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Is Microsoft killing PC gaming? (not another one of those posts!)

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July 17, 2008 11:26:51 AM

Here is a thought, does anyone not think that the reason that gaming PC graphics are not improving much in recent times is because that if they did they would be out of reach for the Xbox 360 to reproduce on there aging hardware?

This is a good point, is the Microsoft inadvertently (or intentionally?) slowing down the progress of PC hardware evolution by pushing all the game designers not to much care about PC exclusives but to merely bring out ports of 360 games for the PC.

Think about it, if we keep running along this path, the thing that has been keeping PC hardware evolution at the bleeding edge will cease to exist. We will have no games to push the hardware forward so there for no need to buy faster computers and there for no need for Nvidia or the likes to produce faster hardware. Will we have to wait for Microsoft to release a new console before we have the need to upgrade our PC hardware again? Or will game designers realise that consoles are going to halt their progress and cap their ideas again, and move on to creating content for the infinitely more powerful and flexible platform of the PC.

What are your views on this?
July 17, 2008 11:56:38 AM

people don't want to spend $400 on gpu and cpu every other year when new games come out,

its crap when a new game comes out and you discover you vid card doesn't work with it or you have to spend 3 hours downloading new drivers and figuring out how to make it run

how pissed was everyone when Crysis came out and they discovered no one could run it maxed, I'm not spending hundreds upgrading my pc just to play a damn game

they'd reather buy a console and know that its going to work (even though they don't always)

it certainly isn't MS's fault anymore than its Nintendo's fault
July 17, 2008 11:58:16 AM

Simply put thats what Microsoft wants. They might lose money on the sale of a console but they quickly make it back on the overpriced games. Force us off PCs onto consoles and guess who makes more money...
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July 17, 2008 12:38:27 PM

Well, as Crysis shows, even the prettiest graphics doesn't make the best gaming experience.. sure it was alot of fun, but the multiplayer sucks (guess they never really learned from FC..)

Gameplay > GFX

Valve, Blizz, etc know it.. not that their games are bad looking, they're great, look at TF2, SC2, D3, they look pretty good, not as pretty as Crysis, but who cares, those game are/will be alot funner.

So if M$ does delay the graphics, I guess I don't really care that much, as long as the games are fun.. ever play Bejeweled? Tetris? Pong? Those games look like crap, but they're fun as hell. And that's what makes a succesful game imo.

So basically, if they don't haft to focus on graphics, they can focus more on gameplay.
July 17, 2008 12:52:37 PM

jamesl said:
people don't want to spend $400 on gpu and cpu every other year when new games come out,

its crap when a new game comes out and you discover you vid card doesn't work with it or you have to spend 3 hours downloading new drivers and figuring out how to make it run

how pissed was everyone when Crysis came out and they discovered no one could run it maxed, I'm not spending hundreds upgrading my pc just to play a damn game

they'd reather buy a console and know that its going to work (even though they don't always)

it certainly isn't MS's fault anymore than its Nintendo's fault


Way to summarise in 1 post why consoles exist why uneducated people (in PC use) are driven to them rather than PCs!

1) The Myth that you have to upgrade every year to play the latest games. If you want to play them fully maxed out at the highest resolutions, then sure, you may have to. If, like the vast majority of PC gamers, you just want to play them and still have them look good and play well, you can easily have the same PC for several years. I've only just replaced my 7 year old PC (which was mid range at the time), but it played many games years after I built it, including Half Life 2, WoW, Fear, etc. Also factor in that games that are developed as multiplatform will work on any fairly recent PC for many years to come since it has to be able to run on a console, which are far behind the times technologically and won't be receiving new itterations for several years yet.

2) The myth that you have lots of tweaking and downloading drivers to do to get games to actually run. I can't remember the last time I had to update my drivers to have a game run, and when I do update my drivers it takes 3 minutes to install and restart the PC. 3 hours? Maybe you are better off with a console, although I'm wondering how long it takes you to open the game boxes and figure out where to insert the discs if you have problems with such simple tasks. As for tweaking the actual game to have it run properly, that takes no time at all, especially if like most games, the settings recommended for your PC are shown. If it runs slow, drag a few of the sliders to lower the details. Bingo, working fine.

3) The Myth that everyone was unhappy with the performance of Crysis and that people upgraded JUST to play it. People with Extreme rigs were unhappy, yes, but that would be because they lost the abiliy to brag about running all games fully maxed. They seemed to be blissfully unaware that Crytek designed the engine so that it was still pushing hardware limits 3 years after it's release. Also, Crysis can run perfectly smoothly on a cheap mid range PC and at the same time look better than anything available on consoles. My first play through of Crysis was on a £400 PC with an E6300 and a 7900GS and it still looked gorgeous!

4) The dumbing down of the general populous. "they'd reather buy a console and know that its going to work". Oh dear. If you aren't able to install a game by clicking on the big "Install" button that pops up when your game disc auto runs and then double click on the handy shortcut created on your desktop, how the hell are you going to earn enough money to buy a console instead? You can't, because you'll need to pick up trash for a living because you're retarded. Oh, "not all games work on all PCs" I hear you cry. Learn to read the back of the box to see if you meet the minimum requirements. Sure, it's not as easy as "Xbox360" or "PS3" on the console boxes, but it's hardly rocket science! If in doubt, ask on a forum, ask in the games store (not guaranteed to help) or ask the geeky kid in your class/work/cellblock instead of giving him a wedgie and taking his milk/soda/protection money, it's not a big deal.


So, in summary (for all you people who take 3 hours to install graphics drivers and will inevitably skip the large ammount of text above), you're talking crap! :lol: 
July 17, 2008 2:07:52 PM

You say that Crysis pushes the boundaries, but then I can run it very playably on my rig (check my specs) with all the settings turned to max, with all the new drivers and updates at 1680X1050 on windows Vista Ultimate 64Bit.

But this was not my point or what I was asking. I can see that Crysis is going to be the benchmark. The game that all others work just as well as but no better than, hell we may see a few badly coded 360 ports that need faster hardware, but nothing that really does need the extra power for good use. For some reason I just have this gut feeling that PC gaming is going to stall fairly bad.

Think about it, it would really not be in Microsoft’s best interest to have PC games and there developers evolving far beyond the point at what a 360 console can handle. It would be the perfect excuse for developers to dump Microsoft and for their customers to stop playing there games in favour, for ‘in theory’ a competitor’s platform (even though it runs on a Microsoft product). They would loose out on Billions that they make on the 360 games, as they don’t make sweet F.A. on the back of PC games.

I would not be surprised if ‘Games for Windows’ was nothing more than just a smoke screen for ‘360 ports for Windows’. It may be that it is just them showing in the short term that they are helping the PC market, but in the long term I bet there plan is for them to have full control of the PC gaming platform. The games are released for the PC, when they want, look exactly how they want and perform at the spec they want and no more.

It’s perfect, why would you ever need to buy a PC again, just wait for the wireless keyboard and mouse add-on for the 360 to come and things will be complete.
July 17, 2008 2:31:28 PM

When you think about it, M$ isn't the only one stalling pc gaming.. a recent example, look at nvidia, assassin's creed and dx10.1..
July 17, 2008 4:06:08 PM

I think your Microsoft conspiracy theory puts too much emphasis on the importance of graphics (or improving graphics) to gaming today. 5 - 10 years ago sure the race for better graphics was at the fore front of gaming. But it really isn't that important today and my guess is it will only continue to decline in importance going forward.
We're at a point now where even crappy games look great. Sure there will always be room for improvement, but by today's standards that area is so small that it's not going to make or break any game or a system. Just look at the current gen of consoles. Graphically PS3 > XBox360 > Wii. However one could easily argue that based on sales, popularity or what not Wii > XBox360 >PS3. Graphics just aren't that important any more. Starcraft 2 - if it actually makes it's December release date - may very well be the biggest game release of the year and it's graphics will be nothing revolutionary over what Starcraft had 10 years ago.
I'm not entirely sure one way or another as to how Microsoft would gain or lose based on PC gaming but I doubt they are out to try and kill it. One thing to consider though is what would happen to their share of the desktop market if PC gaming disappeared? Currently almost every other desktop application can be done, and quite easily, on other OSs. Gaming is the one application that is still heavily reliant on the Windows OS. Even more specifically with DX10 and the GFW initiative it's driving some gamers to move to Vista over XP.
Anyways I think you are looking at what is a natural shift away from the importance of graphics in gaming and trying to blame it on M$. If anything what PC gaming needs is better use of multi-core CPUs for things like physics and AI. I can play Crysis just fine on my rig but playing Civ 4 with 30 civs on a massive map after 500 turns and that game starts to beat the crap out of my machine. 4GB of ram at 80-90% usage but since it doesn't fully utilize my Quad core CPU the game starts to get real slow in between turns and while opening different screens. I don't think Microsoft is slowing down the progress of multi-core gaming.
July 17, 2008 5:06:14 PM

