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Is PC Gaming Set For a Comeback?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the we'll-enjoy-our-mice-and-keyboards-while-you-flail-around dept.

Graphics 495

An anonymous reader writes "A combination of factors like console penetration, piracy, and the huge inherent variability in PC hardware setups have made the PC a third-class citizen for many gaming genres, especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter. Epic is a company that has been vocal in its shift toward consoles, with many controversial statements dropped over the years in reference to piracy being the reason. So it was with some surprise that we noted Epic's VP, Mark Rein, pointing out recently that the PC is as important as ever. Why the turnaround? This article suggests that the extended length of the current console generation will drive some developers back to the PC as new games push up against hardware limits."

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no.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799682)

next story

Re:no.. (4, Funny)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799712)

Indeed. Also where is that promised UT3 Linux client, huh? Well? Fsck you Epic! Die in a fire!

Next seconded...

PC gaming never went away. (5, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799686)

Steam proves that the right games sell well on PC.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799754)

Steam is definitely PC gaming's main champion.

last week's incredible sales probably moved more games than any other retailer did during the previous 6 months.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1)

Goateee (1415809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800154)

Of course Steam is the biggest seller of games online, but I doubt they have sold more games in a week then other retailers in a whole half year if you include ordinary stores. It seem they dont release sold units numbers, so it may be hard to compare. Do anyone know how large they are compared to other retailers?

Re:PC gaming never went away. (5, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799994)

Yes, Steam is pretty genius, but not just due to having "the right games". I started to use it recently (due to the Mac client). Every time you want to play a game, you have to start up the client first, and it presents you with a list of discounted games (only today for -50%!).

I'm really not susceptible to ads, but I already bought 3 games I wouldn't have otherwise. When they're at $5-$8, that's below my impulse-buy threshold.

I also own consoles, and the games are much more expensive there -- games that are a year old still sell for $40-$60! I'm seriously considering moving back to PC gaming right now, since the very same game usually costs half of that on PCs.

The Steam platform fixes the biggest issues with PC gaming --- automatic updates and online distribution.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800064)

yes, but

a good run-of-the-mill PC, for Office, internet, HTPC... can be had for $300-500. A gaming PC needs more CPU and GPU horsepower, and probably more RAM and HD, which can easily double the price. You've got to buy a whole lot of games to amortize that.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800190)

Not true, but whatever helps you keep spreading misinformation.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (2, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800232)

That's true, but only when you buy a PC specifically for gaming. I originally bought my PC for software development, all it would need right now is a better graphics card for maybe $100 and I'd be good to go.

Number of PCs and number of people (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800512)

That's true, but only when you buy a PC specifically for gaming. I originally bought my PC for software development, all it would need right now is a better graphics card for maybe $100 and I'd be good to go.

But if someone else in the household wants to use the PC at the same time as you, you have to buy/build another PC for gaming. It's not like a Wii console where most of the multiplayer games support one console, one monitor, one copy of the game, and multiple controllers.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800246)

This is simply untrue. My year-old, $450 computer still runs the newest games at medium-high settings. The flip side to this article is the effect console-focused development has had on the progression of PC games - namely, it has slowed down the ascension of hardware requirements dramatically.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800280)

You haven't been paying attention lately, 3 to 5 hundred dollars will buy you a really good (not top of the line, but capable of playing everything available today at high resolution).

The most expensive part is the video card and prices there have dropped more than I like to think about, I bought an 8800gtx OC when they were new for nearly $600 (ya ya, but I'm still using it too) Now, the gts 250 has about 6 more stream processors, the same clock speed and memory for around 90 bucks, 60 on sale.

The top o the line AMD 4 core unlocked CPU, was like $350 -$400, the 6 cores came out and the 4 core is now around $175, less if you are lucky.

So, Ya, while the consoles have not advanced at all and the prices have dropped very little, and their old games still cost as much as the day they came out, prices on the PC side have dropped precipitously on both hardware and content.
It's not rocket science.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800388)

Yea except when you buy a console for $400 and then have to buy 3 more controllers so you can play with your friends, plus god knows how many accessories just to be able to use the system the way you intended to, plus an extended warranty to make sure the vendor you bought the system from doesn't completely screw you (Red ring of death anyone?) the costs easily add up to be as much or more than a top end gaming rig.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800442)

Consider that most people will want a PC anyway, even if they already have a console. Therefore the only thing you're weighing against the cost of the console is the difference between your good run of the mill PC and a very good gaming PC, it's not that different. Actually I was just thinking myself, after being almost exclusively a console player for the last 6 or 7 years, that it might be time to go back to the PC. Not because of hardware constraints, but because of the worrying trends in stupid console hardware requirements. I like the current balance of Wii for casual gamers and XBOX/PS3 for serious gamers, but it seems the latter two are now starting to follow suit with (in their own words back at the time Wii was released) gimicky controllers. I don't want to think that, in a year's time, I'll have to be leaping about my living room to play an FPS, I just want to relax and play games after a long day at work. I specifically moved to consoles because they let me do that better than PCs, if they change that dynamic I'll switch back without a second thought.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800074)

Oh, the Steam sale has been a killer recently. There are several games I've bought for a pittance that I've not even installed yet, let alone played.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (2, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800076)

Hey that's swell, but I just want to point out, not just to you but to everyone reading your comment thinking "adverts?!?" These can be turned off by flipping a switch in the interface section of steam's options menu. But I like you, am happy to read them when they show up and have not disabled them.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (3, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800070)

Steam proves that people want downloads more than physical media. The industry needs to understand that downloading doesn't equal piracy.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (3, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800084)

Steam proves that the right games sell well on PC.

