Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

PC Gaming: How to Bring the Industry Back

Last response: in Video Games
Share
August 25, 2008 2:23:19 PM

First off, This is not a thread to say PC Gaming is dying, pirates are ruining the industry etc. Do not flame, do not hate, do not whine. This thread is for what you think the major computer manufacturers and game developers/publishers (and anyone else involved in the industry) need/should do to bring pc gaming up to the sales level of console games.

This is my idea on it:

It is a two step plan dependent on company's cooperating with each other (so yes it is unlikely to ever happen).

The first would be dependent on Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. The three current console kings. They would need to release software that would allow you to play their console games on your PC. If one company did this, the other two would likely follow suit. This would make PCs the number one gaming platform of choice (the sometimes hated, sometimes dreamed of One Console for all). This would also be relatively cheap for the companys. If Microsoft did it they could use it as a major selling point for Vista. Sony and Nintendo (the ones I think less likely to do this) always have the option of making it work as a separate operating system that you install on a separate hardrive just like a console would have it and all you would need would be the capability to play the discs (Thus blu-ray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc for the PS3 which you can now get a blu-ray drive for less than $200 = cheaper than PS3).

So that's number one. If you could play a console game on your pc it would remove much of the cost developers face in designing a game and would bring many more games to the PC.

Number 2: PC games and hardware need a rating system. Just like the ESRB rating for game content, if hardware had a rating, and so did the games, then it would be much easier for people to see what type of hardware could play what games. For instance you say a computer of Rating 1 from dell can play 90% of games at max graphics. Then games would have ratings like a rating 1 game would require a mainstream PC bought within a year and a game with rating 5 could be played on PCs bought within 5 years, etc.

No it's not perfect, but either or both of these solutions would bring in enormous amounts of revenue for both hardware and game companies.


Now I'm interested in finding out what everyone else thinks. My idea is open to criticism, just don't hate, constructive only. If you have a better or simply different idea, post it and let us know.

Who know, maybe somebody at Microsoft or another major company will read this and say "Hey, This just might work!!"
August 25, 2008 2:31:35 PM

Quote:
They would need to release software that would allow you to play their console games on your PC.


Thats a cute idea, but thats not how it works - porting a game to PC is massively more complicated than just turning on an emulator.

Quote:
PC games and hardware need a rating system. Just like the ESRB rating for game content, if hardware had a rating, and so did the games, then it would be much easier for people to see what type of hardware could play what games.


AMD has a program like this called "AMD GAME!" www.amd.com if you want more details.



The only thing which is going to bring PC gaming back is making all PC games forced to be linked to a "Steam"-like digital content management frontend - "Games for Windows Live! marketplace" is supposed to be implimenting something like this in the near future, but the jury is still out on that.

If you link all of the PC games to a digital verifier model like Steam, it pretty much means that if you want to get updates you have to legitimately purchase the game - this gives legitimate buyers a benefit to owning the game as opposed to pirating it.

It doesn't /stop/ anyone from pirating, but it gives you a distinct advantage to ownership; compatibility and downloadable content/updates.

As long as PCs aren't a lucrative platform to release games to, they will always be playing second place to consoles and nothing is going to change that short of rewarding people for legitimately buying games.
August 25, 2008 2:46:54 PM

Rating systems are all over the place, look at Vista's (Games for Windows) in the games folder, it'll show what the required/recommended rating is (next to your vista rating). Though that's usually not a good indicator.

IMO exclusives seem to be almost a thing of the past, and not just on the PC (hell has frozen over and i'm tired of talking this piracy crap). Look at the next FF game, jeebus it's going xbox! Companies just can't afford exclusives. I remember reading that they needed a million copies of MGS4 to be sold in 24 hours to be profitable because of the costs of development, that's just crazy (so far sold about 4 million copies).

There are plenty of great multi-platform games (and more bad ones lol), CoD4 being the best recent example, it's a great game on PC (haven't played it on consoles).

