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PC Gaming On The Comeback Trail

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the move-em-out-little-doggies dept.

PC Games (Games) 75

The Chicago Tribune reports on efforts from the PC gaming sector to revive what many have considered to be a failing part of the industry. From the article: "Many [Gamespot] stores have demo kiosks for consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS so gamers can try before they buy. Testing a PC game has been impossible. Not anymore. In a trial collaboration announced a few weeks ago, GameStop and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell have rolled out computer game kiosks in 25 GameStop stores. Customers can test a handful of the best PC games the same way they test-drive the latest PS2 release. The kiosks will be powered by Dell's revamped and supercharged XPS computers, coupled with 42-inch Dell high-definition plasma monitors."

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Say what? (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13905943)

Just last week, Slashdot was posting articles about the demise of PC gaming.

PC gaming is neither demising or making a comeback. It's as popular as it has ever been. More people own more computers than ever before and more people are gaming on them than ever before. There are a lot of gaming experiences you simply can't get off another instrument.

Re:Say what? (3, Interesting)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906178)

Every year we will have 5 PC gaming is dying story , 5 PC gaming is on a comeback stories , 5 Console gaming is dying stories and 5 Console gaming is on a comeback stories .
Eventually we will realise that both will suffer ups and downs

Re:Say what? (2, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906342)

And we will fail to realize that most of those "downs" just mean that particular gaming medium isn't actually losing sales, it's simply not growing at the speed that the other is. Same thing with Microsoft vs Sony vs Nintendo, although it is possible that one of those three will be forced out of the market, such as how Sega and Atari transformed into software shops rather than selling consoles.

Re:Say what? (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906370)

I think the market has the room to support three or more companies .
Nintendo are doing incredibly well and the only one actually making a profit on hardware .
Sony have a rather solid market for home consoles , unless the PS3 is a complete mess .
Microsoft are apparently doing well , they should be fine .. bar of course a well deserved anti-trust lawsuit

Re:Say what? (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906617)

Oops, I forgot to clarify that one of the three consoles may be forced out of the market by a new player. Although I realistically don't know who that would be. It seems the "new player" has historically been a company already entrenched in different aspects of media. Atari being displaced by Sony and Sega being displaced by Microsoft. I don't foresee Microsoft or Sony being pushed out of the market, but someone could possibly come in and push Nintendo out if the Revolution ends up not doing too well. (I realize that the timelines I presented are not perfectly accurate, and it might be more accurate to say "Sony filled the void left by Atari and MS filled the void left by Sega" and I am omitting some smaller players, Like the Neo-Geo, commodore 64 and Amiga (arguably computers, but primarilly used as video game machines, Coleco, etc.)

So basically I wasn't saying that the market can not support three players, I was trying to say that some of the major players may change (Like if EA, Mitsubishi or Dell decides to come out with their own console. Or if the Phantom actually manages to somehow succeed.)

Nintendo wobbles but it don't fall down (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907510)

someone could possibly come in and push Nintendo out if the Revolution ends up not doing too well.

Do you really think the GP2X handheld or J2ME on cellphones is going to push out the Nintendo DS?

Re:Nintendo wobbles but it don't fall down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907589)

I can see a Nintendo partnership with a phone company at some point in the future. Like the N-Gage, but with games worth playing and a machine that actually does a reasonable job at both tasks.

Re:Say what? (1)

Jakeypants (860350) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915480)

Yeah, and THIS YEAR is the year of Linux.

Re:Say what? (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 8 years ago | (#13921466)

In the last decade shelf space for PC games and game selection have both decreased by quite a bit in every single store in town. I've also noticed that bargain bins have almost disappeared.

Can't try out PC games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13905958)

Isn't that the point of downloadable demos? So I can see what the game's like on my own PC?

If I try and play a game on a machine that far outclasses my home system, there's no way I'm going to get an accurate feel for the experience at home.

Downloadable demos (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13905996)

Not if you're on a slow 'net connection, or unwilling/frightened to click on advertisements and Slashdot stories because of the Spyware Boogeyman or something to that effect.

Fast-loading minimum-requirement pages and online READMEs could do the trick, but not every corp/group tests with every compy. I'll remain on the solution-offering sidelines until further instruction by authorized personnel.

Re:Downloadable demos (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907074)

Not if you're on a slow 'net connection, or unwilling/frightened to click on advertisements and Slashdot stories because of the Spyware Boogeyman or something to that effect.

So what are you doing at a computer then? CAREFUL. YOU MIGHT CATCH A COLD FROM YER EMAIL. I HEAR THEY HAV GERMS

Re:Downloadable demos (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907119)

So what are you doing at a computer then?

