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Second Take: The PC Gaming Slump

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January 17, 2008 5:56:18 AM

I think the constant hardware upgrades has driven most PC gamers to consoles. I'm talking about the casual PC gamers, not hardcore guys like myself. My friends and I used to have LAN parties all the time with our PC's. Now everyone plays on a console at home. Their biggest complaint is the constant hardware upgrading for a PC and all the headaches of compatibilty.

Personally, the price of games has made me think twice about a purchase, especially when I plunked down the big coin for Quakewars:Enemy Territory and was severely disappointed.

I would be curious what the sales numbers are with the online services like Steam. I think they are more significant than you think. I really don't buy anything unless it's on Steam now. It's just too convenient.

Ben
January 17, 2008 6:54:17 AM

What the hell!!? What's with the three camera angles?

This is a conversation between two people. Eliminating the gestures and body language of the non-speaker makes for much less fulfilling viewing.

Please go back to the single camera view showing both Ben and Rob in the one shot.
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January 17, 2008 10:16:51 AM

Can't see the video, it it's place:

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not really sure what's going on.
January 17, 2008 11:02:21 AM

Well when a graphic card cost more than a console its not that strange...
January 17, 2008 11:37:15 AM

in my opinion y pc games are being pirated? ile tell u y , in america a game costs as much as half as they are sold in europe , here they are sold around 60-100$ per title, and does a kid (13-20) afford games that are that expensive? they already had to save up for their pc ( bdw a 8800gt is being sold for 400$ minimum in my country , malta).
it has to become the game publisher's responsability to sell games at a reasonable priceWORLDWIDE, 100$ is quite a lot!
January 17, 2008 11:47:44 AM

Doesn't this happen every few years around the time the new console releases? Everyone starts proclaiming the death of PC gaming because everyone is in love with the new consoles and their PC like graphics.

There are some disturbing trends like the console to PC port thing, shouldn't it be the other way around. The rise of console online multiplayer gaming, which had previously been a strong point of PC gaming (though online PC gaming is still free and that's the way it should stay).

Game mods and custom maps are one of the reasons I still buy PC games over console games when multi format versions are released but we are starting to see those for games like U3 for the PS3 now.

One of the last bastions of PC gaming that the consoles have not really leeched is the mouse and keyboard, except U3 which does support it. If you could use a mouse and keyboard to play FPS games on the console then I might even stray to the dark side. A mouse and keyboard is also the only real way to play strategy games.

Hopefully we will have an upswing in PC gaming this year with some of the big title releases and the newness factor wearing off of the consoles. ATI and NVidia have finally started to realise that not everyone wants to spend $600 on a new video card every couple of years and have started releasing really nice cards like the ATI 3870 and Nvidia 8800gt for around the $200 price mark, which unfortunately is still close to what a console costs.
January 17, 2008 12:28:16 PM

I think people want to play games on a really big screen. If a PCs had really big screens, people would play more PC games.

I also think people would like to see their digital camera pictures on a really big screen. Same thing with Netflix Instant Videos online.

We need a good living room PC solution. In my mind, this means:
1) HDMI / HDCP video connections
2) S/PDIF audio connections with Dolby Digital Live encoding hardware
3) a 17" wide case that easily stacks with your receiver or DVD player
4) heat and noise that are not noticeable
5) a price that's only $200 more than a gaming console
6) graphics and video quality that's noticeably better than a gaming console
7) takes about the same amount of time as a gaming console to boot

If someone made a PC like that, then PC games sales might be resurrected.
January 17, 2008 12:30:04 PM

Well, i think it's not so strange that the console is getting all the attention.

It's like windows came to the PC. It was easier to use (instead of linux or dos) and it worked. now people(most likely kids and there parants) dont want to spend much money on a game PC. Kids don't have much money and they look and say" woow you got a PS3 or Xbox 360" but i've never heard a kid say "woow you got a Nvidia 8800 Ultra" or anything like that.
Also, A game PC needs to be upgraded so it can play the latest games, a console will play all the games that comes out.
So why buy a game PC when a console is easier and cheaper. The only thing is that console games are more expensive then PC games.
Although the Game PC has better graphics, Kids dont really care.

So i would not be surprised if in 10 years the game PC will be gone.

Just for the record: I don't have a console, i got a game PC.
January 17, 2008 12:33:34 PM

Greetings!

Ben and Ron, you are approaching the probem from the wrong angle.

Its not that the PC games are not getting played or that there is a shift from PC to consoles, its that the PC games are getting pirated in massive numbers.

Go and check the torrent sites that display the number of downloads of the torrent file.

Just for one version of CoD4 PC managed, from several torrent sites, to add 536.672 torrent downloads, to these one would need to add other versions, the downloads from the torrent sites that dont display the number of downloads and other sources of piracy.

PS: Before commenting this post, please check for yourselves.
January 17, 2008 2:21:47 PM

I'd agree with impar. PC games are constantly going to have to battle piracy. It wasn't that long ago, in college, that I was downloading nearly every title that I played. Pirating games was cheap, fast and (sadly) really easy.

Also, for the vast majority of pirated games, who cares if you don't get online support. Games line Cane and Lynch and even Crysis - the multiplayer aspect isn't the draw. So for any kid in college or with a decent download speed, pirating a free game to play the SP experience is worth losing subpar multiplayer.

I know that I'm going to get flamed for this but PC games *NEED* to beef up their security measures against piracy. Bioshock got in a lot of trouble about their measures but maybe they were heading in the right direction. If every PC game was as secure as console games I think we'd see significant sale improvements.

Just a thought, what if every PC game needed to be verified via internet connection before it could be played. The age of PCs without internet is over and it'd make hacking the game all that much harder.

Another big thing to consider is that while kids here in America download there games for free much of the rest of the world relies on pirated burned copies that they can purchase (on the streets) for just a few bucks. PC games are making pirates rich overseas and hurting sales here at home. I can attest to the fact that any-where overseas you can find a pirated version of ANY game far easier than you can purchase it legally. The entire distribution system is unfortunately built to hurt sales.
January 17, 2008 2:28:35 PM

I am a casual gamer with a console and a high end pc that i just built. I have lots of friends that come over regularly to play games. It is so much easier to play on my console than to play on a computer. It is much less expensive too. The online capabilities are better in my opinion as well.

Until PCs make hooking the computer and tv together easier and less expensive, without losing graphics. Consoles will win.
My rig cost 2500 to build, my tv and xbox cost 1200. Until the prices are similer consoles will win.
Until piracy is more difficult consoles will win.

The biggest point that has been overlooked by all has been that console games can be resold and bought used. PC games can only be bought for full price or pirated.
Many games suck, and no one wants to pay full price for a sucky game. To try out a low rated game you have to rent or pirate.

In the end computers will win. One day computers and tv will be together as one. Computers will replace the dvd player, dvr, and console. Technology just has not cought up.
January 17, 2008 2:44:50 PM

Quote:
In the end computers will win. One day computers and tv will be together as one. Computers will replace the dvd player, dvr, and console. Technology just has not cought up.


I tend to agree with you about ds367 although I think Sony and Microsoft are trying to make their consoles into the branded all in one entertainment "computers" of the future.

-Ben
January 17, 2008 3:04:13 PM

1. I think that WoW and other MMOs are killing sales of a lot of other PC titles. Those games eat up huge, HUGE amounts of gaming time. When I was playing Lineage II, it was to the exclusion of almost any other games. I let a friend of mine that is a big WoW player borrow a few good titles and he has not touched them (or any other PC games) in over nine months.

2. Have PC game sales ever been in the league that Console titles are going at now? Did PC titles ever come out selling millions of copies? I know there were a handful, but what were avergae numbers like? It seems that maybe PC game sales look poor in comparison to the sales in an entirely separate, exploding market for what is essentially a different type of product. I could, of course, be totally wrong here.