Steam is a terrific platform and I think it could go a long way towards revitalizing the PC game industry.

Yes, it's DRM. I know someone's going to show up and start yelling about the evils of Steam DRM. It always happens every time somebody mentions Steam. But everything is wrapped in DRM these days, and wishing that it wasn't so is not going to change the world. Sure, we could start boycotting and lobbying and whatever else... But the fact of the matter is that DRM is a part of the game industry these days. And Steam is one of the least-painful forms of DRM out there.

The marketplace is a great way to pick up your games. Buy them on-line and download them. No waiting for boxes to show up. You can even pre-load games before the release date. And you can burn backups of your files, so that you can install them offline later.

Plenty of impulse buys. The lack of physical shelf space means that you can sell stuff on Steam for a lot less than in a brick & mortar store. There's constantly something good for sale for $5.

There's a built-in system of patching, finding network games, finding friends, planning events, achievement, etc. Sure, that's all kind of wasted on a single-player game... But most games include some kind of multiplayer these days. And that's an awful lot of nicely reusable code for anybody looking to implement multiplayer.

And now you've got the ability to use Steam on multiple operating systems. And your games, if supported, will work across multiple operating systems.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800242)

If DRM didn't exist, Steam wouldn't exist either. There are a lot of anti-DRM folks who seem to think if DRM didn't exist, the DRM'd content we get now would still exist, but without DRM. Unfortunately they don't realise that without DRM, that content wouldn't be available quite so readily. We'd have to order a physical disk, and then only have the software on one computer at a time. With Steam I can play at home, or at work, just not at the same time (and as I respect the laws of physics, I don't tend to do that too often).

Re:PC gaming never went away. (2, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800490)

That was the same excuse they used when they wanted to keep DRM on music downloads, now we have DRM-free music everywhere. There's no reason, beyond the blinkered greed of a few people, that this couldn't work for games. I agree with your basic point though - that blinkered greed, misplaced as it is, would have been enough to kill Steam without DRM, or at least relegate it to a matchmaking system for MP games.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800374)

Nice to see the Valve employees doing their usual astroturfing here.

Everyone (except Valve employees) knows Steam sucks.

"Sure, we could start boycotting ..."

Already been boycotting. Still have never bought a Steam game, and never will.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800408)

Not just that. Valve understands players (heck, make that consumers) more than brick and mortar stores seem to. Have you ever seen such large sales as 75% off at GameStop? Valve's experiment with Left 4 Dead showed them that people will buy in droves when you reach the market's sweet spot. Instead of arbitrarily defining a value, they decreased said values down to price points that sold. The result? Extreme success, it seems. I hadn't bought games in a long, long time (the majority seemed overpriced for what they offered), but I just can't refuse things like Mass Effect 2 for $25 or the Introversion pack for $5. No, the devs and Valve may not be making as big a cut, but if they get half the cut while selling thrice as many units, then they've won and so did consumers. Further, they'll often get sales they otherwise would never have had, not even later on in the game's shelf life.

I honestly applaud Valve for their efforts with Steam. No it might not be perfect, but it's honestly a DRM that I can tolerate and even like, since it adds value. I wish more execs understood that: don't fight piracy by considering consumers as criminals, fight it by providing additional value and ease of use that you just cannot get with pirated games!

Re:PC gaming never went away. (4, Interesting)

steve-san (550197) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800094)

They're selling in spite of (and now because of) folks like me.
Yep, I was one of those haters when the service came out, but I'm a Steam convert. There's just too much to like. Crazy low prices during sales + the almost instant gratification factor = lots of impulse buys. I find myself visiting the steampowered.com site to check out the current deals.

Sure, you won't be lending out discs anymore, but you won't be losing/damaging them either. OTOH, you get easy access to your old games for as long as Steam sticks around (the only possible catch, I suppose).

I'd never played the Mass Effect series before, then saw them on sale on Steam. Picked up ME1 for 5 bucks! (ME2 is currently $24.) That's a LOT of entertainment per $.

Dunno (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800520)

Dunno, I'm one of those who never allowed Steam anywhere near my computer (but I'm not going to turn it into a rant about DRM for now) and it still seems to me like I've had no shortage of PC stuff to play.

