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Why Consoles Overwhelm PC Games At Retail

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the kicking-and-screaming dept.

PC Games (Games) 139

An anonymous reader writes "With the GameCube at $99 and PlayStation 2 sales still huge, people are starting to really notice the shrinkage of PC games at retail. Why? What does the future hold? An article at JoeUser.com asks that question and looks at what is likely to happen to PC games as consoles slowly take over most of the retail space for games." This piece, written by Brad Wardell, creator of Galactic Civilizations, argues: "The issue isn't whether the PC game market will die. It won't. The issue is whether PC games will be able to keep up with console games from a production values point of view."

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Tipware is the future. (2, Interesting)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565178)

Well, PC games are more likely to be tipware (information that is free! but donations accepted). Since consoles are less likely to do this, PC games will dominate.

Re:Tipware is the future. (3, Informative)

cloudless.net (629916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565266)

I wonder what makes you think that. It takes some incredible effort to create a modern video game, and you think the developers will do it for free?

Tips aren't free. (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566350)

Tips (money) can be exchanged for goods and services!

Re:Tips aren't free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7567865)

which is why you pay for games and goes against your whole tipware thing.

I do not want to develop a full on game and have a ton of people play it because they don't feel obligated to pay. To any degree I want to make some money for my efforts even if it is to recoup my costs.

Re:Tipware is the future. (1, Interesting)

anthony_philipp (710666) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567008)

developing an OS costs a lot of money too, yet people are doing that for free, a long with a host of other software.

Re:Tipware is the future. (2, Funny)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566000)

Is this going to be Electronic Arts new business model?

welcome the return to normalcy (2, Insightful)

Paolomania (160098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565189)

From Atari 2600 to NES to Genesis to Playstation - console games have always outsold computer games. I know we computer geeks like to think of our game pond as rather large, but it really is rather small. There is definitly something to be said for a game-appliance without all the cruft of computer system around it to administer.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

saden1 (581102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565282)

First person shooters belong on the PC...so do complex RTS games. In fighting games and sports games the consoles have an edge.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

cloudless.net (629916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565317)

"First person shooters belong on the PC...so do complex RTS games"

Consoles are capable of running great FPS and RTS, just that the developers must take care of the joystick-based user interface.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565469)

Consoles are capable of running great FPS and RTS, just that the developers must take care of the joystick-based user interface

Just because a Console can run a game doesnt mean it will provide the same experience.

Give me a mouse/keyboard for FPS games. Playing FPS's on a joystick just isn't as smooth. Also, its hard to play user mods on a console. Xbox has some mods for Halo, but with a network card and HD make it a more of a PC.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565495)

Xbox has some mods for Halo, but with a network card and HD make it a more of a PC.

so i assume having AIM makes my phone more of a PC as well?!

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565344)

Most types of games belong on the PC. Any kind of shooter, any kind of strategy game, the more complex RPGs, any management (SimCity-type) game, and any semi-serious simulation game really have to be on the PC.

Tim

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

zenintrude (462825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565420)

real folk colin: "Most types of games belong on the PC. Any kind of shooter, any kind of strategy game, the more complex RPGs, any management (SimCity-type) game, and any semi-serious simulation game really have to be on the PC."
real folk colin: is it really a game anymore?
moped cowboy: lol
real folk colin: simulation "games" are so awful... they're simulators, and simulators are not games
moped cowboy: my fav semi-serious sim game is MS Money 2k3
real folk colin: hahaha

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565608)

As in flight sims or space sims.

Tim

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (2, Insightful)

StocDred (691816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565777)

Most types of games belong on the PC.

Clarification needed. Do you mean "most" as in "51% - 99% of the entire universe of games" or "most" as in "all the games I like." I suspect the latter.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565984)

As in most types, genres...

A lot of them can be done better on PC.
Some of them can be done the same (platformers, racing games maybe, etc...)
Few can be done better on console. (Fighting games, maybe those 4-players on one screen minigame things?)

Tim

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (0, Interesting)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566888)

A lot of them can be done better on PC

Such as? The only ones I can think of that benefit greatly from being on a PC are FPS games, RTS and perhaps flight simulation games. But this is only because of the mouse/keyboard issue which a console can easily make use of.


Some of them can be done the same (platformers, racing games maybe, etc...)

The likes of platformers and racing games can be done far better on a console because they all have the same controller. This means that the developers can fine tune the handling to that controller.


Re:welcome the return to normalcy (4, Insightful)

Hedonist123 (681091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565414)

While they may belong on the PC, many many people are still more likely to buy them on consoles, simply because they don't like the effort involved in putting a game on a computer. Driver updates, patches, most people don't ilke dealing with that. They just want to put a game in and play the game. That's why consoles are always going to be at the forefront of pop culture gaming. Us computer nerds are just a fairly large minority. Now, back to a little Day of Defeat (mods, the reason computer games really stay popular).

hed.

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566219)

KarWhorez 4ever :D

Re:welcome the return to normalcy (1)

ReyTFox (676839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566924)

The truth is, we DO have a large "game pond." It just doesn't show up in the sales figures. But every little Flash game, every little Java game, all the little shareware games, and finally the retail titles taking in the brunt of the cash, they all add up. I would say more games are made for computer platforms, or even just Win32 platforms, every year than all consoles combined. And this will always be so, since the general-purpose computer is the perfect place for a commercial developer to start off in.

If consoles are the Earth's surface, with all the most glorious creatures basking there in the sun, then computers are its oceans, holding and hiding innumerable quantities of life, from which the surface draws much of its energy.

One recent example: (2, Interesting)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565207)

KOToR was released both on the XBox and (much later) on the PC. Despite my initial misgivings, it's a great game on the PC. As long as companies continue to support the PC, even as an afterthought, I don't think there's going to be any problems.

If I had a nickel every time I heard"PC GAMES ARE DEAD!"...

Sounds a lot like this: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565450)

KOToR was released both on the PC and (much later) on the Mac. Despite my initial misgivings, it's a great game on the Mac. As long as companies continue to support the Mac, even as an afterthought, I don't think there's going to be any problems.

If I had a nickel every time I heard "MAC GAMES ARE DEAD!"...

You're not going to enjoy the future...

Re:One recent example: (4, Interesting)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566303)

good example.

KotoR on the PC recommends half a gig of ram and a 128meg video card. This doesn't seem like much, but the xbox only has 64 megs of ram total (that's shared between vram and system ram), and yet kotor somehow runs just dandy on it.

Plus the PC version isn't as stable as the xbox version.. it's like they didn't do as much testing.

Which are the two main problems of the PC. Expandability, and patchability.

They won't spend as much time optimizing a PC game, since they can just demand that you get more ram/faster cpu/better video card. Whereas there's no alternative to optimizing a console game.. it's required or the game won't run.

They can get away with not testing games as much, since they can just release a patch the day after the game ships.. and more patches down the road. With a console they have to get it right, or the game will forever be flawed.

Re:One recent example: (1)

CrystalChronicles (706620) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566694)

Not true in all cases. They do fix the game up sometimes. eg MS recalled 007 and rereleased it so the buffer overflow exploit would no longer work. And Morrowind originally had lots of bugs, these were fixed (but not all of them) in the GOTY edition.

Re:One recent example: (1)

johnwroach (624103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568732)

And Morrowind originally had lots of bugs, these were fixed (but not all of them) in the GOTY edition.

I call BS. GOTY is much less playable than the original Morrowind for me. Granted, GOTY has only "flat-out" crashed (the dirty disc error) once in the week that I bought it, it has hung 2 or 3 times, and the load times are horrible.

Still a great game, though. But I disagree that many bugs were fixed in GOTY.

