Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
PC Games (Games) Games

PC Gaming Alive and Dominant 245

Posted by Soulskill
from the from-my-cold,-dead-hands dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars reports on a panel at PAX East which delved into the strength of the PC as a platform for games, and what its future looks like. The outlook is positive: 'Even as major computer OEMs produce numbers showing falling sales, the PC as a platform (and especially a gaming platform) actually shows strong aggregate growth.' The panelists said that while consoles get a lot of the headlines, the PC platform remains the only and/or best option for a lot of developers and gamers. They briefly addressed piracy, as well: 'Piracy, [Matt Higby] said, is an availability and distribution problem. The more games are crowdfunded and digitally delivered and the less a "store" figures into buying games, the less of a problem piracy becomes. [Chris Roberts] was quick to agree, and he noted that the shift to digital distribution also helps the developers make more money — they ostensibly don't have everyone along the way from retailers to publishers to distributors taking their cut from the sale.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

Comments Filter:
  • We need to be preparing the grounds for the world proletarian revolution, or capitalism in its death agony will drag us all into the grave with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I play lots of Call of Duty, so I think I'm pretty well prepared.

      • by CmdrEdem (2229572)

        Dear Anon, by your logic, since I play RTSs and TBSs, will you be a grunt in my army?

        No? Oh sh*t. I knew I should have trained a little diplomacy playing some Neverwinter Nights 2.

      • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @08:39PM (#46736965)

        I play lots of Call of Duty, so I think I'm pretty well prepared.

        I'll see your Call of Duty and raise you a Farmville.

        • I can actually preserve food by canning, smoking, pickling and curing as well as hunt. I also have mason jars stockpiled.

          So I'll raise the farming by one and have the shotgun ready for defense against soldier boy.

          P.S. Be sure you want to be tough and steal, cause if there's a jar or two not prepped well, you'll just die from botulism when you run across it. It's called "insurance". :)

          • Well, not really. Insurance should reduce your risk or shift it on someone else. All you have here is simply MAD. And that's only a deterrent (like every supposed deterrent) if the attacker knows of it.

            • If it kills the attacker without a word, then it works too.
              If it doesn't kill, he'll know too :D

              • The problem remains that I'm still dead. I'd only care about him dying if he KNOWS that he would be dying if he killed me and hence he refrains from doing so. Else, what's my gain? That I posthumously kill him? Gee, great, that's really gonna make my day when I'm fucking DEAD.

        • I am ready to rebuild Civilization, and engage in Total War, to prevent any impending Doom.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Considering the political makeup of this country, you'd be better off playing Day-Z or Rust, and prepare to be naked and facing the barrel of a gun.

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        I see why you're posting as an anonymous coward.
        Don't want to tarnish your reputation by announcing you play a mediocre mainstream game?

    • by istartedi (132515)

      our future begins with tomorrow!

      According to signs on the wall at several bars I've been to, there will also be free beer.

  • It's not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @08:26PM (#46736899) Journal
    The console makers stopped focusing on making it a game machine, instead trying to make an 'entertainment center.' If you want to push the envelope in graphics, you need to go to the PC.
  • by Thruen (753567) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @08:32PM (#46736923)
    After years of reports that PC gaming is dead while it was clearly booming, should we take this as a sign that it's finally on the decline?

    ...Maybe not.
    • Exactly, that was just the console makers trying to kill it. They failed.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Not until Netcraft confirms it.
  • by CmdrEdem (2229572) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @08:43PM (#46736991) Homepage

    big, coordinated marketing efforts. PC has no such coordination. Steam could try to do that, and I think that will still be the biggest contribution of the Steam Machines. Quite ironic if you think, as I do, that the Steam Machine effort seems quite uncoordinated nowadays.

    • when people started saying "For Playstation, XBox and Steam" though? It's practically a platform in itself. Kinda like how people called video games "The Nintendo" back in the day.