The "right games" always sold, anyway. WoW still wipes the floor with any of the over-simplified button-masher MMOs that were built to be good for consoles too, for example. The Sims sold 16 million copies. The latest incarnation, The Sims 3, sold about 8 million copies as of mid 2009. And we're talking without the sequels, expansions, stuff packs, and premium DLC haircuts that EA sells like hot cakes in the meantime.

By comparison Epic's "Gears Of War" only sold 5 million copies. And that was one of the top bestselling games for the XBox.

Really, I don't get the 'OMG, consoles are where teh monies are' meme. Don't get me wrong, 5 million copies isn't peanuts or anything, and I can see why someone would want some of that market _too_. But the keyword is "too". Dumping PC gaming as some kind of lost cause seems weird to me. When you compare the top selling PC and console games side by side, the notion that PC gaming is just some kind of drop in the bucket and everyone is pirating it anyway, just doesn't seem to hold any water. WoW alone has more than two active subscriptions for every copy that Gears Of War sold, and probably leads 4 to 1 in copies sold.

Or maybe it's just that if you're Epic Megagames and all you can offer is a rehash of the 1999 UT franchise, and strictly confined to the increasingly overcrowded no-brainer FPS market... well, maybe piracy and number of PC gamers weren't their biggest actual problem.

Re:PC gaming never went away. (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800538)

Seriously. Blizzard will also agree.

Isn't Blizzard like ... making more money than all the console companies put together ?

Wait, what? (5, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799700)

"Comeback"? Did it go somewhere while I was playing all these awesome PC games?

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799744)

Yes stupid console fanboy don't understand that playing fps with a controller is casual as fuck, don't really understand why they all talk about themself as hardcore gamers.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799786)

It does require less energy yes, so is casual in that regards. But I don't understand how the strategy element is any different - it just means it's more difficult to aim well.. which in fact makes it even more "hardcore" in some respects, but just less impressive to watch. And lots of console games have auto-aim. I hate that. I always turn it off where possible.

Then again, you could just get a Fragnstein [bannco.com] and quit bitching. I bought one but I've only used it for single player games so far.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800340)

somersault,
It look interesting, Do you feel like telling us what "aim lock" does? It sure doesn't sound kosher.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800316)

I've always found that to be pretty humorous myself. You have all these Halo and Call of Duty fanboys that do nothing but scream about how "hardcore" they. But when it comes right down to it, they're the ones using gimped gamepads to play severely slow-paced, entry-level games. Hehe. :)

Re:Wait, what? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799822)

I dunno, I was playing TF2 just yesterday.

I guess they mean it's set for an increase in popularity, which isn't something I'm prepared to give a shit about.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800294)

Yeah. Eventhough I know PC game sales are fairly low compared to consoles that first line of the article really bothered me. "the PC a third-class citizen for many gaming genres, especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games", I'd say a lot of high-adrenaline games are for the PC and work better on it because of the usual higher pace (mostly slowed down on consoles due to no mouse in FPS's for example).

Greetings. (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799702)

Reggardless of the particular merits of this discussion topic, let me just interject to say, in the rankings of the relative worth of nations and peoples, GHANA is the GREATEST, followed by CHINA which is almost as awesome, followed by BOLOVIA, but way, way at the end in the section for pathetic morons and freaks is the United States of Ameraca, a stupind country where only stupind people live and pick shit bbooogers out of their ugly bungholes and eat them while watching their stupid games on the television they can't even comprehend the greatness the AWESOMENESS of GHANA it is like heaven compared to a dead squirreyl that smells like an american whoman who is fat and stupid and very udgly.

Epic fail (2, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799704)

So what happened epic gears of war sales drop, and you realize how limited the xbox hardware is?

Re:Epic fail (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799828)

Hearing Epic complain about the PC market is like listening to a farmer that planted no seeds.

Re:Epic fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800092)

You can only make so many duck/shoot games before people clue in that it's boring as hell...

Coming back? (1)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799710)

It never went away.

Comeback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799718)

Where did it go?

And who or what is "Epic" and why do I care what they say?

Re:Comeback? (4, Informative)

bami (1376931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800132)

Epic Megagames, released for example:

Unreal (Tournament, II, Championship, Tournament 2003/2004, Tournament 3)
Gears of War 1 till 3
And before that (DOS era), a buttload of shareware games.

Next to that, the Unreal engine, which is the basis for a huge chunk of all 3D games released from 2000 till now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games [wikipedia.org]

Publisher wise, not huge, but they really sped up 3D development with their 3D engines.

Re:Comeback? (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800416)

I presume he means recent games, Unreal Tournament 3 was quickly disregarded and I wonder if anyone still plays it nowadays. It's so easy to blame piracy when sales for new products are not as good as expected instead of looking at the product itself and if the current market is waiting for such a game.
Their Unreal 3 engine is pretty popular though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games#Unreal_Engine_3_and_3.5 [wikipedia.org]

Dollars (5, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799728)

It's true that many developers want to do things that the consoles can't handle. But in the end, money is the driving force of any successful business. The one thing we've learned this generation is that graphics are not the selling factor they once were. From a business standpoint there's little reason to abandon consoles when console sales rake in the money.