Tasks. I was not referring to myself in grandparent post.

The Comeback Trail (4, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13905966)

There really should be a (registration/bypass required) warning near that link.

That said, damn. 42-inch monitors. I gotta go to one of these GameStop thingies again (I went once to get my presshhiouss [google.com] ). I just hope they don't burn out, during an intense corridor shootout or a motion-blur-filled demonstration of the Staff of Whacking.

PC Gaming on The Comeback Trail

So we can only carry 200 pounds of buffalo on the wagon?

Stupid Article (1)

TychoCelchuuu (835690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906024)

The article's dumb, don't bother. The author makes it sound like trying out a PC game in the store is this neat new concept that is indicative of PC Gaming's rise. That's just stupid. The CompUSA around here has had computers running games that people can try out for years now.

Re:Stupid Article (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906091)

Yeah... not like Software ("Virus") Pipeline was doing this fifteen years ago. Or Hacker Cat or any other small computer store or mini-chain. Hell, I still remember the local Software Pipeline in Portland having Amigas on display that you could play games on (and they rented software for it, too).

PC gaming hasn't gone anywhere. It's always been popular. Consoles get more advertising to the masses, but so what?

Re:Stupid Article (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13909106)

Its still news, that Dell is sponsoring the effort. BestBuy has had some Call of Duty machines up for a while as well.
 
  I wonder what mouse and keyboard are being used? If Dell sponsors the PC, Logitech and other peripheral companies should jump on the wagon.

I bet that... (1)

ABCC (861543) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906026)

If I find one of these in the shops, there will be filth all over the keyboard. And, once I've overcome the Michael Jackson like fear of attemting to touch it, I'll find that the controls are unplugged. Hooray!

Maybe game companies should consider offering downloadable demos....oh wait, nm

Not a realistic way to experience a PC game. (2, Insightful)

RedFive99 (879205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906037)

Unless you also have a 42" HD plasma connected to your gaming PC at home, this is in no way a realistic experience of a PC game. However, it is a much better way to *sell* you PC games, as they'll almost certainly be better, shinier and certainly bigger in every way on these demo kiosks. That said, why not just download a demo of the latest game on your own PC? Isn't that the "other" legal use of BitTorrent that everyone is always clamoring about?

Re:Not a realistic way to experience a PC game. (1)

Enti (726249) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908198)

Pretty much what I was going to post. These demo kiosks are going to provide a gaming experience far better than the average PC, thus falsely representing the average customer's experience. The biggest enemy PC gaming faces is the existence of (and possibly the lack of understanding when it comes to) a hardware performance spectrum. I've been consulted by more than one friend (admittedly, not the most versed in technomacy) who are bothered by games not running as advertised, despite their computer meeting the 'minimum requirements' and being free of viruses and spyware. I'll admit that these terminals are a step in the right direction, but truly fail in terms of being able to provide performance representative of what the customer will eventually experience. Not that it isn't valid from a marketing standpoint, but I'm worried about potential PC gamers eventually becoming more jaded to PC games than they already are, especially after after purchasing seemingly stunning titles only to be disappointed by lackluster performance on their home computer. Not that the following suggestion would be taken seriously by any company 'in their right mind', but the discrepancy could be easily emulated through the use of decent throttling software (assuming the user knows the speed/make of their CPU and GPU, installed memory, speed of hard drive, ect.). Again, not in any way good from a marketing perspective, but I'll admit that my biggest turnoff to computer gaming took place back when I was a kid and SimCity2000 wouldn't run on my 386 system for some reason or other. Other than a bit of Rogue here and there, I spent a lot of time with my SNES after that. Either way, at least these terminals allow for in-store playtesting instead of the customer having to rely on reviews or box art. Unfortunately, I can't see them catching on, given the cost of a decent gaming PC compared to the hardware necessary for a newly released gaming console. Maybe gaming stores should just stock demo CDs? In the meantime, much like the good Parent mentions, I'll be downloading 'demo' copies via BitTorrent to get their actual feel.

Nice! (2, Interesting)

Veloxi (605211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906218)

There's a local PC gaming store in Pasadena called Interact [interactcd.com] that does the PC try-it-before-you-buy-it thing and it's been pretty successful for them, so I hope it works for GameStop as well.

Re:Nice! (2, Interesting)

CommiePuddin (891854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906372)

It makes me wonder if there is a market for these game stores to stock branded blank CD's, and images of the PC demos that can be burned in a matter of minutes while the customer is looking around the store.

Someone has mentioned the aversion to clicking advertisements, or slow internet connections. For some small price (US$2.95 or so), plus the store's name all over the demo CD, would it actually drive sales of PC games? I say yes. Not only does the customer get to try out the game and find out if it will work on his/her rig, but they get a nice reminder of where to go to pick up the game if they decide they want to check out the whole thing.