Tragically, that's not something that stops some.. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566705)

"Whereas there's no alternative to optimizing a console game.. it's required or the game won't run."

That's why EA's Need for Speed series on the PS2 has few frame rate issues, yet the ports for the GCN and Xbox will become slideshows very easily? Or Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance on the tanker's deck (XBox port)?

"With a console they have to get it right, or the game will forever be flawed."

Sadly, the amount of flawed games is getting up there. The Xbox is probably the worst offender here, because it's getting more of the ports from the PC that can have some pretty serious bugs in them. Games like KOTOR are awesome, but how many people were unhappy because of the stealth rescue on the sith ship that ended with them reloading the game?

On the PC side, quality hasn't been a big issue because there hasn't been any. It seems like the policy's slowly transfering to consoles, which sucks rocks.

Re:One recent example: (1)

GreenKiwi (221281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567435)

KotoR on the PC recommends half a gig of ram and a 128meg video card. This doesn't seem like much, but the xbox only has 64 megs of ram total (that's shared between vram and system ram), and yet kotor somehow runs just dandy on it.

Well, look at the output resolutions? Look at the fact that you don't have as large an operating system. Heck, I wouldn't choose to run WinXP with less than 512 MB of RAM.

In addition, since the game has to be generalized for all hardware, they have to provide the lowest common denominator for functioning. They know that if you have 1/2 a gig of ram and a 128 mb hard drive, then the program will probably run well.

Consoles hit the mass market better than the PCs (4, Interesting)

Qweezle (681365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565208)

Look, while most homes have PCs, most of those PCs aren't able to play games very well, and so the situation that many people who are just either jumping into games for the first time or casual gamers have, is the decision to buy a $1000+ PC that can play PC games well for a while(until it is obsoleted), or a $200 console that will always be able to play games well that are designed for it(which should be for at least 4-5 more years into the future).

Thus, you see the more economical, frugal players going with consoles, and the much higher-end players going with PCs.

Not that consoles aren't made for "serious gamers", however they hit the mass market, every kind of gamer, much better than a PC, which plays high-end games for players who are more serious at gaming.

A while back I had to help a friend choose between a $600 PC and a $200 PS2 and he chose the PS2, and although skeptical of its capabilities/staying power at first, he is very happy with it today, over a year later, and he says he will continue to use it instead of upgrading his old PC for games for quite some time.

Re:Consoles hit the mass market better than the PC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566281)

I don't know if I would agree with you on the "serious gaming" bit. Firstly, I've seen amazing dedication for certain console titles. It seems a lot like the arcade days: people are beating times and scores again, not just necessarily playing against each other (I've not experienced online consoles yet). Otherwise there are relaxed games played among friends who are physically at the machine, and now there are online games. For most people on the PC, gaming is for relaxing also.

I see nothing about the PC that makes its games more serious, except for the genres that are still stuck on it: MMORPGs, strategy, and FPS (as the article points out). All of those games are huge, especially in Korea. So I suppose you could say PCs are therefore more serious.

Aside from those genres, the only other thing serious about the PC is the money you have to put into it. I bought my computer three years ago I think, then upgraded the video card early this year for $100 (Radeon 8500 LE). But next year I'll need to do an upgrade that I expect will cost $600 or so. Averaged with my inital costs, maybe I can say it is $800/4-years for PC? The console would probably be $250/3-years. And hopefully in the next couple of years, they'll add some genres with ladders, and even maybe modding eventually (I doubt it, though).

Re:Consoles hit the mass market better than the PC (1)

jefeweiss (628594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568323)

I think this is the major problem with using the PC for games instead of a console. And it's not really necessary that it be a problem. The companies that develop games for PCs look at all the new eye candy they can make with the newest graphics card, processor, and RAM upgrades, and decide that it's not worth making a game that will run on hardware that is a couple of years old. But really they are just limiting their own market. I'm sure that Duke Nukem Forever will be a kickass game if it ever comes out, but I'm not going to buy it. I have a 3 year old computer that does everything I want it to except play the newest games, and it's not worth it to me to spend another $1000 on a new computer just for games. If game companies took that into account when they designed new PC games maybe their market wouldn't be shrinking as much.

No comments needed here... (2, Informative)

jermyjerm (705338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565268)

"With the GameCube at $99 and PlayStation 2 sales still huge, people are starting to really notice the shrinkage of PC games at retail. Why?"

The question answers itself.

PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (4, Interesting)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565271)

One of the things I have always liked about PC games is their ability for players to expand the game. Take a look at Counter-Strike. Noone would have been able to do that with a Console based game. Enjoy D&D, play one of many player made modules that are available online, SP or MP. There are tons of games like that. I think many game makers do themselves a diservice when they don't allow players to create their own missions, or characters, anything to make the game different or fun. If NWN were to just sell improvements to the game engine and keep it compatible with current modules I would pay for it.

You cannot do the same thing with a console, you play through the adventure and that is it. You spent your 50 bucks and got 20 hours of game play, your done. Maybe you can play the whole thing over with *SHOCK* another character! How is that for flexibility from a console!

Consoles are easy to setup and get going, but they lack that ability for people to truly attach themselves to it and expand upon it.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565453)

I think once more consoles start getting hard disks, we are going to see mod-able console games.

Initially you'll have to use a PC to burn expansion data to a special disk and then upload it onto the harddrive, but eventually, consoles are going to have the option to put an OS on the hard disk (like Linux for the PS2), once console games are designed to work with these OSes, console modding will really take off.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7569296)

once console games are designed to work with these OSes, console modding will really take off.

In turn, killing the console (in my opinion).

I have a PC. I use it for computing. I have a console. I use it for playing games precisely because I know that ny game that says "Your Console" on the label will work, no questions asked. I don't need to worry about if my hard drive is big enough, or my video card has the latest drivers, or anything else that causes games to just not work on my PC.

Just my opinion, of course. But the day I need an add-on to my console to play a game I just bought is the day I give up on consoles.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

drewmca (611245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565528)

I've been downloading new mechs, maps, and gametypes for MechAssault ever since it was released. Also upgrades to the lobby system. With a console with a hard drive, the options open up, and there will probably be a lot more of this type of thing in the next generation of consoles.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565655)

You cannot do the same thing with a console, you play through the adventure and that is it.

That's not going to be true for too much longer. The recently released SOCOM II for the PlayStation 2, for example, allows you to download new mission content to a PS2 equipped with a hard drive.

The only thing holding up the system as yet is that the PS2 Hard Drive isn't due to hit shelves outside Japan until Spring 2004.

(Hard drive setup for gaming, that is. Those of us with the PS2 Linux Kit already have a hard drive, but not the necessary software to make it accessible from game titles).

Yaz.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (3, Insightful)

DS-1107 (680578) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565865)

If the devs build the game to support more ways to play it then one (besides making a new character) it is fully possible on a console. Besides few games gets an active mod community, and even then most of the mods are crap, or just not good enough to warrant most peoples time where you have full games to play.

but see - there is also a trick to this, make a game one can play forever, and why would one want to buy a new one? like a selfgenerating book wont sell more then once per customer a game with endless possibilities will be the end of new games.

Now all this is more or less worthless knowlage - as depending on how you play your games and what games you play replayability will be diffrent from other people. for example I, knowing something about myself I draw upon this knowlage for this example, enjoy short and hard games, say the old school of shmups*, when played more then once - I would never play NWN more then once, or say FFX whatever - they tell a story and told once I often grow bored - you might enjoy playing NWN in diffrent ways, with diffrent mods - but D&D for me holds for some session and no more - while IKARUGA or TYRIAN holds forever, unless I beat the world and I wont (as I'm fairly bad at shmups).

you claim PC games lets people replay the games, and for me that doesn't work - I know there are mods for say JAGGED ALLIANCE 2, but I've tried them and they are not fun enough (sorry JA2 modders), and the NWN mods I tried that did tell a story all sucked (and I'm sure the rest of the world loved them - but that doesn't help me). Games like Counter Strike and online gaming is not for everyone (myself included) and those mods only give so much.