3. Piracy is not a percentage sales problem - it is a massive geometric amplification sales problem. I am quite sure that for many titles, there a many, many more pirated copies in the hands of PC gamers than were legitimately purchased. And it is a thousand times worse in foreign markets.

4. I don't buy the upgrade costs argument - I've seen how much it actually costs to purchase a console, its gizmos and titles. I just figure that the big developers are playing to the lowest common denominator and you can push some rather crappy games on those masses at $55 and still sell a couple of million copies.

5. Its not getting any smarter out there. A certain amount of technical sophistication is required to maintain a semi-decent PC and that sophistication is getting shipped overseas. Personally, I think this is a bad trend.

An edit in reply to Ben's post above - I could not agree more. I've been advancing this idea for a long time now - the next "next gen" consoles will be Microsoft and Sony computers - entirely proprietary. Of course, I did not have to be a psychic to make this prediction - Microsoft and Sony long ago announced their plans to do just this.

This is, of course, a terrible development.....
January 17, 2008 3:09:49 PM

Supreme Commander sold way over a million copies in 2007. You didn't even mention it. :) 

In addition, console games are just as pirated as PC games. PC pirated games are easier to install though, you don't have to burn an image to a DVD.

Quote:
In the end computers will win. One day computers and tv will be together as one. Computers will replace the dvd player, dvr, and console. Technology just has not cought up.


My DVD player, DVR and media center is already a computer. :) 
January 17, 2008 3:26:46 PM

Greetings!
Ineffigy said:
Supreme Commander sold way over a million copies in 2007.
Source of that info?

January 17, 2008 3:31:25 PM

dogman-x said:
I think people want to play games on a really big screen. If a PCs had really big screens, people would play more PC games.

I also think people would like to see their digital camera pictures on a really big screen. Same thing with Netflix Instant Videos online.

We need a good living room PC solution. In my mind, this means:
1) HDMI / HDCP video connections
2) S/PDIF audio connections with Dolby Digital Live encoding hardware
3) a 17" wide case that easily stacks with your receiver or DVD player
4) heat and noise that are not noticeable
5) a price that's only $200 more than a gaming console
6) graphics and video quality that's noticeably better than a gaming console
7) takes about the same amount of time as a gaming console to boot

If someone made a PC like that, then PC games sales might be resurrected.


Like the majority of console gamers, you sir, are uninformed. What makes you think you can't hook a PC up to a big screen any easier than a console can be hooked up? Many HDTVs have vga inputs and some video cards even have HDMI outs. All video cards have a DVI out which you can use a DVI to HDMI cable (buy it for six bucks online) to output crystal clear graphics to an HDTV. Too many people seem to associate console games with HDTV's as if they were package deals. Sorry, but if you want to include an HDTV, you gotta spend an extra thousand bucks in addition to the 300-400 dollar console. All an HDTV is, is an oversized LCD monitor that generally doesn't support as high of resolutions. So yea.. This argument doesn't hold since you can use a TV for PC gaming.

I'd also like to address your points.

1) I already have one of these. A decent HTPC costs less than the PS3 when it first came out. Yes, it supports HDCP and I have an HDMI to DVI cable hooking it up to an HDTV.
2) There are a TON of motherboards with optical/coax spdif output built in. Get on of these and stick it in your htpc.
3) There are a TON of cases that fit this criteria. You can either buy a pre-built one or build your own. I use an Antec Fusion and it blends in perfectly with the entertainment center. I always get comments like "That's a computer?" because most just think its part of the entertainment center.
4) My HTPC is dead silent. This depends a lot on the components you get. If you get a good case, a good PSU, and an aftermarket cooler then a silent setup is easy to obtain.
5) Here's a quick PC build.
$150 - HTPC Case (the Antec fusion includes a psu that is sufficient for this rig)
$100 - CPU
$160 - ATI 3850
$60 - mATX mobo with spdif
$60 - 250 gig HD
$30 - 2 gigs of ram
$30 - DVD Burner
$20 - Keyboard & mouse

$610 - Total With an exception of the Wii, I'd say this fits within the 200 dollar range of consoles. I could have put in cheaper components, but I was going for something that could exceed the performance of a console, which this does. This setup includes a faster CPU, a superior video card, larger HD, DVD burner, and a machine that does far more than any console.

Its hard for me to include an OS cost in this setup as I have three copies of XP pro, 1 copy of Vista ultimate, and 1 copy of Vista enterprise lying around. I never paid more than 20 dollars for any of these (most were free) either through 80 percent discounts from friends working at MS, MSDNAA, or the customer feedback program through Microsoft where they gave me a free copy of vista ultimate. A lot of people have retail copies lying around from old machines that have been discarded as well.

6) Even with a mediocre system like the one I put together, its still gonna have superior graphics to a console. If you wanted to spend a few hundred dollars more, you could put together quite a nice system that would kick the trash out of any console.
7) Not much you can do about startup time. Keep in mind this is still only about 30 seconds. But also remember that startup is a one time thing for PCs. Once its up you can leave it running for days if you'd like. If you are worried about power then let the thing go in standby which it only takes 5-10 seconds to come out of. I wouldn't consider startup to be a significant drawback of PCs as its not much time we are talking about.

In summary, all of your criteria are already met for PCs. What it comes down to is the world is filled with noob console gamers who think its difficult to insert a cd into the drive and make a few mouse clicks to install a game. Consoles are doing well because with each generation, kids are getting dumber. Kids are also extremely lazy these days.

******

Shez: You are wrong. If they increased the security measures on PC games, they would kill off PC gaming entirely. The majority of the PC games I buy are ones that I've downloaded and played first. Once I decide I like the title, I go out and buy it. Sometimes even a few months later. I would guess that Crysis and CoD4 will see a pickup of sales throughout 2008 as people upgrade their PCs and people who have downloaded and played the games decide they are worth it to buy. I can honestly say that I would have never bought titles like CoD4 if I hadn't downloaded and played it first. It wasn't til I played it that I realize its worth and went out and bought it.
January 17, 2008 3:44:16 PM

Ineffigy said:
Supreme Commander sold way over a million copies in 2007. You didn't even mention it. :) 

In addition, console games are just as pirated as PC games. PC pirated games are easier to install though, you don't have to burn an image to a DVD.

Quote:
In the end computers will win. One day computers and tv will be together as one. Computers will replace the dvd player, dvr, and console. Technology just has not cought up.


My DVD player, DVR and media center is already a computer. :) 


Are you sure about Supreme Commander? I searched for official numbers on that game but couldn't find any. But after checking the sales charts last spring, I saw that it dropped out of the top 10 after about a month.

As for piracy, I've gone on rants before, so I'll try to keep it short: I agree with Impar and Shez. Look, I was as upset as anybody with BioShock's DRM (well, maybe not as pissed as Ben Sengokou -- I didn't bash the game with a hammer, after all). But here's the thing: people steal software all the time. And some PC gamers, sadly, think it's their Web-given right to download torrents of CoD4, BioShock, and others without every paying a dime. And it pisses me off. Why? Because they're ruining things for the rest of us; their theft will only lead to more excessive DRM for honest customers. And worse, it hurts the PC gaming business and scares off developers. Can you blame studios that want to bypass the PC audience when they look at how an Xbox 360 version is doing compared to a PC version? The numbers just aren't there for a lot of games. And yes, piracy does happen on the consoles -- look at Halo 3 -- but I'm not sure I'd go so far to say it happens with as much frequency as PC games. And that's probably because of the audience: console gamers are largerly plug-and-play types with less technical savvy than PC gamers.