Re:Dollars (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799812)

As long as my console has the "penetration" factor, there's no way I'm switching back to PC gaming. Whoah baby!

Re:Dollars (1)

Magreger_V (1441121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799898)

Why does it always have to be one or the other? I have a PC and a PS3.

Re:Dollars (0, Redundant)

Winckle (870180) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800018)

I'm pretty sure he was just making a dick joke. :)

Re:Dollars (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800072)

Because gaming systems cost money. Gaming PCs cost even more money than their console counterparts.

Re:Dollars (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800468)

I can guarantee that my PC didn't cost anywhere near your PS3 when they were both new. The difference is that my PC is far more powerful and can still run Linux if I want it to!

Re:Dollars (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799880)

Mostly because you can get good graphics on any console. Yes, the Wii can't do HD, but quite honestly the Wii is aimed as the main console for kids these days, how many kids do you know that have anything other than a SDTV bulky CRT TV in their rooms?

If you want to do something you can do it on any console these days, when developers stop whining about how they don't have a Core i7 built into every single console these days and actually get to coding, they can make some pretty good games. I mean, look at the stuff older computers could do, particularly the Amiga, yet its specs would be considered completely ancient by todays standards.

In all honesty, devs need to start making games that are -fun- and I think this generation should have woke them up to it. I don't need a screen resolution of 3242342342 X 234234234234234 to enjoy a game, nor do I need an 8 core CPU. Graphics are nice when they enhance the game, but in a lot of cases devs focus far too much on graphics and not enough on making the game fun.

The circle of (virtual) life (5, Informative)

ctsupafly (1731348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799762)

This is generally the cycle of things. New consoles pop up with fancy new graphics accelerators & all kinds of happy new buzzword technologies & devs flock to them. Magazines, industry shows, etc, call it "the end of PC gaming!!" & the PC lays low for a couple years, mostly powered by the MMO crowd & a few of the better shooters. Then, a couple years later, the consoles start to show a hint of aging & devs flock back to the PC to make "prettier" games. The PC gains momentum until it actually starts cutting into console game sales by which time the new set of consoles is set to launch, inciting fanboy mania once again & the circle starts anew. It's a beautiful thing *sniffle*

Re:The circle of (virtual) life (0, Redundant)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799954)

and fanatical users from each front fuel the fire of forum flame wars.

it's a beau-FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFNERDRAEGXZ11

Re:The circle of (virtual) life (2, Insightful)

D66 (452265) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800304)

Not a circle, so much as a downward spiral for PC Games... Each revolution lower than the previous. Look at the shelf-space devoted to PC games now in Gamestop or EBGames and compare it to the entire floorspace that was once devoted to them in the age of Babbages and Software Etc. That is a ration that has been in steady decline regardless of the age of the Console generation.
Maybe Digital Delivery is making a dent too. I hope so. I would like to see the EBX line of shops go away. With the availability of drive space and broadband, there should soon be no need for physical media sale for any media (Why I don't own a Blue Ray player)
Steam is the light.

Re:The circle of (virtual) life (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800448)

True, but there's diminishing returns. If you look at graphics card reviews they've been constantly pushing up the resolution because only the 30" 2560x1600 or multi-screen setups actually push enough pixels to strain them. That's about twice the pixels your full HDTV will ever do, and there's a huge install base of that compared to the obscure 30-inches. Obviously with more shaders/pixel you can in theory do more to make each pixel realistic, but in practice it doesn't look that way. No game has an ultra-über-quality mode that'll make your SLI/CF setup groan at low resolutions. Effectively I think if the next generation comes wtih full hd and the shaders to power it, the PC market will be laying low for many years.

Re:The circle of (virtual) life (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800452)

You forgot RTS games which, despite many attempts, still suck tremendously on consoles. There's a little thing called Starcraft 2 that, even if you don't really like it or care about it, will be making a huge impact on the PC market.

Won't happen for the majority of developers (4, Interesting)

mentil (1748130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799776)

Nowadays, most game developers are owned by bottom-line-oriented publishers who prefer consoles over the PC for the reasons listed in the summary. There are very few developers who are enough of hardware geeks to want to push the envelope beyond what consoles can manage -- iD's Doom 3 and Crytek's Crysis are the only ones I can think of offhand, although both companies have sold out to consoles in recent years. Strategy games and MMOs are still PC-centric due to needing a mouse or dozens of keys; if the standard $200 Xbox 360 came with a mouse and keyboard, PC exclusives would be toast.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799918)

if the standard $200 Xbox 360 came with a mouse and keyboard, PC exclusives would be toast.

If the standard $200 Xbox 360 came with a mouse and keyboard, you would have a PC.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799962)

There are very few developers who are enough of hardware geeks to want to push the envelope beyond what consoles can manage -- iD's Doom 3 and Crytek's Crysis are the only ones I can think of offhand, although both companies have sold out to consoles in recent years.