      I have to admit, I like the convenience of Steam. With my Gog copy of Shadow Warrior I've got to patch it up every time I install. My Steam games auto patch themselves.
      • by CmdrEdem (2229572)

        It is a platform by itself, sure. There are games only available on Steam. But there is no marketing effort there. I cannot say for ads on the Internet overall because I use AdBlock, but I don't see Steam trying to grab attention of gaming media. I don't live in the US but I'm could guess that Steam does not use TV ads just as MS and Sony does. Their public is on another place already. Sure they get a lot of attention on the Internet because they matter a LOT, but nowadays they don't need to try to get atte

  • Simple math (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:13PM (#46737167)
    Most people who I know that are PC gamers are generally pretty dedicated. They have special keyboard, mice, monitors, routers, network providers, etc. This is isn't even talking about their machines. Minimally they have a $200 video card if not pushing past $500. Then there are the special motherboard, overclocking, crazy cooling systems, even the glowy bits.

    That all said, they are not building these systems to play tetris. They are going to get the latest and greatest games as fast as they come out. Then if the game is good they are going to play the crap out of that game.

    What probably distinguishes this market from the console market is that gamers typically are chosey about their games. They aren't getting these games as gifts. They are looking at the reviews and the opinions of their friends. Thus the crappy games that typically are pumped out to exploit the fans of various blockbusters (which are 90%+ crap) just won't get much traction in this market. Thus a bomb is probably a total bomb in the PC world whereas there are going to be grandparents, fanbois, and parents who get suckered into buying the latest Harry Potter movie for their little Harry Potter fans.

    This would apply all the way down to the bargain bin. Steam has a bit of a bargain bin but I suspect that a Playstation bargain bin at Walmart will do far better than the same bargain bin for PC games.

    Quite simply to have a halfway decent gaming rig you are plunking down a minimum of $1200 with many doing a multiple of that. Thus these are people who are proven willing buyers.

    And then there is Goat Simulator....
    • Re:Simple math (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:30PM (#46737257) Homepage Journal

      Quite simply to have a halfway decent gaming rig you are plunking down a minimum of $1200

      Hairyfeet would dispute that figure. He claims to have put together a competent gaming PC for under $500, not including a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

      On the other hand, there are a few genres that get released on consoles far more often than on PC, even when they aren't exclusive to one console. Fighting games are one of them; the PC version of Mortal Kombat 2011, for instance, was two years late. Party games, designed for two to four players holding controllers, are another genre where PCs get the shaft. True, those require bigger monitors than a single-player or online game, but that doesn't explain why established video game publishers seem to ignore the growing home theater PC market.

      • But seeing that a console uses the home TV then the cost of monitor and whatnot must be included. Technically you could even include the desk and chair. Basically my point was that most PC gamers don't take their activity lightly. While there are many hardcore console gamers you can just buy a cheap console and you are good to go.
        • by Pubstar (2525396)
          Then why don't you just hook the computer up to a TV? Its not like no cards come with an HDMI out.
          • by tepples (727027)

            Then why don't you just hook the computer up to a TV?

            Because apparently not enough people know it's possible. And if the comments listed here [slashdot.org] are to be believed, most of those who do know about using a TV as a PC monitor aren't willing to rearrange the house (e.g. HDMI through a hole in the wall, keyboard and mouse on TV tray) to make it happen.

            • by Pubstar (2525396)
              That's weird. At my old apartment, both of my computers were in the living room, hooked up to the TV (one for me, one for my roommate). We'd switch off using it sitting on the couch depending on what we were playing. Sometimes when we had people over, we'd just toss a game up on the screen while playing.

              Hell, most of my PC gamer friends all have their PC hooked up to a monitor and have a cable run to their TV in their bedroom. As for the last point, hopefully it won't be that much of an issue anymore
        • by tepples (727027)

          But seeing that a console uses the home TV then the cost of monitor and whatnot must be included.