And it's not like the store needs to have screened CD's with the game's name on it, maybe write it in marker on a designated part of the CD. Screen the store's name (address, phone number, blood type) on the CD as a reminder of where to go buy the game when the customer finally makes the final purchase decision.

Even better, return the CD, and get some sort of credit toward the final purchase (the $2.95 paid, perhaps).

Then again, I've got a 41 minute wait to download F.E.A.R. from FilePlanet.

Re:Nice! (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906463)

Re:Nice! (1)

Bobsledboy (836872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908547)

My ISP has an ftp mirror of 3dGamers :)

http://ii3dg.iinet.net.au/ [iinet.net.au]

So sad... (5, Funny)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906296)

Computer gaming was on the comback trail, but it died of dysentery right before reaching Fort Bridger.

Nice...but I win (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907130)

Nice...but I win by way of earlier trail reference [slashdot.org] .

Or maybe not.

blah (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906371)

I used to actually care about spending money to upgrade my computer to play the latest games but for some reason I just don't care anymore. I guess it's because I'm not rich, and I have other priorities to worry about...I still wish I could play F.E.A.R in 60FPS bliss though T_T

PC gaming - coming or going? (2, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906527)

Before I start, I should say now that I think the article is basically crap. Playable machines in games stores aren't that relevant - the controllers will be broken in a week by the fat, smelly 12 year old in the sleeveless vest who stands there hitting them randomly anyway.

However, I think PC gaming has certainly been on a bit of a rollercoaster compared with console gaming over the last couple of years. In particular, I think the PC has struggled to establish itself against the curret generation of consoles in the same way that it has past generations. For me, the absolute nadir of PC gaming came in 2003, when Call of Duty was voted game of the year by pretty much every outlet that covered PC gaming. If your game of the year is a technologically obsolete and gameplay-deprived clone of a game released the previous year (Medal of Honour), you know your industry has problems. This was at a time when major titles were appearing for the consoles on a more or less weekly basis.

The PC has rallied slightly, since then. 2004 saw the PC creeping ahead of the consoles in terms of visuals for the first time, with Doom 3, Farcry and Half-Life 2 being the most impressive examples. It also finally saw some respectable big-name games for the PC. This has continued somewhat in 2005, particularly with Quake 4 and F.E.A.R, both of which look and play better than equivalent console fpses.

However, don't take this as an indication that the PC can continue to hold its own against the consoles in the longer term. The current gen consoles have virtually run their cycle now. Nintendo have all but admitted that the Gamecube is retired and the PS2 might as well be. The X-Box is still hanging on, but even there, we're about to be hit by the next generation.

However, when you compare the level of technical lead the PC has built up during this cycle and the speed with which it established it, it's pretty pathetic. Think about it. When consoles were playing Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, the PC had X-Wing and Strike Commander. When the PS1 and N64 were at their height, PC gamers had Half-Life. By contrast, the PC has only just narrowly edged ahead at the end of this cycle. With the next gen about to hit, it's going to get knocked to the back of the field entirely.

Of course, the PC will never die out as a gaming platform completely. It remains the only sensible platform for widescale distribution of home-brew games. Nobody's yet managed to make an RTS interface that works on a console (although I'd argue that console fpses can be pretty sweet now). PC releases are much easier for companies who can't afford to go through the mandatory Q&A cycles for the consoles. However, if the PC doesn't get a clear technological lead over the next-gen consoles early in the cycle, it's finished as a mainstream platform.

How can this happen? I suspect there are two major steps that need to be taken. First of all, ATI and Nvidia need to get a proper strategy. They need to stop putting out a new $600 graphics card every 3 months and make solid, decently specced and non-confusing card ranges that the average consumer can use and not suffer for using. Next, they need to start insisting on their own Q&A programmes for PC games. Console games with serious bugs merit their own slashdot story. With PC games, it's expected. Until somebody forces devs to confront this situation, PC gaming is going to continue to bleed market-share in the long term.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906731)

The current gen consoles have virtually run their cycle now. Nintendo have all but admitted that the Gamecube is retired

Um, what?

They're releasing a new Zelda on it next year. You do not release a major title in one of your biggest franchises on a console that's been "retired" for months. Not even a lunatic would do that.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (1)

Jeff Reed (209535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906980)

They're releasing a new Zelda on it next year. You do not release a major title in one of your biggest franchises on a console that's been "retired" for months. Not even a lunatic would do that.