Um no. MS is not. Either way gameplay is more important than graphics. Look at WoW. Not the best graphics but still one of the most played games ever.
July 17, 2008 10:56:14 PM

mothhive said:
Way to summarise in 1 post why consoles exist why uneducated people (in PC use) are driven to them rather than PCs!
......
So, in summary (for all you people who take 3 hours to install graphics drivers and will inevitably skip the large ammount of text above), you're talking crap! :lol: 


you missed the whole point of the original post
a quote from that post
" the thing that has been keeping PC hardware evolution at the bleeding edge will cease to exist. We will have no games to push the hardware forward so there for no need to buy faster computers "

sure, we can play existing games on medium quality and lower resolutions and on older computers, but his point was all about "bleeding edge"
his question was, "is MS trying to hold back software, because they want it to work on the old hardware of MS consoles?"
he's saying that if it weren't for MS, then game graphics would be improving and that would spur hardware development, bleeding edge graphics = bleeding edge hardware

so my response is, I don't think MS is holding development back, but even if they are, I don't care because if gaming graphics was always improving then, yes, you would need the latest and greatest haredware to run it, bleeding edge hardware as he suggests

the fact that you can still play new games on old hardware would suggest that software and hardware development is not progressing as quickly as the original poster would like

I'm saying I don't want bleeding edge,

you say, "My first play through of Crysis was on a £400 PC with an E6300 and a 7900GS and it still looked gorgeous!"

but you weren't bleeding edge, that his is whole point, that single title didn't push hardware makers to and general users to reach the limits of their systems

he's saying game graphics are being dumbed down to play on older systems like yours so that they won't make consoles look too bad

he's saying you should not be able to play the newest games on your older hardware, he's saying games should be the driving force that causes us to upgrade to "bleeding edge" hardware
even if it means the newer games won't be able to play on comsoles at all

I'm saying MS isn't conspiring to hold graphics back so that old xbox hardware can play gmaes, I'm saying its simply economics, people don't want to upgrade to bleeding edge to play games

people are just like you, they don't want bleedign edge, they are happy to play "on a £400 PC with an E6300 and a 7900GS and it still looked gorgeous!"

you even say, "factor in that games that are developed as multiplatform will work on any fairly recent PC for many years to come since it has to be able to run on a console, which are far behind the times technologically and won't be receiving new itterations for several years yet. "

that is the OP's whole point, games have to be able to run on consoles which are behind the times, that's why he's asking,
do you think MS is purposely holding back graphics game development because they don't want the graphics to become so advanced that only advanced pc hardware can play them ?
because if that were to happen, then their consoles would become obsolete too quickly and they would lose money

that's what he's asking, but you got so wound up you didn't even understand his question

the question wasn't, "what's better, a pc or a console?"
the question was, "is MS holding back advances in pc hardware by making the xbox the first choice platform for developers?"


if you believe the answer is yes, that advances in graphics should be moving ahead much, much faster, and yes, games should be the software that forces hardware innovation and progress, then you would also have to believe that bi-yearly hardware upf\grades are a necessity to be able to play the most advanced games

now, as for you saying, "I can't remember the last time I had to update my drivers to have a game run",

really, you've never bought a new vidoe card, and installed the drivers that came on the cd only to discover they're out of date, so you go to ATI's site and download the official drivers, only to discover they don't work either, so then you go and download the Omega drivers and hope they work only to discover that the vista versions are not out yet?
everthing just always magically works for you, huh?

have you ever beta tested a game? have you ever tried to provide tech support to people who have Windows XP and don't see why they have to install sp2 just to play your game?
to people who are trying to play the game with ATI, nvidia, agp, pci-e, on XP, on vista, on linux using wine;

have you ever spent hours working with someone over a forum who can't play a game on their pc? telling one person to turn down their shaders, another to turn off multi-sampling, another who's got a 2 year old dell that they need to update their drivers?

have you ever tried to explain to someone that the game uses DirectX 9.0c but just because they have vista and vista includes DirectX 10 that doesn't mean their video card supports DirectX 9.0c ?
they'll argue they have 10 installed totally not understanding their card is 3 years old and doesn't support 9.0c

have you ever asked someone to run dxdiag and attach a copy to their post for technical help only to be told that they're not going to post technical info about their pc on a public form because they don't want to get hacked?

this is what I mean by "consoles just work",
everything is standardized, one operating system, one video card, one set of drivers;
game programmers have to conform to that standard if they want their games to run on that console

and that leads us back to the OP's original statement,
hardware should not limit software;
software should lead and hardware should strive to catch up;
he believes that consoles and expecially MS, is causing hardware to be the driving foce

do you agree?



July 18, 2008 12:07:32 AM

@ jamesl,

You make my fingers tired..
July 18, 2008 9:04:35 AM

I never said that I believed Microsoft where deliberately holding back hardware if indeed that is the case (I was merely hinting at it as a possible cause). I was suggesting that it could be a by-product of there heavy marketing. Microsoft need this console to make them money, they are loosing ground in all other fronts and gaming is the only one they can see for a huge scope of improvement in the future, I really do believe Microsoft thinks that gaming is the key for their future.

The thing is, who says you need to keep at the bleeding edge. No one, it’s a choice for you alone. If you want the best a game can give then you need to upgrade. But if you are like me and you are happy upgrading every 3 or 4 years then you can cope with lowering a few settings. The problem I can see happening though, and what my gut is telling me, once this PC is 3 or 4 years old. I don’t think I will have to lower any settings, I believe I will still be able to play most games on the max settings.

I have been a gamer since I was 8 years old, that’s 15 years of gaming I have racked up and 11 of those have been on the PC. Back then it was a completely different market. Consoles where even on release playing catch up and PC’s where constantly being upgraded multiple times a year. If you wanted the best gaming had to offer you had to go for the PC. If you wanted a laid back gaming experience… ‘No thrills gaming’ if you will. Then you got a Mega Drive or a Play Station.

The thing is, what determines the advancement of the next Consoles hardware has always been at what stage is the PC industry’s hardware at. But I can see this completely flipping the other way. I am not sure if it was intentional but I have a feeling that instead of the PC industry determining what a console should be like, it will be what the consoles will allow the PC to advance to.

If all of our games become Console ports, will we have any need for faster hardware before the next console is released? Does anyone know something I don’t, will there be a big injection of PC exclusives to push hardware forward or could everything be turning in to console ports?

Don’t get me wrong though, I am all for advancement of gameplay and features, I even agree that graphics are more advanced than most other features in gaming and all the others need to catch up. But if what I am worried about is true then all the other aspects of gaming will soon catch up and will have no where to go because the hardware will be keeping it back again, Just like in the 90’s when developers where stating “the only limitation to our imagination is our hardware”.
July 18, 2008 1:27:49 PM

@ jamesl

I wasn't replying to the OP, I was replying to your post and the points you made. I don't agree with the OP either (the previous generations of consoles have never had any negative impact on the progress of PC games, even when one of them was Microsoft's first Xbox), I was just so enraged by yours, I responded to that one instead. ;) 

Quote:
people are just like you, they don't want bleedign edge, they are happy to play "on a £400 PC with an E6300 and a 7900GS and it still looked gorgeous!"


Just like me? I want bleeding edge though! That was my friends PC. My current PC (see sig) cost considerably more and while it's not bleeding edge (planning to SLI some future nVidia cards when the need arises), it's certainly no slouch!

In response to some of your other questions:

No, I've never had any problems with drivers not working, provided on the CD or otherwise. I'm using a beta nVidia driver at the moment and still have no problems.

Yes, I have beta tested a game (Crysis).

No, I've never explained to anyone why they can't run a game without a service pack. My 7 year old PC is running XP without a service pack and has never had problems with any games/demos I tried to run (apart from trying to play highly demanding ones obviously). :) 

As for all the other points about people having to have things explained, having problems with hardware/software and how consoles "Just work", tell that to tens (hundreds maybe?) of thousands of console users that have had the red ring of death, had to return their consoles for replacements, have their consoles bricked by a bad firmware update, etc. Did they "just work"? If a PC malfunctions, it's a pretty simple affair to fix it yourself, ask on a forum or replace a faulty piece or hardware. If you have a console, you gotta say buh bye to it for a few weeks till it gets replaced.

Going into your definition of "consoles just work" where "everything is standardised", there are several completely different consoles with different specs that need different methods of programming, making developing games for consoles alot more difficult than just providing a PC game where you can adjust the settings to have it run on different specs. Sure, developing for 1 console will be easier, but it also limits what you can do. Later on down the line, you can't play that console game in the newest console from that maker and have it look and play much better.

Finally, the 3 points you broguht up from the OP:
"hardware should not limit software" Agree. Hardware should leave some room for improvement, but software should be (and is) written so that it can be used by older hardware. While eventually a particular piece of hardware in a system will limit the software being developed, it can be replaced, added to (more RAM, another Graphics Card) or overclocked to gain performance, which you can do with PC's, but not with consoles. I don't want to wait 6+ years for performance/graphical improvement when it can be increased in incriments if I wished.

"software should lead and hardware should strive to catch up" Not sure about this one. This happened with Crysis, and while it was and interesting idea (have a scalable engine that need is designed to only be fully utilised several years after release so it can look comparable to titles at that time), it put people off and made the extreme hardware enthusiasts bitter because they can't justify their hardware if it doesn't conquer every game completely.

"he believes that consoles and expecially MS, is causing hardware to be the driving foce". I didn't get that impression from his post and I don't believe microsoft are limiting/driving hardware at all. PC hardware will always progress, simply because there are always people who want more performance. Whether they be companies who want shorter response times, games/movie developers that need the latest and greatest machines to generate the prettiests games/movies or just your average gamer who wants bigger, better, faster. Everyone would like the best, and I don't believe that microsoft would fail to provide them with the tools to do so. Hell, Windows 7 and DirectX 11 aren't too far off, so they are hardly neglecting us in favor of their console.
July 18, 2008 2:35:08 PM

Now it is my time to write.