          You can use the monitor, keyboard, and mouse from your previous desktop PC. If there is no previous desktop PC, a starter wired keyboard and mouse might set you back about $30 total. Add an Xbox 360 controller and monitor from a pawn shop and you're set.

      • by Pubstar (2525396)
        Build list from /r/PCMasterRace [reddit.com]. Two that come in under $600 that can best next gen consoles.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          Build list from /r/PCMasterRace. Two that come in under $600 that can best next gen consoles.

          Where do I go to get a list with nVidia graphics cards? Because ATI drivers fail. I'm completely fucking done with ATI graphics. I've said it before, but now I mean it.

          • I thought you ran Linux and thusly ran nVidia?

          • by Pubstar (2525396)
            ATI drivers have been fine for me. I just always have to run latest beta drivers. Unless you're on Linux, then yeah, I see your point.
      • Fighting games are kind of baffling to me - the 360 controller is very well designed, durable, and is easy to use (100% plug and play on Windows) for the majority, and any 360-compatible arcade stick should work on PC just the same. I can only guess that they just think it's a bad move to release a game that almost requires a third party controller on PC since the joystick died off. Party games, on the other hand, are pretty obvious - it's that the sheer number of HTPC systems aren't there to support them.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        You called? Its really not hard at all to build a sub $500 system that will game quite good, for example we can go AMD Hexacore for $224 after MIR [tigerdirect.com], add $15 for a DVD burner, $55 for a 500GB-1TB drive (depending on what is on sale), and Win 7 Home 64bit for $100 [tigerdirect.com] that frankly nearly every build ignores when figuring price....final total? $394, $494 if you get the GPU I'd recommend, the HD7790.

        We can go even cheaper if we went with one of the new APUs and many review sites show they do quite well with gaming u

        • You'd think they'd have another bundle that included that DVD-RW, HDD, and Win 7 for 299.

          I'm not a PC gamer, bout the only things I do on a PC that needs a video card are Second Life and STO, but I have a similar box purchased back in 2010 (dual-core).

          So anybody that says gaming can only be done on some $1200 monster is frankly full of bull.

          While I agree, some PC enthusiasts and some of the PC gamer oriented media tend to think that $1200 is a baseline rig and to be a "real" PC gamer you should spend more.

        • by Pubstar (2525396)
          Seriously, if you are lazy and don't care about grey market keys, I always suggest getting a key from /r/SoftwareSwap. I got a MSDN Win 8.1 Pro key for $10 5 months ago, and it hasn't been deactivated yet. Assuming you get the MSDN Windows key, you can easily get a killer system for under $600 [reddit.com]
        • Good monitor (or three), laser mouse, gaming keyboard, good sound system. They might not get you to $1200 but they will cost quite a bit.

          My perspective is all a bit warped as I do OpenCL programming and have two bonkers video cards in my machine; plus I don't have any games on it.
      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Mine cost me about 700 euro, and it still runs almost everything on very high detail three years after the purchase.

    • Re:Simple math (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:46PM (#46737355) Homepage

      >Steam has a bit of a bargain bin but I suspect that a Playstation bargain bin at Walmart will do far better than the same bargain bin for PC games.

      The Steam quarterly sales are huge, also the weekly Humble Bundle. I'm over 100 titles now, simply because a very large number of them cost me almost nothing. Also you can play games on decent settings for around $600 and have a computer you can do other things with too. $1200 is a damn fast computer.

    • Re:Simple math (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hibiki_r (649814) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:49PM (#46737371)

      The 90s called, they want their arguments back.

      Today, the PC market isn't really about pushing hardware. Remember Crysis? It sold nothing, because very few people believed they even had the rig to play it. Nobody releases for really high end hardware anymore: What you get with expensive hardware is insane resolutions. Who are the big players in PC games? The people making MOBAs, MMOs, and indies. Some rely on constant updates, which do not fare well in the console world: Valve tried to keep selling TF2 on the 360, but there was no way in hell they'd be allowed to update the game for free monthly, if not weekly. There's plenty of articles about it, look it up.

