A couple of Kotaku readers noticed over the weekend that Activision was no longer in the members list on the PC Gaming Alliance website. When asked, the group revealed that "a few members have decided they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time." Among those "few members" is Activision.
The PCGA still boasts some heavy industry muscle, including Microsoft, Nvidia, Intel and AMD, but Activision's departure leaves the group decidedly light on the software side of the coin. Among developers and publishers, only Epic and Capcom remain as members while WildTangent is listed as a "contributor." Activision's loss will almost certainly sting but it's not the first industry organization the company has left recently: Activision also left the Entertainment Software Association in May 2008, a move that came about because "[Activision's] issues... are not the industry's issues," CEO Bobby Kotick said at the time. "Our challenges are sufficiently different from other publishers' issues that we need our own point person," he said at the time.
Is it possible the PCGA could shift its focus exclusively to the hardware side of the PC gaming equation? One of the main complaints about gaming on PCs is the relative complexity of the equipment: Video cards, sound cards, processors and RAM are far more intimidating than the out-of-the-box simplicity of consoles. If the PC Gaming Alliance could address that concern and simplify the process for consumers who just want to pop in a game and start playing it would be a major step toward returning the platform to relevance and might even attract a few of those wayward software developers back into the fold.
We've sent inquiries to the PC Gaming Alliance and Activision and will update when we can.
UPDATE: PC Gaming Alliance has issued a statement in the wake of Activision's departure. "The PC Gaming Alliance is an industry consortium that relies on membership dues to perform its' research," said PCGA President Randy Study. "Several members have determined that in the current economy they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance. This does not reflect negatively on the PC Gaming Alliance charter as we have added more members then we have lost in this period."