...and it all ends up pointing the same way - console games are winning and will continue to win the battle of media against the PC - even if you can mod it or not. The only games I still play on the PC are Turnbased strategy games, and they are on consoles as well (and fun, and large) - and besides there is more then enough games out there for me to play forever, without stoping, and who needs mods then? alas those that lacks the cash to buy more then one game per year (and does not crack or hack) might, but again are not the gamemakers more intrested in surviving (getting cash) then making you have a great time forever?

the end line for me is that mods are fun, I'm even helping some people with graphics etc - and it is a pro for the PC and a con for the console - but if you think that it will win the battle for the PCs benifit think again.

PS: I own a PC for gaming, a GC, a GBA SP, a PS2 and I'm gettign the later modded for imports from JAP and US. Playing F-Zero, Ikaruga, Psyvaria, Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, Soul Calibur 2, Viewtiful joe, Dark Cloud 2, Final Fantasy TA, Super mario kart dubbel dash!!, Zelda: A link to the past, Castlevania: Circle of the moon, Castlevania: Harmony of dissonance, Guilty Gear X and for the PC Jagged Alliance 2 and Silent Storm, and I might pick up Civ 2 or Civ 3 again.

that is all for now, getting 2 more games next week - the list might show you that A. most games I play doesn't need modding (the action titles besides Viewtiful joe and Castlevania) are all either party or hi-score fun - all lasting for a good old time - and the other you can make what you want off, and B takes so long time to play through once that once you are through you are tired of the mechanics playing the game that you want something fresh and new, not just an other mod. --- * shoot em up - but as in 2d scrolling

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

unixbob (523657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567773)

The replay value in mods is amazing. Take Counter Strike (the example used in the Original Post). That is way more popular that half life. Quake III and UT (in it's various forms) can't come close.

Half Life is an excellent example of homebrew mods expanding the longevity of a game. But thre are plenty of others. Real GTA is superb. Battlefield 1942 and Freelancer are other examples. Modding is just one example of how the PC gives something which consoles can't provide.

P.S. Check your spelling and gain some knowlage

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565941)

When I play a game, the time I invest into it is infinitely more valuable than the 50 bucks I invest in it. I don't evaluate my purchases on the basis on how many hours they kill per dollar, because time isn't something that you're supposed to waste.

But you've got a point here. The key difference between a console and a computer, other than the fact that a gaming-worthy computer costs ten times as much as a gamecube, is that computers are capable of CREATION as well as CONSUMPTION. If I didn't entertain vague fantasies that I would one day actually create games or pieces of games, I would never have spent the money keeping up a computer with up-to-date graphics cards.

Games where I deeply customize my character (not just choosing the accessories and facial features, but to simply design a whole new persona) are simply not possible on a console--if they were, that console would be a computer. For example, it would not be possible to make a console port of Second Life [secondlife.com] , a game in which players upload their models and even interactive scripts to a persistent massively multiplayer world. Indeed, massively multiplayer games in general aren't very common on consoles.

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (1)

jjhlk (678725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566298)

I think developers will really want to get MMORPGs for the consoles soon. Popular, internet-able consoles are becoming a reality; and MMORPGs generate $20*400,000*12 per year, potentially. I should be able to cite FF11 on the PS2 here, but I don't have the info.

Just added to Splinter Cell: (2, Informative)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566712)

Vselka Infiltration (Available 11/13/03)
Having located the Vselka, Sam Fisher must now infiltrate its claustrophobic corridors and access its archive system to locate the nuclear warheads.

Vselka Submarine (Available 11/14/03)
Having neutralized both Alekseevich and Masse, Third Echelon finds out from Masse's files at Kola Cell that Alekseevich's plan is already in motion and his men have captured a submarine docking station. Third Echelon suspects that the docked submarine, the Vselka, carries nuclear warheads, and Fisher is sent in to stop the theft or, if he's too late, find out where they have been moved to.

This adds on top of the Kola Cell you can download.

What's that, you say, a console that's flexible? Pish posh!

Re:PCs Have Always had more Flexibility (0)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566897)

But then many console games are more geared to be replayed many times. Whilst the likes of Panzer Dragoon Orta can be beaten quite quickly, the idea is that you strive to play it through on the harder skill levels and improve your score. Cripes, I still play Christmas NiGHTS every so often and it is a piece of piss to finish but that is not the point. The point of playing it is to beat your high scores.

Consoles overwhelm (2, Insightful)

schnits0r (633893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565336)

because with PC games you need to deal with many things (installation, hardware setup, drivers, updates, etc). With consoles it's typically just put in your CD/cartidge and it's ready. No installing, no drivers and unless you've fucked around with your hardware, it will work. that is why consoles are better then PC games.

Re:Consoles overwhelm (1, Insightful)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565389)

Actually, that's why consoles are better than PCs, not why console games are better than pc games. I'd much rather have a game with near-infinite replay value than Halo, thank you.

Re:Consoles overwhelm (0)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566913)

Halo certainly has near-infinite replay value, especially in co-op mode.

No pc innovation (3, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565349)

What it all comes down to is the lack of innovation in pc game genres. Some genres of game do well for the pc. Usually things like rts, fps, simulation. Anything with a complex interface. Anything that absolutely requires a mouse and keyboard. Anything that requires networking. These are the games that are good on the pc. The rest of the games are good on the console. Platformers. Fighting games. Space Shooters. Some genres do well on both, puzzle games like Tetris for example.

The major pc game genres have had a serious lack of innovation as of late. The RTS and the FPS have both been stagnant. Look at the newest fps. Tell me what new major fundamental innovation in gameplay has changed since Half-Life? Why is Counter-Strike still #1? Because no new game has done anything new and amazing to beat it out gameplay wise. Before pc games will become popular again the genres which sell big on the pc must have major gameplay innovations.

Look at the console. Games like metroid prime, gta, etc. etc. All of these games represent huge fundamental advances in gameplay within the genre. People aren't going to buy the same game 10 different times just because you upped the graphics or changed the theme. Once you've played one stock space shooter you've played them all. Unless someone releases something like Ikaruga with it's color changing awesomeness that makes the genre fun again.

If you want people to buy your game you must innovate. There has to be a gameplay element that is new and awesome that the genre needs. I think there is much hope in Doom3 and Half-Life2 to breathe new life into the fps. Natural Selection has done it and it's popularity is soaring.

PC = Server, Console = Client (1)

Slider451 (514881) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566125)

Rather than say there is no innovation, I would say that PCs continue to excel in the genres you mention: RTS, FPS, simulations, as well as RPGs and strategy games.

I think what's happening is that consoles, with their inexpensive, stable platforms, are closing the gaps that made PCs better, such as Internet multi-player and performance.

I see the future of gaming as a client/server model with PCs as the servers and consoles as the clients. PCs will serve as content creation platforms, dedicated servers, websites about the games, etc. In other words, infrastructure or meta-platforms, if you will. Consoles will be as they are now, stand-alone boxes to play single-player or hot-seat games, or clients to link to dedicated servers (corporate of fan-run) online.

It's a good model that takes away the headaches of knowing the client hardware, but still allows the freedom and flexibility offered by the PC.

