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Is The Xbox The Cause Of The PC Gamer's Downfall? 194

Posted by simoniker
from the boxen-be-foxen dept.
Thanks to GamerDad for its editorial discussing whether the Xbox has grabbed much of the development effort and talent from the PC gaming scene, with the author arguing: "From what I've been able to gather, there just isn't much interest in PC games unless as an afterthought to a console release. Deus Ex 2 and Thief III are superb examples of this mindset." He continues of the Xbox: "Its introduction has clearly robbed a lot of the resources that used to be dedicated to making PC entertainment. This is fine if you're willing to buy an Xbox and support Microsoft directly that way. It's not fine if you're a PC gamer that wants what the PC can offer specifically, and not some watered down version of what you've come to expect from a company." Do you agree?
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Is The Xbox The Cause Of The PC Gamer's Downfall?

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  • No.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smoondog (85133) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:41AM (#9355421)
    First of all, pc games are not dead. Second, their reduced popularity is certainly due to the rise in all consoles. With a game cube costing a 100 bucks, consoles are competing well. Anyways, nethack is alive and well.....
    • Re:No.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bigman2003 (671309) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:04AM (#9355554) Homepage
      I am one of the people out there who switched from PC gaming to console gaming (see my link).

      The PS2 and Gamecube would not have made me switch. People repeatedly say 'the Xbox has a lot of the same games as the PC, there are no real exclusives'. Fine, right. That shows that they are going for a similar crowd. I can play first person shooters on my Xbox, which was about 60% of what I played on the PC. There are also the racing/sports/3rd person shooters and now I'm set.

      The Gamecube and PS2 don't target the same audience. I wouldn't buy a Gamecube if they were only ONE buck, because it doesn't have the games I want to play.

      So for me, and a few of my friends, the Xbox is the one that stopped me from buying any PC games in the past 18 months. Instead I've bought about 35 games for my Xbox. I do have a friend who is a die-hard PC gamer- and he says he will stay that way forever...even though I harass him constantly to buy an Xbox. In the past 4 years I think he has purchased 2 or 3 games for the PC. I think you would find that the number of games purchased by the average Xbox gamer is much, much higher than the number of games purchased by the average PC gamer. And buying games, translates to support.

      Of course, he used to COPY my games. I had a similar 20+ per year game buying habit on the PC, and he would copy my games. But his copying does not put money in the pockets of the developers, who would be willing to make more games for the system.

      I tell him that if he wants the developers to support him (make more games) he needs to support THEM (buy more games). But he figures someone else ou there will do the buying...sadly, this is why the content providers are pushing for more and more DRM.
    • Re:No.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LordPixie (780943)
      It should be noted that consoles in general have a higher market share than high-end gaming rigs. So it's much more enticing to release your game for a console. Not so much that all the talent is being used to up on the XBox persay, but just that developers aren't willing to spend the effort on their PC releases.

      Deus Ex II was a perfect example of this. The abysmal PC release interface was obviously built for the XBox controller, just as level design was for the XBox architecture. But the part tha
    • No kidding. What a stupid question.

      All the network games that really matter, whether MMORPG or FPS, are on the PC, not consoles. Love them or hate them, the MMORPG is the cash cow of the gaming industry right now. What does the X-Box have in that arena? Phantasy Star Online!? Please. If EverQuest2 comes to the PlayStation on the same day it's release for Windows, then maybe it's time to talk about consoles taking over. For now, it's two separate markets, just like it has been for over 10 years.

  • It's funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:44AM (#9355435) Journal
    When the XBox came out, I figured that it would be killed by the PC, not the other way around.

    Microsoft might not be too popular around here, but they sure aren't stupid or lacking in business sense, either way.

    Rob
    • Re:It's funny (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      well.. the thing is.. .. it didn't kill the pc.

      pc gaming is not dead, it hasn't changed all that much in the past 5 years. sure, most games suck, but that's how it has been for the past 15 years on PC.

      pc killed some platforms though, like the amiga, but then again the amigas were just pc's on a different architechture anyways so no big deal there either.

      .
    • Re:It's funny (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:58AM (#9355918)
      Microsoft is taking business away from the PC industry that's given them hundreds of billions of dollars to a console market on which they have yet to make a single dime. It is too soon to praise the virtues of their business sense yet.

      One wonders what the gaming market today would look like if Microsoft has spent the billions they invested in Xbox into making PC gaming vastly better than game cube or PS2 could offer. Suppose they had launched a "Windows XP Live" service, and invessted in/bribed game developers into using it. Or if they had worked to make installing PC games as easy as playing an Xbox games--by encouraging the PC market to make a transition to DVD-ROM faster, or perhaps creating some sort of DirectX Virtual Machine. Suppose they invested money in DirectX 9 games, which would be far and away vastly better than anything today's consoles can offer, but doesn't really do much today because who the hell cares about pc games when Microsoft is willing to bleed money on the XBox?

      And if they had done all that,and then perhaps integrated Tivo-like features into the OS, and even made it simple to view movies downloaded from the internet on your television (as if MS would fail to brush the MPAA aside like a gnat if they so felt it expedient to do so), and even co-opted the Apple route of writing consumer-level tools for editing music and video -- then that would have been it. Microsoft would have owned our living rooms,and no one could be happier.

      Basically, Microsoft has given up The World, so that they can be fighting neck and neck with lowly Nintendo scavenging for the scraps left over by Sony.

      • Re:It's funny (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@ g m a i l . com> on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:17AM (#9356528) Journal

        Microsoft tried the Live service with Windows; DirectPlay and the Zone. Developers didn't go for it, for various reasons; one of the hallmarks of the PC world has always been 'do it your way.'