January 17, 2008 3:50:21 PM

winkgood said:
Shez: You are wrong. If they increased the security measures on PC games, they would kill off PC gaming entirely. The majority of the PC games I buy are ones that I've downloaded and played first. Once I decide I like the title, I go out and buy it. Sometimes even a few months later. I would guess that Crysis and CoD4 will see a pickup of sales throughout 2008 as people upgrade their PCs and people who have downloaded and played the games decide they are worth it to buy. I can honestly say that I would have never bought titles like CoD4 if I hadn't downloaded and played it first. It wasn't til I played it that I realize its worth and went out and bought it.


Not to sound like a corporate lacky but...Winkgood, isn't this what PC game demos are for? I take you at your word, sir, and trust that you do in fact pay for games that you've downloaded for free. But I've state this before and I'll continue to state it: I think gamers such as yourself that use a personal honor code are in the minority out there, maybe even the vast minority. And anyone who thinks otherwise is living in Cindarella's castle, quite frankly.
January 17, 2008 3:50:51 PM

I used to be a pc only gamer but i got really p***ed off with having to up grade so often my mate bought a pc for 2 grand a year and a half ago and ps3 and 360 graphics have allready near on caught up pc. grapics have allways been superior to consoles but they are catching up real fast and when the price diference is nearly £1500 i can no longer see the point in up grading so i bought a 360 last year instead of getting a new gfx card and mainboard because obviously my 2 year old motherboard was no longer compatable with new cards. and i really dont regret it the only games i play on pc now are rts because the keyboard and mouse is the only way but as soon as microsoft make them compatable with games (which i cant see being to much longer as you can already use a usb keyboard to type) I am sad to say my beatup old grey box will be confined to doing the thing it does best now downloading films and music.
January 17, 2008 4:05:52 PM

im using my pc on my 37" 1080p hdtv now
January 17, 2008 4:08:23 PM

lol the red neck test is proper funny
January 17, 2008 4:20:21 PM

I'm totally with Rob and Shez and co. on the anti-piracy measures. As a legit buyer, I have never had any ethical issues with those measures. Further, as a legit buyer, I've never encountered any technical problems either, although I'm probbaly a little more sophisticated than the average PC user.

I also agree with Rob about the download first, then buy arguments. Come on - am I supposed to believe that any appreciable percentage of the people D/Ling games are then going out and legitimately purchasing them? If you only need to get a feel for whether the game will be worthwhile, then D/L the demo.

I despise big corporations as much as anyone, but there is no excuse for the mass stealing of software that people seem to think is acceptable these days.
January 17, 2008 4:31:01 PM

I think that there's a multitude of factors that surround the current slump:

1) Yes, piracy does steal some sales away but not all of them. There is definitely a lot of media (not just games) that I go and pirate because I can't afford to go out and buy all of that media - for me, its either a pirate or not seeing/hearing/playing it at all.
How do you combat piracy?
a) It's generally more secure DRM for games - BioShock being the prime example. I went out and bought BioShock because I was pretty psyched about the game and nobody had a crack out for it around release. Week later, crack was out, but game's security did it's job in getting me to actually buy the game. There were other games I bought that had secure DRM in them as well, they've been hacked by now but the system was immature - the activation programs for Flight Simulator X and Halo 2 Vista - quite similar to activating a copy of Windows, using the same MS system, this is essentially what BioShock did and would work too.
b) Provide online incentives for people. If the game is done properly in this day and age no cracked game should be playable online (except for cracked servers) - all that you need to do is authenticate valid (not cracked) client CD-keys and make sure that all servers contact a central database - make it much harder for people to get to cracked servers. Besides that, make sure that people actually want to play the game online - main reason number 1 why COD4 was a launch day purchase for me. This is in part why MMO's are getting more popular with developers - it's almost impossible to pirate a game like WoW because of the need for accounts to be authenticated, besides the monthly stream of player revenue. This can also be something like DLC (and, in turn, making sure that the DLC isn't pirated - associate DLC with relevant accounts). Best non-MMO game in recent memory to do these concepts right was Battlefield 2/2142.
c) Release free, very heavily ad-supported versions of the game alongside. I'm not talking about the kind of ad-support that was in the free version of Far Cry that was released a couple months ago - there were no ads right in the game, only in the loading screen, and what there was was EXTREMELY annoying. Developers would have to integrate the ads right into the game in a visual-only, non-obtrusive way - think, for example, in GTA all the shops would be real-life shops, food stores would be McDonalds, etc. If Burnout Paradise were to come to the PC, instead of "auto-repair shops" they would be "Michelin shops" or something like that. People will download an ad-supported version over a cracked version if it means they don't have to deal with cracked servers and the like and the ads are not that obtrusive.

2) The cost. For the average consumer, it's simple - it's either $1500 for a mainstream desktop gaming PC or $400 for a console. But it's not just that - its also the relative cost of games. Used to be, you spent $40-$50 or so on a game and you got at LEAST 20 hours or more, not including multiplayer, out of it. Now? 7-8 hours for $50. Blaze through the game in a weekend, and it doesn't make sense to spend $60 every weekend, so people turn to piracy to get more entertainment on a regular basis. This is in part why the Orange Box was very successful on PC's - cheap, good, large amounts of content in that $50 package. Yes, I know it costs much more now to make AAA titles - all I can say is, part of that cost is in piracy and piracy occurs mainly because of the cost. It's a cycle, and what matters is who's going to break it first - piracy sure isn't.

3) System requirements. Joe Shmoe isn't going to buy a PC game if either he thinks it may not run, he thinks it won't run, or it will not run period. Vista tried to fix this - having the Vista Experience score, Aero, etc. Problem was, they didn't do enough. Vista, including Aero, can be run with little difficulty on integrated cards, and developers don't use the 1.0-5.9 scale for system requirements - and I don't blame the developers, because games aren't written to run based on numbers, they're written to run based on specific cards and chipsets, which average Joe doesn't understand... you get the idea. Someone needs to get a bunch of heads together and figure out a way to fix this.

4) Retail attitudes. This is HUGE - considering the fact that the average Joe drives the bulk of all sales and doesn't understand how to pirate. There are 2 main things here:
a) Retail presence. Like mentioned in the video, you walk into a Best Buy and there's a crummy shelf in the back that might not even have any new titles on it whereas console games have a large number of titles, etc etc. Get those games out in the open where people will see them - Games For Windows was a good start but not enough.
b) Used games. It's really easy for console gamers to buy and sell used games because retailers know that the used game that they sell will work for the customer (if the disc isn't scratched up, etc). PC games? Nope - not only are they hardly ever sold, driving retail costs up for PC gamers, but most retailers will not even take a return for an opened PC game because they are afraid that whoever they sell it to will try to install it with a used CD-Key. Possible fix? You would have to find a way to get retailers a way to input a CD-key and a game title to see whether or not the key is valid - but there are too many ways for hackers to exploit the system - brute force CD-key checks among other things. Essentially, you need to find a way to imprint the CD-key onto the disc and get rid of the alpha-numeric CD-key altogether and have the retailer just slide in the disc in question and see whether they would be able to resell it - this would also potentially help secure games against piracy.