Re:PC = Server, Console = Client (1)

jjhlk (678725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566325)

Wow, I never even thought about content creation for console games on computers. It certainly does make more sense for the tools to be on the computer, though. Hopefully one day I'll have a ultrathin laptop and a console.

Re:PC = Server, Console = Client (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568139)

how do you think they make the games in the first place? Do you think they programmed F-Zero by putting a gamecube c compiler on a little gamecube disc and typed in the code with a purple controller? No. They have a GCN dev kit from Nintendo. The dev kit is essentially a computer. It just has plugs to interface with the gamecube, make discs (I think), and compile cube games. And of course the software libraries to code those games. Also I think it has an emulator that will play cube games if you put the disc in it. Anyway, you'll probably never get one, but there are pictures on the net everywhere.

Standardization (4, Interesting)

zenintrude (462825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565371)

I mainly buy console games because, as opposed to pc games, I know they'll always work... and I know that I'll be getting the same experience (except for differing TV/sound quality) that everyone else is getting.

Re:Standardization (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565605)

im into pcs for gaming for a few reasons:

first is my type of game. i prefer shooters and RTS games, both of which lend themselves better to play on a pc than a console. max payne is a great game...but i hated to play it on my friends x-box. nothing like a keyboard and a moue for first person shooting.
second, the internet: i love multiplayer games, not exclusively, but quite a bit. there has for the last few years, and even currently, been more online games for pc than for a console, understandably so.

i pay more for my computer (around $800 when i put it together a year ago) than for any console i would have bought ($200 easy) and get that much more use of it.

not only do i game (excessively), but i keep up with the news, frequent tech and game forums, can do my banking, shopping, email, learn about things far easier than i could otherwise by visiting a library, enjoy multimedia (watch movies, listen to music, keep up with my digital pictures, play with digital imaging software) have access to other content i cant get via a console and i get to tweak whats in my pc; which is a hobby of mine.

if youre just into game, and only games, like most people who want to play a game, then a console is, and always will be the perfect choice. for those who want to do a multitude of things in addition to gaming and can have only one or the other (or just prefer pc games) then a pc is for you.

eh? (1, Insightful)

saqq (685613) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565404)

With the GameCube at $99 and PlayStation 2 sales still huge, people are starting to really notice the shrinkage of PC games at retail. Haven't consoles always dominated the pc in terms of selection by a longshot?

help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565417)

im in my first year of uni taking cs classes and im stumped on my homework tonight can anyone help me? im taking a java class, and i havent been going to class much recently because it is so boring and the teacher is an idiot and i got most of my homework without the book (people told me the book was a waste), anyway we're suposed to creat a quick sort algerhytm optimized for integers (integers are like 0, 1, 2... i think), i guess this just means a fast way of sorting numbers or something, but im a bit unclear on the details of how i do this. i thought this was built into java, so its stupid to implement it again, but thats what my idiot profesor wants us to do.

please, somebody help me, i really want to be a programmer, ive just been a little lazy and promise that i am going to work realy hard from now on. thanks *so* much for you help ;-) what goes around comes around...

Re:help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565428)

Google [google.com]

Re:help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565437)

i did search google but all i find are generic alrogithms. i need one for numbers specifically (meaning it is extra fast for numbers). thanks for your help.

Re:help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565458)

also, if i copy it off google my profesor will catch me and acuse me of cheating. i was hoping that somebody on slashdot would help me out with something that wont appear on google if my profesor queries it.

Re:help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565505)

It's called a "bubble sort" or something like that, basically you use a loop and do

IF X > Y THEN
X = Y
END IF

And do that for all of your numbers. When you reach the end of the list you will have the smallest number stored in location Z. Write that to the file and take it out of the input list, and start the sort over again until all of your numbers are gone. For a list from largest to smallest, just make it IF X Y.

Re:help me please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565533)

i think i follow, but i dont know what you mean when you say "For a list from largest to smallest, just make it IF X Y."

also, how is this better for numbers than a generic quick sort? (in case my profesor asks me to explain it)

Re:help me please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566030)

It was supposed to be IF X less than Y, but the symbol gets stolen by tricky html tags.

And I think that it is quicker because it does it in less steps than the one that is included.

Re:help me please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566137)

oh, okay. that makes sense. thanks so much for your help.

Re:help me please (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565559)

oh, one other question, does anyone know if their is a site that does like open source homework? i mean like people work collaritively and post homework solutions for things like this quick sort / bubble sort algarithm?? i mean, im never going to use this crap in the real world right? so theirs no harm in a little 'creative sharing'.

PC games still take more retail space (2, Insightful)

bromba (538300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565445)

OK, aybe what others wrote about console games outselling those for PCs is true, I don't know. But whenever I am at a shop I can see that there are more PC titles on shelves than console titles.
The problem is the limited variety of PC titles. There are FPS, RTS and RPGs and sports simulations. That's it. Gone are adventure games, gone are arcade titles (platform, kill'em all etc.) That's sad.

Re:PC games still take more retail space (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565697)

OK, aybe what others wrote about console games outselling those for PCs is true, I don't know. But whenever I am at a shop I can see that there are more PC titles on shelves than console titles.

That's just an optical illusion. Sure PC games take up more shelf space -- do you see how HUGE their boxes are these days?

Compare that to a PS2, Gamecube, or XBox title, which comes in a standard plastic DVD case which is small, compact, and protects your games well. They also have a whole lot less airspace in them.

Of course, maybe in the stores you go into the PC games take up more shelf space because they're not selling, wheras the console games are just flying off the shelves :).

Yaz.

Re:PC games still take more retail space (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565964)

I haven't been in one of these stores for a few months, but for a while the industry seemed moving toward standard box sizes that weren't very much wider or taller than dvd boxes (about 4 times as thick, though). Dvd boxes are still better, though, since those are permanent holders of the media, while the computer game boxes are thrown out.

Re:Damn I miss adventure games (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566377)

Where have all the puzzles gone, long time passing?
Where have all the puzzles gone, long time ago?
Where have all the puzzles gone?
Killed by 3D, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Nothing to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7565493)

Simply, starting PC game always takes me little bit more time than console game.

Of cource PC doesn't hold ANY-BETTER-TITLE. They haven't ever temped me at all.

--
except for nethack.

The best comment from the article... (1)

wolpert (164907) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565570)

was the prediction of what games on the PC looks like by 2007, where Duke Nukem Forever is still pending release.

Console games rock. Change is good. (3, Insightful)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565708)

Hey, things change all the time. I've got a Playstation and an XBox, and I love both of them. I'm having an absolutely kick-ass time playing FPS games on both consoles, and I finished Aliens Vs. Predator Extinction on the XBox a while ago. More FPS and RTS games are coming out all the time.

Another issue: buy a console and you don't have to upgrade for years. Possibly a lot of years. Offloading the most strenuous software you'll ever use from your PC to a console means your PC might NEVER need to be upgraded. It saves money over time, more than you might think.

Here's one for the Linux crowd: buy a console and it won't matter that you can't find many games for Linux. You'll be free to choose the O/S of your choice for your PC, freeing you to really leverage the machine's power, because you'll still be able to game to your heart's content. No dual-booting necessary.

Anyway, you see where I'm coming from. I love PC games, don't get me wrong, but I think consoles are winning because they're more convenient, cheaper long-term, and of high enough quality that the switch is painless.

Just a few thoughts...

Re:Console games rock. Change is good. (2, Insightful)

pueywei (658832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568190)

Please. FPS gaming without a mouse is like coding without a keyboard.

I have a PS2, and the only use I have out of it is to play FFX. What an expensive game, but imo, it was worth it. Now that FFX-2 is out, the cost of playing FFX suddenly fell by about half.