I bought Crysis and will buy Warhead, but tbh, Crysis wasn't that great of a game, it was a lot of fun though (SP anyway).
Related resources
August 25, 2008 5:19:48 PM

I think Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 (both PC excusives) will play a big role in determining if PC Gaming will make a comeback. I have a feeling that many console owners will be upgrading their PCs just to play these two.
August 25, 2008 5:42:39 PM

I think that pushing hardware will bring back PC gaming, but with a decent price tag on it. The more hardware gets pushed, the PS3 and the 360 will be left behind. I know graphics are not everything and that gameplay is key, but the more pretty games are and the more realistic they get the more the player will be involved and soaked into the story.
August 25, 2008 5:47:06 PM

I always thought one of the biggest issues that rarely gets any attention is the media bias towards consoles. If the PC market received fair treatment, I think it would go a long way to improving its image.

For example, you can look at things like Microsoft delaying the release of Halo 2 in a desperate attempt to force fans to purchase Vista. Meanwhile, their Xbox friends were placing advance orders for Halo 3.

Or how PC game sales typically do not get reported correctly. At the very least, they are often compared to ALL console sales as if that somehow suggests PC gaming is dying. How fair is that? You never see the media reporting PS3 game sales against all figures for the Xbox, Wii, PS2, DS, etc. and then coming up with the outlandish conclusion that "PS3 gaming is dying."

If the media stopped playing fast and loose with the stats to sensationalize consoles, and corporate giants like Microsoft gave the industry more respect, I think this would go a long way in helping the PC platform.
August 25, 2008 7:34:48 PM

Suggestion number 1 wouldn't work very well for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it would be moving those games to a platform that they do not control. This would make them start worrying about piracy and loading on the DRM. It is a bad situation that they won't want to open themselves up to.

Suggestion number 2 isn't a bad idea, but would require massive industry support and honesty to be worth anything. It would be difficult to pull off, but could be good.

I'd honestly say banking on things like Steam and incorporating a system on steam that would check your hardware for you and tell you roughly how smoothly a game would run. The key is to still allow the customer the ability to play offline for a good amount of time and make everything as userfriendly and seamless as possible.

Steam needs to come preinstalled on every system that can game decently well and they need to run TV commercials for the service to trump up the idea of purchasing your games online rather than in a store.

Also a bit boon the PC gaming industry would be more accurate numbers. Consoles look much better as compared to PCs because the ways in which the numbers are calculated unfairly favor consoles. MMOs are not taken into account for market share nearly as much as they should. Steam does not publish sales figures, Stardock does not publish sales figures, Direct2Drive does not publish sales figures. All of these services sell massive numbers of games. If the numbers were viewed more accurately, then publishers would be a bit less shy about publishing on the PC.

And possibly most importantly, DRM needs to allow a customer to use the product without hassle, and the game needs to run on low to medium end systems. Even if it can't run with maxed out graphics on everything, at least make it possible. As it is now, most high budget games are targeting a very VERY small percentage of the target market. That needs to stop.
August 25, 2008 8:48:11 PM

I think you are missing part of the picture.

Sales of computers have been shifting over the last few years from desktops to notebooks and the trend is accelerating.

The problem is, a notebook for office applications is cheap but, a notebook for gaming isn't.

New games are developed and target an installed base. As the installed base of computers becomes more and more notebooks, they are less desirable as a game machine due to performance issues.

Until and unless notebooks reach a decent stable level of gaming performance, their increased sales will retard the PC game market.
August 25, 2008 8:58:21 PM

Nothing can really be done about that however and anyone who is going to be a core demographic gamer will either be buying a desktop replacement laptop or a desktop.

That does bring to mind though one more thing that needs to be done. All graphical chipsets need to be capable of a certain minimum of performance relative to the top end. Mostly, this is a gripe against intel's integrated graphics platform.
August 25, 2008 11:10:14 PM

Perhaps nothing can bring back the developers except charging more for superior PC games.