But really, all I want is keyboard and mouse support for consoles. The PS3 is making strides here with keyboard and mouse support for at least UT3 (I don't follow most games on the PS3 seeing as how I don't have one) and once the 360 can get it in for games my gaming PC is going up on eBay. Wouldn't be hard either - theres 2 USB ports on the front, one for the mouse and one for the keyboard, all MS has gotta do is convert the basic, standard keyboard and mouse drivers from Windows which all USB keyboards and mice support, put it on the 360 in a software update, and then put in a sub-blade that let's you map the various buttons on a controller to the mouse/keyboard for games that don't support a keyboard or a mouse directly.
January 17, 2008 4:34:03 PM

I'm sure piracy is a big factor, but think about the fact that Call of Duty 4 sold over 1 million copies on the xbox. So, that's 1 million people that aren't playing it on their PC. Crysis also hasn't sold well because nobody has a computer that can play it as it's meant to be seen.
January 17, 2008 4:40:50 PM

From what I can see, PC gaming isn't dead or dying, but is in a definite slump in terms of NEW GAME SALES. Things that can help PC gaming:

More SaaS (software as a service). New services should offer better security options, game variety, etc. This would go a long way to reducing piracy issues and provide companies with a more stable stream of revenue over time vs. large, 1-time software purchases.
Better QA during the development process. Gamers have less and less patience with post-launch bugs, especially since the relatively higher stability of console titles is now the benchmark.
Leverage that which makes the PC unique. Better in-game communication experience, richer interface options, and graphics that exceed the consoles but don't require a full system upgrade. Combine that with unique content and the ability for the community to build mods/customizations.

I own a LAN Center, and while interest in social console gaming is increasing (slowly), the vast majority of our guests are PC gamers. But if you think about some of the posts above, that sort of makes sense. People get the social gaming experience without having to worry about hardware upgrades, compatibility headaches, etc. because we do that for them. What's also interesting is that guests aren't clamoring for the latest PC games. TF2 is most popular "new" game, but most people are still playing older, highly popular games with large multiplayer populations.

Make a PC game fun (not just bleeding-edge eye candy) and actively cultivate a community around it. That's the way to go, and is much easier said than done.

January 17, 2008 5:00:52 PM

World of Warcraft is the culprit. Look at the user base. It was what? 8 million subscribers at the end of 2006? Plus another million in 2007?

As mentioned before, peeps that play WoW play little else, if anything. And has nothing to do with the amount of WoW copies sold in 2007 because its subscription based.

The simple fact that the editors did not take this under advisement while blasting the PC market shows how little they truly know. You can't just look at PC game sells, look at PC games played (which displays true market share).
January 17, 2008 5:04:24 PM

marclane773 said:
I used to be a pc only gamer but i got really p***ed off with having to up grade so often my mate bought a pc for 2 grand a year and a half ago and ps3 and 360 graphics have allready near on caught up pc. grapics have allways been superior to consoles but they are catching up real fast and when the price diference is nearly £1500 i can no longer see the point in up grading so i bought a 360 last year instead of getting a new gfx card and mainboard because obviously my 2 year old motherboard was no longer compatable with new cards. and i really dont regret it the only games i play on pc now are rts because the keyboard and mouse is the only way but as soon as microsoft make them compatable with games (which i cant see being to much longer as you can already use a usb keyboard to type) I am sad to say my beatup old grey box will be confined to doing the thing it does best now downloading films and music.


Why are you spending two grand every time you upgrade your PC? For less than half that you can build a PC that can handle any game you throw at it (although obviously not crysis at max settings). Spending two grand on a machine is for someone with very deep pockets where money isn't really an issue. For less than a thousand, you can buy a good machine which will last several years with only minor upgrades along the way. You aren't just getting a gaming machine either. You are getting a full on computer that does much more than a console will.
January 17, 2008 5:12:16 PM

Chazwuzzer said:
I'm totally with Rob and Shez and co. on the anti-piracy measures. As a legit buyer, I have never had any ethical issues with those measures. Further, as a legit buyer, I've never encountered any technical problems either, although I'm probbaly a little more sophisticated than the average PC user.

I also agree with Rob about the download first, then buy arguments. Come on - am I supposed to believe that any appreciable percentage of the people D/Ling games are then going out and legitimately purchasing them? If you only need to get a feel for whether the game will be worthwhile, then D/L the demo.

I despise big corporations as much as anyone, but there is no excuse for the mass stealing of software that people seem to think is acceptable these days.


Yes, lets include root kits with all PC games. That'll fix the problem for sure. The thing that studios fail to realize is the problem isn't the anti piracy measures. If you completely locked down PC games to the point where you had to do some sort of online activation to play (and every time the game loads) then the likely result would be far fewer people playing PC games. The real problem lies in pricing. I've taken several trips to Thailand and every time I'm there I pickup a few PC games because they sell for less than half the price that they do in the US. Sometimes I get games that I'd never buy in the US because the prices are just too high to justify getting the game. For many people who pirate, the choice is pirate or not play the game at all. In this instance, cracking down in piracy would do nothing to help game sales as these people simply wouldn't play those games. If they lowered the pricing instead and focussed on volume sales then they would do much better. The same goes for music and movies. Piracy isn't something that can be corrected through clever protective measures. Its a flaw of over pricing things to the point where people would rather obtain things illegally than pay the high price.
January 17, 2008 5:17:52 PM

robwright said:
Are you sure about Supreme Commander? I searched for official numbers on that game but couldn't find any. But after checking the sales charts last spring, I saw that it dropped out of the top 10 after about a month.


We had a discussion about the sales of Supreme Commander in GPGNet with GPG. I'll ask tonight and see if I can get a more accurate number of the sales for 2007 in total. But we were celebrating hitting the 1 million sales mark back in fall.
January 17, 2008 5:20:33 PM

Quote:
And yes, piracy does happen on the consoles -- look at Halo 3 -- but I'm not sure I'd go so far to say it happens with as much frequency as PC games. And that's probably because of the audience: console gamers are largerly plug-and-play types with less technical savvy than PC gamers.


Yeah, I agree with your assessment here. You generally need to have a computer to pirate a console game in the first place.
January 17, 2008 5:47:20 PM

Ineffigy said:
We had a discussion about the sales of Supreme Commander in GPGNet with GPG. I'll ask tonight and see if I can get a more accurate number of the sales for 2007 in total. But we were celebrating hitting the 1 million sales mark back in fall.


Well, for now I'd like to retract my statement. I talked with Pitt over at GPG and he said they don't get numbers from THQ, but when I last talked about it I was talking to SonOfShagrat, so I'll speak with him again and repost. What I can confirm is that they have at least 212,636 sales (since that is the number of players in GPGnet). I couldn't imagine that the number of sales vs players registered could be that far off.

SupCom does have over 1.5 mil games played and maybe that was what I was thinking.
January 17, 2008 5:53:21 PM

Wink...

Yeah - I have bought some games when travelling through SE Asia as well - half price.

Still, your argument flops when it comes to pricing - I don't see any evidence to support the idea that if game producers cut the price in half (where a D/Ler such as yourself apparently feels the price point should be) that a significant number of D/Lers would start purchasing legit copies of games that have no piracy protection. If that happened, they could sell PC titles at $5 each and make a killing. But I don't see it happening - Look at how cheap Netflix is and people still D/L movies like crazy.

And root kits as anti-piracy protection? Come on. I just said that I generally don't have a problem with anti-piracy efforts.