Just a note: I played FF9 on the PC with ePSXe. Why should I live with *less* features with a console?

The PC is basically an Open Platform (1)

globalar (669767) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565761)

I think this idea can be more simply understood by the fact that PC's are an open platform (not open like open source, no, but still open to developement). Consoles have large corporations working very hard to get their hardware into consumer hands. Therefore, with competition, these hardware companies demand an edge over the competition. They use mascots, innovation, killer games (often exclusive), and brand recognition to appeal to a mass market. The games sell the hardware, so obviously there is great focus on the games.

While Dell, HP, etc. may be advertising the PC, they are not really focusing on games. They are focusing on their hardware, and often use generic ideas of games and other applications to fill a commercial. So a market for PC games does exist and can be said to be strong, but it requires the game company to have its own mascot, killer game, brand recognition, etc. (a good example being Blizzard). The PC market does not have the same focus the console market has, which may (let me try a little economics here) mean the efficiency of the market is not as complete as the console market.

Really, PC manufacturers should be promoting games, because this can help push their new hardware sales. Bundling a new desktop with a killer game is not a bad idea. This type of thing is becoming far more common, but it takes time to develope the market like this and the console market has had more time anyway.

Funny thing, that (2, Interesting)

dswensen (252552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565766)

This is funny considering that consoles are becoming more like PCs all the time. The X-Box especially, with its hard drive and modified Windows OS, is a herald of things to come. As users demand more complexity and sophistication from console games, the consoles themselves will become more sophisticated, which means more chances for things to go wrong.

I have a friend with an X-Box who's already had to exchange it because the HD on it went kablooey. Remind you of any PC users you know?

Also, I've often predicted that once internet connectivity becomes the norm for consoles, game companies will slip into the "ship now, patch later" mentality that so far console gamers have escaped from -- but I believe those days to be numbered.

Re:Funny thing, that (2, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566874)

I think this is bang on. Consoles are gonna wind up just like PC's. Patches, when everyone (!) has an internet connection. Hardware problems as things become more complex, powerful, and diverse (and, as the ever competative PC market invades the console arena with low cost, high volume parts to push out all that expensive, 100% compatible 'specialty' hardware). Genre stagnation (Street Fighter 43 Hyper-Turbo-Mega-Super-Gamma-Special-Edition, anyone?). All the signs are there.

I think its only a matter of time before consoles start to meld into every other piece of technology in your house. We'll start to see (more) keyboards and mice... web browsers and OS'. Consoles will attempt to emulate every conceivable function of the PC, and in doing so the two will merge and inherit eachothers pros and cons. And by then we'll see all other aspects of media (TV, music, etc) loaded onto more dynamic hardware that can interface with your PC. And after that its only a matter of time before your whole friggin house is wired together. And probably your car, clothes, and damned near everything you own. It'll all blend together in some strange mix of functionality and connectivity.

It'll all come together in the end. People will still need their preconfigured hardware, their idiot boxes, and their tech support. Games will thrive no matter what we use to play them.
And the us /.'ers will just turn to more important issues - like how to overclock your house without melting all the food in the fridge.

Re:Funny thing, that (1)

gauauu (649169) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568320)

The patch problem will, imo, never be as bad on consoles. Why, you ask? They are building for one particular hardware configuration.

The thing that makes programming PC games so difficult, and thus the reason they are so buggy, is that to properly test of these games, you have to have HUNDREDS of PC's on hand, with all sorts of different possible hardware configurations. Once they ship, the bug reports start coming in, as users try out those different hardware configurations.

With consoles, you don't have to worry about that. The machine you tested on is gonna be the same machine the users are playing on.

The real causes (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565774)

Scenario one:

Parents want to use the home pc whenever they want and don't want kids using it unattended.
Kids want to play games whenever they want.
So the only logical answer is to get a console for the kids to play when the parents don't want them on the PC.

Scenario two:

You don't own and don't want a PC.

Scenario three:

The games you want won't run on, or aren't available for your PC.

In all other situations I can think of, you already have a PC, and all you get from shelling out $99 for a game cube or much more for another console is the ability to buy all your games for $20 more than the regular price.

Re:The real causes (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566330)

In all other situations I can think of, you already have a PC, and all you get from shelling out $99 for a game cube or much more for another console is the ability to buy all your games for $20 more than the regular price.

So the regular price is $0-$20?

Tons of gamecube games are $19-$39. Even new releases. Sure some of the biggest games are $50, but so are the biggest PC games.

Viewtiful Joe is a great game, it just came out last month, and it's $40.

Re:The real causes (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567129)

Tons of gamecube games are $19-$39. Even new releases. Sure some of the biggest games are $50, but so are the biggest PC games.

Point taken, though you probably remember the bargain bin PC games and budget titles at $5-15. Unless a console borks or if you buy used, it's unlikely that you can get games for it in that price range. Sure, the games are often poor or simply old-tech, but they are cheap and some are quite good if not brand-spankin' new.

Are the games in the $19-25 region for a console any good? (I don't know; last console I had was an Atari!)

One benifit for consoles is that the titles released are controlled; not just anyone can whip up a CD and a box and start selling. PC game companies though can attempt to sell even if they do a horrid job, plus you have the trend of direct-to-customer sales over the net.

Re:The real causes (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7569170)

Point taken, though you probably remember the bargain bin PC games and budget titles at $5-15. Unless a console borks or if you buy used, it's unlikely that you can get games for it in that price range. Sure, the games are often poor or simply old-tech, but they are cheap and some are quite good if not brand-spankin' new.

After a while, and if the game sells enough copies, each console's Greatest Hits series repackages the games and they sell for $20 new. It's the biggest bargain bin you would ever want to see, and most of the titles are the best of their genre. Plus, with the number of titles released each month the older titles go down in price fairly quickly now. Most of the games I've bought for my GameCube have been in the $15-30 range, with probably an even split between new and used (and frankly, there's almost no used game market for PCs anyway, and used console games come with better return policies than new ones).

Are the games in the $19-25 region for a console any good? (I don't know; last console I had was an Atari!)

The Greatest Hits games at $20 are generally the best games from their time, which could be 6 months ago or 5 years ago, depending on the game. Occasionally you find games like Eternal Darkness, which for one reason or another is $15 or less new almost everywhere. Most games that have a sequel available can be found in that price range, even if the sequel came out fairly soon after the original. If you haven't owned a console since an Atari, there are even more games to be had in the price range anyway, since you don't necessarily need to buy new games right away.

One benifit for consoles is that the titles released are controlled; not just anyone can whip up a CD and a box and start selling. PC game companies though can attempt to sell even if they do a horrid job, plus you have the trend of direct-to-customer sales over the net.

PC titles don't get shelf space and press coverage, though, unless they come out of big developers or publishers, or are bargain-priced titles at Wal-Mart and other stores that really don't market towards gamers in the first place. Even direct-to-customer sales still aren't coming it at the rates of say The Sims or Half-Life (and no one's getting near Super Mario Bros).

The PC and console market self eliminated me (3, Interesting)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565789)

I used to be an avid gamer, but it just got so old being forced to constantly upgrade to get even marginal play. My original computer (TRS 80 CoCo1 and 2) played for years with new games, without being forced to go from 4k to 16k to 32k to 64k, etc memory. (OK, yes the games were lame ascii characters, but you get my point).

I bought a laptop off ebay with a PII 300Mhz and 256 Mb of RAM. I was bored and tried to find anything at Microcenter that would run on it. I gave up after only finding 4 year old lame knockoffs ("Classic Arcade") that my system would meet. My Dell 1.3 GHz that's only about 2 years old is borderline in terms of playing any RPG nowadays. This may be a dumb analogy, but could you imagine if your 3 year old car couldn't find gas anymore that allowed it to run above 55mpg.

