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PC Gaming not dying - Valve

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May 23, 2008 4:06:49 PM

Interview with Doug from Valve - Bah and only part 1, bastards.

Quote:
NPD, god love 'em, they release a US retail sales report, and people take that and say that's the world picture. And it's just not true. It's not like NPD is trying to be evil. Their job is to report North American sales data. They're doing their jobs. But people are taking that and discounting.. in Germany for example, retail sales of PC products crush all other games, with the possible exception of the DS. It certainly kills all of the next-generation consoles. So if people were looking at that and factoring it in, if people were looking at WoW's subscriptions alone and factoring it in, looking at Steam sales and factoring it in.. Just look at what Popcap's doing--Bejeweled and Peggle and all this stuff--they're not in that NPD data.

If you go around and you look at all these different things that are happening on the PC, and you add them together, my hunch is that [the sales numbers] would actually be much larger than all of the consoles put together. Again, minus the DS, because the DS is this crazy thing by itself. But talking purely in terms of the Wii, the PS3, and the 360, if you added those together and looked at the whole picture, I'd bet you PC would be even, if not bigger than those three systems in terms of the money that's changing hands and the opportunity for doing business.

So we always look at those things, and we always kind of laugh. We're doing just fine, Popcap's doing just fine, Blizzard's certainly--they're printing money down there. We always sort of shake our heads, and go, okay, sooner or later someone's going to write the bigger picture story and perceptions will change.


Part two, upcoming titles and steam discussion


lol, found this on ign

Quote:
Rob Wright: You released The Orange Box for both the PC and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Were you happy with the business the console versions did, and how did it compare to the game's PC sales?

Doug Lombari: We were very happy with both the Xbox 360 and PS3 sales. I think the Xbox 360 version did just over a million, while the PS3 [released later in December] version did a few hundred thousand copies. So I think when all is said and done, The Orange Box will have sold about 1.5 million copies on the console, which is great. But the game's PC sales were much stronger.

Rob Wright: How much stronger, exactly?

Doug Lombari: I'd say significantly stronger, at least a two-digit percentage increase over the console sales. And that includes Steam sales, retail sales, and now individual sales of Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2: Episode 2. So when you take the PC numbers for The Orange Box a la carte, they're significantly higher.

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May 23, 2008 4:11:47 PM

damn double posted.. but anyway, there was no talk of piracy..
May 23, 2008 5:26:37 PM

Here's the full interview we did with Valve back at GDC:
http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/02/21/gdc_will_steam_add_movies_music/

Valve is right -- PC gaming isn't dying. And they're one of the two or three biggest reasons why. If Valve/Steam were to somehow fail, PC gaming would be dying.

Nice quote about NPD, too. I've always wondered how NPD analysts -- or any analysts -- can make these predictions on sales figures when they get no hard data from Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
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May 23, 2008 7:32:17 PM

Ah yes, forgot where that came from.

NPD only tracks retail, a problem imo, in music sales, retail has been going down fast, but downloads (itunes, amazon) has been going up quite alot. Though I doubt they're offsetting the decline in retail numbers.

They sell a hell of alot of games on Steam from other publishers. But Valve will probably never release those numbers (and their own).
May 24, 2008 6:46:51 AM

robwright said:
Here's the full interview we did with Valve back at GDC:
http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/02/21/gdc_will_steam_add_movies_music/

Valve is right -- PC gaming isn't dying. And they're one of the two or three biggest reasons why. If Valve/Steam were to somehow fail, PC gaming would be dying.

Nice quote about NPD, too. I've always wondered how NPD analysts -- or any analysts -- can make these predictions on sales figures when they get no hard data from Wal-Mart, Target, etc.


PC Games will never die, how many times have we heard it before...

PS1, PS2 and now the Xbox 360.. the ps3 is no real threat yet...

The trouble is, and im not ranting on but piracy on the pc is one factor that has reduced pc games of late...
Steam is unique as it was the first time a game had to be used on the internet, Activated and being able to buy games online at a click of a button. And its almost so good it aint even worth trying to copy the games or even trying to get them to work.

I like steam and what it stands for. Its a workable platform weather people like it or not...

My only gripe was that Im in the UK and i bought a game, paid for it to be told i was not in the right country to play it even though tombraider came from here origionally - lost 20 quid, didnt know how to get it back and couldnt be bothered to go any further to be honest...

PC games are i assume being created for multi threaded processors - ie quad cores and this takes time in learning how to do it..

lets hope there is better to come...

