepared to wait 7 minutes to load in a game as long as it was there to play and not to dissect. Atari's cartridges showed that, (4K a game!) but ultimately the push towards the computer illiterate, started by Windows WYSIWYG, that killed the PC. Once you've homogenized the product, the peripherals have to follow.

Sony can't do an RTS to save their life (and can only just cope with an MMO), but if they can throw pretty characters at you, why should they? Same with Nintendo.

onelifecrisis:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

scobie:

onelifecrisis:
My real problem with consoles is actually the games themselves. I think I'm not alone in this, given the number PC gamers who describe console games (and console ports) as "dumbed down". But consoles have only (relatively) recently risen to the forefront of gaming, and gaming itself has only recently risen to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and so now we enter into an interesting time: the console gaming generation are growing up, and I wonder whether they will grow out of games or not. If not - meaning, if a significant number want to carry on playing games into their adulthood - then we may see a shift in the consumers towards console games that aren't so "dumbed down", and then it would only be a matter of time before the industry responded to that shift. If and when that happens I just might be tempted to make the jump to console land.

Interesting idea. However, I'd like to make the point that a great many console owners are already adults.

I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D

Har har, very funny. Nonsense, but funny. :p

Wow--did not know that me and my friends are funny nonsense--here I was thinking we were actual people who used to play StarCraft when we were young, and are now on our consoles most of the time!

That article drew similar conclusions to mine - that content would have to mature - and yet it seems we were both wrong. Seven years after that was written the content hasn't matured at all (unless "matured" just means more blood and sex). I guess I can forget the idea that "Serious Games For Grown-ups" will ever materialise on consoles. Oh well...

That's because grown-ups keep the PC around for the the 'serious' and 'mature' games. The content does not have to mature on consoles because adults are still inclined to look for that stuff on the PC. The PC market for 'serious' and 'mature' games never went away or contracted: if anything, it's bigger now than it ever was. It's just no longer on display in brick-and-mortar stores.

The 'blood and sex' games went to the console, while the 'serious' and 'mature' games stayed on the PC. The adults who started on PCs and moved to consoles didn't get rid of their PCs, they just started buying their 'blood and sex' games on the console, and continue to use their PC for their 'serious' and 'mature' games.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

onelifecrisis:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

scobie:

onelifecrisis:
My real problem with consoles is actually the games themselves. I think I'm not alone in this, given the number PC gamers who describe console games (and console ports) as "dumbed down". But consoles have only (relatively) recently risen to the forefront of gaming, and gaming itself has only recently risen to the forefront of the entertainment industry, and so now we enter into an interesting time: the console gaming generation are growing up, and I wonder whether they will grow out of games or not. If not - meaning, if a significant number want to carry on playing games into their adulthood - then we may see a shift in the consumers towards console games that aren't so "dumbed down", and then it would only be a matter of time before the industry responded to that shift. If and when that happens I just might be tempted to make the jump to console land.

Interesting idea. However, I'd like to make the point that a great many console owners are already adults.

I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D

Har har, very funny. Nonsense, but funny. :p

Wow--did not know that me and my friends are funny nonsense

You and your friends are atypical and that makes your comment nonsense, assuming that by "a lot" you meant "a representative proportion" (and if you didn't then your post is relegated from "nonsense" to "pointless").

Cheeze_Pavilion:

That article drew similar conclusions to mine - that content would have to mature - and yet it seems we were both wrong. Seven years after that was written the content hasn't matured at all (unless "matured" just means more blood and sex). I guess I can forget the idea that "Serious Games For Grown-ups" will ever materialise on consoles. Oh well...

That's because grown-ups keep the PC around for the the 'serious' and 'mature' games. The content does not have to mature on consoles because adults are still inclined to look for that stuff on the PC. The PC market for 'serious' and 'mature' games never went away or contracted: if anything, it's bigger now than it ever was. It's just no longer on display in brick-and-mortar stores.

Bigger now than it's ever been? I wasn't talking about casual games... are you? There's the SIMS, WoW, and casual games... and... what else?

onelifecrisis:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Wow--did not know that me and my friends are funny nonsense

You and your friends are atypical

Proof? Source?

Bigger now than it's ever been? I wasn't talking about casual games... are you? There's the SIMS, WoW, and casual games... and... what else?

Europa Universalis, Victoria, Civilization, Sins of a Solar Empire, Making History: The Calm & The Storm, Mount & Blade...any of this ring a bell? Paradox? Stardock? Strategy First?