Because there are very few people who own that kind of hardware. Look, the average person's computer doesn't even have a dedicated video card, there are few people who are willing to shell out $1000+ for a PC (unless of course it has a shiny Apple logo on it....) that will be obsolete in a year or so anyways and they will need to put in another $300 video card if they want it to be top-of-the-line again.

A $200 Xbox bought today is going to get me at least 2 more years of gaming, probably 3. The $250 Wii bought at launch day has already had a 4 year lifespan and probably won't stop anytime soon. I don't think that you can buy a decent PC for $200 and have it play any real game today, let alone play a new game 4 years from now.

And really, does better hardware mean more fun? I mean, I suppose it is nice to see every little hair on the person who you are shooting's beard, but is it really needed? I mean, really, Pac Man or Tetris is as fun in its NES iterations as it is playing it in HD. If a developer makes a game that is crap, it will be unplayable at any level. If a developer makes a game that is really fun, it won't matter if you are playing it on the Wii, 360, PS3 or an 8 core CPU, it will still be fun.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (2, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800282)

there are few people who are willing to shell out $1000+ for a PC

I built this machine in 2008 for $540 ($40 shipping). Case, PSU, HD, Memory, Video Card, CPU, MB. The works. I've not run into many games that I can't run at 1920x1080 (my HDTV). Actually scratch that, I've come across zero games that push this system. Probably since they are all console ports nowadays.

You may need $1000+ for a 'gaming' PC, but a PC that plays modern games can be had for a fraction of that amount. A slight generation off bleeding edge and you can have a very affordable rig. If anything, perhaps game manufacturers realizing that requiring the absolute latest in processing capability was hurting their ability to sell their product. I'm certainly happy that I don't have a three month window before my games start saying "Your equipment needs to support Pixel Shader vX.Y" I've had it happen to a few machines, but they were at least 3-4 years old, and probably running a 5-6 year old video card.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800004)

rofl if those are the only two you can think of then that shows exactly how disconnected you are with pc gaming. the fact you list something as old as doom 3 is downright trolling.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800058)

I think it's kind of the point that most people are disconnected with PC gaming.

Ask about PC games at the mall gaming store and they will look at you like some horribly uncool old geezer.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800118)

The general trend towards laptops over desktops also hurts PC gaming quite significantly. I used to play a lot of PC games. These days I use a macbook + xbox. It works well.

Re:Won't happen for the majority of developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800480)

You can use the standard USB keyboard and mouse on PS3. Only few games actually support them though.

So... (4, Insightful)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799790)

The PC is set for a comeback... Until the next generation of consoles is out... Then PC gaming will be dead again.

Not that I think PC gaming is dead or will be anytime soon.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799850)

So you're saying the PC is undead?

Fear things that go bump in the night, consoles!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800030)

When a player gets bitten by PC gaming, they turn to console gaming. Parent's comment explains a lot of things...

It's a River (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799904)

Business-wise, PC gaming is a river that leads to the sea of Consoles. Practically every gaming company starts out on PCs, and at some point tries to make the jump up to Consoles with x10 the install and active customer base.

Therefore, it always continually looks like "all game makers are leaving PCs for Consoles". Soon the river will be dry! Not so much -- the cycle refreshes itself constantly.

Re:It's a River (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800086)

Only so long as console makers make it difficult/expensive to develop to their systems. Things have turned around in the last generation, with XNA and WiiWare (and probably something similar for PS3). A lot of small shops who would have never been able to make it in the old console world, because they lacked the ability to make it into the large retail chains, and buy extremely expensive dev kits, can now produce games for the consoles. If things continue in this fashion, then small shops will be able to start off on the Console, and the only thing left on PCs will be niche games for high end systems or small audiences, like flight simulators.

Market Penetration (4, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799912)

PC gaming will never die completely for one simple reason - market penetration. You can talk all you want about how many PS3's and X-Box 360s are floating around but just about all of these homes will have at least one computer in them. You can argue that high end multi-million dollar PC games might disappear but I am still skeptical about that given how easy the console makers and third parties have made it to port to a PC (or off of a PC). Plus you see games like World of Warcraft that are designed to run on barebones PCs without the need for an expensive gaming rig, perhaps that is the future of PC gaming.

Re:Market Penetration (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800274)

WoW wasn't designed to run on barebones PCs, it was reasonably demanding when it first came out. It's just old.

Having said that, I dread to think how it would run on a "business machine" or another without 3d acceleration.

Re:Market Penetration (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800470)

reference?

World of Warcraft wasn't that demanding when it was released. One of their targets was to have it running on as many PCs (and Macs) as possible. Each expansion has raised a bit the bar on the performance required (by having slightly more detailed graphics). Probably the relatively low spec of the PC needed to run the game in a reasonable way helped a lot in its market penetration.

