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PC Games (Games)

PC Gaming On The Comeback Trail 75

Posted by Zonk
from the move-em-out-little-doggies dept.
The Chicago Tribune reports on efforts from the PC gaming sector to revive what many have considered to be a failing part of the industry. From the article: "Many [Gamespot] stores have demo kiosks for consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS so gamers can try before they buy. Testing a PC game has been impossible. Not anymore. In a trial collaboration announced a few weeks ago, GameStop and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell have rolled out computer game kiosks in 25 GameStop stores. Customers can test a handful of the best PC games the same way they test-drive the latest PS2 release. The kiosks will be powered by Dell's revamped and supercharged XPS computers, coupled with 42-inch Dell high-definition plasma monitors."
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PC Gaming On The Comeback Trail

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  • Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:36PM (#13905943)
    Just last week, Slashdot was posting articles about the demise of PC gaming.

    PC gaming is neither demising or making a comeback. It's as popular as it has ever been. More people own more computers than ever before and more people are gaming on them than ever before. There are a lot of gaming experiences you simply can't get off another instrument.
    • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro@gmail.TOKYOcom minus city> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @05:32PM (#13906178) Journal
      Every year we will have 5 PC gaming is dying story , 5 PC gaming is on a comeback stories , 5 Console gaming is dying stories and 5 Console gaming is on a comeback stories .
      Eventually we will realise that both will suffer ups and downs
      • Re:Say what? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shawb (16347)
        And we will fail to realize that most of those "downs" just mean that particular gaming medium isn't actually losing sales, it's simply not growing at the speed that the other is. Same thing with Microsoft vs Sony vs Nintendo, although it is possible that one of those three will be forced out of the market, such as how Sega and Atari transformed into software shops rather than selling consoles.
        • I think the market has the room to support three or more companies .
          Nintendo are doing incredibly well and the only one actually making a profit on hardware .
          Sony have a rather solid market for home consoles , unless the PS3 is a complete mess .
          Microsoft are apparently doing well , they should be fine .. bar of course a well deserved anti-trust lawsuit
          • Oops, I forgot to clarify that one of the three consoles may be forced out of the market by a new player. Although I realistically don't know who that would be. It seems the "new player" has historically been a company already entrenched in different aspects of media. Atari being displaced by Sony and Sega being displaced by Microsoft. I don't foresee Microsoft or Sony being pushed out of the market, but someone could possibly come in and push Nintendo out if the Revolution ends up not doing too well.
      • Yeah, and THIS YEAR is the year of Linux.
    • In the last decade shelf space for PC games and game selection have both decreased by quite a bit in every single store in town. I've also noticed that bargain bins have almost disappeared.
  • by game kid (805301) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:41PM (#13905966) Homepage

    There really should be a (registration/bypass required) warning near that link.

    That said, damn. 42-inch monitors. I gotta go to one of these GameStop thingies again (I went once to get my presshhiouss [google.com]). I just hope they don't burn out, during an intense corridor shootout or a motion-blur-filled demonstration of the Staff of Whacking.

    PC Gaming on The Comeback Trail

    So we can only carry 200 pounds of buffalo on the wagon?

  • The article's dumb, don't bother. The author makes it sound like trying out a PC game in the store is this neat new concept that is indicative of PC Gaming's rise. That's just stupid. The CompUSA around here has had computers running games that people can try out for years now.
    • Yeah... not like Software ("Virus") Pipeline was doing this fifteen years ago. Or Hacker Cat or any other small computer store or mini-chain. Hell, I still remember the local Software Pipeline in Portland having Amigas on display that you could play games on (and they rented software for it, too).

      PC gaming hasn't gone anywhere. It's always been popular. Consoles get more advertising to the masses, but so what?
    • Its still news, that Dell is sponsoring the effort. BestBuy has had some Call of Duty machines up for a while as well.
       
