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PC Games (Games)

Will Next-Gen Consoles Kill Off PC Gaming? 1214

Posted by Zonk
from the death-knell dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET is predicting that next-generation consoles will drive the final nails into the already half-closed coffin of mainstream PC gaming. The root of their argument isn't one of power, but of price: 'The bottom line is that console manufacturers often heavily subsidize their new machines, swallowing huge losses up front in hopes that they'll make it all back selling games... Other things being equal, the DIY-heavy PC gaming industry can't hope to compete in that kind of market.' Which is to say that once the 18-34 demographic starts buying $400 PS3s instead of $400 video cards, developers may have no choice but to follow suit." Will there still be a market for PC games, or are the graphics of the next generation of consoles going to make PC games unnecessary?
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Will Next-Gen Consoles Kill Off PC Gaming?

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  • by suso (153703) * on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:21AM (#12714749) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, the problem has never been about price, performance or convience (well, maybe a little). Its been mainly about titles. What games are actually available and if those games are solely for a specific platform. In the early 80s, Ataris were nice, but lost their luster with the availability of the C64. In the late 80s, most of the best games available where for the console systems, in the early 90s we started to see a switch back to computers and when Doom came out, it seemed like everyone was picking up a PC. Then Quake came out and with the Internet boom everyone bought new computers. Now people are going back to consoles because there are so many good games there that aren't available for computers. If someone made a game for Linux that really kicked ass, I imagine that suddenly a lot of people would be running Linux. Take for instance, Frozen Bubble. Great game play and highly addictive, got a lot of people to use Linux who didn't before.

    This can be especially said of the 18-34 demographic which surprisingly always seems to have the money to get something that they really want. Like a new $400 video card to play Half-Life 2.

    Someone needs to write a unique and really great game that is only available for Linux.
  • I highly doubt it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Willie_the_Wimp (128267) * <`fred.garvin' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:22AM (#12714756)
    Well,

    There are games that make sense on a console (driving sims, fighting games, etc.) and games that work better on a PC (first person shooters (arguable), MMORPGs, RTS, etc.). I know that personally, I will want to have both for the forseeable future. I love driving on my high def TV, but I despise playing first person shooters on the console, due to the lack of control.

    People are always trying to be the first to drive a nail in some coffin. In this case, it is highly premature, IMO.

    Willie
  • Ask me again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Handpaper (566373) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:22AM (#12714761)
    when somebody builds a user-upgradeable console.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by baryon351 (626717) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:23AM (#12714771)
    Because a year after the console is released, when its hardware is now old-spec and new PC hardware is still right at the bleeding edge, the PC will out-game the console.

    Two years after the console is released it'll be an even wider difference, and 3 years after it'll be incomparable
  • Mice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:24AM (#12714787) Journal
    Consoles will have kill PC gaming not because of what they can do, but because of what they lack: A mouse. Microsoft has said it has no intension of making one and I think I heard Sony say the same. If you are a gamer you know that first person shooters are pretty much unplayable on consoles. The only way I'm buying UT 2007 on an xbox is if they have a mouse with it. How the hell am I supposed to aim across the map with a fking analog stick?
  • by jmartens (721229) <jimmartens.hotmail@com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:28AM (#12714883)
    That a PC can do that a console can't. But what really, consoles just keep getting closer and closer to just being PCs. I mean with everything I have heard about the new Xbox it is just a dumbed down PC. It really does seem like a convergence of such and maybe this type of convergence will make it easier for developers to create for PC and console.
  • by Nf1nk (443791) <nf1nk@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:29AM (#12714892) Homepage
    When the PS2 was launched you couldn't find one to buy for close to six months, because it was priced too low and demand far outstriped production. Sony doesn't want to make that mistake again. Hard core gamers are willing to pay 400 to be the first on the bock with the latest system. six months later drop the price $50 and get the slightly less hardcore, repeat untill you hit market saturation.
  • Were you at E3? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hipsterdufus (42989) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:30AM (#12714910)
    The PC section was relegated to a tiny hallway in the basement. PC gaming, such as it is, will be gone in two years time. Consoles have the power now. PCs no longer to be any faster than a 450Mhz box to surf the net and run mail. It's finished. My two and a half year old P4 3.2 is still considered a high end machine. Back in the day, you could squeeze 2 years out of a box, max. Sure, the ati 9800 pro could use an upgrade, but I can still get almost $120 for it on ebay.