Of course you wouldn't -- unless your new console, which will be released probably only a few months after said big game is released, has backwards compatibility.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907076)

Don't believe me, fanboy? Take it from the horse's mouth [bbc.co.uk]

To quote "It looks like the product's life is nearing its end." That's not something a company says about a product unless they consider it to be retired.

One or two games in the pipeline for a system do not mean that it is still considered to be "live". Final Fantasy IX was the lowest grossing installment of the series in recent memory, largely because its release for the PS1 coincided very nearly with the launch of the PS2. The backwards compatibility of the PS2 did a bit to negate the effect on sales, but you're never going to get away from the fact that people will want to play "new" games on their new console. The new Zelda is probably doomed to share the same fate.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (1)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915845)

clearly you havent seen the released footage so far of this upcoming Zelda title. If you had yould be less inclined to belive that.

Also i doubt your a nintendo Gamecube owner, theyre far more likely to shell for ANY title than other console owners due to a generaly smaller/higher quality range of games, with something like the new Zelda offering a seriously worthwile purchase new console or not. Nintendos gamecube has been slowly squeezing more and more out of it towards release of the Revoloution. look at the graphical progression in quality in the last 2 years and youll see quite a hike up. Also as a nice bonus to game devs the Rev is TOTALY backwards compatible. As in PC game style, you know, Old games just run faster, etc. So their Nintendo Gamecube dev kits, only need an update (saves dev costs for nintendo) or can just be kept since they can make a good game on it anyway and it will work.

On a side note id like to point out that GameCube Linux is getting good progression to being able to do useful things, and id say budding homebrew game devs should think about investigating it seriously since it will be forwards compatible to revoloution by way of revoloutions backwards compatibility. So i cant wait till i can use a Rev as a Media Center front end... Its the perfect size, and that blacks so stylish.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907708)

*blink*

First, it's QA - not Q&A. Quality Assurance, not Question and Answer.

Second, the QA cycle for PC games often has as much, if not more, money invested in it as for console games. The difference is that console games have exactly one compatibility case to worry about per localization market, whereas PC games will have a lot - take the number of supported video chipsets for your project, multiply by the number of OSes you are supporting, and then toss in some common OEM cases for good measure, as a commonly encountered case. If you wanted to get really fussy, you could do a compatibility case for each firmware update on a console, but that tends to be less necessary than, say, verifying that a PC game works with a GeForce Ti4600 and an ATI x850.

As a side note on that, part of the reason that console games with crash bugs and the like are notable is because such bugs will generally have the potential to affect everyone. Crash bugs on the PC are often due to the particular configuration of a system - you and your Radeon may crash entering a certain area, while I and my Intel chipset card work just fine.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908531)

I think it says it all that Quake IV wasn't even mentioned on Slashdot. Considering Zonk posts about twenty articles a day, and he wasn't interested in it, it's a sorry time for PC gaming.

Personally I don't see the appeal in having to worry about specs all the time. The argument that PCs are better because you can upgrade them to be more powerful than consoles is irrelevent because I play games for enjoyment not graphics and framerates.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (2, Insightful)

Severious (826370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13909251)

"The PC has rallied slightly, since then. 2004 saw the PC creeping ahead of the consoles in terms of visuals for the first time..."

For the first time? Are you on crack? The PC is almost always ahead and ahead by a large margin including right now. The only time I remember when you could argue that console systems where ahead was when the Xbox first came out, and even then you stil had to play it on an anemic display (TV). Even if you are lucky enough to have an HDTV that isn't anywhere close to the kind of resolution that a PC can pump out.

Do you even have a computer that wasn't built 6+ years ago? Your bias is glaring.

Each system has it's advantages but now to really enjoy with the upcoming generation you will need a HDTV, and at those prices you can easily get a nice gaming computer. It really comes down to what kind of games you like to play as to what kind of system you will enjoy the most.

Re:PC gaming - coming or going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13912949)

What sucks, is about all that's coming out for PCs are:

MMOGs
RTSes
Turn-based Strategy Games
and FPS...

I mean, there's a few candidates that don't fall into this category (like Madden...) but really.

When was the last time a REALLY GOOD RPG came out for the PC?

KOTOR, came out on console first. And I don't really consider it the top of the RPG pile.

Baldurs Gate, Baldurs Gate 2, Fallout & sequel (not FO:Tactics, or that xbox game.. neither were RPGs)...

Neverwinter Nights kinda blew.

Morrowind & co were mediocre. Yes, they had sprawling nonlinear storylines.. but it took the toll in terms of character development. You interrogated NPCs - you didn't hold conversations with them. I didn't meet one NPC that was developed to the point of me caring about them: not like Fallout or Baldur's Gate. Where's the story skill? Is all I have to look forward to in RPGs the next installment of Final Fantasy Cinematic?