Well, ins't really Microsoft fault mate. Coding a game can be really messing in the Graphics side. ive read several articles fo developers that didn't used to notch API, because 1 - You didn't noticed any big diference, 2 - They had to rewrite the whole code. PC is top notch. Graphics wise as well. But graphics isn't everything like ti was already mentioned here. Blizzard and Valve are just great examples of how great games that don't need a 5k€ machine to run good. And they are not graphically bad as well.

Another thing that turns the developers off, is that there are always multiple new goodies to code to. That delays the project or its just not taken in considerations in the latter part of it. Developers nowadays have a bigger conscience about the rigs the gamers use. Check valve numbers, still some nice percentage of 6600GT there. So they have to code for it. They have to sell. Crysis sold 1 million copies or so. It sold very well, IMHO, its market was very small. WoW is a multi-million Juggernaught and can be played (badly, but nonetheless) in a GMA 965.

So it is not Microsoft. Games for Windows, or Porting from Xbox its great i think. More games for US, PC gamers to play. No biggie here. DX10.1 doesnt bring much novelties, but hey, the novelty now is Physics calculations, not new effects. And i honestly think things are going that way. Cloth,water,collisions,explosions. It will revolutionize gaming like Transform&Lightning did. Just give it time. Resolutions are going beyond the roof with falling price on LCDs so no much improvement here. I payed 149€ for a 22" LCD 1650x1050. I wont need much more than that. Or 24x anti-aliasing for god sake. Those pixels are small enough already !!!

It is us i guess. We like gaming. We don't like to shell out 600$/€ yearly in a new GPU. Games are still made for those gamers with cash. Not all. But still, most of them are. Thats the true virtue of the PC platform for gaming. You can play Crysis in a decent FPS, in a 5000€ machine or in 700€ machine. The quality varies ofc. But it is still playable. In a console environment it is pretty linear.

I guess Microsoft isnt killing PC gaming. PC gaming is evolving, like always did.
July 18, 2008 3:57:24 PM

I'm with most people on this one. Microsoft isn't killing videogames. With all the pressure on games that have to sell well, it is a little too risky to narrow your market with PC Gamers that have Super Rigs. Crysis is the closest example where the game was exclusif to the PC...and an extreme processing hog.

You don't sell many games that way...which defeats the purpose of launching a game in the first place.
July 21, 2008 8:32:55 AM

Yes but that’s not what I am talking about, I know that designers are developing more for the 360 and I also know why. But what I was asking was do you think this situation is going to effect cutting edge PC hardware in general, causing an almost stall in PC hardware evolution?

Alex saying what you said made you contradict your self, you started off by saying that Microsoft is not killing gaming on the PC but then you followed up by saying developers are pretty much halting design of PC exclusive games in favour of cross platform or console exclusives.

If what you said is true then what I said about Microsoft inadvertently (unknowingly) killing PC game design development is true. If the Xbox 360 never existed, how many PC game exclusives do you think there would be right now? I think you would find the answer would be completely different than the situation is today.
July 21, 2008 10:05:51 AM

cafuddled said:
Yes but that’s not what I am talking about, I know that designers are developing more for the 360 and I also know why. But what I was asking was do you think this situation is going to effect cutting edge PC hardware in general, causing an almost stall in PC hardware evolution?


From 360 they can port to PC. And no, consoles have too big generation cycles. PS3 was a fine machine when it got out. Now graphically, its getting sub par with the PC.
Pick a game, any game, port him to the PC. Slap 24x Anti-aliasing, 4x anisotropic and physics. Your PC will probably stutter. Image quality would be excellent. The engine itself could be the same, but the image quality/definition you can get in the pc, it is not matchable by the consoles, and the flexibility also. You wanna play 32 bits color or 16 bit ?

cafuddled said:

If what you said is true then what I said about Microsoft inadvertently (unknowingly) killing PC game design development is true. If the Xbox 360 never existed, how many PC game exclusives do you think there would be right now? I think you would find the answer would be completely different than the situation is today.


We would have less titles than we have now. Exclusivity to a platform is not a good thing. If a game is exclusive to a platform will sell less than 2 platforms !! In my humble opinion, it is great that games (excluding some exceptions) are longer exclusives. That means, more games to choose from. More titles, different games. More money for the developers to develop. Honestly i cant see where the problem is here.
July 21, 2008 12:35:30 PM

Future Development of hardware is the problem, slapping extra AA or higher levels of AF aren’t going to make the graphics better. And 24X AA is not going to sell £400 graphics cards either. Hardware development over the last 20 years or so has always been controlled and dictated too by PC games development. That new PC game that cannot run with everything on full settings, that new game that needs a faster processor because there is over 20,000 units on the screen at the same time. All that will stop because a 360 cannot run games like this in the first place.

Really what benefit would Microsoft have in bringing out DirectX 11 if that standard meant that PC games where not possible to run on Xbox 360 hardware? Like wise what reason would the PC hardware manufacturers have to make them constantly develop faster hardware. It seems as where before the games evolved and the hardware followed, it will soon turn on its head and the hardware will dictate to the developers with what is possible in their games.

It’s a great thing for the consumer, but it’s detrimental thing for the future of hardware evolution.

Think long-term, not what’s in front of your face!
July 21, 2008 2:34:46 PM

cafuddled said:
Future Development of hardware is the problem, slapping extra AA or higher levels of AF aren’t going to make the graphics better. And 24X AA is not going to sell £400 graphics cards either. Hardware development over the last 20 years or so has always been controlled and dictated too by PC games development. That new PC game that cannot run with everything on full settings, that new game that needs a faster processor because there is over 20,000 units on the screen at the same time. All that will stop because a 360 cannot run games like this in the first place.


Sorry, but PC evolution hasn't been dictated over gaming. Gaming certainly enjoyed the ride, and pushed a bit, but that is all. Remember OpenGL for example,was a workstation environment. Games just took it for a ride.
Like i said earlier, some effects COULD be added after. GTA4 should launch for the PC later this year, with all the goodies DX10.1 has to offer (we hope).

In the Other hands GPU evolution has evolved, sometimes in front of the games, sometimes really behind and lagging. Don't worry yourself on Running things on MAX. Just because it is MAX. And MAX. The next step, wont be more effects !!!!
Will be physics. Imagine PES2008 for example, with the hair being calculated, the cloth having the cloth effect, and the grass reacting to the players/ball ? Consoles will get there as well. Dont worry much with gloom effects and DX11.
DX10.1 or DX10 in that matter hasnt got many titles coding for it.


cafuddled said:

Really what benefit would Microsoft have in bringing out DirectX 11 if that standard meant that PC games where not possible to run on Xbox 360 hardware? Like wise what reason would the PC hardware manufacturers have to make them constantly develop faster hardware. It seems as where before the games evolved and the hardware followed, it will soon turn on its head and the hardware will dictate to the developers with what is possible in their games.

It’s a great thing for the consumer, but it’s detrimental thing for the future of hardware evolution.

Think long-term, not what’s in front of your face!


Games take "usually" a 2 year development cycle. Even if DX11 was launched today, you would expect DX11 games in 1,5-2 Years. So don't worry. DX10.1 has been here for 1 year, and no games are made for it yet. And DX10, very very few.

As for GPUs not evolving ? Hell, you have been reading the news ?

Or better, porting games from consoles will keep evolution at bay. You know PC gaming is highly versatil.

Can you imagine what startcraft2 (or any good RTS) would do to GPU with too many units ?
Can you imagine what a WOW (old, but a goodie) would do to a system with 300 persons or more in the area ? Even the wow servers crash.

I dont buy that. I keep my idea. More games the better. Porting games isn't just copy paste.
July 21, 2008 2:57:20 PM

Quote:
If the Xbox 360 never existed, how many PC game exclusives do you think there would be right now? I think you would find the answer would be completely different than the situation is today.

Simple. Sega would still be in the console business today. Face it, consoles are mainstream and PC gaming will always be a niche industry. If Microsoft never created the XBox somebody else would have put something out. After the success of the PS1 and PS2 and to a lesser extent N64 and Gamecube do you really think the gap left by Sega after the Dreamcast, had it not been filled by Microsoft, would not have been filled by somebody else. At least with Microsoft you know that you'll get decent ports.
Here's another idea though. One of the biggest complaints about Vista was it's high requirements. People couldn't get by with 512MB, 1.8Ghz and a 8MB integrated VGA anymore. Now the average PC needs 4X the RAM, Dual or Quad cores at even higher speeds and at least a respectable VGA. While initially there was some performance loss in Vista with equal hardware, that is now pretty much not an issue. So then hasn't Microsoft driven the PC hardware industry to the benefit of PC gaming? A mid range Vista PC is much more capable for gaming than was a mid range XP machine a few years ago (relative to the games at the time of course) because Vista itself has gaming requirements.
July 21, 2008 3:39:21 PM

cafuddled said:
Yes but that’s not what I am talking about, I know that designers are developing more for the 360 and I also know why. But what I was asking was do you think this situation is going to effect cutting edge PC hardware in general, causing an almost stall in PC hardware evolution?

Alex saying what you said made you contradict your self, you started off by saying that Microsoft is not killing gaming on the PC but then you followed up by saying developers are pretty much halting design of PC exclusive games in favour of cross platform or console exclusives.