      So what the PC market gives is both enhanced capabilities for constant engagement, and being able to sell your game for pennies. You'd be mad to target something like Paper's Please as a console-only game. League of Legends or Dota on consoles? yeah right. And none of those games need anything that even resembles a $1500 machine to run.

      If we have to compare PC gaming to something, it's mobile games, but with far better control options, and less fear of install sizes.

      • Re:Simple math (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sibko (1036168) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @02:41PM (#46741381)

        Today, the PC market isn't really about pushing hardware. Remember Crysis? It sold nothing,

        In the first couple weeks, Crysis sold ~90,000 copies. The developers were vocally disappointed by this, and immediately blamed the large amount of piracy of the game for poor sales, Crysis then went on and sold ~1 million copies in the following two months, and is presently sitting somewhere around 3 million copies sold.

        Which means Crysis is now #33 in the list of "best selling PC games of all time".
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        That is not "selling nothing".

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      I'd question the need to spend $1200 to have a decent PC for gaming. I do most of mine on an Phenom II 4-core with 8GB DDR3-1600, and a card that cost me somewhere around $150 (basically last year's decent card). I also save by replacing components when they need it (MB+CPU+RAM every other year or so). My previous video card konked out after a number of years, and while the new one is a clear step-up, I could still run most games with fairly decent settings with the old one (which was probably the better

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      "What probably distinguishes this market from the console market is that gamers typically are chosey about their games. They aren't getting these games as gifts. They are looking at the reviews and the opinions of their friends." This is mostly cause on console, you buy a game it sucks go trade it in and get some $ back. PC side you are kinda S.O.L. and stuck with the game, which is also one the major fuels for piracy. I admit i pirate games my self that seem iffy, if i like the game feel its worth price t
    • That's an interesting point: the distribution mechanism for PC games is different than the hype machine used for normal product sales. That's worth thinking about, anyway.
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      You need $2,000+ just to have a decent computer to work with.
      The fact it runs games is just a bonus.

    • by ponos (122721)

      Goat simulator is a great product at a reasonable price.

    • Quite simply to have a halfway decent gaming rig you are plunking down a minimum of $1200 with many doing a multiple of that. Thus these are people who are proven willing buyers.

      $1200, maybe... if you include the screen and things like the keyboard / mouse.

      But you can build a very decent gaming rig for about $900 or so.

      - $80 motherboard (not bottom of the barrel, not top of the line), a budget gaming rig only needs to support a single video card
      - $60 for the PSU, should be 80+ silver/gold at around
  • Good news! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by trawg (308495) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @09:50PM (#46737373) Homepage

    I'll make sure to let the 7,518,856 other people I play Dota 2 with every month know (that number from just loading the game and looking at the unique monthly players figure).

    That is, if I can get their attention while they're all trying to be the next team to win $1m in cash.

    (Related aside: check out Valve's Free to Play [steampowered.com] documentary; it's a great watch for some insight into the lives of professional gamers.)

  • Not True (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:03PM (#46737413) Homepage Journal

    This story is BS. "Crowdfunding", early access and F2P are killing gaming. Developers have learned that they no longer have to complete a game. "Game development" is no longer something you do in order to make a game, it's something you do in order to make your next game, which is also never completed. Why would you ever actually deliver a complete game experience when you can charge $20 and up for a practically empty game engine and a slick trailer?

    And don't get me started on F2P games. They're creepy, sad and even the best of them leave you empty. The only grand vision is, "Get a bunch of people playing and hope there are enough 14 year-olds with the password to their parents PayPal account to make it pay. Enjoy the kickstarter money and move on to the next project.

    The last 2 years have been the worst for PC gaming since I started playing games on my Commodore 64. I can count the number of actual AAA titles in the past 2 years worthy of the name on one hand.

