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Microsoft and Nvidia Abandon PC Gaming Alliance 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-to-lipservice dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from PC Authority: "Ever since Microsoft turned its back on Windows gaming in favor of the closed Xbox ecosystem, the platform has been crying out for a champion. The company occasionally gives nods toward a revived focus upon PC gaming, most recently with yet another relaunch on Games for Windows Live and a trio of upcoming PC games, but when it comes to throwing cash around the Xbox is the beneficiary. What can definitely be said is that the one group that should be championing the PC, the PC Gaming Alliance, is going backwards. In 2009 the group lost the biggest PC game developer/publisher, Activision-Blizzard, and now it seems that both Microsoft and Nvidia have bid the alliance farewell."
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Microsoft and Nvidia Abandon PC Gaming Alliance

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  • No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:24AM (#35287582)

    the alliance doesn't seem to have done anything. Good idea, non-existant execution. The PC gaming alliance is called Steam, Gamersgate, Impulse, Direct2Drive, and for better or worse, The Pirate Bay.

    Steam, with it's billion dollars a year in sales knows what's causing problems, what you're playing (and how much), what you're buying, and has a fairly good sense of what developers should be building for. That doesn't mean steams data is applicable to every single user, or every scenario, or even that it is necessarily the best service out there, especially without WoW or starcraft the data isn't perfect. But it's more likely to be successful to have people motivated by support costs and sales than a hodgepodge alliance of people who mean well, but have no real money or clear direction to back up their goals.

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      I'd venture to say that those who are playing WoW are also likely to know about Steam and have it installed on their system. And, if the person is resourceful enough, they can even launch WoW, and other non-Steam games, from the Steam client. (Like adding a shortcut to the desktop.) I don't know if Steam collects usage stats from those types of games, but they'd be silly not to do that.
      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        Well because it's opt in for non steam games you're skewing your data. Like I say, it's not perfect. That's not the same as useless, but it's not perfect. The handly little chart of how many people are logged in seems to peak around 3 million on steam. I'm sure there are a lot more PC gamers out there than 3 million, but that gives a pretty good average of what their computers are, how much they play etc.

        My suspicion is that there's a lot of stuff on steam that's bought, and never played. I know I have

        • Or they have a "complete Collection" for some publisher at a ridiculous discount, but not any of the games individually discounted, so you grab "everything ever made by XXX" despite already having 4 of them and only wanting 2 of them, because the collection of 42 games was cheaper than buying those two at full price, and the extra 36 games you don't care about may end up having some gems in it. =p

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Why would I want to launch non-steam games from the steam client? I don't even launch it unless I want to play HL2 (the only steam game I was dumb enough to buy.) The Steam client is horribly abusive. It has an agonizingly long startup and refuses to remember that I don't want to see adverts on launch.

    • the alliance doesn't seem to have done anything.

      Exactly. If Microsoft wanted to improve the status of PC gaming, they would produce a new XBOX with an x64 processor in it. The 360 is six years old now anyway. And using the same processors as are used in PCs would make porting easier for developers who optimize for specific processor architectures. Right now the major consoles are PowerPC with weird SPEs that take special attention, which is just an invitation to write architecture-specific code and ignore the PC.

      I suspect if they went and talked to AMD t

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        I'd venture that if microsoft sold something that could be reasonably described as a PC they'd be in legal trouble, fast. PS3 was almost certainly intentionally engineered to be hard to code for. Sony assumed they would dominate again, and wanted to make it hard to port their code to other systems. IMO they could have accomplished that by putting 1 gig of ram in their machine for a lot less headache. But I've done enough with the Cell (astrophysics cluster at and I taught game engines last year) I can a

        • Problem is that games without DRM get pirated just as bad. The main motivation for pirates is to avoid payment.
          I think the only solution is to move more of the game online. Publishers seem to agree as seen by all the MMOs that are being funded.
          • by cibyr (898667)

            Problem is that games without DRM get pirated just as bad.

            How is that an argument for DRM? You basically said

            The guys who aren't wasting money pissing off their customers in the name of preventing piracy also have problems with piracy!

            Well duh, but they have happier customers, which can't be a bad thing.

          • by Arccot (1115809)

            Problem is that games without DRM get pirated just as bad. The main motivation for pirates is to avoid payment. I think the only solution is to move more of the game online. Publishers seem to agree as seen by all the MMOs that are being funded.

            Single player games are still essentially always cracked, even with an online component. Developers need to add a value in connecting to the server that makes it much less entertaining to play without, otherwise you end up pissing off your customers by making it harder for them to play than the pirates.

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            There are always ways around anything. If there is really want for it, even MMOs can have emulator servers built with the same or similar mechanics as the original game.

            Granted, this is something more on the edges as opposed to mainstream use, but if single player games start having their content dribbled to users level by level, someone will cache it, and then make a server emulator so people can play without having to have 24/7 access to the "mother ship".

        • PS3 was almost certainly intentionally engineered to be hard to code for. Sony assumed they would dominate again, and wanted to make it hard to port their code to other systems.