        But with the console, it just makes sense. You slap in your disc, it plays. You don't need to configure the sound drivers, select OpenGL or DirectX, you just slap it in and play. Well, extend that to online. Click the 'online' button and your done.

        None of this 'buy the addons, figure out if the game works over the dial up or the broadband modem, does this game use a headset, does that one, do I pay for this one, do I subscribe for that one, how do I find a game to join, blah blah blah. With Live, it just works.

        Or, put another way, in many ways, the Xbox is more 'consoly' than the Playstation 2....

        • PC games will always rule in the graphics department. Consoles just don't get it done in this department. We just sit farther back and think they look as good.
          • That's one thing I realy can't stand about console games...the insanely low resolution. If I wanted to play my games at 512x384, I'd go back to my voodoo3 and P2 400MHz. ;) I always hear people say "well, (console here) runs better than the pc version". of course it does. look at the models, look at the environment, and look at the resolution.

            I think the consoles have a HUGE advantage with their multiple controllers, they make gamming a social event. You can invite people over without being one of those ne
      • by Creepy (93888) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:19AM (#9356547) Journal
        Yeah, it's true that MS gaming division isn't making them money, but their bread-and-butter, MS-Office and MS-Windows make so much dough that they pay the losses of every losing division and still rake in over a billion dollars without even mentioning their other profitable divisions. I don't think MS has anything to worry about, except maybe the PC drying up as a gaming market. I have my doubts about that, as well, because graphics technology continues to be pushed on the PC side, which eventually influences consoles. Consoles have the plus of standardized hardware, so it's easier to write for them, but you don't get "cutting edge" graphics, except maybe on the console's release.

        MS has hurt PC gaming, by buying many PC developers and moving them exclusively to XBox dev (then porting to PC with a different developer later). The FASA (Mechwarrior) and Bungie (Halo) teams are prime examples. Basically, they've moved the PC game to play second fiddle to the XBox game, but adding all the missing features later. In many ways this works out good for MS, because the XBox is basically a standardized PC, which means many less configuration problems and simplified debugging (meaning shorter release schedule and thus less investment), so they can shovel the cost of PC hardware debugging to a third party developer. Unfortunately, it also means late releases on the PC and controls that either don't work, or are so dumbed down the game is either too easy or too hard :(
        • In the next few years, we'll see how this plays out from a strategic point of view.

          As things like OpenOffice mature, Linux becomes more ready for the desktop. But there's always been that, "Where are the games?" argument the Linux has had a hard time matching. Now that Microsoft is deprecating PC games in favor the the XBox, they're also chiseling away at the "Where are the games?" argument against Linux on the desktop.
          • Combine this with rising anti-American sentiment in Eurasia, and the wait until 2006 or later until longhorn's release, and we might just start to see interesting things happening with Linux on the desktop really soon.

            On the other hand, between Avalon, new security models, and possibly even its relational database file system (not sure about that), Longhorn might end up being a really big deal.

      • by nobodyman (90587) on Monday June 07, 2004 @05:47PM (#9360323) Homepage
        It's not so much that the PC market is dwindling per se, such that the console market is GROWING AT A MASSIVE SCALE. In fact, it's already enormous. And it's not because the consoles are stealing gamers away from the PC, it's because the consoles are tapping into a demographic that would never even touch a PC. It has to do both with the types of games as well as the economics ($200 for a console vs. $1500 for a PC) and ergonomics (would you rather play NFL Street on your couch in front of the big screen tv, or at your desk in front of a 19" monitor?)

        So, put yourself in microsoft's shoes 5 years ago. Consoles are booming, PC sales are flat, and you don't make any money from licensing. If you ask me, Microsoft did what they did because they had to. The writing is on the wall for PC gaming. Microsoft didn't kill it by making the Xbox. If anything, the PS2 is more to blame for the state of PC games.

        Yes, Microsoft could have put their xbox marketing money (half a billion) into promoting PC gaming. But do you really think this would grow the market such that Microsoft would get that money back? Keep in mind that when you buy a PC game, Microsoft gets NOTHING. Microsoft only get's money when a gamer decides to purchase a copy of windows XP.

        If microsoft had done all the things you mention, I propose that it would barely make a dent in the growth of the consoles. So why not try to take a piece of the console pie as well?
      • Lowly Nintendo? It's funny how people tend to bash Nintendo in praise of Sony on such a regular basis.

        Nintendo makes just as many great games as Sony does, they just don't release 50 shelf fillers in between like Sony. Open your eyes.
    • Disclaimer: IAANF. But slow down a little there, cowboy - they've yet to prove they can make any money from the xbox. It's been nothing but a humungous money drain so far: they still have to massively subsidise every unit sold to keep their prices competitive, they've went on shopping sprees and acquired companies like Bungie and Rare ($375 million IN CASH! damn!) and only 5% of their userbase have subscribed to the much-ballyhooed Live service. Forgive me if I'm not yet convinced that's good business sense
  • To a degree (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fozzmeister (160968)
    Once the computer was the console (spectrum etc) then nintendo took the platforms, sony took the arcade racers, xbox has some of the half racing sims, things like colin mcrae, toca race driver 2. I was nuts on Rainbow Six 3 on XBox then i saw it on the PC blew me away totally, much bigger game, much more beautiful and the planning is awsome. In short its a dumbed down game on the XBox. Similarly you aren't ever going to see something like Grand Prix Legends or EF2000 a console for a very long time.

    I think
  • by 68k geek (573999)
    i do.
  • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@gmai l . com> on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:48AM (#9355462) Journal
    Is that it's essentially PC hardware. Heck, it uses the DirectX API. So what's my problem? Why not port games to PC since it's almost exactly the same. Answer: MS pays developers to develop for X-Box exclusively (think Halo).