The Xbox ports over into the PC format aren't really all that great. The PC allows much better control of the game and is really the only way to execute a RTS game like Rome: Total War. I'd pay $100 for a new and improved RTW that would take advantage of my quad core's capabilities and the improved graphics of my new Nvidia GTX 280 video card.

Perhaps the game developers will see the PC as the format for games with superior story lines, superior graphics and a more sophisticated buyer. The local game store is starting to look like the corner shop that sells music CD's: the demographics of the average game player is slipping down into the sub-teen range. The titles on the selves wouldn't interest my 6-year-old. And that's not an exaggeration.

But PC games are disappearing. This afternoon I checked out a EB games store in the shopping area nearby and they had completely taken the PC games from the selves. I tend to go to Target now to find my games.

The idea of making a device that would mount into the PC, like a DVD/CD drive or hard drive does, and play the console games is not such a bad idea. It could be done. The only problem I have with the idea would be the inherent inferiority of the console games would still be there. I am in my late 50's now and pretending I'm an elf and slaying orcs isn't nearly as entertaining as COD4 or RTW. We have bought the kid a Wii for Christmas and he'll get it then, but I don't see myself really playing on it for personal, private enjoyment like I do the PC.
August 25, 2008 11:25:40 PM

The problem with making a devices that allows the PC to play console games is that it would be expensive, unreliable, and open up the console games to the scary scary world of PC piracy. The console makers won't do it. They need that control over the device in order to feel confident with it.

If you are looking for a good place to buy PC games, check out Steam. www.steampowered.com . That tool will allow you to buy games online and download them directly. It has good selection and a pretty intuitive interface. Also check out www.amazon.com . You can order your games online and have access to a much larger selection than you will find at a store. I know the fun of browsing the racks and picking out a game, but that method of distribution is going away for PC games and more online solutions are becoming popular.
August 25, 2008 11:49:14 PM

Consoles are already the victim of piracy..just look at at those the xbox 360/ps3/wii games that can be downloaded to modded consoles. Piracy won't kill PC gaming, if it did then consoles wouldn't be far behind.
August 26, 2008 4:00:43 AM

This is all very good stuff guys (in regards to my own idea posted at the top, I said it wasn't perfect and yes I know it is much more complicated than what I pointed out, I was just throwing out ideas).

@infornography42 I have and use steam a lot, I merely didn't mention it because I was hoping to focus more on new ideas rather than say we need to follow this developers model or that publishers style, etc.

@tracyfearson You are absolutely correct. The PC market is fast becoming synonymous with the notebook market. However, I would like to know what you think would make PC gaming come back (if this means making games that play great on a notebook then say so!)

I don't want this to sound mean or critical, I just want everyone to stay with the spirit of this thread by pointing out solutions and yours was the one I decided to single out.

Keep em comin guys.
August 26, 2008 8:26:30 AM

OrderChaos said:
This thread is for what you think the major computer manufacturers and game developers/publishers (and anyone else involved in the industry) need/should do to bring pc gaming up to the sales level of console games.


Not to detract anything from the posts in this topic but I fail to understand why major computer manufacturers and game developers/publishers would need or should do anything like that. They shaped the marketplace to what it is today and I think they are more or less happy with it.

From a PC gamer consumer point of view there is certainly reason to desire change but there's only one way to influence that, and that is through your wallet. Anybody that is willing to buy additional hardware platforms next to the console or PC that they already have is supporting the exclusive model. As long as this is a limited group of early adopters that want to play a game the minute it's out then it's fine with me because I can wait 6 months to a year till the publisher launches the game for the other platforms. However if too many people accept such investments for playing games then it will sustain the exclusivity model and many mainstream titles will not make it to other platforms.

Do you hear complaints from the big MMO publishers and Valve about the PC platform? No, because they have working business models for their platform of choice and if you would look at all revenues combined I am actually convinced that PC gaming is still at least as big as console gaming. Makes you wonder why it is so hard to find the proper figures out there, eh?
August 26, 2008 12:15:27 PM

OrderChaos said:
First off, This is not a thread to say PC Gaming is dying, pirates are ruining the industry etc. Do not flame, do not hate, do not whine. This thread is for what you think the major computer manufacturers and game developers/publishers (and anyone else involved in the industry) need/should do to bring pc gaming up to the sales level of console games.