If what you said is true then what I said about Microsoft inadvertently (unknowingly) killing PC game design development is true. If the Xbox 360 never existed, how many PC game exclusives do you think there would be right now? I think you would find the answer would be completely different than the situation is today.


My point was: If consoles didn't exist, PC hardware would most likely be where it is today if not lower. It's a statement hard to swallow but it's true. A monopoly in technology is bad for its development. However, with consoles, you have competition. Besides, consoles have been pushing the demand for technology. The XBOX 360 & Windows (Microsoft) is not killing PC Gaming...it's simply making various platform which people can choose to play on.

The situation is simple. The demand for advancement in hardware technology is there but perhaps not as much as you would like it to be. Microsoft can't be blamed for it...its consumers are.

I'll admit that you do have some good arguments...but I wonder why you blame Microsoft. What about Nintendo? They changed the need for high visuals to another hardware demand (motion sensors) which is (for many) as fun as seeing a next gen visual type game. What about PS3 who basically is in the same boat as Microsoft (but no OS to push boundaries on the PC)?. If Microsoft didn't exist, your thread would be "Do you think the SEGA 360 is...". I've always been a fan of PC Gaming. But I wouldn't want technology to move to fast. I got my 8800GTX a 1.5 year ago and still play all my games at HD & Max settings. If my 8800GTX would have been only good for 0.5 year, then I would have given up on PC Gaming a long time ago.

Consoles make the earth go round...althought you'll never see me play on them.
July 21, 2008 4:33:02 PM

I guess the reason why I feel like Microsoft should get blamed by me is because I have been gaming for many years and they are the new boys to the gaming scene. But then another reason why I blame them is because over the years I am seeing all the developers that once where heavy PC game developers, moving all of there assets to the 360. Another argument is the fact that the 360 is American and most of the games developers are American based so natural selection dictates the 360 to be the console of choice.

I have now got every single gaming platform out there since I got my PS3 60GB on the weekend. The only reason I bought that console was for the gaming exclusives that have always been exclusive for the Play Station (Metal Gear Solid 4 is **** sweet by the way).

Right now things seem good I agree, but then on that point about gaming never pushing graphics, I have to whole heartedly disagree. The only reason people upgrade is because there old hardware does not run the new games well anymore. Sure it takes about 3 to 4 years to happen but it happens non-the less. But my whole point if you read it was that gaming in about 2 years wont even stress my current rig. I have a feeling, gut feeling though it may be, that gaming will not progress much in the next 2 years graphically or physics wise because the consoles that now control the gaming will not permit this.

It almost seems that the PC has lost its platform and simply will end up piggybacking on the consoles. Please don’t get this post wrong either, the whole point in this thread was not to lay blame, that’s irrelevant. But to discuss the future of gaming for the PC and its developers.

If what I think is true then we could see the PC slowing back it’s progress to the rate at which a console is upgraded, so we will only need a PC upgrade once every 6 years as there has been a new console released. But tell me, what happens if the console can’t upgrade much, or if the PC can’t keep up with the console market because the hardware manufacturers have dropped most of it’s R&D in to upgrading technology.
July 21, 2008 6:25:13 PM

Quote:
The only reason people upgrade is because there old hardware does not run the new games well anymore. Sure it takes about 3 to 4 years to happen but it happens non-the less. But my whole point if you read it was that gaming in about 2 years wont even stress my current rig. I have a feeling, gut feeling though it may be, that gaming will not progress much in the next 2 years graphically or physics wise because the consoles that now control the gaming will not permit this.

Your assumption seems to be that consumers have no control over this and it's entirely up to the industry to force them to upgrade. Like somebody pointed out before there isn't as much of a consumer demand for brand new cutting edge graphics. How many people ran out to upgrade for Crysis when it came out? Instead COD4, with it's lower hardware requirements, completely destroyed Crysis in terms of sales. Why would a gaming company invest a lot in improving graphics when it's not even a huge selling point to their customers? And it's not all about graphics even from an advancement in hardware standpoint. Microsoft has been pushing the crap out of 64 programming which benefits both CPU operation and the amount of memory that can be used. Also coming around the corner is FiOS internet which may have a huge impact on online play for both PC and consoles. I really think this topic is making a lot out of nothing, if not just a weak attempt to bash M$.
July 21, 2008 11:27:54 PM

Quote:
...But tell me, what happens if the console can’t upgrade much, or if the PC can’t keep up with the console market because the hardware manufacturers have dropped most of it’s R&D in to upgrading technology.


I happen to be in the financial markets...and if you look at the financial statements of AMD, Intel, Nvidia Corp., not to mention smaller companies like Rambus (DDR5 RAM) who participates in R&D research. Currently, R&D IS the biggest expense on their financial statements. Here's a bit of a summary for you (which I hope will comfort you in your worries).

Total expenses in R&D in the last few years (In Millions):

Nvidia's Statements:
2004 = 348.22
2005 = 357.12
2006 = 553.47
2007 = 691.64

AMD's Statements:
2004 = 934.00
2005 = 1,144.00
2006 = 1,205.00
2007 = 1,847.00

Intel's Statements:
2004 = 4,778.00
2005 = 5,145.00
2006 = 5,873.00
2007 = 5,755.00

As you can see...there's billions of dollars being spent in R&D just so you can play games like Crysis. Now, if you want to blame Microsoft then here's a little something you might want to check first.

Microsoft Statments: (R&D Spending in Millions)
2004 = 6,097.00
2005 = 6,584.00
2006 = 7,121.00
2007 = 8,164.00

As you can see, Microsoft (the people you blame for killing PC gaming) is investing more in R&D than Intel, AMD and Nvidia combined!!! These results are biased because none of these companies have R&D entirely for the gaming industry. I just wanted to share my the moment when my teeth were grinding together as I read your message.
July 22, 2008 8:37:26 AM

Again your talking about the past and present, I am hypothesizing about the future of the industry. At the moment and up until now, yes there has been a lot of R&D spent but come on if you read all my posts till now you would know I was assuming that it may or may not have been intentional and it may or may not be Microsoft, although I do think they are one of the biggest culprits, if there is one.

I’m looking for people to use their imagination about what could be and what might be on information they have at hand now. This is just my opinion on an informed guess, all I want is for people to do the same. Instead of proving me wrong on something that cannot be proven, how about you come up with your thesises about what could happen and lets discuss about them.

So please stop taking everything I say as intent to change truth in out current surroundings and take the way it was meant, as a discussion about the future and not the present of the industry. Because like it or not, things are going to change in PC gaming (that’s a fact), but is it going to be for the better or the worse?
July 22, 2008 3:09:08 PM

I've read many of your posts (You're everywhere lol)...and I wasn't trying to criticize your argument...so I apologize if it appeared as such. However, when I read arguments...it's hard not get caught up on facts to back up these arguments...not to MENTION misleading or false information.

Agreed, PC Gaming is having issues. I think everyone agrees here. It's in Microsoft's best interest to make money and that's whatever way they can. So again, I think everyone agrees here that business is business. It is NOT in Microsoft's best interest to damage the PC Gaming industry...in fact; it's a growing market which no one should under-estimate (including Microsoft).

The PC Gaming industry is having problems for many reasons:
-Piracy issues
-...which leads to unsecured investments
-...which leads to fewer publishers having an interest in PC Gaming
-Costs in hardware
-...which leads to a more narrowed market
-Complexity
-...for many, PC gaming is more complicated than consoles
-...consoles are more accessible
-...consoles do not require upgrade (other than going next gen)

There's a combination of problems affecting the PC Gaming industry right now. I'm not trying to prove you wrong but I strongly disagree that Microsoft would have anything to do to slow down the advancement in hardware technologies. If such a conspiracy existed, I would tend to blame Sony or Nintendo as THEY do not have an Operating System to offer and therefore would completely miss out on the opportunity. Regardless, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft would simply start selling their Next-Gen consoles if they fell that much behind with PC hardware.

***Edited***

That being said, why doesn't Microsoft implement collaborative efforts to help with PC Gaming piracy. They are in the best position to do so with the OS being a very strong tool to monitor piracy. Of course it would be a privacy issue and would most likely end in many lawsuits...but how about a collaborative effort where many of the biggest organisations would contribute to resolve piracy?

Why don't Microsoft implement a better/easier way for PC Gamers to change their settings for when they are gaming. Vista has an option where almost all resources are dedicated to a game when it's running...but why not make it more user friendly (as I have yet to find that option).

Why don't Microsoft make an easier interface for gaming?

So if you want to blame Microsoft, blame them on their lack of commitment towards PC Gaming. DX10 was a marketing wagon, not a true commitment to PC Gaming.
July 22, 2008 3:59:18 PM

Ok here is my hypothesis on the future of gaming and how PCs, consoles and graphics will trend.

First off graphics will taper off in importance while hardware abilities will increase, making the need for specialized, high performance hardware for rendering visuals less and less important. Basically the graphics card will eventually become what the sound card and network card are today. Multicore CPUs and an abundance of available RAM will take the place of the high end GPUs we use today.

This will be of a huge benefit to PC gaming because it will greatly reduce the number of configurations developers will have to plan for. It will simply come down to CPU and RAM. Also it will greatly open up the number of PCs that can be used for gaming. Since new PC sales dwarf console sales every year this would make PCs an even more lucrative opportunity for developers. Not having to pay Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo along with a larger potential audience would make PC first titles more appealing.