        I wonder what mouse and keyboard are being used? If Dell sponsors the PC, Logitech and other peripheral companies should jump on the wagon.
  • Unless you also have a 42" HD plasma connected to your gaming PC at home, this is in no way a realistic experience of a PC game. However, it is a much better way to *sell* you PC games, as they'll almost certainly be better, shinier and certainly bigger in every way on these demo kiosks. That said, why not just download a demo of the latest game on your own PC? Isn't that the "other" legal use of BitTorrent that everyone is always clamoring about?
    • Pretty much what I was going to post. These demo kiosks are going to provide a gaming experience far better than the average PC, thus falsely representing the average customer's experience. The biggest enemy PC gaming faces is the existence of (and possibly the lack of understanding when it comes to) a hardware performance spectrum. I've been consulted by more than one friend (admittedly, not the most versed in technomacy) who are bothered by games not running as advertised, despite their computer meeting
  • Nice! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Veloxi (605211)
    There's a local PC gaming store in Pasadena called Interact [interactcd.com] that does the PC try-it-before-you-buy-it thing and it's been pretty successful for them, so I hope it works for GameStop as well.
  • So sad... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MagicDude (727944) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:02PM (#13906296)
    Computer gaming was on the comback trail, but it died of dysentery right before reaching Fort Bridger.
  • by Psx29 (538840)
    I used to actually care about spending money to upgrade my computer to play the latest games but for some reason I just don't care anymore. I guess it's because I'm not rich, and I have other priorities to worry about...I still wish I could play F.E.A.R in 60FPS bliss though T_T
  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Saturday October 29, 2005 @06:56PM (#13906527) Journal
    Before I start, I should say now that I think the article is basically crap. Playable machines in games stores aren't that relevant - the controllers will be broken in a week by the fat, smelly 12 year old in the sleeveless vest who stands there hitting them randomly anyway.

    However, I think PC gaming has certainly been on a bit of a rollercoaster compared with console gaming over the last couple of years. In particular, I think the PC has struggled to establish itself against the curret generation of consoles in the same way that it has past generations. For me, the absolute nadir of PC gaming came in 2003, when Call of Duty was voted game of the year by pretty much every outlet that covered PC gaming. If your game of the year is a technologically obsolete and gameplay-deprived clone of a game released the previous year (Medal of Honour), you know your industry has problems. This was at a time when major titles were appearing for the consoles on a more or less weekly basis.

    The PC has rallied slightly, since then. 2004 saw the PC creeping ahead of the consoles in terms of visuals for the first time, with Doom 3, Farcry and Half-Life 2 being the most impressive examples. It also finally saw some respectable big-name games for the PC. This has continued somewhat in 2005, particularly with Quake 4 and F.E.A.R, both of which look and play better than equivalent console fpses.

    However, don't take this as an indication that the PC can continue to hold its own against the consoles in the longer term. The current gen consoles have virtually run their cycle now. Nintendo have all but admitted that the Gamecube is retired and the PS2 might as well be. The X-Box is still hanging on, but even there, we're about to be hit by the next generation.

    However, when you compare the level of technical lead the PC has built up during this cycle and the speed with which it established it, it's pretty pathetic. Think about it. When consoles were playing Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, the PC had X-Wing and Strike Commander. When the PS1 and N64 were at their height, PC gamers had Half-Life. By contrast, the PC has only just narrowly edged ahead at the end of this cycle. With the next gen about to hit, it's going to get knocked to the back of the field entirely.

    Of course, the PC will never die out as a gaming platform completely. It remains the only sensible platform for widescale distribution of home-brew games. Nobody's yet managed to make an RTS interface that works on a console (although I'd argue that console fpses can be pretty sweet now). PC releases are much easier for companies who can't afford to go through the mandatory Q&A cycles for the consoles. However, if the PC doesn't get a clear technological lead over the next-gen consoles early in the cycle, it's finished as a mainstream platform.

    How can this happen? I suspect there are two major steps that need to be taken. First of all, ATI and Nvidia need to get a proper strategy. They need to stop putting out a new $600 graphics card every 3 months and make solid, decently specced and non-confusing card ranges that the average consumer can use and not suffer for using. Next, they need to start insisting on their own Q&A programmes for PC games. Console games with serious bugs merit their own slashdot story. With PC games, it's expected. Until somebody forces devs to confront this situation, PC gaming is going to continue to bleed market-share in the long term.
    • Don't believe me, fanboy? Take it from the horse's mouth [bbc.co.uk]

      To quote "It looks like the product's life is nearing its end." That's not something a company says about a product unless they consider it to be retired.

      One or two games in the pipeline for a system do not mean that it is still considered to be "live". Final Fantasy IX was the lowest grossing installment of the series in recent memory, largely because its release for the PS1 coincided very nearly with the launch of the PS2. The backwards compat
      • clearly you havent seen the released footage so far of this upcoming Zelda title. If you had yould be less inclined to belive that.

        Also i doubt your a nintendo Gamecube owner, theyre far more likely to shell for ANY title than other console owners due to a generaly smaller/higher quality range of games, with something like the new Zelda offering a seriously worthwile purchase new console or not. Nintendos gamecube has been slowly squeezing more and more out of it towards release of the Revoloution. look at
    • I think it says it all that Quake IV wasn't even mentioned on Slashdot. Considering Zonk posts about twenty articles a day, and he wasn't interested in it, it's a sorry time for PC gaming.

      Personally I don't see the appeal in having to worry about specs all the time. The argument that PCs are better because you can upgrade them to be more powerful than consoles is irrelevent because I play games for enjoyment not graphics and framerates.
    • "The PC has rallied slightly, since then. 2004 saw the PC creeping ahead of the consoles in terms of visuals for the first time..."