May 24, 2008 7:02:58 AM

Harry-Plopper said:
My only gripe was that Im in the UK and i bought a game, paid for it to be told i was not in the right country to play it even though tombraider came from here origionally - lost 20 quid, didnt know how to get it back and couldnt be bothered to go any further to be honest...


If a game is not sold in a specific country, you cannot purchase it via Steam. There's two layers of checks: it knows where you are on IP nr and if so, you will not get an option to purchase it. Second check is when you enter your creditcard number. If the card is registered in a country where the game is not for sale, the transaction will not go through.

If you have the opportunity to ask a friend living in a region where the game is for sale, to buy the game on your Steam account, then you will be able to install and play the game anywhere you like. I tried this, and it works. At least that's this year. Maybe it was different in the past.

Harry-Plopper said:

PC games are i assume being created for multi threaded processors - ie quad cores and this takes time in learning how to do it..

lets hope there is better to come...


xbox360 and PS3 are also multicore so that is not exactly a differentiator yet, however it depends on how varied the field for multicore PC's will become. A console will have one specific configuration that can be fully utilized over the years, PC configurations will go all over the place but the technology will be so much better that even when it cannot be fully utilized by a game it will always be more advanced (gfx, physics, heavier load) or faster further along during a console tech cycle (at least 5 years long).



May 24, 2008 11:16:54 PM

Valve/Steam gets it right with a nice, easy interface and low prices. $5 bucks for "Half-Life 2: Deathmatch" with free and easy access to gaming servers?!?! WTF? Why wouldn't someone buy it? I play it for at least half an hour per day; it's a good stress reliever to go up behind a Combine soldier and beat him down with a crowbar.

And PC gaming is NOT dying because the PC won't die. PC's will simply evolve and improve, not die. Crappy consoles die (Atari Jaguar, Sega Master System), but computer gaming won't die. The destiny of the PC is "cloud computing" where your data/apps/games/media live on servers, and your PC is the size of a deck of cards, and your monitor is an ultra-detailed 3D hologram.
May 25, 2008 5:02:10 AM

Saying that PC gaming is dying seems to be a popular fad at the moment. The reason for it I think is because currently the xbox and ps3 deliver comparable graphics to the PC at a lower cost. Many people will think "why am I spending all this money on upgrading when I can just buy a console for the price of a graphics card?"

It doesn't help that PC gaming is at a nasty point where graphics technology in games has developed rapidly over the past few years but the hardware hasn't been able to keep up and stupid PC companies like Dell sell computers with rubbish GPUs.

However as graphics on the PC move away from consoles again in the next few years and powerful hardware becomes more widespread I think people will start paying attention to the PC again. Look back to 2003/2004. All the buzz in the gaming community was around the PC with games like Half Life 2, Doom 3 and Far Cry and how they were the future of gaming.

Its just a temporary thing while the consoles have their "next gen" sales race time.
May 25, 2008 5:03:53 AM

Saying that PC gaming is dying seems to be a popular fad at the moment. The reason for it I think is because currently the xbox and ps3 deliver comparable graphics to the PC at a lower cost. Many people will think "why am I spending all this money on upgrading when I can just buy a console for the price of a graphics card?"

It doesn't help that PC gaming is at a nasty point where graphics technology in games has developed rapidly over the past few years but the hardware hasn't been able to keep up and stupid PC companies like Dell sell computers with rubbish GPUs.

However as graphics on the PC move away from consoles again in the next few years and powerful hardware becomes more widespread I think people will start paying attention to the PC again. Look back to 2003/2004. All the buzz in the gaming community was around the PC with games like Half Life 2, Doom 3 and Far Cry and how they were the future of gaming.

Its just a temporary thing while the consoles have their "next gen" sales race time.
May 25, 2008 8:05:18 AM

Advertising in the raw form, if NPD says PC gaming is dying, how many idiots will go out and get a console, weak minded people following the shepard, PC gaming is a few billion ayea market, it will be with us for a lng time, consoles are for kids, nothing to screw up, no OS issues and complete integration with no software issues, as for the piracy, it's a problem, but the good houses are doing well, we vote with our wallets, the poor ones lose, I'm in China now and I can get ripped games all the time, but I still buy them on E-Bay and have them shipped to me because when they hack a game there are more issues,lockups, missing DLL's and a host of other problems, games for computers is where it's at, Valve is the leader in the new market, and I think they are well positioned to keep the lead for a long time
May 25, 2008 1:47:24 PM

robwright said:
Here's the full interview we did with Valve back at GDC:
http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/02/21/gdc_will_steam_add_movies_music/

Valve is right -- PC gaming isn't dying. And they're one of the two or three biggest reasons why. If Valve/Steam were to somehow fail, PC gaming would be dying.