Maybe you should give Hearts of Iron II a spin before you give your opinions about what it means for a game to be "dumbed down" ;-D

Cheeze_Pavilion:

onelifecrisis:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Wow--did not know that me and my friends are funny nonsense

You and your friends are atypical

Proof? Source?

LOL, this should be easy...

I'll need a timescale for when you and your friends were "young" and playing PC games. You said you were playing StarCraft? So that gives me 1998 as a rough guide.

A quick google for "number of homes with pcs in 1998" found me this article:

http://news.cnet.com/Use-of-Internet,-home-PCs-surging/2100-1040_3-223399.html

As you can see it says that 40% of homes in the US had PCs in 1998 (and I think it's safe to assume that the US was ahead of the rest of the world in this respect). The same article says that a year later, in 1999, only half of all home PCs had Pentium-level processors. Pentium processors were entry-level for PC gaming in 1999, so that means that only 50% of home PCs were capable of playing games in 1999. Assuming it was also 50% in 1998 that means that while you were playing StarCraft four out of five homes didn't have a PC that was even capable of running it.

Next I changed my google search to "number of homes with gaming consoles in 2009" and the first result on the list was this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/technologyreviews/videogamereviewsandpreviews/4248136/Video-games-eight-out-of-ten-homes-own-a-next-gen-games-console.html

8 out of 10 here in the UK, so probably more like 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10) in the US. Do I need to drill this point home by explaining the math to you? I'd describe you and your friends as "priviliged" although, given how oblivious you are, maybe "spoiled" would be more accurate? XD

Thanks, that was fun.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Bigger now than it's ever been? I wasn't talking about casual games... are you? There's the SIMS, WoW, and casual games... and... what else?

Europa Universalis, Victoria, Civilization, Sins of a Solar Empire, Making History: The Calm & The Storm, Mount & Blade...any of this ring a bell? Paradox? Stardock? Strategy First?

Maybe you should give Hearts of Iron II a spin before you give your opinions about what it means for a game to be "dumbed down" ;-D

Yeah... OK... Europa Universalis, released in 2001, is certainly a testament to modern day PC gaming being "stronger than it's ever been". /sarcasm

Next in your list is Victoria which (Wikipedia informs me) was an RTS back in 2003... but I'll grant you that the RTS genre is in a fairly healthy state these days, even if that is only thanks to the fact that console gamers outright refuse to plug mice into their machines thereby forcing developers to come up with... how should I put this... novel ways of using a controller to play RTS games. Anyway...

Civilization and Sins of a Solar Empire are good examples but the two years between their releases mean they're spread a little thin, especially once one discounts the dust-gatherers in your list.

Mount & Blade? Come off it.

Now rather than taking this as an invitation to produce a "better" list of un-heard-of games, why don't you accept your own challenge instead: proof/source.

onelifecrisis:

Do I need to drill this point home by explaining the math to you?

Yes actually: you have to explain how any of that math is relevant to my statement: "I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D"

Yeah... OK... Europa Universalis, released in 2001, is certainly a testament to modern day PC gaming being "stronger than it's ever been". /sarcasm

Europa Universalis III came out in January 2007. Expansions were released in August 2007 and May 2008.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_Universalis_III

Next in your list is Victoria which (Wikipedia informs me) was an RTS back in 2003

Wikipedia is wrong. Victoria is, I guess you could say, a paused based grand strategy game. It's nothing like an RTS. Which...you probably could have figured out if you'd read past the first sentence. If you had, you could have also followed the link to the Wiki page on its expansion: "Victoria: Revolutions (also called Vicky by the community) is the expansion pack for Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun. It was released on August 17, 2006 through GamersGate, and on CD in October 2006."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria:_Revolutions

Civilization and Sins of a Solar Empire are good examples but the two years between their releases

Are you counting expansions? Beyond the Sword radically changes the way the original game plays--it's closer to Civ 4.5 than an expansion.

Mount & Blade? Come off it.

I'm sorry facts are getting in the way of your argument.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

onelifecrisis:

Do I need to drill this point home by explaining the math to you?

Yes actually: you have to explain how any of that math is relevant to my statement: "I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D"

Try reading my posts before replying. I'm not going to quote myself, either read and reply or just don't reply.

As for the math: at most one in five homes in 1998 had a PC used for gaming. Nowadays all homes have consoles. Therefore even if all PC gamers from 1998 now own and play consoles they would only consitute at most 20% of the console playing demographic, which makes them (i.e. you) atypical, like I said.