Where's some of the radical new ideas in gameplay? Consoles get something like Katamari Damacy, and PC gamers get... what.. Jedi Knight 6?

Innovation is what needs to happen in terms of bringing PC gaming from the brink. The testing involved with a AAA pc game is gargantuan compared to an AAA console title, simply due to the plethora of hardware configurations available.

The best games for PC that I've played recently have been smalltime games (like Tumiki Fighters and Torus Troopers and Uplink) ... where's the innovation, big guys?

Seems like the big publishers are being shoehorned into consoles by the big boys. Not necessarily forcefully coerced, but probably being fed all the FUD about PC gaming dying. The only thing that's killing PC Gaming is the publishers, their spartan copy protection schemes (yeah, let's make sure I don't have Daemon Tools - which has many legitimate uses - installed.. because that makes me a pirate), and their lack of FUN GAMES.

It's the same thing that decides whether or not a console lives or dies. Gamers go where the fun games are, if they aren't of the rabid fanboy camp. Bring the fun games back to the PC, and people will play games on the PC again. /rant /back to freecell

Uhhh, What? (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906657)

Many [Gamespot] stores have demo kiosks for consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS so gamers can try before they buy. Testing a PC game has been impossible.

Right, because nobody makes demos of their games available for free download or distribution. Shareware apparently also doesn't exist.

How many days on dial-up? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907515)

Right, because nobody makes demos of their games available for free download or distribution.

I haven't seen free or $1 demo discs in EBGames or Wal-Mart stores. Not everybody has broadband because not everybody plays in online multiplayer mode.

Re:How many days on dial-up? (1)

micpp (818596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907942)

What about the CD stuck to the front of magazines?

Re:How many days on dial-up? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908697)

What if I have dial-up, but the single-player game I want to try doesn't happen to be on the cover of the current issue of any of the major PC gaming magazines?

Re:How many days on dial-up? (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 8 years ago | (#13928246)

Then get high speed or eat some cheese with your whine.

Re:How many days on dial-up? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13928726)

Then get high speed

That would require moving.

As long as there's no way to get game demos to people who can't get broadband because neither the phone monopoly nor the cable monopoly offers an affordable residential package, then the PlayStation family and its rental market will continue to beat the PC.

Uhh... (1)

fenrisjlk (841357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906792)

Uhh.... Downloable demos? Sounds like trying a game before buying to me. the XPS is a hunk of crap too AFAIK

DeepFreeze (2, Interesting)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907010)

Testing a PC game has been impossible.


It is not "impossible" in the context of the article. My local Radio Shack (which was since rebranded to Circut City) installed games on a computer to show that it worked.

Anyone can rig their own trial system for use in store: a PC with DeepFreeze installed immediatly takes care of the software portion - it may have a performance hit in extreme situations, but is fixed by a quick reset.

The hardware will be a bit tricky, as you can't use some random $10 keyboard and mouse - they have to be a rugged keyboard [google.ca] and a rugged mouse [google.ca] (there's a rugged joystick available, but that's optional.)

The remaining portion is the copy-protection in most games... Most computers have two IDE chains with two devices a-piece - that means you have three random games available per day, plus other things you can stuff on the computer.

Re:DeepFreeze (1)

Yakman (22964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13912053)

The remaining portion is the copy-protection in most games... Most computers have two IDE chains with two devices a-piece - that means you have three random games available per day, plus other things you can stuff on the computer.

The other alternative is to use images mounted with something like Daemon Tools - you can have as many virtual discs mounted as you have drive letters. Or you could just use a No-CD crack - sure it's probably not legal, but I doubt anyone would be able to tell.

I wonder what the legalities are though in regards to a store providing a game for public play like that? I know they do it with consoles all the time, but I wonder if they need some special agreement/licence - like an "Internet Cafe" does to have multiplayer gaming.

Re:DeepFreeze (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915357)


The other alternative is to use images mounted with something like Daemon Tools - you can have as many virtual discs mounted as you have drive letters. Or you could just use a No-CD crack - sure it's probably not legal, but I doubt anyone would be able to tell.


That used to work, but the latest copy-protection systems have blacklisted virtual CDs for some reason and will refuse to run on systems even containing those products. (Although the better ones actually identify the virtual CDs, and only block individual drives.)

As for the legality of NO-CD cracks and virtual disks, they tend to vary from place to place. It's probably the least of your worries since there's a completely different set of laws for "public performances", which may or may not apply.

I wonder what the legalities are though in regards to a store providing a game for public play like that? I know they do it with consoles all the time, but I wonder if they need some special agreement/licence - like an "Internet Cafe" does to have multiplayer gaming.