I don't want the PC games sales to be that of the consoles, I'm happy were they are with steady incremental growth year on year. If PC games sales were that of the consoles the quality of the games would suffer which is something I don't want to see.
August 26, 2008 3:27:29 PM

Rockvale said:
We have bought the kid a Wii for Christmas


Very wise of you to buy that Christmas gift now rather than try finding it in December. :) 

To explain my view on PC gaming in the simplest terms, I think the PC is a better quality platform (with the exception of games that are bad console ports). I know there are those who complain about the expense, but I feel you pay for quality. (And you can argue a gaming computer can cost about the same or less than an email/internet computer + console + all the console accessories that cost extra, but I digress.)

Anyways, my point is that laserdiscs were a niche market, but nobody was hollering how the format was dying until a superior alternative (DVD) came along. Sure you had to pay more for a LD as opposed to VHS, but the initiated few were willing to do this because they knew they were getting better quality. And for the PC, you're really only paying more upfront for the hardware. In a lot of cases there are more bargains to be found with the actual games as opposed to their console counterparts.

So I would be perfectly happy if PC gaming was viewed as a better-quality niche market. But it seems the PC mostly gets none of the respect I feel it deserves. There's sort of an overwhelming attitude on the internet to downplay the PC's influence, but I feel this couldn't be more opposite of reality.

I do think we'll eventually experience a type of convergence where the consoles will be so "PC-like" you won't be able to tell the difference between one and Mom's Dell computer. Once that happens, I think this topic will become moot.

August 26, 2008 11:01:01 PM

Here is something I just thought about and hate:

I cannot stand playing an fps mmorpg or rpg on a console. Keyboard and mouse along with control over DPI are supreme. If they made a consol that didn't restrict the use of mice and keyboards as well as DPI settings in a game, the silly people using a controler would get smoked. BTW cross platform does not work between PC and 360 because of the restriction of DPI settings (I tried it with Halo2 and it completly blows). Well maybe the next generation of consoles will allow it and then we wont need to have a pc for gaming. They could just put full blown windows on the console. Who am I kidding I love being able to build a gaming monster, its just fun.
August 29, 2008 5:45:00 PM

@tracyfearson You are absolutely correct. The PC market is fast becoming synonymous with the notebook market. However, I would like to know what you think would make PC gaming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer_game come back (if this means making games that play great on a notebook then say so!)

No, what I think will is the attention AMD is making to integrated graphics. They now have an integrated graphics platform for the desktop that can play games at a reasonable level. I think it is just a matter of time till you see that in a notebook.

Once you do, PC games will rebound.
August 30, 2008 3:22:18 AM

If you goto anandtech.com they have a good article for desktop replacement notebooks designed for gaming.

The Saiga is an incredible notebook for gaming performance - but it starts at 2500$ and goes to 5000$+

Cost is going to be a barrier for notebooks becoming a "consolized gaming PC"
August 30, 2008 9:59:31 AM

"Cost is going to be a barrier for notebooks becoming a "consolized gaming PC" "

Currently, this is true.

Most notebooks basically use an integrated graphics solution for power consumption and cost savings.

Historically, such a desgin just didnt "game' well.

Look at AMD latest integrated graphics and the desktop performance. This solution will play games at a reasonable rate. I foresee this happening with notebooks in the near future.

With the current rate of notebook sales compared to desktops and the trend, GPU makers are facing a shrining potential market. How do they keep relevant and insure continued profits moving forwards? Well, if notebooks are selling more then desktops (which they are) then the GPU makers had better target them.

Also, I would like to note that as GPU/CPU fifferences become blurred and quad chips become more of a standard, you will see notebooks at the entry level with graphics performance close to consoles in the near future.

Of course, you will also see consoles with more computer abilities as well.
!