However in trying to appeal to a larger audience games will continue to become somewhat dumbed
down. Whether games are being made for consoles or PCs there is defiantly a larger market for certain types of games and ones that don't require players to be highly tech savvy nor complete fan boys for that title or genre.

This also doesn't mean that consoles will go away. I think we'll see them become broader multi-media machines that may even interact with PCs more (Sony Blu Ray, Microsoft Media Extender) or become more of a novelty act like the Wii. The arms race between them all over the years has started to get pretty costly. So rather than try to hype the hell out of every new system/release I think they'll look for more profitable sources of revenue like what Microsoft is doing with Netflix. I wouldn't be surprised if the next-gen of consoles is nothing more than upgrades to the current generation.

In the end gaming is here to stay regardless of the platform. PCs also are not going anywhere. So why would people looking to making money off either one (or both like Microsoft) try to separate them? Currently the PC gaming industry has a lot going on and a lot of changes; some good and some bad. The current generation of consoles on the other hand are all right in their prime. They are affordable and available while still being very capable machines. So obviously the trend for developers will be towards consoles. I don't see that as be a constant however. Eventually - and not too far off - the current consoles will lose there edge. In 5 years there's no doubt that I'll have cabable PC. But what about a console? The 360, Wii and PS3 surely will be relics by then. Obviously new consoles will come out, but what can we be certain about?
July 22, 2008 5:31:14 PM

To answer the origional question, yes. For about the first 12-18 months when the 360's graphical capabilities were out of reach of the 2 year old, average pc that was used as the minimum system requirements, 360 games that also appeared on the pc were limited by the pc. Now it's the other way round with cross platform games being limited by the 360 or PS3 instead. But I don't think its microsoft so much as developers wanting to do less work. It's far easier to make graphics scale upward than downward.

For the future of pc gaming, who knows. The 360 and PS3 were the first consoles to give pc gaming a good run for the money and the next generation of consoles will likely push pc gaming harder. But then there's games like WoW and Valve's Steam service that seem to show that pc gaming is doing better than ever. I think pc gaming is just in a transition phase and isn't dying anytime soon.
July 22, 2008 8:38:22 PM

It isn't just Microsoft alone that is to blame for the decrease in PC Gaming and fewer companies wanting to do PC gaming. Many factors:

1. Microsoft released DX10 only for Vista -- that has seriously hurt the development of gaming for the PC - it's very expensive to write a game to run on two different platforms.

2. Microsoft's OS is difficult to use for the "average gamer" as most folks can't go find or don't even know about GPU driver updates, Windows updates, etc. So many other aspects to the Microsoft OS (WinXP or Vista) that leave people trying a game, game doesn't work or looks like crap and they never try again. And BTW, these folks have no clue what Tom's Hardware is or for that matter any other "hardware" related sites.

3. nVidia and ATI have not progressed that much over 2 years. Sure nVidia have recently released the GTX 280 and ATI with the 4870 which is demonstrating real gains in GPU performance, but it's been 2 years with no real new GPU developments.

4. nVidia kept a ridiculous lock on top end GPU and even middle GPU prices. No comptetion allowed them to do this. Considering an XBOX360 cost less (considerably less) than a GTX 280 (or even the 8800GTX a few months ago) at $600+. Factor in that SLI and/or Tri SLI used to be required to play games like Crysis (this $1200-$1800 worth in GPU's alone). Putting the final nail in the coffin for PC games and they became too costly.

5. Rampent Piracey has also close down several gaming companies (some talented companies with real people working very hard to deliver entertainment to the masses only to be screwed by the masses of pirates and their associated network).

6. Poor economy, as GWB has brought our economy to it's knees and the US dollar is weakest it has ever been in the history of the US, people just aren't paying top dollar any more to just play computer games.

7. CPU performance, the industry (Intel/AMD) has moved to multilple cores, but a 4 core processor does NOT increase gaming performance by 4X. Not even close, best cases are games that support multiple cores (as in take advantage of) show maybe 10-20% gain. But CPU speeds (stock clock) have remained at about 3Ghz - 3.2Ghz max for 5+ years now. I'm pretty certain that a single core 4-5Ghz processor could easily out perform (in games) a quad core at 3GHz giving current motherboards/RAM/chipsets/ and 45nm Fab.

8. Lack of innovation in gaming? I don't think this is relevant at all as the lack of innovation in console games has NOT hurt the sales rate for that market at all. Apparently people love to play similar style games so long as the graphics look a little different.

I think all of these factors have lead to a decline in the PC Gaming industry. Did Intel/AMD stop development of single core high speed CPUs because that would place them with a cheaper CPU that could out perform their best quad core CPU? There are/were many technological possibilities Intel could have pursued, but didn't.

Did nVidia delay their GTX 280 so they could rinse the life of the 8800GTX and then just say well if you SLI or Tri SLI (aka buy 2 more GPUs) you can get good performance. Was it in nVidia's best finicial interest to not progress more rapidly?

Did the purchase of ATI by AMD cause mass exodus of their top GPU engineers?

Unfortunately, everyone's greed to get a piece of the consumer pie (money) has indeed left a wake of consumers moving to consoles or not even bothering with PC's at all (aka straight to the console). I think if all of these companies (Microsoft, Intel, AMD/ATI, nVidia) were thinking long term, PC gaming wouldn't be in the decline it is today.

PC gaming isn't dead, but if you look at the sales number for PC games vs. consoles, even the worse console game sells more than the Best PC game.
July 22, 2008 9:05:01 PM

Quote:
PC gaming isn't dead, but if you look at the sales number for PC games vs. consoles, even the worse console game sells more than the Best PC game.

That's completely false. How many console games have sold more than World of Warcraft, COD4 or Age of Conan? Sure some of the best sellers did but hardly every game. Console sales definatly beat PC Game sales in large part because that's all consoles are for, where as PC gaming is just a small part of the PC pie. But that doesn't mean the PC gaming industry is by any means hurting. It's still a huge industry with tons of money to be made, and it's growing. You're right that there is definatly greed in those who see all the money made in consoles, but there will always be so much money to be made off PC gaming that somebody will always be making PC games. And it's going to be in the best interest of those people to see that PC gaming advances and improves, which by it's very nature will outpace consoles.
July 22, 2008 9:06:42 PM

V8VENOM said:
PC gaming isn't dead, but if you look at the sales number for PC games vs. consoles, even the worse console game sells more than the Best PC game.


I have to disagree with this. I don't even have to prove it, because it is ridiculous.

My 2 cents

I believe we just need to wait till DX 10 is more stream line. There are alot of people running DX 10 cards but are not even running Vista. Plus alot of the games that are coming out now were not being made for Vista or DX 10 and then converted from DX 9 (I mean this has to be a pain in the ass, you finish a game or almost finish a game and then have to make it compatible with new hardware). Consoles are great but I will only play a MMO on or a FPS on a PC.
July 22, 2008 10:37:46 PM

Yeah, perhaps I was a tad wrong there on worst console selling better than the best PC game -- there are bad selling console games. But point was that PC games represent about 20% of the entire computer gaming market (that includes digital distribution).

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50939

Sure digital distribution wasn't accounted for, but I can assure you that digital sales aren't gonna make up for the variance (aka 86%).

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50809

As you can see, top 10 PC games, best being WoW at 2.25 million, worst (of the top 10 consoles) is Mario Party at 1.82 million. Also if you look at the best console game Halo 3, console doubles WoW BC on the PC. But more significantly is the drop down to the 2nd spot where Wii Play with Wii Remote is 4.12 million vs. again WoW at 914,000 (4X more sold on console). Go down to the 3rd spot and PC gaming picture is getting even more grim as console sales are posting consistantly BIG numbers while PC sales take a plunge (and this is the top 10).
July 23, 2008 1:26:01 AM

Quote:
But point was that PC games represent about 20% of the entire computer gaming market (that includes digital distribution).

I'm not sure why 20% would be considered bad at all. There's 5 major gaming platforms right now; XBox 360, Wii, PS3, PC and DS. If my math is correct 1 out of 5 = 20%. It's kind of like my friend who both finished dead last in his high school class and finished in the top 10 - there were only 8 students in his class. Truth was he was a B student, but you could spin it either way.
July 23, 2008 4:32:11 AM

PC gaming used to dominate about 75% of the entire gaming market, so it's now down to 20% -- so no I don't think that is good, and it appears to still be declining. Also, Mac's are a viable gaming platform (and have in fact gathered some attention thanks to the new series of GPU's found in Mac -- nVidia and ATI).

I personally would break gaming into 3 categories:

PC (includes Mac/Linux)
Console (XBOX360, PS3, WII)
Mobile

I don't think PC gaming is dead, but I don't think there is any "road to recovery", but I do hope the decline will start to level out. My biggest fear is that PC games become available as left over ports from consoles -- aka slap some compatibility together and put it out for PC without any real thought on game play and hardware utilization.