    While I wouldn't mind buying a PC X-Box kit (I'm not calling it an emulator since it wouldn't be emulating anything), I feel stupid maintaining two x86 PCs just because his Billness decided that's the way it should be. (Everyone talks about the extra X-box features, but really the feature set is dumbed down PC interface).
    • Name one other title that has been "exclusive" to the Xbox and not the PC. Even Halo eventually made its way to the PC.

      As far as interfaces go, dumbed down does not always equal bad. In fact, unless you're coding in assembly and using nothing but pure unix command line, you've dumbed down as well.
      • Ninja Gaiden. Riddick.

        I'll agree that there is a balance between ease of use and power, but with a PC you can do what you please. But there's programs that challenge this notion. I=tunes is pretty easy to use but also very powerful.
        • I waited to see if anyone would respond, and no one did except with more titles that are "Xbox Exclusive." Who in the wide world of video games would want to play any of the games these people listed on a PC anyway? That's like lamenting that Encarta 2004 never made it the Xbox. Are they exclusive to the Xbox? Well, I guess. I suppose in the techincal definition. But we're talking an intereference call here, a game that could have made it to the PC if it weren't for Microsoft doing something to preven
      • Just going from my own shelf: Buffy, Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive Volleyball, Brute Force, Robotech: Battlecry, Crimson Sea, Toejam and Earl 3...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      What do you have to maintain w/ an XBox? To me, that's the attraction. I can come in, sit down, and be playing a game in 30 sec without worrying about whether or not I have the right patch to play online w/ my friends or all the latest drivers or spend an hour customizing the graphics/audio to get decent performance.
  • Cycles.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by master_xemu (618116)
    This is nothing new consoles vs PC, they always swap positions every few years. As for it being XBOX thsi time? No, more likely it was Sony's PS1 or PS2, MS was a little late to the game.
  • Worked for me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roll_w.it (317514) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:49AM (#9355467)
    Sure I'm supporting Microsoft by buying an X-box, however, it means that I don't have to have a separate windows partition to play the few games that I do play.

    Hopefully the next round of pc-gaming will come about on a Non-MS Platform -grin-

    • Since Micro$oft loses money on each xbox sold, you're not really supporting them by buying one. I think that would be a good strategy for pc loyalists- buy xboxes by the dozen and burn them. or mod chip them and copy games to the hard drive. Either way, you don't buy games, microsoft loses money and will pc gaming will triumph again
  • OMG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Apreche (239272) on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:51AM (#9355482) Homepage Journal
    Ok, I've said it before and I'll say it again. The cause of the PC Games downfall is well known.

    Because of the differences in controls and displays some game genres are better on the PC and some game genres are better on consoles. Anything with lots of information on the screen like a Civilization or a Master of Orion, RTS games like Warcraft 3 and first person shooters are all PC genres. Games like platformers, fighting games and such are all console genres. A big screen and a gamepad are perfect for these. Some games work well on either, like puzzle games.

    The reason that PC gaming is going down the tubes is that there is no innovation in the genres which are good to play on the PC. FPS and RTS are pretty much stuck in a rut. Each new game is the same as all the others. Sure there are better graphics and sound, but eye candy does not a hit game make. Think about it, there are only 2, TWO pc games coming out that people are anticipating. Doom3 and HL2. The reason they are anticipated is because they promise innovation is a dormant genre. But look over in the console arena, what do you see? What's that? Nintendo with its GBA hookups and FF:CC? XboX Live? I see new things there! It's not the same old game its always been.

    Sure, there are more reasons than one why the PC is going downhill as a gaming platform. All the cheapass commodity games stocking up at Wal-Mart are no help. But then again, you see the same sorts of things coming out for the PS2 and GBA. The primary reason for PC gaming being in a rut is the lack of innovation in PC genres and the extensive innovation in console genres.

    Some people I tell this to try to argue that there is PC innovation and I'm wrong. If this is you then consider this. Why is Counter-Strike the most popular online game ever after all these years? When it came out it was revolutionary. Real weapons, team based objective gameplay that wasn't CTF. And staying dead until the next round. This did not exist then. And since CS came out, no game has made such great leaps into making new gameplay as to unseat CS. Nothing. If one of them did, then CS wouldn't still be the most popular game. Tribes 2 and NS both came close, but they both suffered the same 2 problems. 1) Gameplay too complex to jump right in. 2) The devs killed the game off unintentionally.

    So until HL2 and Doom3 come out my video game money is still going to Nintendo.
    • Re: OMG (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jeranon (184097)
      I blame publishers who are more interested with "safe games" like Warcraft 3, Diablo 2, Deus Ex 2, and Blah 14 or those with a big money inducing licensed name in the title like Enter the Matrix or whatever other game Hollywood thinks will get them more cash.

      Innovation is tough when no one wants to pay you for it. Developers are kind of stuck in this twisted games industry that says you can make something new or you can make something everyone is buying.
    • Re:OMG (Score:3, Interesting)

      Do you really think Doom 3 and Half-life 2 are going to do better than The Sims 2, sequel to the best selling PC Game ever? There are two genres you didn't mention that the PC is strong in--MMOG and games with player created content. And consoles are catching up with MMOGs--if they're smart enough to sell the next version of consoles with included microphone and/or keyboard, then the pc will lose its only advantage in that sphere.

      But player created content--I can't foresee the PC losing its edge there.

      • If the Sims 2 is "designed to allow players to easily integrate content created by players outside the game", then how could this content be created or used on the XBox?