Some examples that support that it was low spec when launched:
- GPUs with vertex and pixel programs weren't required. They have/had a checkbox to enable skinning on vertex shaders (maybe to better supports crappy intel integrated graphics). All pixel effects were optional (with a global setting to enable pixel shader effects).
- They didn't have shadows until quite late (last expansion I think). The only shadow the characters had was just a fake circle shadow that "did the job".

Re:Market Penetration (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800506)

You would be surprised. My friend fried his video card once and played wow with integrated intel video for several days. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

nfl antitrust exemption trunover makes room PC gam (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799916)

nfl antitrust exemption trunover makes room for some one to make a PC NFL game.

Hmm (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799924)

id and Crytek have abandoned the PC? Is that why they have released every game they have made on the PC? Let's not count the terrible cell phone game id made, I'm sure they want to forget it as well. :)

Bread and butter? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799930)

... especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter.

I'm not so sure that gaming was ever the bread and butter of computing, but then I have nothing to back up my opinion, just as the article submitter has nothing.

Re:Bread and butter? (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800126)

>> ... especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter.
>
> I'm not so sure that gaming was ever the bread and butter of computing, but then I have nothing to back up my opinion, just as the article submitter has nothing.

Gaming has nearly always been a second class citizen on PCs. PCs used to be CRAP for games. They
had poor graphics capabilities and didn't even come with sound. For a short while there are more
PCs had decent multi-media capabilties built in you saw a period where PC games were on top.

However, that didn't last very long because consoles stole all the thunder.

PCs come with a lot of integration issues that consoles don't have. For a particular game you
may not even be able to count for a sufficiently large number of potential PC customers. Sure
there is a very large installed userbase of PCs in general. That doesn't mean that your new
whiz-bang game will have enough of an audience though.

The general PC numbers tends to over-inflate expectations (fanboys here in this thread included)
past any point of reality. n+1 million boxes does not mean n+1 million boxes that can play your
game acceptably well.

That's the real kicker with PCs vs consoles.

Dealing with all the device related issues on a PC game can be a real b*tch.

PC Gaming not dead but (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799934)

There are very few games that are console only, I can only remember a handful games that are PS3 or xbox only, the rest you can buy for any platform you wish to play on. PC gaming is not dead, developers target it just as much as they do the consoles.

The publishers only have themselves to blame. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799944)

It has gotten to the point where I can't just buy a game and install it without having to worry about what kind of malware comes packaged along with it. I've got terabytes of space, so I don't want some capitalistic malware forcing me to put a disk in the drive, so that the disk will get scratched and I will have to buy another copy. I also don't want to have to ask the capitalist pigs for permission to play the games after I have paid for them via on-line activation.

Thus, I have decided to buy all games used from now on, to screw the developers/publishers. The only people I will buy new games from are folks like Frictional Games, who offer native Linux games with no disk-checking or phone-home malware at reasonable prices. I will NOT pay over $20 for a new game.

I'm also willing to buy from www.gog.com, because they don't include capitalistic malware in their games. Many games I want are not available on GOG though, so I buy them used. The publishers are losing money here. No, I don't want to buy your latest shitty un-optimized console port.

The hardware upgrade treadmill (1)

Teckla (630646) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799956)

It's great that PC games keep pushing the hardware and the state of the art, but after decades of PC gaming, it's becoming harder and harder to keep justifying the hardware upgrade treadmill.

I know I could just play older games, and many people do. But then you miss out on some of the social aspects of game playing; e.g., discovering and playing new games at the same time as your friends and colleagues.

I'm sure there are good technical and financial reasons that so many games can't and won't play very well on modest PC hardware that's several years old, but I keep wishing they did.

PC game companies would sure make a lot more money off ME, at least, if they did...oh well.

DRM (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799960)

The real reason that people don't buy PC games anymore - at least for the class of people I've talked about - is DRM. And I'm serious. Actually, the combination of DRM + "no demo".

Most of us have been burned once too often buying a game that sucks, doesn't run on your machine even if you satisfy the minimum requirements (and more), and so on.

10 years ago, if a game was awfully short, or sucked, or didn't work, you'd put it on the 2nd hand market and it wasn't so bad. You'd not get your original investment back, but about half of it, a bit more if you did it right. That put the cost of picking a bad apple at maybe 20, often less. Today, with all those options killed thanks to DRM, the price for an error is 50 (prices have also gone up). That's 250% the old value. And then people wonder why less games are bought.

It gets multiplied by a good factor if you figure in that many gamers are now adults, with family. A large part of the "available income marked for gaming" is in a demographic that wants to play with their spouse or kids. Which means the game has to run on at least two PCs, and the network part has to work. You'd think that's a solved problem, but it isn't. For one, almost all games today require you to buy two copies for that - bringing the price of error up to 100. Two, it increases the chance that some part of the equation fails, so the chance for error increases(*). Both cost and chance of error go up. If that happens, you very, very quickly reach the point where it just isn't a rational decision anymore.

Today, even though I enjoy coop gaming a ton, I would not recommend buying any windos game to anyone. Well, maybe my enemies on /. ;-)
Seriously. You want to play a game? Find a torrent.