Consoles turned me off for similar reasons. I might have had unrealistic expectations, but I expected games to be similar to DVDs. Expensive at release and then decline to a reasonable ~$30 level (like PC games were). No, instead even games for obsolete boxes are still >$50 often times. Although I played my freinds' Segas, Ataris, Com64, etc, my first console I plumped down hard cash on was the Super NES. Not even a year or so later its EOL. Pissed is an understatement.

I know this post sounds like a rant, but these are the reasons I stay away from both. I would like to get back into an RPG, but I don't want to spend $100-300 for a box that will EOL within 2 years or be forced to constantly upgrade.

John

Re:The PC and console market self eliminated me (2, Insightful)

EllF (205050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566368)

Don't know what your experience with consoles being "EOL" is, but I've had a PS2 for about a year now, and there are more games in existance for it than I'll ever be able to play through, let alone the full PS1 library.

Also: the SNES came out (States'-side) in 1991, and had a fairly consistent flow of games until 1998; that's nearly a decade of game production, hardly a 2-year setup. Even if you waited until 1996 to buy a SNES, you still had 7 years worth of games to buy and play. I'm sorry to hear that you were pissed, but the SNES was by no means a rip-off.

As far as the cost of games goes: it's surprising to me that you're buying old laptops on ebay and not looking for games there, as well; I just picked up Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for $10, shipped, and have had similar experiences in the past. I rarely buy "first run" games, because there's rarely a reason to put down $50+ for a game. Older consoles -- like the PS1, SNES, and NES -- have games available for them in the $5-$10 range.

If you really want to get into a roleplaying game, go buy a console. Chances are there will be games available for a long, long time -- if you bought a PS2, for example, you have almost every Final Fantasy at your disposal, as well as a great number of other RPG titles. Even if Sony stopped making games tomorrow, you wouldn't be out of luck for getting entertainment from your $150 box.

Re:The PC and console market self eliminated me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566959)

No, instead even games for obsolete boxes are still >$50 often times. Even chain walk in stores nowadays almost always have a large used section (the three gaming stores nearest me do, anyway, and the used section is bigger than each system's new games section to boot) with stuff for about half price. Even if they didn't there are funcolands all over the place you can drive to and ebay and online if not.

Some other reasons PC games will stay alive (1)

indros13 (531405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565918)

JoeUser makes some great points. I can't really dispute any of his logic. There is something utterly beautiful about buying a console game and be playing it 5 minutes after the shrinkwrap is off instead of switching to CD2 of the installation and looking for the CD key. Or trying to tweak router settings to be able to play online.

He's also right that the PC will still be a viable, but different, gaming platform. I give you the "killer app" of PC games--mods. For example, Simcity 4 has nearly 2000 custom lots, 20 game mods, and a fansite so complete that its users will pay to support it (SimTropolis [simtropolis.com] ).

I also envision the next generation of MMORPG including a higher level of user input. Imagine a Slashdot style MMORPG. Higher level players would be allowed to actually create some of the in-game environment in the same way that users can moderate on Slashdot. Instead of having quests and creatures randomly generated by Sony Interactive, quests could be developed by Drag0nSl4yer, level 55 ranger, for a few level 5 clerics. To control this system, some sort of meta-moderation allows quest participants and admins to oversee the newly licensed creators. I think PCs are uniquely adapted to allowing substantial user interface that can meaningfully change and improve the game.

While this doesn't mean that shelf share of PC games gets any bigger, it does mean that the PC will remain the home of a viable game development market.

Re:Some other reasons PC games will stay alive (1)

funkhauser (537592) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566128)

Imagine a Slashdot style MMORPG.

Yes, I can imagine it. I'd pick "Overlord" as my class. And once I hit 20th level, I could summon Natalie Portman. Except on the Soviet Russian servers, she would summon me. Of course, the whole game is one big troll spawning ground...

Why I don't care (0)

u-238 (515248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7565959)

Becaues it doesn't affect me, nor does it matter to me. And judging by the amount of posts, the same can be said for the majoirty of all /. users.

I Was a PC Game Junkie... (2, Insightful)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566122)

.... but as of the last couple of years, I have been playing console games a lot more.

Why?

1. PC games are a hassle: We all know the story: patches, patches, patches. The fact is that it's just hard to develop a game for countless hardware configurations that you can't possibly all test.

2. Consoles are closing the gap: The bleeding edge of PC gaming will always be technologically superior. However, while the difference between an average "gaming PC" and a console used to be unthinkably night-and-day, it's just not as big of a gap anymore.

3. Decline of PC-centric genres: If you're over 20, you probably remember when everyone used to play military sims on their PCs. You know, Falcon 3.0 and M1 Tank Platoon and such. Lots of Microprose stuff. Well that genre is all but dead now (ironically, now when we have the technology to do it justice). Real Time Strategy games are getting hopelessly vanilla - we need another game on the order of Total Annihilation to kickstart the genre. The point-and-click adventure genre, much like the military sim genre, has been relegated to a small niche audience, despite recent gems like The Longest Journey and Syberia (and even Grim Fandango a few years ago, which got lots of critical attention but did not garner the kind of sales it needed). Probably the only real PC-centric genre that still stands strong is the first person shooter. And even there, the Halos and SOCOMs of the console world are helping to close that gap (though the fragheads will always, of course, desire the fast-twitch gameplay of a mouse-driven FPS).

4. Cost: Competition is driving hardware prices down, down, down. New game prices have stayed put for years now (not even adjusting for inflation), and in fact have gotten cheaper in many cases (not only the Greatest Hits/Platinum/Player's Choice serieses, but games aren't ever hitting the $70 price point that I paid for Street Fighter II and Chrono Trigger back in the SNES days. Also, even non-discounted games get marked down very often these days, after being on the shelves for 3 months or so). PC games have gotten cheaper too, although often in a forced, "this damn thing isn't selling" kind of way. And while gaming PCs can be had cheaper than before, it still falls well short of the inexpensive nature of consoles.

Personally, I would love nothing more than to see a PC gaming return to glory. I loved the genres that have now all but died out. I love the limitless potential of PC gaming. But developers must find a way to make things more stable, and must be less demanding in hardware requirements. Ever notice how a small sequel (like a new entry in the Madden series or something) will have very modest improvements in video/sound/etc, but often significantly higher hardware requirements? Not acceptable.

Re:I Was a PC Game Junkie... (2, Insightful)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566353)

but games aren't ever hitting the $70 price point that I paid for Street Fighter II and Chrono Trigger back in the SNES days.

Funny sidenote, if you still have your chrono trigger, it's aged well. It runs about $30 used.. and that's if you don't want the box.

if you have the original box, the game is about $70.

There is no market for used PC games.. but the market for used console games is huge.

Re:I Was a PC Game Junkie... (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566813)

Yeah, I still have it. Got no plans on parting with it, even though it sells pretty high. :) But I do know it has indeed kept its value. My friend keeps looking at buying one, but is never willing to cough up the money for it.

Re:I Was a PC Game Junkie... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566977)

I agree completely. But another biggie in my mind is that televisions are just better suited to games than monitors. Their size is almost always bigger and the increased viewing distance and lower resolution make them much easier on the eyes and good for entertainment & relaxation (vs. productivity).

Similarly with the interface. I can play any console game I have while lying down in a comfy couch while most computer games I have require some keyboard use which limits the posture to less relaxed states. Again worse for entertainment.