          I disagree.

          The PS3 is the result of the history of the console as a platform. Every console would have a different CPU architecture and that was considered "normal."

          The only reason why it got easy was because of the original Xbox. it was an x86 CPU that ran a variant of DirectX making ports pretty dead simple. IIRC, the Xbox 360's SDK is pretty similar, even though it's running on a different CPU architecture.

      • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @02:31AM (#35287830)

        Exactly. If Microsoft wanted to improve the status of PC gaming, they would produce a new XBOX with an x64 processor in it.

        If Microsoft wanted to improve the status of PC gaming, they wouldn't be trying to move people onto consoles.

        Their problem is that they've been successful enough at doing so to reduce most people's need for a new Windows PC -- gaming is about the only thing Joe Sixpack does which could stress a modern system -- without making any money from consoles.

      • If Microsoft wanted to improve the status of PC gaming, they would produce a new XBOX with an x64 processor in it.

        If Microsoft truly wanted to improve the status of PC gaming it would just go away and die immediately. Of course Microsoft has no intention of doing that so its dead hand on the gaming industry will continue to hold things back for some time yet. Fortunately, there is no longer anything Microsoft can do to prevent the emergence of an independent content creation industry on platforms it does not control. See my upcoming talk at Scale 9x [socallinuxexpo.org]

    • by antdude (79039)

      "Steam, with it's billion dollars a year in sales ..."

      No apostrophe. :)

  • Champion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:25AM (#35287586)
    "the platform has been crying out for a champion" Thats what Steam is for!!!
    • by Seumas (6865)

      Steam is merely a distribution system, however. It doesn't resolve the issues with developers attitudes toward PC gaming. I recently saw an interview with a developer who is creating a new engine who said that graphics are no longer important (nor AI or anything else, presumably, since the following is the only item he stressed importance of) -- only the ease of use of the development tools was. His reasoning was that we've basically reached the limits of the current console generation.

      It used to be that P

      • a developer who is creating a new engine who said that graphics are no longer important (nor AI or anything else, presumably, since the following is the only item he stressed importance of) -- only the ease of use of the development tools was.

        No, that was over years ago, even before Doom III and it's look how pretty I can make Doom I gameplay mechanics engine. The PC gaming industry has shown that shoving more crap into the same or lower average framerate does not a more fun game make.

        only the ease of use of the development tools was

        That's very biased and developer centric. If the technology is not really a concern, then what's next is designing good, fun, balanced gameplay. Go find a developer who will tell you that's in the bag.

        *gasp*a filmmaker says his prime concern is doing awesome stu

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        That is why I believe what will drive the next generation of GPU and PC will NOT be strictly gaming, although they will game with frankly insane graphics and framerate, it is the ease at which new Windows PCs tie everything together and give the customer a "one stop shop" for their entire multimedia experience.

        I just finished up and installed a $500 quad core PC into a customer's living room just yesterday. Being able to show the customer that thanks to drag and drop transcoding on the new ATI GPUs converti

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        I have a perfect example for you in why PC gaming is superior, won't die, and frankly, we can't let die:

        Online multiplayer.

        I don't own a PS3. I have a 360. And the problem is that there is no one to play on-line multiplayer. The whole draw of XBL is the online component. And something like BF:BC2, MoH, or CoD:BO are all about the multplayer. Except there is no one on! I own all three on both the PC and console. Example:

        360:
        BF:BC2: 0 (people online during off-peak hours) / 0 (during peak hours)

        PC: 50,000 (of

  • And... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amnesia_tc (1983602) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:33AM (#35287622)
    nothing of value was lost. Even if the whole of the PCGA dissolved, would anyone really care? The PCGA hasn't done anything for PC Gaming. There are more news stories about the PCGA getting a new president than there are stories about the PCGA doing something useful.
  • And perhaps switch to the PS3?

    PC gaming piracy has gotten out of control. Not for casual stuff like Farmville and The Sims but games that require an aftermarket gpu. It's the 'hardcore' pirates that have made the situation go from bad to downright embarrassing.
    http://www.binplay.com/2011/01/pc-gamers-and-their-lame-excuses-for.html [binplay.com]
    • The only excuse from that article you linked which I buy is the "There was no demo" excuse. I have a 2 year old system and I'm not positive that "Bulletstorm" is going to run well enough to justify a purchase, and we all know that min/recommended specs are usually bullshit. Do I pirate it and then buy it if it runs well and is fun? I think I'm just not going to play it at all because I don't want it that bad, but that is a contributing factor.

      I think that the truth of the matter is we won't get serious supp

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        That would be the always on, online connection. Or similar. You're logged into steam, you can play anything on steam sort of thing (that's not how steam works, I'm just giving an example). I'm not a huge fan of that, but if you move your save games onto the cloud, and require an always on internet connection to play, with serial keys tied to an account it's a lot easier to deal with piracy. Then it's a matter of generating good keys, and regular ole network security. The key there will be to provide va

        • The problem is every time they try the persistent internet connection stuff someone eventually cracks it and then the only way to play if you have a connection that likes to crash on you is via the pirate version.