My main beef with some anti-piracy techniques, such as online activation, is the legacy game issue - what happens when the company stops supporting the activation? Theoretically, if the measures are hack-proof, then the software is dead at that point.
January 17, 2008 6:04:41 PM

There are three reasons I can think of that really make me fear for the future of PC gaming. Vista, Vista and Vista. If Vista with it's direct X10 is supposed to be the future.... PC gaming's future took a kick to the groin.
January 17, 2008 6:13:56 PM

winkgood said:
Why are you spending two grand every time you upgrade your PC? For less than half that you can build a PC that can handle any game you throw at it (although obviously not crysis at max settings). Spending two grand on a machine is for someone with very deep pockets where money isn't really an issue. For less than a thousand, you can buy a good machine which will last several years with only minor upgrades along the way. You aren't just getting a gaming machine either. You are getting a full on computer that does much more than a console will.


no i said my friend bought his for 2k i have never bought a pc off the shelf i built my own pcs why pay some numpty in a factory to do some thing u can do your self. the point i was trying to make was consoles have a minimum life of around 5 years and then u have to pay 300 - 400 pound for a new one that will play all the new games out of the box for another 5 years how much would you spend keeping a pc up to standerd. I honestly do prefer pcs but I can know longer be arsed and i think thats the biggest problem with pc gaming

p.s if developers can make a big title game and only sell 100,000 copys at 50 quid why cant they sell them for 20 - 25 pound and sell 200,000 - 300,000 copys if not many more because they would be so much cheaper than console games. this would make me get out my screwdrivers and upgrade but unfortunatly i expect mouse and keyboard support on console games will come along before greedy exsecutives cut there prices.how much do films cost to make compaired to games bairing in mind games are supposed to be catching up movies in sales and a dvd is like a tener.
January 17, 2008 6:21:04 PM

I believe that console gaming has obliterated PC gaming. I think it's mostly because people don't want to handle a lot of controls like the PC gamers usually do. Software piracy. Hardware changes. Multi-platform gaming. I think all of these things have contributed to the downfall of PC games.

However, in all honesty, gaming in general has gone down since PC gaming started fading. As Ben and Rob were saying, companies are foregoing dev on the PC vs. a console because people are generally more likely to buy it for console. And then, companies still want to have PC gamers in there for the few extra copies that we buy, so they develop for multiple platforms. They spend their dev time on porting to other formats that the game overall isn't all that great.

Best example I can think of right now, Unreal Tournament III. I was really looking forward to that game. I mean, for me, the UT series has been the best multiplayer FPS that just has the speed and arcade-y style that I love. I loved UT2k4. But when UT3 came out, I was like, "Where are the 20 maps for each game type? What happened to assault mode? Why is the menu system this terrible?" ANd many other complaints. I had such high expectations for the game, and they were all absolutely crushed because it seems they just didn't put as much time in developing an awesome game than they did for marketing it to more people.

To me, it just seems like few companies are focusing on making good games and are just hoping to make a buck in the now increasingly popular gaming community, which I blame mostly on Halo. People saw the console success of Halo and wanted to exactly what they did. And, in all honesty, that game didn't do anything that we PC people have already seen... and already seen better of. It's just that people had the console and it sold bunches and bunches. And then Halo 2 came out and it sold. And, since then, games have gotten shorter and shorter... and the general quality of games has just gone down, in my opinion.

There are, though, some companies that do give us some hope in the swamp of terrible corporate decisions. Valve, for example, has made quality games ever since they came out... And I honestly can't think of another company that has ever been as consistent as they have. The point is though, until gaming companies realize they're quality is suffering because of it, PC gaming will get worse. And, as I said, gaming in general.

Also, something not mentioned yet, at least not that my skimming has picked up, MMO's. When I was a hardcore WoW kid, I kinda stopped playing games like C&C Generals, DotA, my monthly replay of HL2. 15 dollars a month goes to dedicating hours and hours into a grind machine like WoW and, you know, gamers - most of whom are probably students, college or otherwise - are budgeting their free time playing from game to game. And WoW is such a pick up and play kind of game, you just kind of opt for that. And since you're already dishing out a monthly fee, might as well get your money's worth of game time in rather than paying 50-60 for a 4-6 hour game.
January 17, 2008 6:39:37 PM

Chazwuzzer said:
Wink...

Yeah - I have bought some games when travelling through SE Asia as well - half price.

Still, your argument flops when it comes to pricing - I don't see any evidence to support the idea that if game producers cut the price in half (where a D/Ler such as yourself apparently feels the price point should be) that a significant number of D/Lers would start purchasing legit copies of games that have no piracy protection. If that happened, they could sell PC titles at $5 each and make a killing. But I don't see it happening - Look at how cheap Netflix is and people still D/L movies like crazy.

And root kits as anti-piracy protection? Come on. I just said that I generally don't have a problem with anti-piracy efforts.

My main beef with some anti-piracy techniques, such as online activation, is the legacy game issue - what happens when the company stops supporting the activation? Theoretically, if the measures are hack-proof, then the software is dead at that point.


Not so. If games were selling for five dollars why would anyone go through the hassle of downloading and cracking games to save five bucks? On black friday, Bestbuy had the Orange Box selling for 25 bucks and it sold like hotcakes. I sent a text to like ten of my friends telling them about the bestbuy deal and most of them went out and bought it right away once they found out it was selling at that price. Most of these friends I can confirm have downloaded and played HL2 before but weren't willing to shell out 40-50 bucks to buy it. Piracy is a direct result of prices being too high, period. If you don't think price affects demand you should really take a basic economics course.

Now there are some games that people will buy regardless of the price. I am a firm believer that Starcraft II will make a killing on sales when it comes out. I will be the first in line to hand over fifty dollars to get it. This is because I know Blizzard releases quality games and that Starcraft will undoubtedly not disappoint. Other games, I like to investigate before investing into them. Lowering prices on games would help to alleviate some of the concerns of buying a new game. It wouldn't be such a big decision if games were only 10-15 bucks. I would have no problems spending ten bucks on some random game off the shelf at my local EBGames even if I knew very little about the game other than whats on the front and back of the box.

I just wanted to touch back on the subject mentioned earlier of how downloaders hurt game sales. The vast majority of piracy does not affect game sales because those people wouldn't pay 50 dollars for the game even if there were no way to pirate it. See econ 110 for more details on this.

A few have mentioned the impact of games like MMO's on pc game sales. I think they've hit it right on the mark. The millions of addicts out there are so entrenched in their virtual worlds that they've closed off the idea of playing any other PC games. I know this firsthand because I played Guildwars for a good year and a half. What a waste of life that was. I missed so many great games that came out during that time because of a stupid online game. WoW users are even dumber. They actually pay a monthly fee for their addiction. A year's worth of WoW subscription fees could have bought them a new video card. Or four games like Crysis, CoD4, Bioshock, and Orange Box. Is it fair to assume that the majority of MMO game players are what we call PC gamers and if they weren't playing their online games then they'd be playing other PC games? If we can make such an assumption, then we can also assume that the ten million or so people playing MMO's would probably be buying PC games if not for MMO's.
January 17, 2008 6:45:13 PM

Shez said:
I know that I'm going to get flamed for this but PC games *NEED* to beef up their security measures against piracy. Bioshock got in a lot of trouble about their measures but maybe they were heading in the right direction. If every PC game was as secure as console games I think we'd see significant sale improvements.



I disagree. There is really no kind of security that can't be cracked, hacked, or made to run. The stronger the security the bigger the challenge to hackers and crackers and thus just another ego boost for the hacker to overcome it.

How many billions of dollars can be spent on security that does nothing but hinder the actual game buying public? You know the hackers / crackers of the world don't have to mess with STEAM or any other kind of security implementation because the crack / hack is made to bypass what ever security implementation there is.

Why don't we focus on the real issue and that is diversity in the games that are programmed? How many war game titles are there? How many tycoon sims are there? How many games are scripted 1 line wonders? I think most of us have grown long tired of these types of games.

I think if game developers did more to differentiate themselves from the competition and what is available on the game shelf I think we'd see the PC platform take off again.

The biggest problem is we have nothing but the same 'ole - same 'ole. If developers just continue to pummel us with WAR game this and WAR game that and tycoon this and tycoon that the PC game industry will stay the way it is.

Give us something to be excited about and I think you'd see a big recovery in the sales department. Put too many restrictions / security on a game making it a hassle for the person actually purchasing the game and it will discourage sales and encourage piracy because peeps won't have a bunch of hoops to jump through just to play a game.