Thanks for supplying the various numbers and numerals missing from your previous post, but I'm still waiting for proof (with source) of anything you've asserted. Or is your whole argument basically "here is a handful of games I like, QED"?

onelifecrisis:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

onelifecrisis:

Do I need to drill this point home by explaining the math to you?

Yes actually: you have to explain how any of that math is relevant to my statement: "I'd like to make that point that a lot of the adults with consoles were PC gamers when they were young. ;-D"

Try reading my posts before replying. I'm not going to quote myself, either read and reply or just don't reply.

As for the math: at most one in five homes in 1998 had a PC used for gaming. Nowadays all homes have consoles.

I was not talking about "all homes with consoles." I was talking about "adults with consoles."

Therefore even if all PC gamers from 1998 now own and play consoles

When did I say anything about "all PC gamers from 1998"?

they would only consitute at most 20% of the console playing demographic,

So? When did I say that any more than 20% of the console playing demographic is made up of old PC gamers? I was only talking about "adults with consoles" which is a smaller slice of that demographic.

And why wouldn't 20% be "a lot"? Did you confuse me saying "a lot" with me saying "most" or "all"?

Thanks for supplying the various numbers and numerals missing from your previous post,

I figured you'd understand that they were franchises. If you'd looked up the game companies I'd mentioned, you would have figured all that out. I realize you're kinda lazy when it comes to this discussion, but, I figured you'd at least look up all the names I gave you.

but I'm still waiting for proof (with source) of anything you've asserted.

I think your problem is you believe I am asserting things I am not because you're not paying attention to what I'm actually saying.

Or is your whole argument basically "here is a handful of games I like, QED"?

No, my argument for "the market for 'serious' and 'mature' games never went away or contracted: if anything, it's bigger now than it ever was" was "here are a bunch of 'serious' and 'mature' games which have become healthy franchises."

I completely disagree with Shamus. Back in the day when we played DC or Sim City 2000 nobody used his computer for email and stuff like that. Except for people that bought it for playing. Saying that the GPU is responsible is just..wrong. Call up Dell and buy a PC for around 1000$ and you get a very good machine which can run any game that is out. 1000$ is a lot? True, but back in the day PCs weren't cheap either. Actually for 1000$ you would get a computer that would last half as long (remember how much you payed for that geforce 4? it was junk after 6 month, unuseable after 12. buy a graphiccard today and it is junk after a year, unuseable after 2 and a half). There was just simply no "bad" version without certain incremental parts. I remember paying about 400$ for a 4GB harddrive. And that was a good price. Prices dropped, PCs got more advanced, operation systems got stable finally. there is no need to upgrade our hardware/os for an office pc today. back in the day, there was, windows 3.11 -> 95 -> 98 -> 2000 - those were huge improvements. But today we have XP, which is cheap and reliable. No need to upgrade anything or buy Vista for that matter, it will support everything until the computer breaks down. Oh yeah and of course, gaming got more casual and accepted, just like any other hobby. 1970 watching a zombie-movie made you some sort of socityfreak. Nobody cares now, it's pretty okay with everybody, maybe even popular. Same goes for gaming. And if things become popular, they become less complex. GPU is not the reason why pc-gaming is in decline, its the reason why it got so far.

Virgil:
Very nice article, with the unfortunate exception that "sink[ing] $200 into the latest pixel-accelerating toaster oven" is (at this point) even up to $400-500. Assuming you only want one card (and not 3).

The most bizarre comparison is that the 'everybody' computer is now cheaper than a high-end GPU ($299, and 'good enough' for internets, email, and word processing).

Of course, no one who a: isn't a billionare, or b: has common sense, actually buys the $400 graphics card, considering the next model down is often less than half the price, and gets a difference in frame rates of about 4 FPS. Using the highest possible price is a flawed argument. Of course, even ~$180 is a lot of money for a normal user.

With that said, I think that this article is completely right. Now no matter how you want to game, you need to get specialized hardware in the form of either a console or an upgraded PC. The days when you could use an "everyman" pc to do major gaming are long gone. (Though I gamed for years on a pc that was far less than "everyman", I doubt many other people enjoy playing exclusively pre-2002 games. I just upgraded last year.)

man-man:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
if people needed the latest GPU in order to Twitter, PC gaming would look a lot different.

Sweet Zombie Jesus... Windows Vista was an attempt to save PC gaming.