      For the first time? Are you on crack? The PC is almost always ahead and ahead by a large margin including right now. The only time I remember when you could argue that console systems where ahead was when the Xbox first came out, and even then you stil had to play it on an anemic display (TV). Even if you are lucky enough to have an HDTV that isn't anywhere close to the kind
  • Many [Gamespot] stores have demo kiosks for consoles such as the PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS so gamers can try before they buy. Testing a PC game has been impossible.

    Right, because nobody makes demos of their games available for free download or distribution. Shareware apparently also doesn't exist.
  • Uhh.... Downloable demos? Sounds like trying a game before buying to me. the XPS is a hunk of crap too AFAIK
  • DeepFreeze (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sigma 7 (266129) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @09:35PM (#13907010)
    Testing a PC game has been impossible.


    It is not "impossible" in the context of the article. My local Radio Shack (which was since rebranded to Circut City) installed games on a computer to show that it worked.

    Anyone can rig their own trial system for use in store: a PC with DeepFreeze installed immediatly takes care of the software portion - it may have a performance hit in extreme situations, but is fixed by a quick reset.

    The hardware will be a bit tricky, as you can't use some random $10 keyboard and mouse - they have to be a rugged keyboard [google.ca] and a rugged mouse [google.ca] (there's a rugged joystick available, but that's optional.)

    The remaining portion is the copy-protection in most games... Most computers have two IDE chains with two devices a-piece - that means you have three random games available per day, plus other things you can stuff on the computer.
    • The remaining portion is the copy-protection in most games... Most computers have two IDE chains with two devices a-piece - that means you have three random games available per day, plus other things you can stuff on the computer.

      The other alternative is to use images mounted with something like Daemon Tools - you can have as many virtual discs mounted as you have drive letters. Or you could just use a No-CD crack - sure it's probably not legal, but I doubt anyone would be able to tell.

      I wonder what the le

      • The other alternative is to use images mounted with something like Daemon Tools - you can have as many virtual discs mounted as you have drive letters. Or you could just use a No-CD crack - sure it's probably not legal, but I doubt anyone would be able to tell.

        That used to work, but the latest copy-protection systems have blacklisted virtual CDs for some reason and will refuse to run on systems even containing those products. (Although the better ones actually identify the virtual CDs, and only block ind

  • Is that kinda like the Oregon Trail?

    I call dibs on hunting!
  • A Good Thing, IMHO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @12:09AM (#13907470) Homepage Journal
    People can call me anachronistic if they want, but the desktop is still king in my book.

    Not only can people perform all of the other usual computer-related tasks with a desktop without having to switch machines, TV really sucks for gaming, resolution wise. Also, the average PC is still usually a lot more powerful than the average console, as well. Plus if you already have a PC and use it for gaming, you don't need to spend an extra $300-$700 on an Xbox...The first generation Xbox was a glorified doorstop even when it first came out, IMHO. if you still have that money spare, you can use it on a ram, processor, or video card upgrade, which will not only improve your gaming experience, but let you do other things more effectively as well. A new GeForce 6800 video card will render graphics better than any console, as well.

    There was a point to consoles back when they were 8 bit, and earlier, (mainly because back then the average PC was only as powerful as the console itself, or less so) but these days they're nothing but a expensive gimmick. The only real reason why they're viable at all now IMHO is because of the overhead normally incurred by Windows on a PC. It's possible to strip XP though, (I stop all unnecessary services and actually kill/restart explorer before/after loading a game, and can get XP down to 60 or so MB RAM this way, which leaves over 400 for the game for me) or use Linux, and with X have the game set as the window manager itself. That works great for UT at least.

    Although it's true I don't have sufficient money for a console as well as a PC, if I did have it, I still wouldn't buy one. They're completely redundant.
    • Also, the average PC is still usually a lot more powerful than the average console, as well.

      Then why do most PC games require four PCs for four players (at $800 a piece, especially if the players live in the same household or residential broadband is not affordable), while console games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee can put four players on one console with one screen?

      • You're playing the wrong games. There are plenty of splitscreen-enabled PC games, most of them just aren't the big name ones. And since most big PC games fall into the FPS or RTS genres, seeing your opponent's screen wouldn't work, anyway.
        • You're playing the wrong games.

          I know several people who would take your statement in the context of parent and grandparent to mean "fighting games suck." Are you trying to start a fight?

          There are plenty of splitscreen-enabled PC games, most of them just aren't the big name ones.

          Got a URL of a list of major PC games that support same-screen or split-screen multiplayer, especially non-FPS non-RTS, so that I have ammo to use against console enthusiasts?