Security should only be there to discourage the ameteur crook, anything more than that and you take away from the game playing experience of the actual purchaser and in most cases deter additional sales. After a long hard day at work the last thing I want to do is wrestle with game I bought because the security is unreasonable.

It wouldn't take me long to spend my time and money on other entertainment. This only becomes more obvious when the titles I have to choose among are repeat wonders of previous years repackaged in a new wrapper.
January 17, 2008 6:46:17 PM

Generic....

Yeah - I'm not sure that I would say that consoles have obliterated PC gaming. The way that I see it, most PC gamers are an older crowd whose ranks are just not being replaced as we get older. A young gamer probably plays 2-3 or more times (or more) as many titles as I do in a year and they grew up on consoles.

And I agree that the effect of the exploding console market has hurt game quality. Too me, it there is just a fundamental difference in the way that I look at games and the console mentality. When I first heard console gamers talking about "beating" games like it was some sort of accomplishment, I was dumbfounded. I mean, aren't the games designed to be "beat"? I play games to enjoy them. I had a blast with Daggerfall and never even came close to "beating" that title. And then there's the whole "Level" "Boss" "PowerUp" paradigm that is just so repetetive and lame. I dunno.....

Quick Edit to Wink...

OK, that's some proof. Still, I'm not convinced that you and your friends represent the majority of D/Lers out there. Again - I refer to Netflix - it is so damned cheap and easy to get a subscription and you can get any release without even leaving your house and people still D/L movies. Not to mention the fact that you can pick up legit DVDs on the cheap these days.

However, I would like to see what would happen to the PC game market if titles suddently went to $20-$25 across the board. I'd be happy as heck if you were were right and I'd glady admit that I was horribly wrong about the whole thing.
January 17, 2008 7:00:18 PM

Ok i moved the pc to the living room, connected to the 32" lcd tv using hdmi and setting resolution 1920x1080. Connected 5.1 speakers, and then?
I needed 300€ for a gpu and new m/b,cpu,ram another 600€ (old pc had AGP so i changed everything).A wireless keyboard/mouse set? (that is ok because input devices dont need upgrade for up to 5-6 years) another 100€.
I think 1000€ is enough(using old IDE HDD and DVD RW ,or wait a minute i bought 4 DVD RW LITEON,NEC,NEC,SONY-NEC-OPTRIAC or what is it called?)
lets go buy a game now i bought Crysis.....50€. when using XP i could play the game on high detail(not very high, no DX10) at 1280x720 with ~40 frames it was ok but the graphics were not what i was hearing for so long.
Vista Ultimate DSP 168.90€. Crysis now runs (walks) at 1280x720 very high 4aa with 22-25 frames. Do i need a second GPU? +300€ we are up to 1518.90€ i'll say 1520€. or not? My PSU doesn't have the power for both cards (ATI 2900XT). 200€ for the PSU we are at 1720€.
ok time to play
the first day i get to enter the mountain and get inside the alien thing.
second day i fight all the way back to the carrier and the game ends.
1720€...........


When i hear that COD4 game of the year has about 5-6 hours gameplay i don't feel like paying another 50€ to finish it in an evening. i could go and have sex in a pleasure house (i dont know how is it called in english, bordelo maybe?) twice.

did it.
and looking to the money i spended i wished i hade a time machine or omni.

at least i bought moto gp 07 and even when you finish a season you dont stop playing you can play it any time you feel like speed or so. play some 3lap races for halh an hour and you feel great.where is the gamepad. oh here it is. ok now the game says that vista dont support directplay and i cant use the gamepad because i cant assign the pad to the player or something. i don't care (at first) i have brand new wireless keyboard. oh what the f... i cant assign keyboard keys too i have to play with standard even that they dont help me(i dont use the keyboard on race games but it's time to get used to it).
you cant play whith the keyboard either. the bike doesn't respond when pressing three keys at the same time(accelerate+direction+rider lean or brake+direction+rider lean). it's two months i mailed the company for a solution and man, no response. another 50€ less for no reason.
and now we get to the piracy thing.
what piracy and who is the pirate?
who is stripping who?
the money i paid over the last three months i think is enough.
i will not spend a single € for games the next 3 years(ok i'll spend some on the empty DVDs and the 4hour rentals at the dvd store).
January 17, 2008 7:01:11 PM

I've been playing computer games since the late 80's. I've really started to notice the genre as a whole is starting to evolve in the last couple of years. The PC gaming industry has four points of interest we need to consider when discussing the future of PC Gaming. The quality vs. quantity, piracy, porting and online vs. single player components of PC Gaming must be considered.

The quantity of games released has been climbing steadily in gaming overall (including PC's and consoles) for several years. The quality of them is subjective in many ways but, perhaps I am just getting older but to me it seems like there are fewer and fewer must have games for me. It may be a by-product of having been gaming so long that unless somthing is truely a break the mold type of game or is just so darn cool I am in no rush to go out and play it. (aside: My favorite moment in gaming has to be the RE:4 scene where you go up the stairs toward the end an are surrounded and the radio crackles and in that new england accent the pilot of the chopper goes "Take Cover" and you get to sit and watch the ensuing chaos)

Piracy is another part of the problem, when I was in college I pirated almost all of the games I played. It was redicuously easy back then and remains so in many ways. However since I graduated in 2001 and "have a real job" I buy all my games now but, I play (and therefore buy) fewer games than ever before. Is online activation the answer? I don't believe it is a long term answer but I think it is going to become more commonplace as it is easy for developers to implement and provides them a warm-fuzzy that they are protecting their income (which they deserve to do).

Porting is also something that I feel in and of itself is not of concern to PC gamers, as much as the quality of the port. RE4 is the most extreme example I can think of, while technically it may be possible to play with a keyboard it certainly is not something any reasonable person is going to endure. No mouse support in a FPS...this is not 1992. I had never played any RE game until RE4 for PC and was looking forward to the game. However, I was severly disappointed with the controls and had to buy an Xbox360 wireless controller to make it playable. Once I bought the controller it lived up to one of "the best games ever" hype.

Another poster brought up a great point in that games like WOW/EQ/UO/DAOC etc tend to gobble up all of the gaming time that the people who play have. I was a big EQ player, so much that on my main guy I had over 400 days played. I literally had had the game on for over 1 year of my life...wow. This was to the exclusion of all other games out there during my time playing EQ. When I finally left EQ, I had about 5 years worth of games waiting for me to play. (I discovered things like hitman, thief, etc)

If you look at WoW's subcription base and figure in a conservative estimate that most likely at least half of them have passed over purchasing other computer games since they began playing because "they didn't have enough free time that wasn't dedicated to their MMORPG of choice" you would see a significant change in the retail numbers.

In summary, I feel that the PC Games industry as a whole is moving towards more online and connected games vs SP ones. Meanwhile consoles offer easier development, better return and protection against piracy for SP games with the option for devs to port them to the PC platform.

January 17, 2008 7:38:42 PM

Greetings!
robwright said:
And some PC gamers, sadly, think it's their Web-given right to download torrents of CoD4, BioShock, and others without every paying a dime. And it pisses me off. Why? Because they're ruining things for the rest of us; their theft will only lead to more excessive DRM for honest customers. And worse, it hurts the PC gaming business and scares off developers.
And dont you think that deserves its own video?

CoD4 has hit 3.2M units sold in the X360 and 1.6M in PS3. Doubt it will achieve 0.25M in the PC, but its being pirated widely.
January 17, 2008 8:01:38 PM

Apples to Apples
We need to compare apples to apples when it comes to PC gaming vs. Console gaming. Of the arguments I've seen, so many express that gaming PCs are ridiculously expensive compared to consoles. When you are comparing a state-of-the-art machine to a console, then the PC does look a lot more expensive. However, if you compare similar components, then its a very different story. Earlier in this thread, I pieced together a budget gaming rig that exceeds the specs of a console in every way for $610. If I were to use similar components to that of an xbox 360 or PS3 then I could get a much closer price between the console and the PC.