Yes, I feel sorry for the developers. There's nothing I can do for you guys. Go indie and offer an honest option for me to buy (I've bought a lot of indie stuff, and so far haven't had one regret) or tell your distributors to stop fucking the customer. Because even in that business, "money up front" only works for a short time, and if you want them to come back, the product better feels like worth paying for afterwards.

(*) you'd not believe the amount of total bullshit I've seen with windos network gaming. Like XP and Win7 not being able to communicate via TCP/IP when they're not in the same workgroup. Err... yeah, makes sense. Random failures left and right. Some machines on the network being able to see another machine, but not vice versa (because, you know, your ping reply gets through just fine, but your ping request doesn't???). Network games working just fine if machine A hosts, but not if machine B hosts. And so on.

Re:DRM (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800060)

I think the whole DRM issue is overblown. "Good" DRM isn't noticeable in anyway. Sure, pirates don't like it, because it means they have to wait for a cracking group to clear the DRM before they can steal it.

You're saying that game developers need offer you an "honest option," what the fuck does that mean? It really sounds like "don't use DRM so I can easily pirate your goods." And your argument is don't buy PC games because you need to buy two copies and it has DRM.... instead buy console games? WTF?

I've been burned by DRM but the last title I can think of was Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, which of course caused me to stop buying splinter cell games. However, that doesn't mean I stopped buying all PC games. I usually don't get out of an entire market because one vendor fucking sucks ("I just got ripped off on these shocks for my car, fuck it I'm buying a ten speed!")

Re:DRM (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800308)

Eh? Without DRM Steam wouldn't exist. Without Steam many folks wouldn't be playing PC games at all. Some DRM is bad, some is great. It is rarely a choice between "content with DRM / content without DRM" but usually "content with DRM / no content at all". People prefer the latter, as they want content, so they put up with DRM. I love Steam's DRM - it lets me have games installed on multiple computers, all without media (simply download the files, and you're good to go). Their shop is easy as hell to use, with instant access to games. They have butt-loads of demos. I don't know what the last part of your post is about - it seems to be filled completely with bullshit. Weird.

Re:DRM (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800426)

"windos" Grow up.

Maybe the console makers are to blame (1)

world_citizen (33348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799972)

I thing the console builders are to blame. Most PC games don't have hidden costs, and you are the ruler of the PC, more of less. Since Sony's action to remove the otherOS option I'm not fond of the consoles anymore. Customer who are using console have more or less sold their rights to the console maker. In the end they have the power we as a customer has non (by accepting te EULA you've sold your console soul to ...) They can remove anything they want to and even ask money for something that used to be free.

Um... FarmVille? Mafia Wars? (4, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799978)

No, PC gaming is not "back." It never went away. Facebook games are printing money.

Oh, you mean high-end PC gaming of the kind that requires expensive GPU cards? It didn't go away either. You can't overclock your PS3.

PC games will be around as long as there are PCs.

Re:Um... FarmVille? Mafia Wars? (1)

chronosan (1109639) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800278)

PC games will be around as long as there are PCs.

10-15 years tops.

Only if future games will run well on Laptops (3, Insightful)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32799982)

I spent this morning browsing high street computer shops helping a relative to buy a new machine. I came away convinced that the "home desktop" will soon be a thing of the past. The shelf space dedicated to home desktops has shrunk to almost nothing while the shelf space dedicated to laptops, netbooks etc has grown and grown. Most significantly the price of a general purpose laptop is now lower than the price of a general purpose desktop. This isn't going to affect casual PC gaming like Farmville and pop cap games but it is certainly going to shrink the market for serious graphically intensive PC games.

The funny thing is, I have been a PC gamer for over twenty years and there has never been a better time to be a PC gamer. Thanks largely to digital distribution the quantity and quality of games available for the PC at at extremely low prices is just awesome.

Re:Only if future games will run well on Laptops (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800098)

All of those machines have a fairly powerful 3d accelerator, even if it's a weaker gpu like an Intel.

Smart developers are making sure their tech can run on low end GPUs anyway.

Re:Only if future games will run well on Laptops (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800104)

I imagine it will happen about the same time as the PSP is also able to play full PS3 titles, because, you know, portability comes at no cost, right?

360 is good enough for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32799996)

It's gotten to the point now where all platforms are "good enough" for me, visually. Gears of War 2 for 360 had me staring in awe at the tank and drilling platform designs and detail, while mortars were raining down around me. It's beautiful! I would much prefer that further advances be in the level of interaction, sophistication of gameplay, and new types of games.

Here we go again... (0, Redundant)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800048)

It's dead! No, it's not. Really it's dead. Nah, it's just dying. Oh look it's back, oh wait, it's...

I could write my usual rebuttal to this nonsense but meh. I'll get the next one.

Understood. (2, Interesting)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800090)

As a former game pirater, I completely understand if a studio wants to abandon the PC platform entirely. The reason great games exist is that there is the potential for enormous financial rewards. Downplaying the financial aspect of this problem is unhelpful. We can't talk eschew greed without badmouthing the engine behind nearly all the great games today.