    And console players shouldn't get smug. You're in the same boat. You want to pay $60 for six hours of gameplay? How many hours did you pour into the games of the past? Corporate gaming has figured out that like cereal, you can make a bunch of money charging the same price for a shrinking product. It's why consoles are being sold more for their "entertainment center" features (really a "consumption center") than for the possibility of playing a continual stream of first-rate games for them.

    The platforms are fine. It's the gaming industry that is moribund, getting fat and lazy on an increasingly locked-in income stream that has nothing to do with good games.

    • Re:Not True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:47PM (#46737601)

      IMO, we've never had more choices or viable platforms as gamers - my first console was an Odyssey 2, and my first computer gaming was on an Apple II+, so I've been doing this a while now. Anyone who is longing for days long gone really needs to take off the rose-coloured glasses. Most of those older games were, if you look at it objectively, pretty trite and repetitive by today's standards. They were amazing to us largely because of their novelty, and we've elevated them on the pedestal of nostalgia.

      Nothing against the classics - they were amazing for their day, but I do think a bit of perspective is in order. When I was a kid, I would have killed for an amazing RPG like Skyrim, or an MMO like Guild Wars 2, or for the sheer creativity to be found in Minecraft. I picked up Limbo the other day, and have been immensely enjoying myself - it's an incredibly clever and atmospheric platformer/puzzler. I'm still playing Puzzle Quest too, a relatively low-budget but fun puzzle-RPG hybrid. More recently, I've been going through my "bought a while ago but haven't played" list like Halo 4 and Uncharted 3, and on the PC side recently picked up The Witcher 1 & 2 in a Steam deal. I've enjoyed all these games immensely so far.

      Granted, there's a lot of crap out there too. Freemium games? Yeah, I stay the hell away from those too. But I don't see how crowdfunding can be blamed when it's simply opened up the market to more niche games. Sure, some of those bets won't pay off, but welcome to venture capitalism. I'm not sure how that should be a surprise to anyone. 80% of everything is crap, anyhow. It holds true now, and it was true in the past as well. You just need to look for the products that rise to the surface... you know, read reviews, judge based on developer history.

      Some old icons in the industry are now past their prime. Blizzard, Bioware, and id, longstanding favorites of mine, have all sold out. I'll no longer expect anything great from them, although I'm always willing to be surprised. Instead, younger and hungrier development shops will take their place... maybe ArenaNet and Bungie. And garage development is no longer relegated to the past either thanks to crowdfunding and improvement in tools, technology, and especially distribution platforms.

      Personally, I think it's a pretty exciting time for the gaming industry, and I'm happy I'm in the middle of it.

      • Some old icons in the industry are now past their prime. Blizzard, Bioware, and id, longstanding favorites of mine, have all sold out. I'll no longer expect anything great from them, although I'm always willing to be surprised. Instead, younger and hungrier development shops will take their place... maybe ArenaNet and Bungie.

        Uhh... Bungie [wikipedia.org] is only 3 months younger than Blizzard [wikipedia.org]. If you want to be pedantic, though, Blizzard Entertainment proper is actually the younger studio.

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          Some old icons in the industry are now past their prime. Blizzard, Bioware, and id, longstanding favorites of mine, have all sold out. I'll no longer expect anything great from them, although I'm always willing to be surprised. Instead, younger and hungrier development shops will take their place... maybe ArenaNet and Bungie.

          Uhh... Bungie [wikipedia.org] is only 3 months younger than Blizzard [wikipedia.org]. If you want to be pedantic, though, Blizzard Entertainment proper is actually the younger studio.

          Yeah, you're right. After I posted that, I realized that "younger" wasn't really the proper term for describing Bungie, as they've been around for quite a while now too. Maybe it's just because it feels to me like Blizzard has lost it's vitality since getting swallowed up by Activision, while I don't necessarily get that feeling from Bungie.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Sure, some of those bets won't pay off, but welcome to venture capitalism.