Internet Cafes always suffer from this kind of problem - as you know, Valve was known to clamp down on cafes that allowed playing Steam powered games through their computers. Of course, it's easy to avoid these kinds of problems with the proper planning.

The best way to deal with it is to just rent usage of the computers with internet access - the fact that they can be used for games is merely a side-effect. (A problem occurrs when users need to re-install things over and over again - perhaps you could provide temporary storage to your customers that lasts around ~14 days since last login, after that, it becomes compressed. One or two months after, the customer has gone on a sabbatical and probably doesn't need the information.

The Comeback Trail? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907141)

Is that kinda like the Oregon Trail?

I call dibs on hunting!

A Good Thing, IMHO (3, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907470)

People can call me anachronistic if they want, but the desktop is still king in my book.

Not only can people perform all of the other usual computer-related tasks with a desktop without having to switch machines, TV really sucks for gaming, resolution wise. Also, the average PC is still usually a lot more powerful than the average console, as well. Plus if you already have a PC and use it for gaming, you don't need to spend an extra $300-$700 on an Xbox...The first generation Xbox was a glorified doorstop even when it first came out, IMHO. if you still have that money spare, you can use it on a ram, processor, or video card upgrade, which will not only improve your gaming experience, but let you do other things more effectively as well. A new GeForce 6800 video card will render graphics better than any console, as well.

There was a point to consoles back when they were 8 bit, and earlier, (mainly because back then the average PC was only as powerful as the console itself, or less so) but these days they're nothing but a expensive gimmick. The only real reason why they're viable at all now IMHO is because of the overhead normally incurred by Windows on a PC. It's possible to strip XP though, (I stop all unnecessary services and actually kill/restart explorer before/after loading a game, and can get XP down to 60 or so MB RAM this way, which leaves over 400 for the game for me) or use Linux, and with X have the game set as the window manager itself. That works great for UT at least.

Although it's true I don't have sufficient money for a console as well as a PC, if I did have it, I still wouldn't buy one. They're completely redundant.

Same-screen multiplayer on PCs? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907520)

Also, the average PC is still usually a lot more powerful than the average console, as well.

Then why do most PC games require four PCs for four players (at $800 a piece, especially if the players live in the same household or residential broadband is not affordable), while console games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee can put four players on one console with one screen?

Re:Same-screen multiplayer on PCs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13907632)

Show me a games console which will drive four TVs from the one machine and I might concede that you have a point.

Do you need multiple TVs for this genre? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907662)

Show me a games console which will drive four TVs from the one machine and I might concede that you have a point.

The PS3 is halfway there, with the ability to drive two TVs, each at a solid 60 Hz. Besides, if all players' characters are in an enclosed space (Super Smash Bros., Tekken, Street Fighter, Custom Robo, Bomberman, etc), what need is there for multiple televisions?

Re:Do you need multiple TVs for this genre? (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 7 years ago | (#13909566)

Maybe more importantly the argument doesn't even make sense. How many PC games can output to four different screens for four different players using a single computer? You would pretty much always need four computers, too - and LAN play has been a practically standard feature on Xbox multiplayer games since launch.

Re:Same-screen multiplayer on PCs? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908035)

You're playing the wrong games. There are plenty of splitscreen-enabled PC games, most of them just aren't the big name ones. And since most big PC games fall into the FPS or RTS genres, seeing your opponent's screen wouldn't work, anyway.

I'm not talking about FPS or RTS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908710)

You're playing the wrong games.

I know several people who would take your statement in the context of parent and grandparent to mean "fighting games suck." Are you trying to start a fight?

There are plenty of splitscreen-enabled PC games, most of them just aren't the big name ones.

Got a URL of a list of major PC games that support same-screen or split-screen multiplayer, especially non-FPS non-RTS, so that I have ammo to use against console enthusiasts?

Re:I'm not talking about FPS or RTS (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13909317)

I don't think anyone compiles a list and the first two Serious Sam games were the only major (post-386) games I remember. The rest is mostly independent games, often in 2d. Most people would stare at such a list and wonder "what are those games".

Re:Same-screen multiplayer on PCs? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908413)

while console games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee can put four players on one console with one screen?

Mainly because consoles have individual controllers, whereas a PC will typically have a single keyboard, and sometimes a single joystick. This admittedly *is* a hardware issue, although I'm sure a pad controller card could be put together that allows for multiple control pads on a PC. It's probably already been done, although I guess it is also a mental thing on the part of consumers as well...in terms of associating a console with a living room, etc.

Maybe such a card is something PC hardware makers should think about bringing out, if it hasn't already been done.

