Myth: PC Gaming Is Dead
A true horror story for our beleaguered times; the avalanche of piracy and console-favoritism is killing PC gaming. Not exactly. While it is undeniable that there are many issues which the PC market has to confront, we shouldn't be holding a tearful funeral just yet.
Take a little game called World of Warcraft - a PC & Mac juggernaut pulling in over $100 million per month in revenue. Developers such as Blizzard and Valve invest heavily in PC games, and countless indie developers find it the most liberating platform on which to work. The head of BioWare has recently encouraged smaller developers to turn away from the console market. The question is not whether PC gaming will die, the question is how it will adapt to changing market pressures. It is no longer the natural home of the blockbuster FPS, true, but it would be foolish to confuse an unpredictable future with certain death.
Myth: Cloud Gaming Is The Future
Lots of us are embracing a world in which the physical capabilities of a specific computer matter less than the bigger picture. Welcome to the Cloud, and the possibilities of connectivity. And - with the impending world domination of OnLive - pretty soon we'll all be playing our videogames from remote servers, eschewing the need for a console altogether.
Or maybe not. Skeptics claim that the broadband capabilities needed for OnLive to work properly are an unrealistic dream. Oh, and there's one advantage to having a nice physical-format stack of games next to a nice physical-format console: you won't lose absolutely everything when a centralized server goes kaput. Which is handy.
Myth: Casual Gaming Is Killing "Real" Gaming
A prevalent industry gripe at the moment is that "casual gaming" - say, Facebook games or the relatively lightweight motion-control japes that form most Wii content - is getting so popular that it will annihilate more serious or "core" gaming. And just when people were starting to treat the medium with a bit of respect, too.
Again, it all boils down to interpretation. What is "casual"? What isn't? Wii Fit might be the best-selling game ever, but let's not overlook something like the recent Red Dead Redemption - an intense, complex and profound work that has sold by the bucketload to become one of the year's biggest hits. Is it possible that casual gaming might be a distinct market sector in itself, and will no more affect "real" gaming than Dan Brown has affected the sale of Dostoevsky novels?
Yes. Yes, it is. Myth debunked.
There we have it: a broad selection of misconceptions that have arisen from many different sectors of the videogame industry. Yet these are simply the most common (and in some cases, the most grating). There are many more ... and, given the rapid cultural/technical acceleration of the videogame world, we are almost certainly due a whole new slew of baffling non-truths in the future. How long before we're being told that Motion Control gaming causes arthritis, that 3D-HD-gaming gives you Superman-style X-Ray vision, and that subliminal messages in Gears Of War 32 encourage players to stab kittens? Time - and the predictability of tabloid-fueled hearsay - will tell.
C J Davies is a screenwriter and journalist based in London. He can be found over at www.cjdavies.com.