    The next gen consoles have just as much power, now the only real difference is the interface. I prefer keyboard/mouse over the controller for first person shooters, but that's about it. If I can have fun with Halo, I can have fun in Half Life 2. It isn't financially feasible to code for so many platforms, one of them has to give. Aloha, pc gaming. It was nice to know you. So long, and thanks for all the fish.
  • Re:Dupe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tlosk (761023) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:45AM (#12715162)
    And in that time PC game titles have seriously declined in both in quanitity and quality relative to console game titles. The question now is will this slide continue? Have we reached the inflection point? (The point where the average console game is better than the average PC game. How much shelf space is dedicated to console games versus PC games.)

    In my opinion, being on the cusp of three new consoles we are now at the inflection point and while PC gaming will always be around in some form, however small, the days of dominance technically and in mindshare are behind us.

    Don't worry though, people still listen to 8 tracks and enjoy themselves, people still write on typewriters and get the job done. Plenty of people continue with their chosen technology well beyond its "death" so I'm sure in 20 there will still be people playing games on PCs, but they will be few and far between in comparison to people using a specialized console of one sort or another.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:57AM (#12715329)
    Current consoles could never replace PC's. They just were not full-featured enough or really had the abilities PC's do.

    But both the PS3 and Xbox 360 will have HD's, wireless network cards, and all sorts of standard ports (for keyboards and mice). Combine this with much higher standard resoltion output and you have something that COULD replace a PC. I am pretty sure this is both Microsoft and SOnys intention this time around, it remains to be seen if this bogeyman of integration treats them well. I mean the PS3 is a computer that you can hook a keyboard two and hook into TWO 1080p displays! Only higher end computer users are running with comparible resolutions today, and it can make whatever "desktop" they have you use look pretty sharp.

    The really interesting thing is that if people are playing all thier games on PC's, then the "PC" in your message above can REALLY be a PC - as in personal computer, not a Windows box. It makes it FAR easier for people to buy and use Macs or Linux desktops, and even really more likley since they will not face the problems Windows users have. Moving games onto dedicated hardware for the masses could really lead to a huge platform shift.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:03PM (#12715427)
    Consoles will take over PC gaming when they get the advantages of PC Gaming like bigger harddrives, better memory, better quality graphics...

    Why do you need a bigger HD for gaming? You do not, as long as game loading times are not noticable it does not matter. The HD can act as a local cache and if you can store 30 games+ worth of save data what more do you need?

    As for the other things - look at the specs. The consoles have super-fast RAM, and don't need as much because there's no OS to support. 512MB console ram is like 720MB (or more) PC RAM, and like I said is WAY faster as well. As for quality graphics, the PS3 graphics chip (according to nVidia) is like two top of the line GeForce Ultras! The XBox 360 is not that much different either. And the PS3 will support two 1080p displays, roughly equivilent to what top-end gamers today run at - never mind that the majority of the population is proboably running games at 1024x768.

    The next round of consoles is where they finally take a leap over PC capabilites and offer significant ease of use benefits.

    It's not going to take five generations, try a year.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adam31 (817930) <adam31&gmail,com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:15PM (#12715593)
    While the hardware on consoles is locked, you see constantly improving technology on consoles as developers figure out how to use it to its fullest. This is especially true on the PS2, where the quality of technology has resembled the years-long learning curve.

    The next-generation will be even more dramatic, both in the disappointing launch titles, and in the shocking improvement over the next 5 years.

    PCs will always be anchored by widespread adoption of legacy systems, but this can be an advantage for them. The next-generation of console games will cost so much money to develop and cost so much to the consumer, that this opens up a big market in low-cost not-bleeding-edge PC gaming. That's the direction I see their future going.

    After all, there are many more PCs than consoles in the world.

  • Nooooo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Soong (7225) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:54PM (#12716034) Homepage Journal
    I haven't gotten my super-duper PC game out yet! PC gaming can't die!

    Really, developing for consoles seems to be a rather specialized endeavor best suited to established game companies. What of the little guy? Carmack wouldn't have written Doom for a console.

    On the other hand, people will develop for what they have. I'd happily develop for a Cell processor if I had a cheap (Free/free preferrably) development environment for it.
  • by solomonrex (848655) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:38PM (#12716475)
    First of all, ignore Yahoo! games etc., because that's a different market, and no one buys a PC specifically for Yahoo! Games (I hope).

    1. You need A-list titles like Half-Life to sell PC gaming rigs, garner interest, make big money.
    2. The last half-life took YEARS to develop, and there's nothing wrong with the development team.
    3. Game graphics will flat-line to the point you can't tell real TV from videogame TV.
    4. The new consoles are on High-Def- often higher Def than computers.
    5. More people are buying laptops.
    6. Game and computer companies are getting serious about IP, and the computer is their weak point. You can't copy anything on a console. How many original copies of Starcraft are left? When it's so much easier to pirate computer games and get the same experience, it really diminishes profits and enthusiasm. Even Blizzard is moving to consoles. That's also why online games are popular with publishers- besides the subscription prices, you can't play without paying.