Epic said the PC is the realm of farmville for a good reason. Ad-based games or simple labors-of-love are the only types of games that can exist when software is pirated over sold at 20:1. I think Steam is our only hope; Valve smartly used the Apple model of making purchasing as easy as pirating, all while lowering prices and keeping up a back-catalog to take advantage of "long tail" sales. Recently, I've bought GTA4, Crysis, Crysis Warhead, Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Bioshock 2 all from Steam because it's cheap, easy, and makes me feel good to support PC gaming.

The PC market stinks right now, but it should get better with Console/PC hardware looking more and more similar, the effects of "iTunes for Games" (Steam), and us PC users growing the F up and acquiring games legally.

piracy understandings (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800526)

The huge ratio of pirated to games to actual sales is largely irrelevant as it has been repeatedly proven that a pirated counts are in no way equated to lost sales. Theres also mounting evidence that restrictive DRM damages sales more than piracy.

let me be the first to say... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800106)

Epic fail!

I wasn't aware.. (0, Redundant)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800114)

that it had gone anywhere...

Re:I wasn't aware.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800338)

In reality, it hasn't. There are plenty of great games to play on the PC, like Tremulous, Urban Terror, Nexuiz, Unreal/UT/UT2004, QuakeLive, Penumbra series, and others.
Many of my favorite game series have been destroyed by the console cretins though. This includes Deus Ex, Thief, and Duke Nukem (who is MIA).

Some publishers sell out their fans, it is a fact. Luckily, we have projects like this: www.thedarkmod.com and www.thenamelessmod.com

One aims to keep the spirit of Thief alive, without pandering to console creatures. The fans can keep making missions on an engine that actually works on modern hardware, which should eventually be open-source.

The other is a large world to explore, set in the Deus Ex universe with 14 hours of speech and tuns of replay-a-ability. It really is incredible.

Dumb (0, Flamebait)

pyster (670298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800136)

PC gaming has not been in trouble. The sky is not falling... Set for a come back? Come back from what? Get off the fucken drugs.

mmorpg (2, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800166)

The answer is MMORPG. They realize that they missed a big slice of the pizza, and they want to return back. I still play Unreal Tournament, and there are a plenty of other guys who enjoy this game, and there are a lot of custom made mods, in some sense even better than the original, and we are still playing with 5year old engine!!! It is all about money, and if they don't catch this train, someone else will do it. Especially with all the restrictions and inconvenience that come with all the consoles.

Publishers (3, Funny)

Vamman (1156411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800268)

Developers don't make decisions. Publishers make decisions. EPIC get used to that crapbox360!

Video card manufacturers mislead consumers (4, Interesting)

Flentil (765056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800288)

I love PC gaming, but I think it's biggest weakness right now is the confusion created by video card manufacturers that makes it a major research project to decipher which codename/model number is actually good. If they would adopt a simple system of making their cards according to their actual capabilities, like CPUs do, for the most part, they could eliminate the confusion. But I think they actually like the confusion they create. The latest nvidia cards have a wide range, with numbers and names ending in GT, GTX, GTS...the biggest sellers now are in the 200 series, but there are also 300, and 400 series cards out, with GT and GTX versions, and some other random letter codes. They've been doing this a long long time. They should get their act together and stop trying to mislead consumers with confusing model names before some regulatory agency forces them to do it.

Re:Video card manufacturers mislead consumers (2, Funny)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800386)

And also when i buy a videocard, i need them to tell me whether i need a REFRIGERATOR for my little hot piece of hardware.....and for how long. I am really pissed off by all this COOLING-FAN issues.

Don't Call it a comeback (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32800396)

I've been here for years
Rocking my peers and putting suckas in fear
Making the tears rain down like a monsoon
Listen to the bass go BOOM
Explosion, overpowering
Over the competition, I'm towering
Wrecking shop, when I drop these lyrics that'll make you call the cops
Don't you dare stare, you betta move
Don't ever compare
Me to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced
Competition's paying the price

Piracy excuse (5, Informative)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32800406)

Piracy is always quoted as the only real factor in disappointing PC sales though most of the multiplatform games were designed purely for use by joypad and with little to no effort to recreate any usable human / computer interface for pc versions. I have personally played PC ports where I was advised in the tutorial to press the square and triangle buttons together! Sigh.

Comparing console vs PC sales for games, for example Dead Space which on the PC had no definable keys and the presets made it impossible to play if you were left handed as well as endless mouse related issues, it is no wonder these corporate goons and their little quarterly sales reports, graphs and pop up colouring books decided after this that the PC market was mostly just a minor but rather vocal distraction. Of course not until they caught whiffs of how well Valve are doing out of all these other publishers incompetence that they all start back peddling.

IMHO the greatest thing Valve have done with Steam is make it easier and a lot less effort to buy a game than it is to pirate it. Something the clowns selling films really should try understanding sometime.

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