With all due respect Rob you could have fooled me with some of the stuff you have come out with in your Second Take videos which seem somewhat slanted towards the 'PC dying' angle.
May 25, 2008 9:16:55 PM

What's funny is, the only companies complaining about PC gaming dying are the companies that are failing themselves. Anyone hear Blizzard complain about the PC game market lately?
May 26, 2008 5:01:55 AM

JeanLuc said:
With all due respect Rob you could have fooled me with some of the stuff you have come out with in your Second Take videos which seem somewhat slanted towards the 'PC dying' angle.


Fair enough, but I should point out that there's a huge a difference between saying PC gaming is dying, which I don't agree with, and saying that PC gaming is in a slump, which I believe it is. Yes, digital distribution is a growing business for PC games.

But the fact that U.S. retail sales for PC games actually declined significantly in 2007 even with so many great titles is troubling sign. Even with the inclusion of digital distribution sales, it's distressing to see average and mediocre titles on the consoles outselling the very best PC games several times over. There are a lot of contributing factors to the problem, not the least of which are 1) Vista is bad, 2) Games for Windows is worse, 3) PC game piracy scares developers away, 4) consoles are becoming more an more like PC gaming, and 5) Vista is bad.

So yes, I think we're currently in a prolonged decline for PC gaming, and I'm inclinded to think it's part of a cycle. But when the day comes that MMOs and RTS are actually successful on the consoles, well then I may push the panic button.
May 26, 2008 9:57:37 AM

I used to have a business. I started from scratch. I needed to know just exactly what Id need for my business to succeed. I had my ideas, everything in place. The one thing I learned was this. As I went to other like businesses, and saw how they did their business, I noticed that the ones that were dying were complaining, spouting doom, and were very unhappy. This didnt deter me, as the ones that were successful were happy, innovated and incorporated their own unique twists making their businesses special and profitable. If you ask the blind man whats an elephant like when hes towards the back of the elephant, you may get a $(&%*&( response
May 26, 2008 7:30:56 PM

So what happened to your business?
May 27, 2008 12:55:46 PM

Oh Snap said:
So what happened to your business?


Lemonades went out of season.
May 27, 2008 2:12:56 PM

stemnin said:
Lemonades went out of season.


Netcraft confirms: lemonade is dying.
May 27, 2008 6:32:58 PM

stemnin said:
Lemonades went out of season.


LOL
June 2, 2008 5:59:45 PM

robwright said:
Fair enough, but I should point out that there's a huge a difference between saying PC gaming is dying, which I don't agree with, and saying that PC gaming is in a slump, which I believe it is. Yes, digital distribution is a growing business for PC games.

But the fact that U.S. retail sales for PC games actually declined significantly in 2007 even with so many great titles is troubling sign. Even with the inclusion of digital distribution sales, it's distressing to see average and mediocre titles on the consoles outselling the very best PC games several times over. There are a lot of contributing factors to the problem, not the least of which are 1) Vista is bad, 2) Games for Windows is worse, 3) PC game piracy scares developers away, 4) consoles are becoming more an more like PC gaming, and 5) Vista is bad.

So yes, I think we're currently in a prolonged decline for PC gaming, and I'm inclinded to think it's part of a cycle. But when the day comes that MMOs and RTS are actually successful on the consoles, well then I may push the panic button.


IDK. Steam has 15million people using their services and tons of games become available on it all the time. Heck all those little pop cap games are now there too. I think a lot of game companies should adopt Steam and I think that would keep them from as much of a worry as piracy.

I think that your points on Vista are purely opinion based. I myself have Vista and have yet to have any problems when it comes to gaming on it. Heck to say the least its much easier to game on Vista then it is to do anything else really. And I have played a lot of games. From C&C3 to HL2/TF2/Portal to Sven CO-OP to Crysis without any problems.