        Every game system has some kind of external save game mechanism. Today I can buy 256 MB of USB flash storage for under $40. How much space do you reckon that player-created Sim 2 content is going to take up? No, it isn't as convenient as having a 40 GB hard drive but for a lot of gamers and the games they play it'd be more than suffici
      • But player created content--I can't foresee the PC losing its edge there. If the Sims 2 is "designed to allow players to easily integrate content created by players outside the game", then how could this content be created or used on the XBox?

        I don't see a problem. You won't be creating much content on your Xbox (unless you put linux on it, which makes the use of Live a little more difficult but not impossible) but you can create it on your PC and use it on your Xbox. Or, did you not notice that A>

      • I beg to differ. If they start selling consoles with keyboard and mouse, the console moves out of the living room and into the study.

        You can't sit comfortably on a couch with a keyboard in front of the TV. There's no flat surface on a couch or your lap for a mouse to go.

        So when the console gets into the study, it has to displace the PC, right? But it can't do that either. The PC is good for web browsing, the resolution of your average monitor is much better than the TV. Consoles won't take over web b

  • Apart from the fact that Microsoft are the only ones who can afford to make the XBox at its current specs, I've always considered that its just a PC made for games, like any other.

    I don't see the differentiation, I guess, between an "XBox" game and a "PC" game. Aren't they using the same API's, the same fundamental OS, the same principles of development?

    Why the differentiation, really, when under the covers, XBox == Microsofts Gaming PC?

    Another thing I don't understand, though I think we'll probably see
    • That's all nonsense. The interface is fundamentally different, no mouse or keyboard, instead a joypad and headset. No monitor, instead a TV. This leads to fundamentally different game types. Sure you can plug those things into a PC, but games aren't aimed at them, they're aimed at a mouse+WASD on the keyboard.
      • So you're saying that the interface makes it a PC?

        This means that an Amiga (with mouse and VGA monitor) is a PC?

        I dunno about that. This article is about development of games... and I think that the API's/methods used to develop games for XBox aren't that much different than those used for PC development ... whatever the end-packagin is going to be.

        Would you then say that a custom-built PC running Windows and only being used as a Point of Sale (cash register) isn't a PC, since it has a cash-drawer and c
        • Alike APIs bear little relevance to the gaming experience, as playing games that have versions for all console formats with very little difference and utterly similar control methods will feel a world apart from sitting at your PC with a control method designed for keyboard/mouse usage.

          The control methods go a long way to defining the software. You'll find games that bear more functional resemblance on an Amiga than on a console to the PC. There's nothing unique on the Xbox (gameplay wise, not specific tit

        • The Amiga was a PC. It just had a different architecture and OS.

          If you install Linux on a computer, it doesn't stop being a PC.

          This will probably make some shortsighted Apple guys freak out a bit, but the Apple is also a PC.

          Curiously, the games on all of these platforms are very similar in nature. An FPS on Mac looks just the same on x86/Windows, and it plays just the same, too. You do pay more for the hardware and O/S, but that's just product differentiation.

          The interface does make the PC. A cash r
    • "I don't see the differentiation, I guess, between an "XBox" game and a "PC" game. Aren't they using the same API's, the same fundamental OS, the same principles of development?"

      APIs and OS's are not the dividing factor between a PC game and an XBOX game.

      "Why the differentiation, really, when under the covers, XBox == Microsofts Gaming PC?"

      Why isn't this blindingly obvious? You're comparing a general purpose computing device to a focused game machine. No KB and mouse for the XBOX. No common game pa
  • Since this latest generation of consoles came out, I have a GameCube that collects large amount of dust, and my friend's Xbox would be collecting dust if I was still borrowing it from him. One reason I simply hate consoles is controllers are usually much to annoying to mess with, keyboard and mouse is usually better for any game in my perspective, but GREATLY excelling in the first person shooter genre. Another reason consoles are not preferred by me is the lack of options most games have: Sensitivity, complete customization of controls, etc. Playing a first person shooter where you turn around at 1/3rd of the rate that you can on the PC by twitching your mouse just slightly gets on my nerves. It makes games basically "If he comes up behind you you're dead." Anyway, enough rambling and I'm sleep deprived so if none of this makes sense don't kill me.
    • by StocDred (691816) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:17AM (#9355639) Homepage Journal
      keyboard and mouse is usually better for any game in my perspective

      Translation: better for the genres I prefer.

      Which is fine. But would you play Mario Sunshine or Wind Waker and think "Boy, I wish I could control this with a mouse and arrow keys"?

      • Yeah, or Prince of Persia, Ninja Gaiden, driving games, beat 'em ups, stealth 'em ups (try tiptoeing with a keyboard, not really as good as an analogue stick).

        Not to mention sports stuff like SSX, Tony Hawk's, Pro Evo soccer.

        I flogged my PC because I got bored with FPS, but actually I quite like how different the likes of Halo and Timesplitters 2 are with a joypad, it makes aiming more difficult, which helps the gameplay as you don't get people with unrealistically godlike aiming accuracy.

        • Sneaking with a keyboard is actually easier than with an analog stick. The reason is that with an analog stick, if you push the thing too far you're suddently no longer sneaking and very likely messed up the mission. Not everybody can hold an analog stick at exactly the position that lets you sneak with maximum speed. On the keyboard you hold a button and are restricted to the maximum sneak speed. Sure, you can do that on a console as well but that kinda defeats the purpose of the analog stick, no?