But like I listed in my reasons, this is why PC games went from 75% market share down to 20%.
July 23, 2008 8:05:29 AM

But that depends on what that 75% is of. 20% of 19 billion is better than 75% of 5 billion. Also those numbers are still very misleading because that 19 Billion includes hardware and accessory sales which will heavily favor consoles, especially in a year where you had two brand new machines along with price cuts to a year old system. Actually based on the second link you provided about 35% of total console sales are not even games. So of that 4:1 ratio of console: pc sales it's actually about 2.6:1 for games. Then consider how much of the 35% hardware sales is at a negative profit (look at how much Sony lost last year) and requires game sales to make. If you honestly look at PC games sales since 2004 (before current gen consoles to now) there has been a slight decrease in retail sales (it's stayed roughly around $1 billion). However it's entirely realistic to assume that durring this time (2004-08) both subscription revenues and digital distribution revenues have grown by quite a bit. So really the PC gaming industry has continued to grow durring a time when it's faced it's toughest competition from 3 highly successful consoles.
July 23, 2008 4:21:51 PM

50-60% of PC sales are corporate/business -- unless your business is creating game software, then these are not gaming PCs.

Regardless of 75% then vs. 20% now, it's still not a good situation especially considering the cost to produce a game now is considerably higher, so the ROI needs to be higher also.

Correct, consoles are sold as a long term investment (only recently has Microsoft's XBOX division started making good profits) -- hint hint -- this is exactly how ATI/AMD, Intel, nVidia, Microsoft should be viewing the PC market also - long term investment (as in keep the costs low now to recover later), but they don't and didn't, in fact they went the complete opposite direction where Vista Ultimate is $400, GPU's are $650, CPU $1400, good RAM $500. This has created a small Elite institution of gamers.

Loss of Market share is not growth, doesn't matter how you slice it especially when you factor in the exponential cost to produce games in the "now". Games are becoming more like Hollywood productions, and several games have been released at the same time the "Movie" is released (and those games are usually crap, but we're not here to discuss good game bad game).

WoW isn't going to save PC Gaming and it's really the only significant subscription that has $$$ attached to it. Digital distribution is increasing and with current piracey issues will probably become the dominant method -- and I support that method. And this isn't going to save PC gaming either. But WoW is the only PC game that can seriously "compare" itselft to any of the Console top sellers, one PC game will not save an industry.

However, what WoW does bring forward is a concept that might just keep folks interested in PC gaming. What if Crysis included an "open" environment like WoW but in the Crysis world -- people could create their own villages, their own scenarios of engagement, or just be an arms dealer, or whatever. This IS where PC gaming can grow that consoles can not -- the tools to build new worlds/environment to make the game more personal more creative and more interactive (built in and distributed with the game). This is what PC gaming industry needs to focus on -- don't do the console game model which consists of "shoot, kill, run, jump, turn left, turn right speed up and slow down" with some changes to the graphics.

PC Game publisher need to think long term also, because that's what a PC does best. Consoles have always been quick sell, done with the game in a day or two, next game, repeat process.

But the problem is still getting Microsoft, nVidia, ATI/AMD, Intel to all agree not to keep charging ridiculous prices for their high end hardware and software so that a long term future is possible and sustainable from average consumer and not the Elite gamer with money.

I can buy whatever hardware I want, $10K into a PC is not a big deal for me. But for other's, that IS a big deal just to play a game like Crysis with reasonable frame rates at resolutions/detail above what can be found on Consoles. I see the "rich bastard wasting your money" comments all the time on Tom's -- bang for the buck rules the day here. And hey, nothing wrong with that either -- but it should be sending a message to those that sell "gaming" -- don't make it ridiculously expensive cause all they're accomplishing is pricing themselves out of the market.

If the ROI is working for Consoles, then it can also work for PCs.

I wanna see the PC game industry return to it's former glory, but without the big 4 PC players (Microsoft, Intel, AMD/ATI, nVidia) coming to terms, it'll just not happen and PC gaming for most publishers will be a 2nd thought after they've release their console version.

July 23, 2008 5:13:52 PM

Quote:
where Vista Ultimate is $400, GPU's are $650, CPU $1400, good RAM $500.

WOW, you just love ridiculous exaggerations! Vista Ultimate < $200, 9800GTX < $200, Top performing CPUs (for gaming) $200-$300 and good RAM, how about $100 4gigs, but let's call it $200 for 8. That's ~$900 compared to the nearly $3000 you've quoted.
Besides that how exactly to you expect AMD, Intel, nVidia, Microsoft etc etc to subsidize PC gaming the way console manufactures do their system? You do realize that consoles make money off licensing fees that developers pay to make games for they're systems? That's why console games cost $10-$20 more than PC games despite usually being easier (and therefore cheaper) to produce. Why would nVidia subsidize a game that may end up selling millions of copies that they will never see a cent of? Lowering prices to encourage the market is one thing, but nobody is going to take massive losses without a guaranteed ROI. But I'm not sure where you think PC hardware manufactures are going to make any sort of ROI to justify taking billion dollar losses like Sony did. For the most part it's a cap-turn industry, you produce the best product you can within reasonable cost and sell it for as much as you can for as long as you can and hope to make a profit. But I'd like to hear your plan on how to change this.
Also I'm not sure on what type of logic you are using to say that lossing market share necessarily means you are not growing. It happens all the time when a market booms and new people get in it. Look at any major industry that started off small with a single provider then grew rapidly. The original guy may lose some of his market share but he'll gain a lot because of a much larger total market.
July 23, 2008 5:25:30 PM

I just want to comment a couple of other things you said V8VENOM;
Quote:
50-60% of PC sales are corporate/business -- unless your business is creating game software, then these are not gaming PCs.

This is what I was touching on in my above hypothesis on what will help PC game. Reduced importance on high end hardware for gaming (not to be confused with lower the price of said hardware) will increase the PC gaming market and make it more profitable. Obviously companies won't be installing games on their coprorate PCs, but if a PC or laptop at home that would otherwise would not be able to play games can people will be more likely to buy the occasional game if there machine is capable of running it.

Quote:

Regardless of 75% then vs. 20% now, it's still not a good situation especially considering the cost to produce a game now is considerably higher, so the ROI needs to be higher also.

I don't claim to have all the numbers but with a much larger market, would the cost of producing a game, while albiet higher, also be spread out amongst a larger audience. I know a lot of hardcore PC gamers cringe at the idea of crossplatform titles or *gasp* ports but doesn't this sharing of development cost across a much larger market make more and even better games possible? Would COD4 or Bioshock even be feasible PC titles if not for the console sales? And there's no way Crytek could have developed their new engine without atleast having consoles as a fall back.
July 23, 2008 5:35:34 PM

V8VENOM said:
It isn't just Microsoft alone that is to blame for the decrease in PC Gaming and fewer companies wanting to do PC gaming. Many factors:


Lets see then.

V8VENOM said:

1. Microsoft released DX10 only for Vista -- that has seriously hurt the development of gaming for the PC - it's very expensive to write a game to run on two different platforms.


A small step for gamers, A small step for the devs, A small step for Microsoft. Dx10 wasnt a leap in any way. And DX10.1 was the confirmation of dirty deals.

V8VENOM said:

2. Microsoft's OS is difficult to use for the "average gamer" as most folks can't go find or don't even know about GPU driver updates, Windows updates, etc. So many other aspects to the Microsoft OS (WinXP or Vista) that leave people trying a game, game doesn't work or looks like crap and they never try again. And BTW, these folks have no clue what Tom's Hardware is or for that matter any other "hardware" related sites.


People are starting to complain they have to install (partially) games in PS3. Most consumers are whiners, and whine just for the sake of it. if they just wanna whine and dont wanna care, well, i can imagine a job atm, that you wont use a IT tool.
Really. For every disapointment i had i would never try again, well, that line of though is so very wrong in so many ways.

V8VENOM said:

3. nVidia and ATI have not progressed that much over 2 years. Sure nVidia have recently released the GTX 280 and ATI with the 4870 which is demonstrating real gains in GPU performance, but it's been 2 years with no real new GPU developments.


Oh noes ? if you skip Crysis out of the Equation, the hardware is quite beyond the software. The nubs you defend don't know what MSAA, FSAA,CFAA,Q MSAA, T&L, and other things mean or look. If you want bragging rights, sorry mate you will need to know how the machine works.

V8VENOM said:

4. nVidia kept a ridiculous lock on top end GPU and even middle GPU prices. No comptetion allowed them to do this. Considering an XBOX360 cost less (considerably less) than a GTX 280 (or even the 8800GTX a few months ago) at $600+. Factor in that SLI and/or Tri SLI used to be required to play games like Crysis (this $1200-$1800 worth in GPU's alone). Putting the final nail in the coffin for PC games and they became too costly.


Crysis only putted a nail on Crysis. PC gaming is alive and well. i can still play decently on my X800XL. it is almost a 4 year GPU. The nub, or Joe Consumer wont get a Tri SLI. He gets a 8800GT or a 8600GT. because they are Grand Turismo GPUs. And hes happy about it because.....MSAA, FSAA,CFAA,Q MSAA, T&L, etc.......wutz dat ? without all those, the framerate is fine.

V8VENOM said:

5. Rampent Piracey has also close down several gaming companies (some talented companies with real people working very hard to deliver entertainment to the masses only to be screwed by the masses of pirates and their associated network).


You seriously believe piracy doesnt exist in consoles ? It is even worse there.

V8VENOM said:

6. Poor economy, as GWB has brought our economy to it's knees and the US dollar is weakest it has ever been in the history of the US, people just aren't paying top dollar any more to just play computer games.


Joe Consumer wont buy the top card. And you would be surprise by real numbers of sales of the Flagship products. They are really, low. They always were. Nothing changes much there. Btw, im European, nothing moved much here.