You're actually not that far off, strange as it sounds. Microsoft is intentionally trying to raise the minimum bar of PC hardware capabilities, because it's in their best interest to have better hardware to run their OS, and also in their best interest to see gaming become more accessible to the general public.

People that games on PCs almost invariably run Windows, and many of the games they play don't run on other OS's. If they can get more people to play games on PCs (instead of generic web-based games) they can decrease the chance that those people will switch to another OS. And to do that, they need to make sure there's a better minimum hardware standard, and make things easier (hence the dedicated games section in Vista, the built-in benchmarking, etc).

Liverandbacon:
Of course, no one who a: isn't a billionare, or b: has common sense, actually buys the $400 graphics card, considering the next model down is often less than half the price ...

But that's not the "latest pixel-accelerating toaster oven" - not my words, his :P

I didn't claim that it is logical, just that it is true.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Europa Universalis III came out in January 2007. Expansions were released in August 2007 and May 2008.

There's also Europa Universalis: Rome and its expansion Vae Victis, the latter which came out just a few months ago. Hearts of Iron III is being released this year by Paradox, not to mention the point and click adventure genre hasn't been this healthy in years (Ceville, Vampyre Story, The Experiment and the upcoming Syberia III for instance).

As someone who played through the glory years of the PC, I find this article to be an astute and accurate rundown of the platform's major weakness, cost and accessibility. Luckily, I keep a pretty bright outlook for the future: Game graphics have seemed to reach a plateau, and now it's time for the big-dollar GPU's to slim down in price and yet still deliver the goods on the latest games. The implementation of better integrated video chips would be excellent towards this end, as it has been a long time since the average video game player was a hardware hobbyist as well. Making the PC a turnkey gaming platform again could be wonderful.

Unless people are ripping numbers out of their arses, this thread is full of a lot of sad and/or ignorant people. Unless you're buying a Dell (in which case... lol,) there is no reason why you should really spend anywhere over $1200 or so for a new box.

Since the economic downturn, video card prices have plumetted. Processors are holding steady at about $200 for the most economical ones. It's now cheaper than it ever has been to fill your mobo to the brim with RAM. For under $300 you can buy a 24" LCD Monitor. Where are people spending $2400+? WATER COOLING? Hah!

My box, which runs Vista Ultimate, can run Crysis in DX10 at near-top settings, cost me exactly $1000 2 years ago. Now my box would likely only cost about $700-800. Currently, I have yet to find a game that strains my computer to the extent of playability and it likely won't happen for quite a few more years.

The problem is that when it comes to PC building, there's a lot of "wizzing" contests going on, and if you take advice from the wrong people you could be fooled into believing that buying a good PC could cost you an insane amount of money.

These are the people who are running a Quad Core Processor, 8GB of RAM, 2-3 Video Cards, Water cooled (when passive is quieter AND cheaper), all the while using Windows XP 32. They're completely oblivious to software bottlenecking and likely are just buying the most expensive parts they can find on newegg so they can brag about it to their friends (or if they have none, message boards.)

I think it's these people that are ruining gamers' perception of PC gaming, because many believe you require such a machine to game. But it's far from the truth.

I resent that last comment. The PC doesn't sit in a retirement home talking about the good old days. Because the PC is still pretty great as a games platform and there are great games that come out for the PC exclusively even though there aren't that many. But other than that the article is pretty interesting take on why the PC isn't the ultimate platform. I guess developers who want their games to sell on the PC as well should try and make games with graphics that are extremely scalable or which have low end graphics in the first place i.e. like world of warcraft or like sins of a solar empire. Game developers have to stop being the graphics rock star when it comes to a platform like the PC, and so far I can think of only three developers who do this i.e. Valve, Ironclad Games, Blizzard.

onelifecrisis:

LOL, this should be easy...

I'll need a timescale for when you and your friends were "young" and playing PC games. You said you were playing StarCraft? So that gives me 1998 as a rough guide.

A quick google for "number of homes with pcs in 1998" found me this article:

http://news.cnet.com/Use-of-Internet,-home-PCs-surging/2100-1040_3-223399.html

As you can see it says that 40% of homes in the US had PCs in 1998 (and I think it's safe to assume that the US was ahead of the rest of the world in this respect). The same article says that a year later, in 1999, only half of all home PCs had Pentium-level processors. Pentium processors were entry-level for PC gaming in 1999, so that means that only 50% of home PCs were capable of playing games in 1999. Assuming it was also 50% in 1998 that means that while you were playing StarCraft four out of five homes didn't have a PC that was even capable of running it.