Say for example I used the following components:

Athlon X2 4000+ - $50
One gig of ram - $25
Budget gaming video card comparable to those used in 360/PS3 - $90
80 gig hard drive - $40
Basic DVD-Rom drive - $20
Budget motherboard - $50
Budget Case - $20
Budget PSU - $30
Keyboard/Mouse - $20
Total: $345

That's cheaper than a comparable Xbox 360 and PS3!
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/102-7511337-238496...
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-8524136-486236...

If you reused some parts from a previous system like HD, Optical drive, Keyboard/mouse, and case, then you are looking at about $285. That's dirt cheap for something that can do far more than a console.

I've also heard the argument that you have to keep upgrading the PC. My answer is that you don't need to upgrade your PC any more than you would need to upgrade a console. When a console nears the end of its life (say 4-5 years after release) the games being released on it are far from cutting edge technology. If you compared PC games that have a similar system demand to those of a console then the PC would last you the same 4-5 years that a console would. The problem is that people always want to have the latest games with the best looking graphics. Once again you gotta compare apples to apples. A game like Crysis puts console games to shame in terms of graphics. If it were ever ported to console, then the console would choke unless they dumbed down the settings so as to look like a 2-3 year old game. Because of the impressive graphics in Crysis, a newer and higher end machine is needed. However, there are plenty of games coming out on the PC that scale well to older systems. IMO, CoD4 scales pretty well. At the last LAN party I had with my friends, we had CoD4 running on a Sempron 3000+ and a 9800 pro video card. Another guy was running it on his Athlon XP 2500+ (overclocked) with a geforce 6800 video card. There are other games that will run on even lesser systems than my examples. In summary, the time between upgrades isn't truly a factor when it comes to why PC games are in such a slump.

I think Rob said it best in one of his earlier videos where he referred to console gamers as "noobs". That's really what it comes down to. The masses just want something they can plug in and play their game. They don't care that PC gaming is potentially better because they just want the easiest alternative.
January 17, 2008 8:02:31 PM

Chaz,

Okay, yeah... Maybe obliterated is a strong word, but the point is... the console kiddies that play nowadays seem to be so ADD that the story has to end for them to be satisfied. But, then, everything has to be franchised (into a trilogy, for whatever reason I'll never know... something to do with the appealing number of 3).

I mean, I grew up when the Intellivision was still going around... The INTELLIVISION. Most people don't even know/remember what that hulking monstrosity of a gaming machine that was. But I remember games on that thing. I mean, I started out at like... 4 or 5 playing on consoles.

You know, I'm a pretty young guy... I'm not even out of college yet. But, I grew up on consoles and still believe that PC gaming is the way... the true path to enlightenment. There are many within my generation as well that just simply own a 360 and a dingy laptop hang around in their apartment all day playing Halo 3 and watching porn (maybe a bad image).

But, you know... the point is that the kids who are still in middle school probably play more video games than even I do. Most of the people who play PC games are probably 25-30-ish and then you have the beer drinking frat boys who think LAN parties weren't started by geeks, but by them and Xbox culture.

And I know what you're saying about games simply being fun. I'm one of those dudes that thinks video games are art. Because they are. Storytelling, visuals, sound, characters. All of it for my pure enjoyment. There're tons of people who say HL2 is too easy, but I didn't give a crap. The game is beautifully designed. But new "gamers," if you really want to call them that, play Halo 3 all day and say they've been playing video games for forever. I mean, there's just so much more out there than money making franchises.

And, also, I'd be happy as hell to see games that only last 4 or 5 hours cost 20-30 dollars. New games... games that are, in fact, good. And console games cost whatever they do now. I mean, PC gaming has been pretty straightforward the entire time. I might be misinformed, but doesn't it take some time to code for 360, PS3, and PC... and all of them are different in some way? I'm sure devs have learned how to code on a PC before, why not have our games cost less and console games should pay for the luxury of having a cheaper system and a game that had to be converted for their system?
January 17, 2008 8:03:49 PM

impar said:
Greetings!And dont you think that deserves its own video?


I touched on the subject of piracy last year with the Digg/HD DVD controversy. And I got flamed for it. Badly. And I also discussed my views on piracy in the BioShock DRM video. And a few readers flamed me there, too. So I'm not sure if I want to commit career suicide by launching into a lengthy diatribe about how a significant portion of PC gamers are ruining the industry for the law-abiding majority, and that pirating a game is only going to lead to 1) worse DRM, and 2) a worse selection and lower quality of games for the PC. And to then publicize said diatribe on the front page of Tom's Hardware, where it will no doubt be read by many a PC enthusiast who has probably illegally downloaded a game/movie/song in their lifetime, and then have them call for my resignation while boycotting Tom's Games and all things THG...well...that's not my idea of a good day at the office.

But then again, yeah, it's how I feel. So maybe I'll work up the courage one day and actually take the plunge.
January 17, 2008 8:14:54 PM

There a few reason like ones you guys discussed in the video about lower PC games sales.

Besides increasing hardware requirements, another thing is the OS. Games for PC such as Halo 2 requiring Vista, when onced hacked to run in XP run better in XP. How many people are going to shell $100+ just to switch an OS to run a game.......not many.

The PC hardcore are not affraid to upgrade, tweak or mess with their PCs. The novices, which there are way more of them then us, have no idea what to upgrade or what to do in order to play a game.

Are you telling me joe smoe goes buys his 400 dollar dell or hp or whatever and then wants to play the orange box or CoD4 or Crysis knows what he needs to upgrade or how? Most of us would be like I need a new video card hit up newegg spend some money. These people who are not as savy or knowledgeable and go to say Bestbuy or Circuit city and pay 200-300 bux for a 90 dollar video card (example $300 bux I saw other week at a best buy for a 2600 XT 256).

Anyone with a brain will be like its not worth it, heck what about the majority of low end PC shipping with sub 300w PSUs most of which don't even have a 6 pin PCI-E connector. Heck go look at PSU at your local stores heck a 380w Antec Earthwatts which goes for 60 bux on new eggs retails for 100 bux.

Also when most consoles are released most of the time like say Xbox 1 and 360 and PS3 the big companies lose millions by subsidizing the cost of materials and make these consoles more affordable. WHat was the number then the ps3 came out that Sony was losing $100+ a unit? Maybe if PC hardware maker were willing to do that short term and sell high end PC for 100-200 under cost maybe we see more PC gamers. Bundling software with hardware is a nice start, but hardware manufactures should try and offer better combo deals outside of newegg or tiger direct...... Get more people the hardware to play the games and they will play them.

People like consoles because they are easy, you plug it in you turn it on, and you are good to go. Big screen or no screen. They are simply and 7 year old can hook up almost any game system. Try having a them figure out what parts mommy's PC need to upgrade to play a game. I Know countless friends who are scared to death to open up thier PC case, not even touch anything inside these are people in their late 20's we grew up using PCs and they still have 0 knowledge about hardware. Try telling Aunt Flow that her catalyst drivers are out of date...and just look at her face. Better auto-updating for video drivers etc.

Another things is Control or more specifically controllers, console controllers are getting more fun...games like Rock Band, Guitar Heros, anything on the Wii the controllers are more fun to the end user. I remember back in the early 1990's me and all my friends who owned a PC had a flight stick so many good games used them. Now a days how many games use anything other then a mouse and keyboard? I remember console gamers looking at PC games and seeing how they were better not just graphically but the content of some of the games. Now us PC gamers look at console titles and hope a good port is made.