God bless the USB (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908713)

Lack of multiple controllers admittedly *is* a hardware issue, although I'm sure a pad controller card could be put together that allows for multiple control pads on a PC. It's probably already been done

And I own such a "pad controller card". It's called a USB hub. So why aren't there more commercial PC games that take advantage of multiple PC joypads plugged into a USB hub?

Re:God bless the USB (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908868)

And I own such a "pad controller card". It's called a USB hub. So why aren't there more commercial PC games that take advantage of multiple PC joypads plugged into a USB hub?

Great question. I'm assuming they haven't thought of it. Maybe we could write to one of the baming press websites about it?

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (2, Insightful)

skreeech (221390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907580)

Consoles have lots of great games and genres that aren't replicated on PCs. That is not redundancy.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (0, Flamebait)

Brantano (908473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907907)

All of your comments are down right wrong, i cant believe someone could have such a bias towards PC gaming, in which the entire market is run by graphics, first person shooters, and RTS's. You seem to forget that with every console generation (since the Ps1), the console has surpassed the PC in specs, in a year or two it slowly creeps up and passed the console, but none-the-less the console lead the way. Console games have such a greater compacity for different genre's it isnt funny and (your talking about three systems here, not to mention the PSP and DS now) game of the year usually turns into game of the month for consoles. Theres so many great games to pick up on consoles, while your left with (insert random fps) or (insert random RTS) for PC's. Theres just far too many great games that come out on consoles, 20-40 a year, while less than 10 absolutely great games usually get released for PC a year.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908604)

DS now) game of the year usually turns into game of the month for consoles. Theres so many great games to pick up on consoles, while your left with (insert random fps) or (insert random RTS) for PC's. Theres just far too many great games that come out on consoles, 20-40 a year, while less than 10 absolutely great games usually get released for PC a year.

Again, this is an industry issue, and I'm guessing it's due primarily to Nintendo and Sony promoting themselves, primarily. It isn't related to hardware at all. Developers could choose to release for the PC, and they'd still make enormous sales if they did, as existing PC games sell.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13909527)

No, a lot of this is a hardware issue. The vast majority of PC owners don't have gamepads of any kind. Then out of the few that do there is no real standard capabilities, though this is gradually improving. This is the same reason flight sim (and similar) games just don't sell very well on the PC anymore. Personally I saw the utter bombing of Freespace 2 (one of the best games ever made and an excellent sequel to a popular predecessor) as the mark that demonstrated the beginning of the end of genre variety in PC gaming.

There is also the problem of hardware standardization. Far too many PCs are still sold with terrible GPUs. This makes the realistic market for a PC 3D platformer or racing game (another genre that is pretty much dead on the PC when it used to be strong) much smaller than you would think. Especially when you have 20+ million PS2 owners you can sell to...

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908238)

You can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs. Any other genre are better represented on consoles.

And, they are cheaper, not more expensive like you want to portray. A gaming PC will cost you at least $400-500. You will be able to buy the high end Xbox 360 for that.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908393)

>You can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming
>interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs. Any other genre
>are better represented on consoles.

Platform games, you mean? Yeah...we're really missing out, not being exposed to those. ;-) There are also the endless SF2/MK knockoffs, and crap like BloodRayne. Admittedly a lot of the stuff in the RPG space would be nice to have, but I don't lament the PC's absence of movie/TV tie-ins either, to be honest...although I'm reasonably sure the LOTR games came out on the PC anywayz.

Anywayz, this is purely a company decision...it doesn't have anything to do with the hardware.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13909550)

Platform games, you mean? Yeah...we're really missing out, not being exposed to those. ;-) There are also the endless SF2/MK knockoffs, and crap like BloodRayne. Admittedly a lot of the stuff in the RPG space would be nice to have, but I don't lament the PC's absence of movie/TV tie-ins either, to be honest...although I'm reasonably sure the LOTR games came out on the PC anywayz.
So again, "you can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs". Just because you have very little interest in diverse genres in gaming (along with very little knowledge, apparently) doesn't mean that is true for the rest of the gaming world. Most gamers go where the most new high quality games are, and that hasn't been the PC for a long time.

Anywayz, this is purely a company decision...it doesn't have anything to do with the hardware.
It's obviously a platform issue. Otherwise some company would step in and make a killing in the PC market with game genres that easily sell millions of copies a year on the consoles. Are you honestly suggesting there is some kind of gaming cartel that is choosing not to do this for political reasons?

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915775)

Anyway, my gaming pc goes to waste, because I never play any high end gsmes (maybe Warcraft 3). Most of the gaming time on it is spent on Master of Orion or Strange Adventures in Infinite Space. I play those, mostly for the simplified, streamlined gameplay. I used to love Civilization, but after playing MOO, Civ looks like a lot of work and micromanagement.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (3, Interesting)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13908544)

TV really sucks for gaming, resolution wise.