Next I changed my google search to "number of homes with gaming consoles in 2009" and the first result on the list was this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/technologyreviews/videogamereviewsandpreviews/4248136/Video-games-eight-out-of-ten-homes-own-a-next-gen-games-console.html

8 out of 10 here in the UK, so probably more like 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10) in the US. Do I need to drill this point home by explaining the math to you? I'd describe you and your friends as "priviliged" although, given how oblivious you are, maybe "spoiled" would be more accurate? XD

Thanks, that was fun.

+1 point for doing some research. Minus a thousand for being needlessly combative and personally insulting. There is simply no reason to act this way.

And while I'm replying to onelifecrisis, this applies to a lot of other people in this thread. This whole discussion is full of way more venom than is needed for a discussion about technology and market forces. Discussions about gaming, its culture, and technology are fun. "Ha ha ur dumb I win lulz" isn't. I would encourage everyone to stop taking this stuff so personally.

Speedster4Life:
I resent that last comment.

Case in point to what I was talking in the last comment: There is no reason to get upset about this. I took a hyperbolic jab at the PC as a gaming platform. If you disagree with my conclusions then by all means, post your thoughts. That's what we're here for. But if you feel like I've personally insulted you, then the fault is with you.

To those who have been taking about World of Warcraft as proof that PC gaming is just dandy: I think you're proving my point. The biggest PC game out there is over three years old and is now aged enough that it WILL run on integrated graphics cards and standard laptops. As an earlier commenter pointed out, I think stagnation in the GPU market would be a massive boon to the PC.

I never said that PC gaming sucked, it that there weren't any good games, or that people who used the platform were closet rapists. I just said its influence had diminished. ("Influence" in this case being big-name titles and press attention. Arguably both are emergent properties of underlying shifts in platform usage.)

Virgil:
People that games on PCs almost invariably run Windows, and many of the games they play don't run on other OS's. If they can get more people to play games on PCs (instead of generic web-based games) they can decrease the chance that those people will switch to another OS. And to do that, they need to make sure there's a better minimum hardware standard, and make things easier (hence the dedicated games section in Vista, the built-in benchmarking, etc).

I hadn't considered this angle before. The whole DX10 thing seemed like madness to me, but when viewed as an attempt to push better hardware in order to hold market share in gaming as a way of holding market share overall, it makes a lot of sense in a Microsoft kind of way.

Dorian Cornelius Jasper:

TWEWER:
Really? People are still bitching about PC games being dead. Sure, they were dying about 2 or 3 years ago they were, but now, thanks to Steam, they're going strong again.

But the market dominance isn't as strong as it once was, and many developers see the PC as ultimately secondary to consoles and develop accordingly. Hence the "glory days gone by" feeling.

Valve happens to be an exception, not the rule.

I agree the glory days are gone by and the market dominance isn't as strong as it once was, but, even if that's true, that doesn't necessarily mean that PC gaming isn't strong.

See, back in the day, PC gaming was a medium sized fish in a small sized pond. These days, it's a big fish in a HUGE pond. That and the fact that brick-and-mortar stores no longer carry computer games like they used to.

In other words, you can both be right.

I don't understand what the big deal is, people have been saying this for years. It's the constant need for bigger and better hardware that kills the PC market. Shoot, my computer is so old I only just now played through Doom 3. But the sheer beauty of the PC as a gaming platform is that there will just about always be games I can play on it. Be it old games, or be it new casual games or even MUD's, or Rogue-likes. Ah, I do so love the PC . . . .

Woe Is You:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Europa Universalis III came out in January 2007. Expansions were released in August 2007 and May 2008.

There's also Europa Universalis: Rome and its expansion Vae Victis, the latter which came out just a few months ago. Hearts of Iron III is being released this year by Paradox, not to mention the point and click adventure genre hasn't been this healthy in years (Ceville, Vampyre Story, The Experiment and the upcoming Syberia III for instance).

I know, right? I think people confuse the health of PC gaming with what the author said, that "its influence had diminished. ("Influence" in this case being big-name titles and press attention. Arguably both are emergent properties of underlying shifts in platform usage.)"

PC gaming is like the actor who never gets a part in the big blockbuster movies anymore, but has more work than he or she can shake a stick at in smaller films.

Fun fact, last i heard the integrated Dell GFX chip costs $6.80 to manufacture.