          Fighting
          • This is a little OT, but I really liked the sneaking system used in the PC version of Splinter Cell (at least, Pandora Tomorrow, I didn't play the original) You use the scroll wheel to set your movement speed, and then WASD to move around. Worked pretty slick.
          • With a bit of practice, it's not that hard to sneak with an analog stick on a gamepad. In my experience, developers are usually pretty generous when setting thresholds between walking, jogging, running, etc. And there are some games that give you a sneak button (Eternal Darkness comes to mind).
          • You're kind of missing the point. Use of the analogue stick is part of the atmosphere, skill and challenge of the game in all the examples that you mention. Sneaking about in Splinter Cell and trying not to make a sound or sudden movement. The level of turn applied in a driving game. The direction of turn, shot, or flip in skateboarding, football or snowboarding. The fun is in the realism of analogue control, else we might just as well play BSD Battlestar.

            I'm not sure what fighting games you play (indeed I

      • I wish I could control this with a mouse and arrow keys

        Personally ... yes. Why? Because I map out my keyboard so that every function/move is a finger flex away in the order I find most useful. Console games would need to allow for this of course (which I don't know of any that do) but if they did, I would take full advantage of it. I'm not saying it's for everybody but I would really make use of a keyboard/mouse option.
  • Feeling torn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2004 @08:58AM (#9355516)
    There can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the X-Box has been pretty successful at muscling into the PC games market. Halo, Deus Ex 2, KOTOR and Thief 3 would all have been PC exclusives in the past. What I can't make my mind up over is whether this is a good thing.

    At first glance, the arguments for it being a bad thing are pretty damned strong. Deus Ex 2 was clearly crippled by the limitations imposed by console hardware. Halo is also widely believed to be "not the game it could have been", had it not been transformed into a console-first game. Console games have a reputation (among PC gamers) for being shallow button-mashing fests.

    However, if you look at the issue with more of an open mind, there are some more positive aspects to this. KOTOR rocked... I've played it through twice and I can't see any way in which having the X-Box release harmed the game. Having an X-Box release no doubt increases the sales of these games dramatically, increasing the incentive for developers.

    As I grow older, I find I care less and less about the factors that used to tie me to PC gaming. It's nice to be able to just stick the disk in the drive and play a game... no install procedure, no driver updates, no worrying over whether I need an upgrade. The issue of playing fpses on a console controller no longer really bothers me. A lot of my PC-fps playing friends say "that must suck, because you can't... like... turn around instantly". This kind of misses the point that a decent console fps will be engineered so that you don't need to and, in multiplayer, you're playing against people on a level playing field.

    I don't think the current X-Box is going to make much more progress against the PC gaming market. I suspect (although I may be wrong) that titles like Farcry are, at last, pushing PC games beyond the technical capabilities of the current consoles. However, when the next-gen consoles arrive, PC gaming could be in very deep trouble indeed.
    • KotOR is a very good game (playing through it for the first time now), but it DEFINITELY has console written all over it. The control menus are horribly implemented (for a PC game - I'm sure it's decent for a console). Baldur's Gate (which is now, what, 6 years old?) has a much more user friendly control system for inventory than KotOR. Not being able to control movement with the mouse is another annoyance.

      The game is great. I certainly hope that it's success, on both platforms, enable BioWare to conti
    • Particularly in the graphics. The character models have visible gaps in them on my PC unless you turn the resolution down to cover it up.

      Jon Acheson
      • Particularly in the graphics. The character models have visible gaps in them on my PC unless you turn the resolution down to cover it up.

        That would be a problem with the models not being constructed correctly, not a problem with the game being XBox material.

        A better example for stating a game was crippled because of it's XBOX port would be stating that the characters has a low-poly count compared to other average PC games (or some other appropriate comment about an XBOX limitation.)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When was the last great Ultima game made? Long before the Xbox was conceived. The last Ultima game was turned to crap because of Ultima Online.

    What about Falcon 3.0? Released approximately 6 years ago and, while a great sim, was extremely buggy and eventually had to depend on fan-created patches.

    The article also ignores the dearth of junk games (Deer Hunter), over-hyped games (Daikatana), and vaporware games (Duke Nuke'em) that have turned some folks away from PC gaming.

    Let's also not forget Peter Mol
  • Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GodHead (101109) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:15AM (#9355634) Homepage
    And it will get "worse" for PC gamers. What are the big advantages of a PC game over a console? Display resolution, processing power, input devices. Well for the first two - HDTV isn't far off and next gen consoles will run rings around all but the highest-end PC's. As for input - check how many people are playing FFxi on their PS2 with USB keyboards.

    So, yeah. Consoles will be the main focus of the big game publishers and devs.

    But I do see a silver lining. Smaller game companies and homebrew games will get more play time as PC gamers tire of ports of console games. I also believe that game publishers will promote open-sourceing of games on the PC and encourage mod communities to attempt the sucesses of half-life.

    • Think carefully about this.

      Display resolution - PC's cost more because the display you buy is of better quality. Giving a console the same quality display revokes the consoles cost advantage where display is concerned.

      Processing power - Surely a CPU is a CPU is a CPU, and they all have the same cost. If a console is to have the processing power of a Opteron 8xx, then surely it will also have the same cost as an Opteron 8xx.

      Input devices - When you add a keyboard and mouse to a console, you can't play o
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Monday June 07, 2004 @09:35AM (#9355747) Homepage
    When the way to keep up with your hobby is to spend your time and money upgrading Windows, downloading new drivers, rebooting constantly, buying new sticks of RAM, buying new video cards, replacing HDs, watching games install, dealing with Windows security, rebooting some more, dealing with games that don't work and can't be returned, OR buy 1 game console w/ memory card and 1 game disc for it, and play...

    You begin to see that it's just the matter that PC gaming is expensive in time and money. When you stop using your PC for gaming, you'll find it'll take a good 4 years before your computer is "too slow" and you upgrade for a fraction of the cost. Plus your computer's suddenly a lot more reliable because you can use an OS which has fewer games but more stability, like Mac OS X or a Linux flavour.