Of course PCs can output to TV with the right equipment, but not so many people do that and the games are still designed for high res sometimes making TV play of PC games a bitch (squinting to try and figure out my ammo supply is not my idea of entertainment). Same with controllers, although the nice configurability of
PC games can sometimes allow play to work by a plug in stick/pad (though not any of the complex games I play on PCs ^^).

Re:I Was a PC Game Junkie... (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568902)

3. Decline of PC-centric genres: If you're over 20, you probably remember when everyone used to play military sims on their PCs. You know, Falcon 3.0 and M1 Tank Platoon and such. Lots of Microprose stuff. Well that genre is all but dead now (ironically, now when we have the technology to do it justice).

Interesting enough, the genre was basically killed by the ability to do it justice. The cost of producing the games quickly outpaced the return because it became such a niche market. It probably also didn't help that EA dominated the market near it's end with the Jane's series, and that EA is almost notoriously bad at managing anything but the most blatant mass market (ie EA Sports).

Real Time Strategy games are getting hopelessly vanilla - we need another game on the order of Total Annihilation to kickstart the genre.

Personally, I found C&C Generals to have the best skirmish mode in an RTS since Total Annihilation. Unfortunately, I've had absolutely no interest in any other portion of the game. The expansion (Zero Hour) is also a very solid addition to the game, although it can, at first, seem a bit shallow, the addition of the 3 generals for each side truly makes the game so much better. Other than that, I would agree, as I haven't had much interest in WC3, and though there have been some interesting attempts, most of the newer entries into the genre have been of minor interest at best. Homeworld is another strong RTS game, but for some people requires a pretty deep commitment before really feeling comfortable with it.

The point-and-click adventure genre, much like the military sim genre, has been relegated to a small niche audience, despite recent gems like The Longest Journey and Syberia (and even Grim Fandango a few years ago, which got lots of critical attention but did not garner the kind of sales it needed). Probably the only real PC-centric genre that still stands strong is the first person shooter. And even there, the Halos and SOCOMs of the console world are helping to close that gap (though the fragheads will always, of course, desire the fast-twitch gameplay of a mouse-driven FPS).

The major FPS games people have been waiting for, though, have all slipped into next year at the least. It's very rare for someone to come through with a new FPS game that is truly successful and brings something new to the table, so people simply wait for the sequels.

4. Cost: Competition is driving hardware prices down, down, down. New game prices have stayed put for years now (not even adjusting for inflation), and in fact have gotten cheaper in many cases (not only the Greatest Hits/Platinum/Player's Choice serieses, but games aren't ever hitting the $70 price point that I paid for Street Fighter II and Chrono Trigger back in the SNES days. Also, even non-discounted games get marked down very often these days, after being on the shelves for 3 months or so). PC games have gotten cheaper too, although often in a forced, "this damn thing isn't selling" kind of way. And while gaming PCs can be had cheaper than before, it still falls well short of the inexpensive nature of consoles.

Something else I've noticed: with all of the games coming out for consoles for the XMas season, games are dropping $10-20 in price that are only 3-5 weeks old, simply because the stores need to make room on the shelves (and in their stock rooms).

My DirectX story (2, Insightful)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566227)

Back in the days of DOS, every game needed its own video and sound drivers. When Windows came around you could get a niche video or audio card so long as it had Windows drivers. Then came DirectX. It was like winding back the clock. If your card with its Windows drivers didn't have DirectX support, kiss the games goodbye. I'd just bought an (expensive) everything-on-the-motherboard name-brand multimedia PC and brand new it was less than the minimum specs to run new games, if they didn't require DirectX 3 or better support.

That's when I noticed that you could buy a A$2,500 PC or a A$350 console to play pretty much the same games. I bought a PSX and didn't return to PC gaming for roughly five years. And if Neverwinter Nights had been released on network-enabled consoles rather than PC I might still not have returned to PC gaming.

DirectX story no longer entirely true. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566724)

Yea, you can't just use hardware which has no drivers (GUS Max in Win95? hah), but everything that comes out (ATI, NVidia, Creative, etc) has DirectX drivers because people won't buy them otherwise.

Granted, the drivers are usually buggy, and end up rebooting your PC randomly anyways, but they are much more consistent nowadays. It did take until DirectX6 for this to be more consistent, though.

Re:DirectX story no longer entirely true. (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7569011)

Of course, before DirectX 3 you didn't need Windows support of your card for games anyway, because very few games used it, and DirectX games didn't really become the norm in all genres until DirectX 5.

My parents had a 5-year-old video card in their system when DirectX 3 came out, and it worked fine with DirectX 3 games (as long as you didn't want to try playing above 1024x768, because it just didn't have the RAM for it).

Now, you can buy a $50 DirectX 8 compatible video card and it'll play most games at least passably, and older games very well.

Personally, console gaming has just made it easier for me to stop spending money on my PC that no longer really needs to be spent to play the latest games. I don't need a new video card to play any current games, and if I upgrade for Doom 3 and HL2 (not that I'll really have to according to the developers of those games, but if I really want all of the features...), it'll be the first video card upgrade in my system in over a year, and the card I have now wasn't the latest greatest card when I bought it. Instead of spending $300 on my PC every 6 months, I bought a console every 6 months. Now I won't have to buy any more consoles until the next generation, so I can just spend that money on games and/or the PC hardware upgrades when I really need them.

Plug and play? Only for a console. (3, Insightful)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566501)

As someone who has worked doing technical support for PC games (and still does), I can state that in my experience, the vast majority of problems that the "average" user experiences are things that are insanely annoying. I'd say a great percentage of problems are: 1. A person's video card drivers are hopelessly out of date and the old ones don't work with the game. It doesn't help that new drivers come out every few weeks - the average user NEVER thinks that they would need to go search for drivers all the time. After all, things like DirectX always come with their game CDs, so they don't have to "Go to some site" to get it. But drivers never are included on anything. 2. Newer games are actually being much more restrictive on what they support. Despite the existence of DirectX which was supposed to make it so you could have "almost any card", a lot of recent games support ATI, NVIDIA, and little else. I don't know how often I've seen someone say "I bought this computer a week ago and it won't run this game, and I have to buy a new piece of hardware?" Add to these things the fact that a lot of games nowadays just don't work out of the box and need to be patched ad infinitum, CD keys which may be necessary but cause more trouble for average players than most people think, the dearth of true innovation lately, etc. No wonder consoles continue to lead! Buy game, place game in console, turn on. No directories, configuration, anything.

I suppose (2, Insightful)

LuYu (519260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566700)

if the majority of games are on consoles, I can just get one and be relieved of the last reason to have Windoze running on anything (obviously, that console would not be an X-Box then). If games move away from the PC, there is truly no reason to use MS products. I guess Sony is doing us all a favor (us all = people who believe in freedom).

Now, if we could just stop MS from suing mod chip makers, all would be golden.

MS = MacroSlavery

More to games than graphics (3, Interesting)

lplatypus (50962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7566787)

Give me a team of 10 people (5 programmers, 5 artists) and I'll give you a Warcraft III clone in 18 months that has better graphics. Warcraft III, of course, didn't have all the advantages that came into being with the more recent DirectX's so it's not that we're smarter, it's that it's gotten easier.

The writer of this article doesn't appreciate that Warcraft III's strength is not in its graphics. I'd be surprised if his hypothetical team of 5 programmers could match its carefully balanced and varied gameplay or even its AI.

Sure, cool graphics rocks... but I wish more game producers would realise that good games are more than just cool graphics.

Consoles != Ease of Use! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7566992)

As a former console only gamer who recently gave them up for PC gaming I think I can state with some authority that there are reasons that the PC platform wont be going away anytime soon.