I believe there are two non-casual genres still going strong in the PC market:

- MMO : consoles are yet to manage to crack this nut. I think keyboards for communication give PCs the edge in this market.
- Realtime and Turn-based Strategy : Again, consoles lack a good control system.

Also I think perhaps strategy games allow some leeway in system requirements, and appeal to an older (PC gaming) generation. I'd love for someone to come up with some demographics regarding console / PC gamer's ages, because my personal experience points towards the PC generation becoming the older, wiser veterans of the scene.

One massive reason WoW did so well is that it allowed someone with a Geforce 3 and an Athlon 1000mHz to play it (my gaming rig was bought in early 2001 I believe). Or the latest Dell home computer with an integrated card. They used an ingenius art style that allowed low polygon characters to run around and look 'cartoony' instead of 'horribly dated'.

I think to save PC gaming people developers need to stop developing for gaming rigs, and start developing for out-of-the-box Intel home PCs.

Shamus Young:

Speedster4Life:
I resent that last comment.

Case in point to what I was talking in the last comment: There is no reason to get upset about this. I took a hyperbolic jab at the PC as a gaming platform. If you disagree with my conclusions then by all means, post your thoughts. That's what we're here for. But if you feel like I've personally insulted you, then the fault is with you.

Shamus I didn't feel like you have personally insulted me or anything like that. I was trying to go for a parody all the others who i'm sure would have been all like this is bullshit (It's hard conveying tone on forums without relyin on double quotes and brackets). But really thought it was a great article and in my previous comment I also said what I think developers should to help improve they're PC sales, not that it matters. It's not like developers are combing through forums to look for ideas for them to improve PC sales for their games.

I thought this was a really well written, insightful, and clever article. Good Job Shamus.

Speedster4Life:

Shamus Young:

Speedster4Life:
I resent that last comment.

Case in point to what I was talking in the last comment: There is no reason to get upset about this. I took a hyperbolic jab at the PC as a gaming platform. If you disagree with my conclusions then by all means, post your thoughts. That's what we're here for. But if you feel like I've personally insulted you, then the fault is with you.

Shamus I didn't feel like you have personally insulted me or anything like that. I was trying to go for a parody all the others who i'm sure would have been all like this is bullshit (It's hard conveying tone on forums without relyin on double quotes and brackets). But really thought it was a great article and in my previous comment I also said what I think developers should to help improve they're PC sales, not that it matters. It's not like developers are combing through forums to look for ideas for them to improve PC sales for their games.

Sorry for singling you out. I just posted on people being upset, and after I hit submit, I saw yours and read it with my own post in mind.

Did you ever hear the acronym "FPS" during the days of munching integers with a frog or dying in a fire in the Oregon Trail? Not only has the rise of GPU standards hurt non-gamers, but it also hurts gamers simply because a PC gamer's standards of what constitutes playability have shot through the roof.

Look on any online forum of any PC game and every one of them will have a thread titled, "ZOMG 15 FPS, halp! System specs inside". The realism of games is so great that we, as gamers, want to immerse ourselves into the experience of breaking open the nose of a random thug and watch his blood spew from the newly created orifice.

For PC gamers simply having a game be playable doesn't cut it. Especially if you're into the online gaming scene. You honestly think PC gamers don't curse their crummy machines because the "weak sauce noob" killed him by jumping and the frame data interpreted it as a teleportation ability?

Our standards have indeed risen and if our gaming standards went hand in hand with our wallets there would not be an issue, but that isn't the case. With a console you'll never hear the words FPS and don't deny that NOT having to worry about this silly acronym would take a huge weight off your shoulders.

Shamus Young:
+1 point for doing some research. Minus a thousand for being needlessly combative and personally insulting. There is simply no reason to act this way.

And while I'm replying to onelifecrisis, this applies to a lot of other people in this thread. This whole discussion is full of way more venom than is needed for a discussion about technology and market forces. Discussions about gaming, its culture, and technology are fun. "Ha ha ur dumb I win lulz" isn't. I would encourage everyone to stop taking this stuff so personally.

/facepalm
You're bitch-slapping me for this? And after I had the common sense to step away from the thread, too? So, you'd rather have nonsense/pointless piss-take comments like the one that started the fight than comments from folks who do a little research to backup their claims, post that research when it shows they're right, admit their fault when the research shows they're wrong, and back off when the thread gets ugly? That's an interesting way to promote a healthy discussion. I hope you enjoy the environment that you're nourishing.

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