    I'll put it another way: my swiss army knife isn't as good at some things as a butcher knife, and if cutting meat was something I'd want to do a lot, a butcher knife would be the way to go for me. A console's just a better, more concentrated way to game!
    • Yep. I wanted a Mac but was reticent because of the abilities of the hardware (I only wanted a cheap and cheerful eMac) and lack of games available, but I simply bought the consoles instead, Gamecube first as it was cheap and varied, then the PS2 and Xbox followed after the prices had come down. Now I'm picking up great games every week on the manufacturers respective budget ranges. I can't remember a time when I bought two PC games in the same month, it's all hype for titles long long in the future. The Ma
    • This is what I've been saying to customers for years already. When they're buying a pc, it doesn't matter if you can watch DVD on your PC, if you want to watch dvd's buy a dvd-player for under your tv-set. Same with games, if you want to be able to just buy a game and play it. Buy a console, it'll take so much hassle out of your game buying, it's great.

      I can't count the number of times people asked me 'can i run this game on my pc'...

      As to the depth and reach of pc-games vs -console-games, it is clear tha
  • Look, I play both consoles and PC games. I lean more to the PC because I'm more into RTS and Strategy games and consoles are just not there yet. However, the reason why I don't give up on consoles is that they just work! I bought KOTOR about 3 weeks ago and it made me upgrade to DirectX 9. Everything worked at first but when I booted my comptuer up the next day all all my video and sound card settings were screwed up. It took me at least an hour to figure out how to get my box back to normal. (had to up
  • by bgumm (661507) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:10AM (#9356009) Homepage
    When I want to sit down and play a game for five minutes and stop, I turn on my Xbox and play some SSX or Sega Soccer Slam.

    When I want a game that immerses me, I open my laptop and play NwN for hours and hours.

    There are exceptions to this on Xbox, like Morrowind (also on PC) and the upcoming Fable; and vice versa on PC, with Flash games and the venerable Solitare. But I think for the most part, they offer different experiences, and can and will continue to co-exist...
  • This is fine if you're willing to buy an Xbox and support Microsoft directly that way.

    Nice rationalization. Let's get one thing straight: even if you only run Windows in order to play games, and even if you use a pirate copy of Windows, you're still directly supporting Microsoft.

    Why? Because you're helping to keep the Windows share of the games market artificially high, which ensures that game development happens for Windows first and other platforms rarely (Mac) or never (Linux). This, in turn, means

  • RPGs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timlee (303958)
    Xbox is my console of choice. However I have to complain about the lack of RPGs for the system, especially online capable ones. While Sony is gettings games like Final Fantasy XI and EverQuest, Xbox has released two that I am barely interested in; Morrowind and KotOR. Both of which are not online capable. I mean hell, Xbox has a NIC built right in! Make use of it!

    With True Fantasy Online recently canceled and Fable looking further and further away, I'm starting to look at Playstation more and more as
  • I agree with you as big compagny are thinking about the console market first before the pc one. But dev/test/debug seems to be shorter on console due to unique hardware specification (nothing like the nightmare on PC:proc+OS+VGA+soundcard+CD drive). Of course the consoles are less extendable but that make them more stable against an implementation. plus the cost of upgrading a PC is too much in the current race for global domination that oppose ATI and NVidia. But I know that console are slow when compared
    • The cost argument is getting increasingly moot. If you want to play PC games you need upgrade your graphics card about once every 2-3 years. The trick is purchasing the right graphics card at the right time. Processor, motherboard, and RAM are so inexpensive as to make them an almost insignificant part of the equation. Particularly if all you care about is getting performance equivalent to that which consoles provide. $300 every couple of years or so should keep you well ahead of the console market. An
  • don't play games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darth_Burrito (227272) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:44AM (#9356759)
    [DISCLAIMER]I don't play a lot of games.[/DISCLAIMER]

    But could the downfall of PC games have anything to do with the upgrade cycle? People still think of computers as expensive, complex, and evil devices. This drastically reduces their desire to upgrade. Relatively few people buy computers primarily for gaming. Rather they want to use internet applications (web, email, chat, p2p) and office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, accounting). All of the latest versions of this stuff run fine on a 3-4 year old PC and with longhorn and the next Office still at least 2 years away, there's no indication that this will change anytime soon. Traditionally, for sale computer games have a lot of high powered graphics that require cutting edge systems. Well, people don't have the same impotus to upgrade that they once did, hence the market has probably shrunk.

    Also, it seems to me that improvements in graphics aren't as important as they once were, even in graphically intense games such as first person shooters. Things like reflections or fire effects don't affect gameplay as much as early improvements did. It's all garnish. Since high end graphics were a driving motivation in the PC games market, the diminishing gains of graphics technology has probably affected PCs. Now, today's console's look almost as good, if not better than, most of today's pcs.
  • I bought an XBox because I was tired of upgrading my computer and fiddeling with drivers all the damn time. When I built my computer, I bought the best hardware available. A year later, I couldn't play any of the latest games without turning down the quality and expecting some choppyness. A year and a half later I need to buy a new video card, and that makes my CPU the bottleneck, so a new CPU is necessary, and that means a new MB which supports different RAM, and so on and so on.

    Finally I said, "screw
  • by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Monday June 07, 2004 @11:51AM (#9356834) Homepage Journal
    People have been quick to point to the PCs gaming death for years and years. While many posters here seem ready to shovel more dirt, I take an opposite view. The PC gaming scene is about to take off again and do it well in 2005.