    I think real PC gaming is done. My friends still play Starcraft, all own PS2s, don't want to learn the difference between NVidia and ATI, AMD FX and Intel EE, or spend hours setting up LANs, toting computers around, troubleshooting technical problems. Once the A-list titles disappear, the investment goes elsewhere, and this is already happening.

    You're not a fool, but you're on the wrong side.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kayak334 (798077) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:25PM (#12716866)
    So let me get this straight...

    Someone who waits a year or two to save money on a video card is making a good buy. Yeah, I can agree to that as long as the person doesn't care about waiting a year or two.

    Someone who buys a nice video card today to play games that come out today are responsible for all the horrible marketing that goes on and are just plain idiots for buying nice stuff. Errr, you lost me there.

    How about this:

    -If you want to wait a year or two to buy a video card, that's cool as long as you don't mind waiting. You aren't any better/smarter than anyone else, you just don't mind waiting. You'll most likely spend your money on something else in the meantime.

    -If you DON'T want to wait a year or two to buy a video card, that's cool too as long as you don't mind paying a higher price. You aren't any better/smarter than anyone else, you just like gaming enough to spend the money. You'll most likely spend less money on other things because you have a strong interest in gaming.

    You know... maybe we could all try and not be assholes? Just a thought.

  • by Stripe7 (571267) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:45PM (#12717019)
    It all depends on which end of the gaming spectrum you are looking at. The High end, hard core gamers have no problem dumping US$8k on a water cooled, dual SLI 6800 ultra rig. They want the best and they have the $$$ for it. There is no way a console going at $300 can even come close to that performance level. All consoles will always take a backseat to its big brother the PC. When a console can do 1920x1200 resolution (my standard gaming resolution), a PC will be able to do more with 40K+ rigid bodies. Its all a matter of which market you are addressing. People have been predicting that Consoles will kill PC Gaming for years. What is a present day console? It is a very low end PC subsidised by the manufacturer and paid for with massive licensing fees to the game makers.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thoth (7907) on Friday June 03, 2005 @04:50PM (#12718280) Journal
    Valid points, but do you seriously believe the AVERAGE or MAJORITY of console users have that many problems with their units? Above and beyond the time/hassle they would otherwise spending futzing with windows update, graphics drivers, install hassles, virus/spyware, and all the other headaches that come with PC ownership?

    Yeah, the mouse is a better HID for FPS'es... if that is all you play then sure, you probably won't get much out of consoles.

    I'm a former PC gaming snob that has partially converted to consoles. I game on both, and have come to appreciate the many advantages of consoles.

    You can rant all you want, but the fact is, for the whole system, consoles are cheaper, and that simple economic fact will drive their continued popularity. What are you going to buy your kid for gaming - a $1000+ notebook, or a PS2/XBOX? In the future, will it be easier for consoles to absorb PC functionality, or for PC's to get easier and cheaper?
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gosand (234100) on Friday June 03, 2005 @05:32PM (#12718638)
    Someone who buys a nice video card today to play games that come out today are responsible for all the horrible marketing that goes on and are just plain idiots for buying nice stuff. Errr, you lost me there.

    First off, I didn't say you were an idiot, I said "maybe you are a sucker".

    Maybe you are so caught up in being a good little consumer that you'd be willing to spend a couple hundred extra for a disproportionate amount of performance. Maybe you can afford it, maybe you save up for it, I don't really care. There is just such a "must have it now" attitude that I think is just silly. It's hype, it's fluff. Gaming is just part of it, not the whole problem. The gaming industry has certainly succumbed to the wiles of the marketing droids. Xbox 360 launch on MTV? Ha. Things don't stand on their own merit, they stand on how well they can be sold. Things may LAST on their own merit, but nowadays everything seems to be gauged on how much it can sell within the first week or month. Admittedly, tech people usually look at things with a more critical eye, but not always.

    Look, you don't have to wait a year or two to buy a video card that will play the latest games. You can buy several right now. Will you buy one that is a year old or the latest and greatest in order to get that extra 5 fps? I think it isn't just the 5 fps, it is some kind of chest-puffing bragging rights. To me that just doesn't make sense. Sorry you feel I am an asshole for pointing all this out, I guess I touched a nerve. If you really didn't care, you would say "I spend my money on what I want to spend it on" and leave it at that.

  • by Wile_E_Peyote (805058) on Friday June 03, 2005 @06:12PM (#12718995)

    The problem with consoles, is you have a few buttons to use and that's it. Even with add-on controllers, it's not nearly as customizable as a PC games controls.

    I'd hate to play some of the stuff I play on my PC on a console. Ick. Plus, the graphics seem better on my PC (even with an older video card).

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