I think PC gaming will be fine. Valve is probably the best PC game developer out there as they are always giving the best content to us PC gamers. I just wish the other game companies that got their start on the PC would act the same way instead of prefering the consoles over PC even when you have the ability to make such a better game on the PC.
June 2, 2008 9:13:48 PM

While not from Steam I did buy another game (only the second one yet) through digital distribution- Tiger Woods 08 from EA (the first was The Orange Box from steam). One main factor into buying this way was something I didn't think would really come into the equation - GAS! I just felt like playing a golf game this weekend (after playing like crap on the real course). From my house it's 25-50 miles round trip depending on where I go to buy a game (25 through city driving to a less reliable EB games or 50 on the highway to Best Buy so it's about equal either way). Anyways with $4.00/gal that would an extra $5-$10 even if I had my car. Instead I was stuck with my wife's V8 so it would have actually cost $8-$15 extra. Normally it's not an issue for me since I can just grab a game on the way home but since I wanted it on the weeked direct download made it a lot easier not to mention cheaper.
June 3, 2008 12:18:00 AM

Steam is great for selling PC games. If a company wants to sell more games, put it up for sale on Steam. I've bought quite a few games just because they were on Steam, especially older games that you can't find in retail (old PC games are almost impossible to find in retail outlets).
June 3, 2008 3:32:36 AM

By older games you mean like 1 year old right :)  That was part of my reasoning for not chancing a shorter drive to the local EB for Tiger Woods 07 (origianlly I was going to buy 07 because 08 was still $40 a couple weeks ago at EB as opposed to the $20 on EA's site). They are so bad with PC games now. I went there on my lunch break on the day of the AoC release and they didn't have a single copy on the sales floor or anything promoting it. They did have a copy in the back but I was suprised that the biggest PC release of the year didn't get any respect from them. BTW their PC section is a 4' tall x 6' long set of 3 shelves with games just randomly shoved in there. Only one side and one end is given to PC games. The other side has empty Pre-Owned PS2, XBox and Gamecube boxes and the other end used console accesories. Pretty sad for a store who's entire back half was PC games and accesories a few years ago.
June 3, 2008 12:33:21 PM

purplerat said:
By older games you mean like 1 year old right :)  That was part of my reasoning for not chancing a shorter drive to the local EB for Tiger Woods 07 (origianlly I was going to buy 07 because 08 was still $40 a couple weeks ago at EB as opposed to the $20 on EA's site). They are so bad with PC games now. I went there on my lunch break on the day of the AoC release and they didn't have a single copy on the sales floor or anything promoting it. They did have a copy in the back but I was suprised that the biggest PC release of the year didn't get any respect from them. BTW their PC section is a 4' tall x 6' long set of 3 shelves with games just randomly shoved in there. Only one side and one end is given to PC games. The other side has empty Pre-Owned PS2, XBox and Gamecube boxes and the other end used console accesories. Pretty sad for a store who's entire back half was PC games and accesories a few years ago.


4' x 6' is the section they give "Games for Windows" at the EB here, the rest of the PC games is way bigger (alot of older and newer games) Blizzard Battlechests are on their own shelf with merc keyboards lol (diablo, starcraft, warcraft). Plus the 2 bins of used pc games. Picked up Unreal 2 and Ut99 a few weeks ago for a couple bucks. (lost my ut99, got a new one)
June 3, 2008 8:16:14 PM

Well the local EB I'm referring to does have the excuse that they are relatively small. About 20'x50', maybe even smaller. It truly is a boutique. They used to have a different location in the mall that was much bigger (it's now and FYE to give an idea of the size). However there is also a Babbages (if that's what they're still called) that is much bigger but is even worse for PC games. The shelf space is the same but there's much less selection. Where as EB has 1 copy of many games on the shelves Babbages (I think GameWorld now) is about 60% Blizzard Battle Chests. There's another stand alone EB across the street from that store but I don't think they even carry PC games. If they do, they probably have more used NES games than PC (but I can forgive them for that :)  ). But really for PC games it's either Wal Mart or Best Buy. Wal Mart has a decent selection for what they are, but I know from working at Best Buy that they will always have plenty of copies of any half way relevant release.
June 7, 2008 12:41:15 PM

Did anyone read that Valve is offering to keep your save games on their servers? That is a generous service. Played Dark Messiah MM to the 2nd last chapter twice. Both times I lost my saves due to a Windows reinstall. The first time I had the saves backed up, but they wouldnt install after I took them from the backup drive to the reinstall of DMMM. The 2nd time had Driver problems with Vista, so I reinstalled XP without the upgrade to play a new game.
May actually give it a 3rd try because of this service. Kudos to Valve. PC gaming is a pain in the %$# but dont think anyone who has been doing it for a while is ready to stop playing and switch to other platforms. Their is no doubt that my 3850 card gives better resolution that any console/tv combo could do. The video card companiesare putting out stuff that is way beyond anything that I could think up on our families Apple 2+ or at the local arcades.
!