    The reason is exactly what many people point to as being the cause of it's supposed death. Two quick reasons. The first is portability. Consoles have finally reached a point where the price point and power can match that of low cost PCs. A game on a high end console can look an awful lot like the PC. Splinter Cell on the Xbox is almost the same as the PC. I see the next generation of consoles being able to port their games over the PC much easier than ever before. The second is that 2005 will have a gap for console users. The PC will have several new graphic engines out featuring several new games. Consoles have a bit of a lag waiting for the new hardware to show up. PC games will be able to take advantage of the gamer and be able to really "wow" them.

    What you are seeing is the beginning of the PC and console merging into one unit. Microsoft holds a huge advantage in this area having the dominant OS. Already there are rumors of a Xbox Next PC which combines the next generation Xbox with a PC. Isn't this the logical evolution of gaming? Within five years, it's more likely that consoles will merge into PCs, rather than PC gaming dying off. The gaming community could see exclusive titles for the Sony Playstation PC or the Nintendo GamePC, but with universal PC titles being able to play on all of them.

  • Let me see if I have this figured out.

    Buy an Xbox to play games and support MS directly is bad.

    Buy a PC with a Windows OS to play games and support MS directly is good.
  • Certain types of games play better on one system over the other. Take RTS games. Trying to manipulate multiple units like in Warcraft3 would be extremely hard with a gamepad. Compound that with low resolutions on consoles and it becomes apparant why RTS favor PCs. Same goes with a FPS. You can get away with a slower style of FPS on the console (Halo), but no game like Quake3 or UT2004 is going to play well on a console. The controls just aren't there. The good FPS games allow for different movement s
    • Just remember: a player can hook up a usb keyboard and mouse to the PS2 and play FFXI without ever touching the controller. Sega actually had its own keyboard and mouse for the Dreamcast and things like UT and Quake III. And, finally, the Phantom (if it comes out) is set to use a keyboard and mouse without a console-style controller.

      The change isn't coming - it's here. We just haven't noticed it yet.

      • Just because it exists doesn't mean games are made to use them. And games don't use them because they haven't been adopted by most console users. One of the benefits of a console is not needing a desk to play. A small controller is a lot easier to handle as opposed to finding a place to put a mouse and keyboard. Keyboards and mice have been out for consoles for some time but have yet to be adopted. Lastly, this still doesn't change the really low resolution on consoles, and a HD TV is still a hell of a
  • by E1v!$ (267945)
    "Its introduction has clearly robbed a lot of the resources that used to be dedicated to making PC entertainment. This is fine if you're willing to buy an Xbox and support Microsoft directly that way. It's not fine if you're a PC gamer that wants what the PC can offer specifically, and not some watered down version of what you've come to expect from a company." Do you agree?

    Yes. I want bolt on components. end of story
  • Besides the typical genre specific advantage the PC has over consoles, the PC holds two other distinct advantages:

    1. Fan mods - this alone can make a PC game last 2+ years. If the game industry taps into this through some type of digital distribution (aka the method BioWare is considering for NWN) and provide content cheap ($5-20), standard PC games could provide nice sources of continuous income.

    2. Patches - I realize this is a positive and a negative when you accept the fact that most games come out of
  • by dtfinch (661405) *
    I don't own an Xbox. So it's their loss if they want to put all their eggs in one basket. There are plenty of game developers who will still support the PC.

    Get enough of them hooked on the SDL+OpenGL combo and we may even see more games for Linux/*BSD/MacOS, since they can just write their games once and they will run on every modern platform with little or no extra work.
  • The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
    It seems that every month some writer decides to pontificate on the immenent demise of the PC for gaming...it still hasn't happened and I don't see it happening anytime soon.
    Why? Show me a good flight sim on any console. Crimson Skies? I think not...it is an arcade game. Show me a good military strategy game (real-time or turn-based) on a console. Anyone try to play Red Alert on the Playstation? It was terrible. For every First-person Shooter on a console (Hal
  • Supply and Demand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by truffle (37924) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:22PM (#9357148) Homepage
    This is a non story. Games makers are driven by market forces. If games makers are focussing on making X-box games to make more money, good for them. You don't like this? Sorry.

    How much money do you pay for a good PC game? $40-60. How much does it cost to make one? A lot more. Why can you get it for $40-60, because lots of other people are buying it as well, so you benefit from your collective purchasing power.

    The market will grow and shrink based on how much people are spending on games. If there are a tonne of people out there who want to buy PC games, people will make games for them to compete for their dollars. If many of those people switch to console, surprise, there will be less PC and more console games made.

    I think it's best to go with the flow. Buy games you enjoy, If they're console games, buy a console. If they're PC buy a PC (someone earlier identified how having a console + linux box is a killer combo of great games without the need for dual boot or a windows layer).

    If you want to really whine, try being a mac gamer ;)
  • What are the advantages of a PC? Well, there's a storage device, better internet support, and generally better graphics. Anybody who's going to be gaming is guaranteed to at least have a keyboard and mouse, which is far from the norm on a console.

    Since the Xbox has many of the qualities of a PC at a fraction of the price, it's certainly feasable that it isn't helping PC gaming. It's got a hard drive built in. The graphics, while still not as good as those on a PC, are good enough for most people. Inte
  • Over the last 3-4 years, I've noticed that my local Electronics Boutique has steadily migrated the PC games from taking up the front third of the store down to three little shelves in the back, with a couple racks for used games. It makes me sad every time I go in there, because it clearly shows that in the eyes of publishers and retailers, PC gaming is quickly becoming defunct. Why pursue a less-profitable market when you could just release your game on XBox and make a killing? Plenty of reasons.
    1. Mods. If
  • by *weasel (174362) on Monday June 07, 2004 @12:54PM (#9357456)
    This writer seems to have misguided his disappointment with big-money-controlled game publishing. The Golden Age of Gaming he remembers so well has largely been gone for more than a decade.