Who cares about resolution, other than geeks who fuss about framerates and things like that? TVs are generally bigger than computer monitors as well. Who wants to play games at the computer rather than in the living room anyway? Other than hardcore geeks I mean.

Plus if you already have a PC and use it for gaming, you don't need to spend an extra $300-$700 on an Xbox.

It'd probably cost more to upgrade a computer to play games than to get a console. Especially as every year the hardware requirements for the latest games go up. You can buy a console every few years, or get on the PC upgrade treadmill every 6 months...

A new GeForce 6800 video card will render graphics better than any console, as well.

And will cost more than most consoles. Again only an issue to hardcore geeks who want 700fps at 10000x40000 resolution. Most of us are interested in the game, not how fancy the light effect look in some grim, dark, derivative FPS.

It's possible to strip XP though, (I stop all unnecessary services and actually kill/restart explorer before/after loading a game, and can get XP down to 60 or so MB RAM this way, which leaves over 400 for the game for me) or use Linux, and with X have the game set as the window manager itself.

Well, that's easier and more user-friendly than just putting a CD in the console. In the time it takes to get Linux going you could probably COMPLETE most games.

Re:A Good Thing, IMHO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13911221)

you sir, are totally ignorant.

Long time coming (1)

freidog (706941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907721)

A little local software shop has about 3 or 4 computers on the floor each with a different new release title up and running on it, open for custormers to try out - they started that at least 8 years ago.

It's a nice touch, and one certianly welcome in a national chain.
I know the - go download the demo - line has been used more than a couple times in this thread, but really there are a number of games (mostly big name titles) that opt to not release a demo, or at least wait till well after the product launch to release a demo. And even then, many demos weight in at over 500 mb these days, try downloading that on dialup, even low end broadband it can take several hours (of course not a big deal since you don't tie up the phone...)

Realistically, I won't buy a game without being able to play it these days. If EBGames can provide me a way to paly Quake 4 without the $50 fee, they may earn themselves some buisness.

Demos (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13913574)

What's the point of a kiosk if you can just play a demo? I don't buy a PC game unless it has a demo or I "try" it first . I really wish more companies provided demos. This is for a few reasons:

-I shouldn't have to pay for a game I don't enjoy. It's hard to tell if you will enjoy a game before trying it out.
-I should be able to tell how well a game will run on my hardware. I can't do this without a demo, even on a kiosk
-Sometimes I will get addicted to a game from the demo. This happened with Unreal Tournament, Battlefield, and some others. Without the excellent demos, I never would have thought to buy the games, harming both the company and myself.

Gamespot or Gamestop? (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13913987)

Funny, I didn't know Gamespot [gamespot.com] had any 'offline' stores.

Whoa, we can test PC games now??? (1)

Max Nugget (581772) | more than 8 years ago | (#13915862)

Testing a PC game has been impossible. Not anymore.

Right, it's not like PC gamers have been able to download demos for the past 10-15 years...

Does anyone else find it annoying when announcements of something "new" feel the need to go out of their way and make ridiculous, overblown exaggerations about just how "new" they are? Not only have demos of PC games obviously been downloadable for well over a decade, but the idea of using in-store PC gaming kiosks to help sell PC games has also been done before, just not by the big names like GameStop and EB.

In fact, if anything, the situation is exactly the reverse of this news blurb's description: It is typically the CONSOLE gamers who lack the ability to freely try before they buy. Most games aren't available via in-store kiosks, and spending $8 to rent the game from blockbuster isn't exactly an inexpensive way to sample a game you're thinking about buying. In contrast, PC gamers are blessed with free downloadable demos of nearly every game in existence.

Seriously though -- this is just like a few weeks ago when the Spielberg-EA team-up was announced, and some reported it as Spielberg's first foray into videogames, completely ignoring his previous "first foray," LucasArts' "The Dig." Sorry, an artist is only entitled to ONE "debut," not several. If in doubt, check the dictionary.

And if in doubt about whether something is "new" or not, at least check Google first.

Been there, done that (1)

ozTravman (898206) | more than 8 years ago | (#13921284)

I use to work in the computer department of a large retailer. We had a couple of PCs setup with games that the public could try. We kept it up to date - often changing the game that was on there, would put a good joystick on for flight sims and a steering wheel on for racers.

Lovely (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13923688)

Great. Another kiosk a pizza face has to tell a slightly younget pizza face to get away from...

Already been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13927639)

Anyone remember Egghead? They had games setup for you to play. I fondly remember some Heros of Might and Magic III on their rigs.

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