Since when did the PC lose out on all the cool toys...remember thrustmaster, or CH sticks, Driving wheels, 3d glasses...and Im not just talking about games like Falcon 3.0 or Flight Sim you had games Like Xwing, or Tie fighter a TON of games that used something other then a mouse and keyboard. Now most games even if you get a good gamepad for the pc the games just don't run right. Its bad that I had more controllers back in the 486/early pentium days then now for my PC.


As far as the sales though, yes piracy is and will always be an issue. But even consoles have piracy issues, I mean look at Xbox1, or the Wii.......mod chips people sellings HDs full of games.....people just renting a few games and copying them to the consoles Hard drives. SO piracy affects all platforms just the PC more then consoles.

For me one reason I have not heard in the Video about why sales are slumping, but the copy protection that comes with games. Bioshock is a great example of bad DRM. I stopped buying any PCs games that I can't get on STEAM. YEs I am that lazy I won't open my cd drive and and change game DvDs..and to be honest why should I???? for years now PC storage greatly exceeds what the requirement is for tons of games. So what is the point of me installing 5-8 gigs of data if the game wants to make sure the DvD is in the drive? Sure I could crack it, but why should I be forced to crack my own software.

At least with things Like Steam, I buy the game...its linked to my account where ever I go I can access my games (not like im going to download say a game like CoD4 everywhere I go...but at least I can always get it anywhere with just a login). Also for me its easy I got 2 hard drives I keep a backup of all my steam data on my storage drive. I just like how I pay for a game and play it without having to search through 20-30 jewel cases to find 1 Cd/Dvd. I open steam it updates ALL my games, tell me what games my friends are in, lets me join the same game if its multiplayer and I have the game. IMO its perfect and takes advantage off all the PC has to offer. Theres my list of games double click.....and go....last time I ever need a CD/DVD to run a game.

If PC games came with console style game cases maybe it be easier, but as anyone knows you get a cheap cardboard box and 90% of the time a CD/DvD sleeve not even a plastic jewel case.

To go further digital distribution I believe for the PC will become the dominant method for distribution, its easy effective. Also look at the movie industry this whole Blu Ray/Hd-dvd i bet in 4-5 years all TVs will just have what equates to glorified harddrives or TiVo's that store all our movies. So like steam people will have an account and buy movies and have it save right to a box.

Look at Music yes at the moment the download time of an album off Itunes is alot faster then getting a full HD quality movie, but I remember back on dial up downloading Mp3s off napster...bandwidth will catch up and what is happening to the music industry will affect the movie industry more. Yes I know people pirates movies now, but it still takes ALOT of time to download.

Last but not least with the closings of COMPUSA around the country leaving most PC gamers stuck with Bestbuy and Circuit Citys for our gaming selection. Which is lack luster at best, and the way they are organized its a wonder they even sell PC games. Not to give praise to STEAM again but heck more and more titles added weekly....great deals or packages. You see a game you get to see demos, intros, full screen photos....you get a much better idea of what you are getting before you buy. When you go to a store you get a box with nice cover art and like 2-3 pictures...and lets be honest ever since 3d games came out there is and still is a ton of GReat looking games which are 100% worthless and horrible.

But is PC gaming dying? In my opinion Hell no......its definetly leaving the stores...because face it the brick and mortar retailers have been abandoning the PC for years. Its all going to move to online distribution...sooner or later.

HYbrid SLI and Crossfire give me hope in the future for more people to be able to game with a small investment in thier PC. A 50-80 dollar upgrade is much easier to swallow then $200+.

Want to sell more PC titles make engines that scale better to a wide array of hardware...even though I don't play it WoW is a game that runs on even ancient PCs...the engine scale detail down well. The source engine doesn't need high end hardware to run at good playable framerates.

Also STOP TRYING to GET us to SWITCH OSes....Sorry Microsoft....but your whole Games for Windows if it requires me to install VISTA to play ala Halo 2 you can get bent.....I spent 160 bux for Windows XP x64 you not getting any more of my money for a LONG LONG TIME least till an XP II is made. And yes all your VISTA only games run better in XP anyway.
Also stop jacking us over $100 dollars even for an OEM copy. Must be nice trying to get NEW pc gamers and have them pay for an OS when on the other hand the can buy your console which is heavily subsidized....by us PC users...think Microsoft could sold Xbox 1 for as low as they did...they took huge loses on the 1st xbox but they made billions selling software to us PC users.....come on MS HELP OUT YOUR BASE CONSUMERS.

Also ATI and Nvidea better auto updating of drivers....most novices use the install CD and thats it. Windows update lol...what a joke great way to get a 1 year old driver package..create a utility that installs with the driver and checks for graphics updates. I gave my old ATI x800 XL to a buddy and his Vista Home Premium installed drivers that made doom 3 look like ugly fat stick people. After I told him where to go to get NEW drivers all his games ran fine and looked great. You would think it be common sense to go to ati.com or nvidea.com, but then again most novices answer when you ask "What kinda of processor do you have?" and they answer "I got VISTA processor".

my 2 cents
January 17, 2008 8:30:34 PM

Greetings!
robwright said:
But then again, yeah, it's how I feel. So maybe I'll work up the courage one day and actually take the plunge.
Just make a video with a black image and distorted voice, then. Some things if not said at the right time make no point being said later.
January 17, 2008 8:41:04 PM

Mendoza. Good post. You brought up some good points.
January 17, 2008 8:42:03 PM

If all PC gaming is just FPS that can be done on consoles just as well, then PCs really have no game in the future. Can you imagine what would have happened to the PC going back a decade or so, and all PC games were platform shooters like the stuff at arcades or consoles back in the late 80s or early 90s? The 286 and 386 PCs were easily capable of doing all that but PCs all along pushed for something different. PC games pushed to new and different and produced innovations that ran the gamut from networked multiplayer gameplay, to FPS, RTS, MMORPG, etc, etc. And even in the old tried and true genre's from RPG, Flight Sim, driving sims, turn based strategy, etc. PC pushed for gameplay options that was just not possible with likes of the SuperNES, PS1, Ninetendo64, PS2, etc. E.g. it wouldn't be same to do Diablo on a PS1 now would it?

But what was central was the gameplay and replayability of the game play. It was about gameplay. But somewhere along the lines that was lost, and even more apparent now is that it is about eye candy and to hell about gameplay. At least Doom2, Quake 2, had the decency to provide multiplayer co-op mode which enhanced game play, but all the pretty looking things since Doom3 to the latest Call of Duty 4 can't be bothered with such a thing? But if it is all going to degenerate into FPS with some online multiplayer fragfest, is it really all that much that is new or different gameplay-wise from COD4 to CS:S to UT3 to Halo3? If it is all gonna be roughly the same FPS stuff then the consoles are set up to takeover. Heck he consoles are roughly PCs with similar hardware architectures, and PC price to match. BTW Crysis is just latest example of how gameplay went to hell for eye-candy, and it is in no ways going to reverse that, it is only matter time before Crysis shows up on consoles. PCs weren't meant to just stagnate in this FPS muck, not that I don't enjoy a fragfest every now and then.

The return on investment for PCs is lacking if all you get is eye candy at extreme resolutions and a few more frames per second. Now I'm an old school PC gamer and I believe games are best played with mouse and keyboard. But there is no stopping consoles from hooking up bluetooth mouse and keyboards now is there? But I seem a glimmer of hope, and though no console is good at RTS now, that position is certainly not unassailable, but nonetheless the good work done by folks that put Company of Heroes together have innovated RTS gameplay, and the othe PC games across all genres need to do similarly, and we need more innovations along those lines, and occassionally something new happens like a whole new genre that consoles can never be ready for, like the way when RTS first jumped out onto the scene with Warcraft, C&C, and Starcraft, or when MMOs popped out from just plain old RPGs.

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