    It didn't disappear when console-centric ports started showing up. It disappeared when big publishers started making big money, started becoming risk-averse, and started pushing the glitz envelope to sell the same-old-game.

    With the consoles getting an increasing share of publisher attention, PC Gaming is going to be forced to adapt to its strong suit: independent games, innovation, and user modifications.

    If you ask me, this is a Good Thing and is going to usher in a new golden age of gaming: One where the PC market returns to its small-team, innovative roots, as the me-too game-publishing sticks to the console arena.
  • Thief III Is Good!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday June 07, 2004 @01:29PM (#9357793)
    Personally, I'm a little offended that Thief III was mentioned as a victim of the X-Box. It is still a darn good game despite being a dual-port.

    Deus Ex: II sucked. It was HORRIBLE. Not only did it perform horribly, but the gameplay was scaled back A LOT. It didn't deserve the "Deus Ex" title; it was something else, something horribly WRONG. It DESERVES to be an example of dual-porting. But Thief III deserves more respect.

    Performance:
    Thief III ran slow, but faster than Deus Ex II. This is coming from someone with a P4 2.4 w/ Radeon 9800XT. But it ran fast enough to enjoy it (Thief is usually a slowpaced game). However, that performance in a SHOOTER would suck (which Thief III is not).

    Gameplay:
    The gameplay felt exactly like Thief I and II. Sneaking around, black jacking people, taking stuff, etc. It was great. The AI was "alright" (better than Deus Ex II, but could have been better). The funny conversations you overhear, the shadows (it was the first game I played where shadows actually MATTERED).

    Complainst:
    Map sizes. As in Deus Ex II, the maps were shrunk to fit the XBox requirements. But they were complex enough that the size didn't bother you (you could still get "lost" if you weren't paying attention).

    Conclusion:
    The game was fun, despite it's performance and map sizes.
  • (This is a discussion about the publishers, not the manufacturer (Micro$oft).)
    Would you rather sell a game for $50 on the XBox and be limited to a single console (you could develop across multiple consoles if you really wanted too) or try to sell it for $50 for the PC (while competing with piracy)?

    I can see where they might choose the XBox or the PS2, because it takes a lot more effort to pirate these games. PC games get pirated a lot more because they are so easy to download and install. Apply your
  • PC gaming has another plus that hasn't been mentioned yet. That is, the muliplayer environment. Whereas with XBox Live! you will have to play with possibly some smacktardish stranger, or with a RL friend; with PC gaming, you can join a gaming community, and play on servers that have rules you like (finish objectives, no swearing, don't feed the pandas unless wearing a felt hat, whatever) and end up having IMHO, a MUCH better and more consistent multiplayer experience. As a consequence, you actually end up
  • OK, so how many of you out there plan on getting Xbox SDKs? ...

    Exactly. The computer will always be a place for gaming, because anybody can get their hands on development tools easily. There are exponentially more computer games than video games for this reason. Where do you think the creative talents learned how to make games? And what about modding (no, not mod chips)?

    So PC gaming cannot die, because then all forms of electronic gaming will die from starvation of talent.

    And if that were to happen, and
  • People talk about PC's being a dead system for gaming all the time. How many CS servers are there? How many ppl play MMO's? Which platform are you gonna be able to play Doom3 and HL2 on first?

    Oh boy the Xbox is getting PC developers to make some games. Big surprise seeing as how the Xbox is a PC wrapped up in black and green plastic.

    What's gonna happen when Xbox2 hits w/ PPC architechture? It's fairly simple for the typical PC game studios to make a game for the Xbox b/c the tools are essentially the same
  • by rtrifts (61627) on Monday June 07, 2004 @10:42PM (#9362192) Homepage
    1 - X-Box is similar, but not yet structly portable in terms of code. The plan is to make Next Box and PC development easily trasnposable. This will be an excellent thing for developers and gamers both.

    2 - X-Box development is still nigh impossible fomr a start-ups persepctive. You simply cannot get the dev kit as a start-up. PC development is the way into the marketplace.

    3 - The more sophisticated PC Games get, the more expensive they are to make. A Triple A is 12-20 million $$ in dev costs. That is a HUGE gamble to take on a genre where barely 1 in 20 titles is successful. Think about it. As a console game you cover your bets and greatly reduce the chances of becoming the next Daikatana.

    4 - MMORPGS, not the XBox, killed the PC RPG market. The glut of MMORPGS has killed development in a major category of PC development. This will sort itself out in 2 years with a massive die off. The market simply cannot support the number of MMORPGS in development. Several devs and publishers are going to lose BIG.

    5 - It's a Mature Console Market: During a mature console market, the emphasis is always on maximizing software return on the platform while the PC beings to move seriously ahead and the tech gap becomes massive. Relax. Next year the generation AFTER Doom3 and HL2 will be on the horizon. 2 million polygon models - real time.

    6- Next Gen is Coming: Games like Unreal 3 and Dragon Age are going to be making the consoles look like gameboys. No serious game will suggest otherwise. Relax. It's a product cycle.

  • The only thing dead in this story is the horse that they are beating.

    The only way they'll kill the PC market off permanently is if a company starts offering an updated counsel ever year or one that can be updated at the whim of the user. The other requirement is that that counsel would also have to have games that are compatible with PC's directly. (PC gamers can play with Counsel gamers in the same games at the same time.)

    Of course if this ever happened the PC market really wouldn't go away it would

  • Buy a refurb xbox from your local gamestop or whatever, get a modchip, a bigass hard drive and copy games from blockbuster.
  • Is a dyed in the wool Nintendo fanboy with a vendetta against anything Xbox. Take everything in that article with a couple large bags of salt.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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