I (like many others) was one of the first people to own a spanking new PS2 on launch date. After buying into all the BS hype about what the machine was supposed to be able to do, how could I not plunk down almost 525 bucks and bring one home? (325 for console, 35 for controller, 100 for 2 games, 35 for memory card, 35 for DVD remote, all prices include tax)

I get the machine home and play for a few hours, severe graphical glitches. I manage to take it back and actually get a new PS2 out of the 2nd shipment of machines, alls good for 3 and a half months. It starts getting 'unable to read CD/DVD' error. Great. I didnt buy an extra 50 dollar warranty for my 300 dollar item, so now after blowing 550 bucks Im left with either:
A) a worthless console, or
B) send it back to Sony and for a mere 190 bucks (including shipping) (525 dollars for console total) a 3 month old refurbished machine. BS.

Many of my friends are on their 3rd PS2s or their 2nd Xboxes, because of failed CD/DVD-rom drives. Start adding up the price of a new console every year or two and it really gets up there. Even when factoring in that the price of the hardware is coming down. The same price I would have initially laid out to keep my PS2 working again (around 750 bucks) is more than enough to buy a basic PC and throw a new FX nvidia card in there. Bleeding edge? No, but more then enough to play a plethora of games currently out there.

Wheres the HDD for the ps2? No where to be found. Where's a mouse and keyboard that you can use on the Xbox without ripping it apart and soldering in new pieces? No where. (Thanks for the USB support MS!) Simply put, I'd much rather go get new drivers for my Nvidia card once every 6-8 months, then popping open the case of my 'easy to use' console and having to worry about hard modding it with a dremel, drill and soldering pencil just to give it the abilities it should already come with. Sure, I could try to play HALO online with the goofy assed controller, but anytime I sit down for a serious game, Im going to get owned by some guy whos firing at me using a logitech MX700 and a M$ natural feel keyboard.

PCs also excel in demoing abilities. Anytime I get bored online, I can easily go and download a new demo of something new and interesting and fire it up, check it out, test it with other people online. The few demos that get released on consoles are usually so limited as to not make it worth your while. (2 minute limit to explore a level, or no online ability for an online game, etc.) It translates into either a 6 dollar rental on a game that might or might not suck, or a 50 dollar purchase on a game that might or might not suck. Can anyone tell me the last time you could log into a console and get a free game? (Enemy Territory anyone? Speaking of which, can anyone show me a console FPS with more innovation than ET?)

When you add up the TRUE costs of console use, having to wait on the OEM for any upgrades, the cost of games and then still see that just because its a console doesnt always mean its easy to use, consoles just dont live up. PC gaming still looks attractive. Particularly for those of us who realize what the true cost is going to be in the long run and would rather invest it in a machine whose graphics and play usually live up the term 'next generation' so much more than consoles ever can or do.

Consoles != No Maintenance (1)

freebfrost (650284) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568377)

Well, to counter some of your points, I also was standing out in early morning light on October 26th, 2000 and got one of the few 1st generation PS2s. It still works fine.

Didn't get my Xbox until earlier this year, but have been playing it hard and heavy and no problems.

Of course, in both cases I do take the time to make sure that the consoles are not in a position to get overheated (which is always a potential problem) and to clean them often to remove dust buildup.

My PS1 from 1995 only finally bit the bullet in 2002 when the cd-rom started skipping. I haven't had a PC last that long without something going bad.

Not to point fingers, but how many people that have had problems with consoles take the time to make sure their product is clean, not sitting on carpet, etc? I see the same problem with friends who don't do these things and have to buy new consoles -- however, these are the same friends who don't do the same upkeep on their PCs and constantly have problems with them too...

It's surprising (or not) how long these products last with a little bit of preventive maintenance.

'Why Consoles Overwhelm PC Games At Retail' (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567011)

Because of shovelware (both ways) and warez (the countless copies of Doom floating around the net).

PC games will still be around (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 10 years ago | (#7567511)

Some suggestions for the PC games industry to help pull itself out of the rut:
1.Modablility Modability Modability.
This means releasing Map Editors.
And this means releasing 3D modeling tools (e.g. plugins for 3D packages like GMAX)
And (depending on the game), it means releasing Source Code for the in-game scripts, Source Code for some parts of the game itself or whatever. For example, C&C Renegade is a good game that could have been top-notch if they had:
A.fixed the bugs in the game and the editing tools
and B.released the source code to the gameplay scripts.

Look at Unreal, Doom, Quake & Half-Life. Those games wouldnt be as popular if it wasnt for the various source code releases.

2.get over the obsession with Stupid Copy Protection Schemes (Safedisk, Securom et al).
They do not work and probobly never will.
Finding "no-cd" cracks for any current game is dead simple.
Some better ideas to help prevent piracy:
1.CD-Keys/Serial Numbers that are linked to online play (i.e. if you dont have a valid serial number, you cant play online)
2.Have things like patches, updates, extra content, online messageboards and the like linked to the CD key. No valid CD key, no access to the online content.

3.Better testing. Typically, PC publishers tend to have a "ship it out the door as fast as possible and fix bugs through patches" attitude. They need to do more testing (in particular, they need to do testing on older operating systems, testing on older hardware and testing on slow connections).

4.More variety.
One idea of a game that I know I would play:
A game similar to Diablo II but set in the future with laser guns, starships and so on. Actually, the game I am thinking of would be very much like a cross between Diablo II, Star Trek Away Team and an old game called Future Magic.

and 5.emphasize Gameplay over Graphics.
For example, there are too many FPS games where most of the game is about shooting anything that moves. If you want to do a good FPS game, have other elements such as puzzles that need solving, keys to find, new powers to find and acquire and so on.
If you want to see what I would consider a good FPS, check out C&C Renegade and TRON 2.0. I consider both of those good FPS's. Or check out the older game Strife. That was also a good FPS.

American Cultural Bias (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7567642)

In Germany, PC games consistently sell about twice as well as console games -- even info/edutainment sells better than console games. Germany isn't a huge market, but I suspect that the rest of Europe is the same. I'd say:
Japan: consoles dominate
N. America: consoles & PC duke it out, consoles may be gaining an edge.
Europe: PC dominates.

Also, don't forget that consoles are at the height of their game sales cycle, and PC sales usually decline at that point; let's wait another couple of years before drawing a conclusion.

It's all quite simple (2, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 10 years ago | (#7568870)

1) Games on PC are all the fucking same - you take one engine, change the weapons, art, and levels, and you're done, it's all copycat shit.

2) They never fucking work - they don't work on Linux, almost none work on Mac (at EB, only the Blizzard stuff is Macompatible) and fuck, the ones designed for Windows need some pretty fucking specific hardware to work properly.

3) It's too fucking expensive - if I buy a new video card every odd-numbered year and a new processor or ram alternating even-numbered years, I'm spending a shitload but if I buy an XBox one year, a PS2 the next, and get a Gamecube for Christmas or something, I've spent less than the cost of a gaming PC. In fact, I've spent less than the cost of a shitty PC that won't do a fucking thing.

So instead of spending $2500 on a gaming PC with everything, I can spend $730 on every console there is. The GBA I can take with me, the XBox I can play online, and that leaves me with $1700 for games, or a new TV, or extra controllers to play two-player, something you can't do on a PC (unless your roommate wants to drop another $2500).

That $730 will last you 4-5 years on average (or, in the case of the Playstation, 8+ years), while the PC will have to be upgraded constantly, with video cards that cost the same as a new console every two years at least, or video cards that cost the same as two consoles if you want to go hardcore and get the best graphics. On consoles, one purchase is all it takes, and you'll have the best graphics for a long time.

--Dan
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