V8VENOM said:

7. CPU performance, the industry (Intel/AMD) has moved to multilple cores, but a 4 core processor does NOT increase gaming performance by 4X. Not even close, best cases are games that support multiple cores (as in take advantage of) show maybe 10-20% gain. But CPU speeds (stock clock) have remained at about 3Ghz - 3.2Ghz max for 5+ years now. I'm pretty certain that a single core 4-5Ghz processor could easily out perform (in games) a quad core at 3GHz giving current motherboards/RAM/chipsets/ and 45nm Fab.


Every passing generation cpu influenciastes even less. GPU makers are trying to even steal market share from CPU makers. CuDA, Ati Streaming ring a bell ? you wanna spend 1000$ on a 50 gigaflops cpu or 200$ on a 1024 gigaflop gpu ?
Btw, frequency means less and less every passing generation.

V8VENOM said:

8. Lack of innovation in gaming? I don't think this is relevant at all as the lack of innovation in console games has NOT hurt the sales rate for that market at all. Apparently people love to play similar style games so long as the graphics look a little different.


Franchisings still sell quite well. And phisics are picking the pace. Check youtube, got alot of cool info on that.Search of Havok and Ageia.

V8VENOM said:


PC gaming isn't dead, but if you look at the sales number for PC games vs. consoles, even the worse console game sells more than the Best PC game.

[/quotemsg]

About sales.

"The Burning Crusade expansion first expansion sold through nearly 2.4 million copies worldwide in its first 24 hours and 3.5 million in its first month - more than any other PC game in history had sold within an entire first month of availability"

This is just an Expansion. From a MMORPG, i cba to search for all the numbers, but this is a game with a monthly fee. PC Gaming is, well dying of course !!! Check EA numbers !! Check Steam Numbers !!!

PC game evolves. get used to it.
July 23, 2008 6:19:27 PM

Radnor,

Either you didn't read what I wrote, or you read into WAY more than I wrote and made some serious leaps and assumptions out it. Or, you're not really responding to my points, but just writing your own beliefs -- in which case no need for the quotes.

The thread title "Is Microsoft Killing PC Gaming" ... your response to #1 isn't a response, it's just a statement -- you either missed the point or don't understand. DX10 was provide on Vista ONLY -- providing gaming benefits on a new OS that nobody wants is the point. DX10 could have been made available for WinXP and hence reduced the need for multiple graphics implementations of a game and hence increase gaming sales on the PC.

Your response to #2 -- ok, so you call them whiners?? And this is going to change the facts how? Remember it's the game publishers job to do the selling and they're in NO position to tell their potential buyer (consumer) "you better be able to diagnose your PC to get this game to work". Good luck in your quest too force the consumer to "get smart".

#3 oh I see any new game that pushes the hardware we have to "remove from the equation" -- again, this is pretty short sighted. But what about other games like FSX, World In Conflict, iRacing, etc. etc. - remove those also? So you think game developers will just stop adding increasingly complex graphics?? Why would they do that, graphical candy sells.

Quote:
Crysis only putted a nail on Crysis. PC gaming is alive and well. i can still play decently on my X800XL
... eeer, yeah OK??

Quote:
Joe Consumer wont buy the top card. And you would be surprise by real numbers of sales of the Flagship products.
... so I guess all those reviews at places like www.newegg.com on the Top cards are from folks that really don't have them?

Quote:
Every passing generation cpu influenciastes even less.
... errr, what?

Quote:
Btw, frequency means less and less every passing generation.
... are you kidding? So I guess my 3.8 Ghz QX9770 is no faster than a 3.2 Ghz QX9770? Hate to break the news to ya, but every test I've run and in real games, I notice a significant different between 3.2 Ghz and 3.8 Ghz.

Ageia got bought and never really went anywhere. Support of physics hardware is laughable (you need to search Tom's for their take on it).

I wasn't comparing PC games to other PC games, I compared the best selling PC game to a Console best seller and the console won hands down (2X more sales). Then I looked at PC games in the 2nd and 3rd spot which shows about 4X -10X better sales on console side than PC side.

I have checked EA numbers, they produce more Consoles titles than PC titles, why do you think that is?? Cause they sell more consoles titles and make more money from them.

Quote:
PC game evolves. get used to it.
-- huh? that says nothing about nothing.
July 23, 2008 6:34:47 PM

Purplerat,

There is nothing in the console arena that could not have been implemented in the PC arena -- that includes licensing -- the same structure could be implemented on the PC side.

Not going to debate the prices I listed because that goes down a very subjective road of what you consider playable, with XYZ graphics turn up, resolutions, etc. etc. -- bottom line, end consumers wants to see all the graphics candy maxed out (they better do, if they want a reason to go with a PC game over a console). The hardware you listed is grossy inadequate to meat those demands -- it may meat you expectations, but if you wanna sway a console gamer, it'll need to blow you socks off fps and visual quality.

Real time 3D processing requires lots of hardware GPU and CPU processing power. The movies you see in Hollywood come from endless hours of rendering graphics -- and this is NOT in real time.

July 23, 2008 6:40:15 PM

No EA GAMES & SONY -secuROM.
They are the culprits.
from a pc gamer
July 23, 2008 6:42:05 PM

EA GAMES are in bed with NVIDIA
July 23, 2008 6:46:52 PM

you can look at this site which i am a member of as a guest.
http://www.the-prism.com/index.php

There are many debates going on.
this has been created by the original SAS simmers against secuROM.
I hope you will find this of interest.Oh yes there are many issues here-add your views?
19,500 BBS tech help at the EA games thesims2 posted in the last 10 days
July 23, 2008 6:57:45 PM

Quote:
There is nothing in the console arena that could not have been implemented in the PC arena -- that includes licensing -- the same structure could be implemented on the PC side.

So you think Microsoft/nVidia/AMD/Intel should force developers to pay the types of fees to develop games on their PC hardware/software as do consoles. That would certainly be the death of PC gaming. And you could kiss all user created mods and content goodbye.

Quote:

Not going to debate the prices I listed because that goes down a very subjective road of what you consider playable, with XYZ graphics turn up, resolutions, etc. etc. -- bottom line, end consumers wants to see all the graphics candy maxed out (they better do, if they want a reason to go with a PC game over a console). The hardware you listed is grossy inadequate to meat those demands -- it may meat you expectations, but if you wanna sway a console gamer, it'll need to blow you socks off fps and visual quality.

WHAT?!? So a Q9450 with 8GB of high performance RAM and a 9800GTX is now considered just a so-so gaming computer? You really think it takes a $10K PC to significantly outperform a PS3? Also since in order to really show off a PS3 you need a 1080p TV you might as well add that 2K-6K into the price equation.


Quote:

Real time 3D processing requires lots of hardware GPU and CPU processing power. The movies you see in Hollywood come from endless hours of rendering graphics -- and this is NOT in real time.

Yeah, today it does, but it won't always. I remeber having to turn off the sound in some of my games in order to get reasonable performance, but things change.
July 23, 2008 7:38:06 PM


Just to go back to the sales figures though I'd like to point this out
http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/news/pc-game-sales-bring-us-industry-to-1885-billion-in-07/19186/?biz=
"Console software sales reached $6.6 billion (153.9 million units), while computer games sales were just $910.7 million (36.4 million units)."

When you add in digital distribution PC games are probably closer to 50 million, which makes it about 3:1 in favor of consoles, or (Wii, PS3, 360):p C = 3:1. All that the top ten figures show is that the PC market is much broader in terms of what types of games are being bought. Consoles will always hype the crap out of certain games to ensure a certain title sells well. Also shown in the top ten is the success of expansions in the PC market. You keep talking about ROI, but what's a better ROI in the gaming world than an expansion pack? All the heavy lift is done and paid as far as development so an expansion will have a much higher ROI than a new release. Not to mention that expansions encourage new sales of the original which is often almost 100% profit. I have no real knowledge, but I would guess that an expansion pack cost only a fraction of what a blockbuster title like Halo 3 or GTA4 cost to develop.
Before you said that PC vs Console should be looked at 50/50 rather than PC vs 360 vs PS3 vs Wii. But that is making a hugely inaccurate assumption that all 3 consoles are essentially the same and compete with PCs for the same segment of the market. That assumption would mean that if you were to take away one of the three consoles those users would simply move to another console with no consideration for the PC. That is completely false. Take away the Wii and casual gamers are not going to rush out and buy a 360 and definatly not a PS3. There more likely to use the home computer they already have to fill their minimal gaming needs. The PS3 targets the high end crowd which is normally the realm of PC gaming. And the 360 is the only of the 3 consoles to offer online multiplayer that can compete on any level with PCs. So I think it's fair to look at all 4 as different platforms which both cross over and compete for different market segments.
July 23, 2008 10:48:17 PM

Before i post i just wanna say one thing. Sorry about the latter post if it seemed too inflated but i was working and posting. Sometimes i post badly when the intentions are good. got interrupted several times and thus didnt read the next posts due to posting while working:) 

Never worked so little, never got paid so well.

Back on topic.

PC gaming isnt dying, far from it. Ill sum my opinion.
Lets do the exchange of opinions in a more sensible mode.
PC gaming IS expanding. But console gaming is expanding also. Ive always worked in the distribuition and atm im in the costumer support of a big brand. Always saw the sales numbers during the past 8 years. I mean big sales.
Many people now are buying their first pc, but even more are buying their first console !!! Thats why PC gaming seems to be diminishing, and it is, if you look at all 3 consoles.