          I have no idea how this could actually work. Maybe a USB key-card? Or a authenticator like MMOs are using now? The problem is that these solutions would probably eventually get cracked as well and then you've wasted a much bigger investment.

          We need a giant leap forward in DRM before PC gaming can r

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > I think that the truth of the matter is we won't get serious support until someone comes up with a form of DRM that actually works.

        I can tell you how to make a 'good enough' DRM.... but you won't like it.

        Step one, USB dongle. With non-trivial stuff going on in it. Knock secret knock and it gives out key pieces of the executable or key data tables at various times during game play. If the dongle isn't there, no problem you get a demo version.

        Step two, dongle is there but not right (i.e. cloned or emu

    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      No. Simple reason for it too. 13 year olds have nothing to gain by stopping piracy and everything to lose. Without a fully functioning moral compass the average 13year old feels no guilt (heck most people don't feel guilt about these things), and also sees no other alternative. Try telling someone who gets maybe $10 pocket money per week to save all their money for 6 weeks to get a game, rather than just downloading it off the net.

      There's a lot of debate about pirates not doing it for the money, blah bla
      • by Vaphell (1489021)

        it's not in the game industry interest to crack down on teens piracy too hard either. They are dirt poor now so you can't expect getting any money from them, but one day they will get a work and will have a disposable income. It's better not to take the risk of teens finding other hobbies in life and leaving gaming population permanently. Fueling addiction is important because once teens find out they can do perfectly well without games there will be no money to be made ever again.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk, you're talking bull**** that was talked about already in '86, in '93 and in '99 and in '05 - between those years there was a tenfold increase in market and sales.

      and you know something about all those great developers? they're getting paid better than they ever imagined.

      it's just that now there's a bunch of people who have been educated to create mediocre games and they expect that it's a right for them that someone buys their mediocre games which interest nobody.

      has gotten out of contr

    • by Tei (520358)

      There has always been a lot of piracy in games. I remember people trading games with tapes, back in the 8 bits. If you don't want to pay for the games you play, you can, and this is true since 1981 and back.

      Steam sells millions games every day. The whole PC market is a 14 billions business. But apparently is invisible to the likes of you, because the PC is evolving to something different to what you know and understand to become more.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      13 year olds aren't buying their own games anyway. So piracy isn't costing anyone anything. In fact, getting kids to pirate games today turns them into gamers. When they grow up, and get a job, they'll see that $40-60 for a game isn't really so much money. And now you have paying customers.

      The ones that don't, were never paying customers anyway. Also, if you sue too many of them you'll turn them away from gaming entirely.

      The only thing more immature than a 13 year old pirate is a game exec whining abou

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I haven't pirated a game in ages, but I haven't bought one, either. If I were illegally downloading and playing these games I would have precisely the same effect on the market. HTH, HAND.

    • by Draek (916851)

      Agreed, plus the PS3 is designed to play BluRays so you can pirate those alongside your games while you're at it ;)

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @01:50AM (#35287684) Homepage

    I never understoof, WTF it was about. Was it to make hardware manufacturers in some way change its design or pricing (ex: abandon OpenGL, sell more low-end devices subsidized by Microsoft)? Was it to make Microsoft somehow assist them in making their hardware more compatible with Windows games? Was it to somehow hurt competitors (who are right there in the same "alliance")?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will NEVER buy an X-Box to game on, so they will not be getting money from me for that.
    I DO buy windows products for 2 reasons 1) play games on, 2) keep up with current version so I can make money fixing other peoples PC's.
    if they are no longer supporting gaming why would people buy their operating system? To do office work? Linux does that quite well. To do development? Linux does that even better.
    Apparently their new business model will be leasing out cloud servers to run legacy OS to businesses that we

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @04:01AM (#35288216) Homepage

    Nokia, you're next.

  • Gaming on the PC is not dead, even though some have been claiming the end is near for at least ten years now. But, gaming on the PC has changed quite a bit in the last decade. If you look at the gaming environment on the PC a decade ago, a bit longer even, in the late 90s with the launch of the first GeForce... gaming on the PC was a much larger affair - big budget games that took a big budget PC to play. Developers expected PC gamers to be on the bleeding edge, and for the most part they were. Sure, s
    • by Machtyn (759119)
      For some evidence, they did completely rework the graphics and models in the old lands. If they wanted to, they could have updated the engine. But like you said, they are targeting a very large audience - not necessarily the casual gamer, but a step up from that to the hardcore gamers.
  • That's fine with me, Steam seems to be accomplishing all of the PCGA's goals anyway with ease.

    PCGA is among other things working to develop marketing for PC games, combat piracy, developing new business models beyond retail sales, and establishing minimum hardware requirements for PC games, along with guidelines for developers to make games work for those requirements. According to president Randy Stude, the PC Gaming Alliance is to "help make certain that the PC game industry had a public voice and a pulpit for accurately communicating the size, growth and overall popularity of the single largest gaming platform worldwide." They will also perform market research for their members and the public.

    From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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