          • I don't think anyone compiles a list and the first two Serious Sam games were the only major (post-386) games I remember. The rest is mostly independent games, often in 2d. Most people would stare at such a list and wonder "what are those games".
      • while console games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee can put four players on one console with one screen?

        Mainly because consoles have individual controllers, whereas a PC will typically have a single keyboard, and sometimes a single joystick. This admittedly *is* a hardware issue, although I'm sure a pad controller card could be put together that allows for multiple control pads on a PC. It's probably already been done, although I guess it is also a mental thing on the part of consumers as well...in terms of
        • Lack of multiple controllers admittedly *is* a hardware issue, although I'm sure a pad controller card could be put together that allows for multiple control pads on a PC. It's probably already been done

          And I own such a "pad controller card". It's called a USB hub. So why aren't there more commercial PC games that take advantage of multiple PC joypads plugged into a USB hub?

          • And I own such a "pad controller card". It's called a USB hub. So why aren't there more commercial PC games that take advantage of multiple PC joypads plugged into a USB hub?

            Great question. I'm assuming they haven't thought of it. Maybe we could write to one of the baming press websites about it?
    • by skreeech (221390)
      Consoles have lots of great games and genres that aren't replicated on PCs. That is not redundancy.
    • You can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs. Any other genre are better represented on consoles.

      And, they are cheaper, not more expensive like you want to portray. A gaming PC will cost you at least $400-500. You will be able to buy the high end Xbox 360 for that.
      • >You can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming
        >interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs. Any other genre
        >are better represented on consoles.

        Platform games, you mean? Yeah...we're really missing out, not being exposed to those. ;-) There are also the endless SF2/MK knockoffs, and crap like BloodRayne. Admittedly a lot of the stuff in the RPG space would be nice to have, but I don't lament the PC's absence of movie/TV tie-ins either, to be honest...although I'm reasonably sure the LOTR games came out
        • Platform games, you mean? Yeah...we're really missing out, not being exposed to those. ;-) There are also the endless SF2/MK knockoffs, and crap like BloodRayne. Admittedly a lot of the stuff in the RPG space would be nice to have, but I don't lament the PC's absence of movie/TV tie-ins either, to be honest...although I'm reasonably sure the LOTR games came out on the PC anywayz.

          So again, "you can use your pc for gaming, if all your gaming interests are MMORPG, FPS and RTSs". Just because you have very litt

        • Anyway, my gaming pc goes to waste, because I never play any high end gsmes (maybe Warcraft 3). Most of the gaming time on it is spent on Master of Orion or Strange Adventures in Infinite Space. I play those, mostly for the simplified, streamlined gameplay. I used to love Civilization, but after playing MOO, Civ looks like a lot of work and micromanagement.
    • by drsquare (530038)
      TV really sucks for gaming, resolution wise.

      Who cares about resolution, other than geeks who fuss about framerates and things like that? TVs are generally bigger than computer monitors as well. Who wants to play games at the computer rather than in the living room anyway? Other than hardcore geeks I mean.

      Plus if you already have a PC and use it for gaming, you don't need to spend an extra $300-$700 on an Xbox.

      It'd probably cost more to upgrade a computer to play games than to get a console. Especially as ev
  • A little local software shop has about 3 or 4 computers on the floor each with a different new release title up and running on it, open for custormers to try out - they started that at least 8 years ago.

    It's a nice touch, and one certianly welcome in a national chain.
    I know the - go download the demo - line has been used more than a couple times in this thread, but really there are a number of games (mostly big name titles) that opt to not release a demo, or at least wait till well after the product launch
  • by rm999 (775449)
    What's the point of a kiosk if you can just play a demo? I don't buy a PC game unless it has a demo or I "try" it first . I really wish more companies provided demos. This is for a few reasons:

    -I shouldn't have to pay for a game I don't enjoy. It's hard to tell if you will enjoy a game before trying it out.
    -I should be able to tell how well a game will run on my hardware. I can't do this without a demo, even on a kiosk
    -Sometimes I will get addicted to a game from the demo. This happened with Unreal Tourname
  • Funny, I didn't know Gamespot [gamespot.com] had any 'offline' stores.
  • Testing a PC game has been impossible. Not anymore.

    Right, it's not like PC gamers have been able to download demos for the past 10-15 years...

    Does anyone else find it annoying when announcements of something "new" feel the need to go out of their way and make ridiculous, overblown exaggerations about just how "new" they are? Not only have demos of PC games obviously been downloadable for well over a decade, but the idea of using in-store PC gaming kiosks to help sell PC games has also been done before
  • I use to work in the computer department of a large retailer. We had a couple of PCs setup with games that the public could try. We kept it up to date - often changing the game that was on there, would put a good joystick on for flight sims and a steering wheel on for racers.
  • Great. Another kiosk a pizza face has to tell a slightly younget pizza face to get away from...

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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