Newegg isnt a good reference point, because honestly, it is for a more "addicted" crowd like you and me. I use Joe Consumer alot in my posts, because honestly, it is Joe Consumer that buys Consoles and PCs. Number wise. Not quality wise. I just purchased a Corsair TX750. I want to make a Crossfire machine. Im like you, when i buy, i mount a crazy rig. For the standards of Joe Consumer.

Alright, why am i talking of Joe Consumer ? Because it is Joe Consumer that generates all those nice statics i read every month and that you are presenting as a analisys.

Many Joe Consumer bought their first PC about 4 years ago. They bought the cheapest, most leaziest machines on earth. Rigs i wouldnt use as linux server. They thought, because they were Joe Consumer they could buy a 2000$ machine for 400$. So, yes many got dissapointed. Ill give you that. The computer has its uses, web, office, photos and few more uses.
No, hardly gaming.

So Joe consumer bought a Wii/PS3/PS2/XBOX360. Games are expensive, and there isnt too much bang for the buck.

So in conlusion your numbers might be a bit dubbed, because many of the Joe Consumers buy PCs and at least one console. Pcs are now everywhere. More than 1 per family. At least where i am, in Spain. The USA may be a big market, but they dont define trends no more.

Another funny fact i saw today. just checked the number projections and for each Ati 3780 almost 40 ati 3650 where sold.
What this means ? You and me, the 1/2% of the consumer base buys the good stuff. Many Joe Consumers are not buying their first computer, but already upgrading.
GPUs, CPUs, have producting cycles, shipping cycles, life cycles, and yes, they do sell in cycles. So indeed, you and me we are still hardcore PC gamers. And joe Consmer is getting the taste of FPS (First Person Shotters). Because honestly, remember what i said earlier, the consoles give few bang per buck.

Continuing with my logic, PC gaming is evolving. Laptops finally are coming with "not-so-disgracefull" GPUs. you can see (albeit expensive) Laptops sales represent 50% of sales worldwide. In my region they already surprassed the Desktop sales a long time. They are the PC version of the Console. All installed and ready to run !!!! They wont max Crysis, or GRID, but they will play Assasins Creed, Bioshock and other titles decently. Not for Me and You but excelent for Joe Consumer.

Lets get back to statistics. We got another cycle now. Even more people are for the first time buying his first PC. That person might or have at least one console. This people will take time to buy their second (3-5 years) and will earn their mistakes for being such a cheap ass. They will buy a decent GPU, now that there is never enough ram, and HDD space isnt as vital as they initial thought. And know that RAM and HDD are two diferent memories, and know what is like when one of them fails, or is just not enough.

You are talking about games sales, sales or shipping statistics. Joe Consumer is your sample, not you and me. We are 1%. We are the 1 million of people that bought crysis. Not the 20 millions that bought wow.
PC Gaming is not dying. Microsft errors, bad gpus, bad coded games, that only really matters to you and me. Joe consumer will continue to buy for his bang. Mindlessly i might add.

Are the Hardcore PC gamers and Power users dying ? Hell no, we are growing. But not at the same pace. It takes several cycles to a person become a Hardcore Gamer or Power user. Ive been using X86 computer for more than 15 years now. And a Philips MSX and Spectrum Z80 before that. So, we are growing, but in smaller pace than the rest of the consumers.
We are picky. We know our hardware.

I pass my eyes on staticts daily basis, you must know how to read them. Games sold are one thing, Depends on the cycle for example. Try to take that conclusion lookign at Set/Out. you will see that the PC world is alive and well. It is the time of Back to School campaigns. Big Rigs are assembled, laptops sales skyrocket, consoles sales plummet. Even games are bought.

Part II - Games.

As i showed before, well i tried, Joe Consumer, consumes alot, and in the end, pays for our R&D. Gaming Industry is funny. The first copy they print may cost millions, but the second only costs 50 cents. And its sold for 60€. So they dont need too much copies to reach critical mass to take profit and keep developing. Games for Windows and Cross plataform gaming is great for PC gaming. You wont see Starcraft for Wii, but did see Bioshock,PES and Assasins Creed being ported. That means more games to those who are upgrading their GPUs. People who bought all those 8600/3650 maybe bought them to play in their PC. Buying a 100$ card is cheaper than buying a PS3 or Xbox. Those cards are horrible for the likes of me and you, but Joe consumer still think they are the Ultimate experience.

Joe Consumer pays for our R&D. We do create trends, but in the end, joe Consumer buys WoW and skip Crysis. Joe Consumer will check Steam, and if he likes he will buy the Orange Box aswell.


In conclusion. It is all about cycles mate. You, me and many others in this forum are just was ahead of the curve. Again, backed up by real-life, real-time sales numbers i can assure, PC gaming is Hardly dead. Some of us are just ahead of the curve. About physics, that means, games with cloth, explosions, fluids and particles are the future. I was saying that 1 year ago, im still saying it now. It will take its sweet time, like X86-64 did, but will come strong, and when it comes we are going to experience it in full glory, as we deserve for some much tappign our keyboard posting like maniacs.Joe consumer will get his ripped down version but will think it is the Ultimate experience. He payed our bang, he should get some aswell.
But it will only come when Joe Consumer PCs are, at least, capable.

Thanks and see ya tomorrow. For more discussion, hype, Fud, geek discusion, and much more.


July 24, 2008 9:17:25 AM

All I am reading is that PC gaming is decreasing or staying the same, but no one is saying that it’s improving. Games like World Of Warcraft don’t sell next generation hardware, thus the sales of such games on the PC market have nothing to do with the topic of this conversation. I think people are getting a bit side tract from the original question here.

You all seem to agree that PC gaming isn’t getting better, so would anyone say that it would be better in a few years? Lets assume for just now that your answer was ‘no’ to that question. With the lack of ‘high spec’ PC gaming being produced, do you really think there is any benefit for hardware manufacturers to produce faster and faster hardware when no one will have the need to buy such over priced hardware.

The cutting edge of hardware is where the progress of the technology comes from, the reason midrange cards are as fast as they are today is because the cutting edge hardware and development of such hardware allowed the technology to be created. Now please tell me if all we will be seeing in the PC market is going to be up scaled console ports, where on earth is the demand for faster and faster hardware going to come from?

The thing is no matter how much you rewrite a game from a console, the foundations of that game are still designed to run on a console. You can’t change the way a console game plays to increase the spec needed unless you change the game it’s self. But again why would a developer spend so much time and money changing a game if it does not have the demand for first off:

There is no demand for people having PC game exclusives.

And second:

There is not much of an improvement in PC hardware development so the platform has stalled in its almost current state.

Really do people think that the way the market has been till now has been based around games basically taking advantage of the ever-increasing hardware, that the developers are playing catch up? Because is has not been.

The only reason hardware is where it is today is because software of games (the only software that pushes hardware to it’s limits) has been constantly progressing higher and higher in spec. Hardware manufacturers have forecast this and have there for produced faster and faster hardware to meet the consumer demand. What do you think is going to happen once this demand has stopped?

You tell me.
July 24, 2008 10:34:38 AM

Um, no. I think I laid out reasons earlier as to why I think PC gaming will advance and improve. Right now it's being slowed a little by three highly successful conosle all of which are in their prime. That however isn't a real negative because all that success will eventually seep into the entire market and given the nature of any consoles limited lifespan it's PC gaming that will ultimately reap the largest long term rewards from the gaming boom that has been going on.
Secondly Cafuddled I'm not sure why you think gaming is the only thing driving the computer industry? You paint the picture as if without PC gaming PCs will not improve at all or at least not as fast as they otherwise should. That's absolutely untrue. In fact some of the biggest trends pushing the PC market in the last few years have almost no effect on gaming. Multi-core and 64bit processing currently do very little for gaming but they've still had huge benefits to the computing industry. Even high end graphics will always be in demand and pushing forward. Medical, design and other entertainment uses will always drive graphics forward. I'm willing to bet that these things called computers are not going anywhere anytime soon, and they'll probably keep on getting better and faster. If you want you can look at it this way; Instead of gaming being the driving force in improving computers flip it around. The ever evolving and increasingly present computer is what drives PC gaming. With consoles there is a requirement that there is a manufacture willing to create a platform for games to be played on. And this has become increasingly expensive as of late. With PCs there is alway going to be a faster platform just around the corner regardless of gaming.
July 24, 2008 2:48:40 PM

cafuddled said:

The only reason hardware is where it is today is because software of games (the only software that pushes hardware to it’s limits) has been constantly progressing higher and higher in spec. Hardware manufacturers have forecast this and have there for produced faster and faster hardware to meet the consumer demand. What do you think is going to happen once this demand has stopped?

You tell me.


It won't. People like YOU (and I) create a demand. On the flip side, publishers need to see a profit in order invest in making games like Crysis. If pushing the limits doesn't make sense financially, then they will simply publish games that can run on most PCs their target audience owns. If their target audience are enthusiasts who spend anywhere from 2000$ to 5000$ on their PCs...which means a forecast of less units to be sold, then they would have to sell these units at a much higher price. Given the piracy issues that the PC Gaming Industry suffers from, this type of audience won't be targeted anytime soon.

So, convince your friends to buy the most up to date hardware on a regular basis and to stop pirating games (I'm not accusing them...but you get the point).

The blame goes to the publishers who don't create games that are pushing the limits. However, it's hard to ask someone to make only 10$ when they have the potential to make 100$ (Not to mention the amount of money they risk on every game they create).
!