        Absolutely not. If you believe that your kickstarter donation is anything like "venture capitalism" you need to hit up Wikipedia for some definitions.

        When you invest venture capital, you are getting a piece of the "venture". Your return on investment is directly tied to the success of the venture. The more success, often, the more return.

        In crowdfunding, you are basically giving someone on the money based on a promise that gosh, t

        • by Minupla (62455)

          I view kickstarter more as the patron system of artistic sponsorship from the middle ages. A wealth patron commissions a piece of art because they believe in the artists's artistic vision and want to see that vision brought to fruition. So they back the artist with their money.

          Sometimes the patron's eye is good, and you get good art. Most of the time, not so much.

          So I think the venture capitalism model, to your point isn't the correct one, and certainly isn't what I'm thinking when I donate on kickstarte

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          Yeah, you're correct that "venture capitalism" is a bad analogy. It is true that you're betting your own capital, but your only potential return is a good game, and maybe some extra freebies. Minupla below gives a much better analogy as "patronage", as there's often a desire to see a specific vision come to fruition. It's not a perfect analogy, but probably a bit better than mine. Of course, any comparison or analogy is going to be flawed in some way, because crowd-funding is a rather unique mechanism f

    • by Pubstar (2525396)
      Games like Hawken, Blacklight: Retribution, DotA 2, and LoL are are examples of F2P model done right. When done properly, the games are amazing, and some of us with disposable incomes do toss the developers some cash.

      As for the AAA bullshit - if you think that the only reason to game is AAA titles, then you are everything that is wrong with gaming. I've spent countless hours trying to get better scores on Hotline: Miami and get different endings on Papers, Please.
    • I started playing APB back when it was first release by RTW and was a 50$ boxed game with a monthly subscription (or something like that), I have always loved the concept of APB and the way you could customize your characters was really done great. The beginning bones of this game was done very well, to me, the original team behind APB seemed to really have their shit together, the game had some bugs, but it was very new, and I always felt like the possibilities were endless if they same team had been given

    • by Ghjnut (1843450)
      Settle down captain cynicism. Maybe we did have an era where games rested mostly on their reputation and that of the studio that produced them, but I think we've far from lost that. Sure the market may be flooded with the F2Ps for the masses but I think that's expected to come along with the the accessibility of digital distribution. I stepped away from PC gaming for about years, and came back feeling just as at home as I ever have. The difference nowadays is that those small indie games have earned an opp
    • by ponos (122721)

      What bothers me most are endless DLCs required to get the "full experience". I can understand the difference between a "basic version" and a "deluxe" at +10$. But the fragmentation occuring with N DLCs and "season passes" is frustrating to say the least. I just want a clear pricing structure and a complete game.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        I understand, but I also believe that a game that is really engaging and top-level in terms of production values can be worth more than the $50 price tag. I don't mind dropping a few dollars here and there for a game that I've been playing >100 hours, because I'm getting value (as long as the DLC is more than just a fancy hat or a new skin for my shotgun).

        I just want some developers to go back to the model where a good game had a good price and it was a good experience all around. Instead of this under

  • by locopuyo (1433631) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:25PM (#46737749) Homepage
    There are some good info graphics on actual data here. PC has 51% of the playtime marketshare and consoles only have 30%. http://www.superdataresearch.c... [superdataresearch.com]

    Free to play games are where the big money is now. League of Legends made $624 million in revenue in 2013. They even gave out $14.3 Million in tournament prize money.
    Crossfire (a counter-strike clone popular outside the USA) had the most revenue and made almost a billion dollars in revenue last year.
    • There are some good info graphics on actual data here. PC has 51% of the playtime marketshare and consoles only have 30%.

      The infographic you linked doesn't state whether two people on one console count as double the playtime. It appears that a lot more console games than PC games support multiple controllers. When four people play Super Smash Bros. Brawl for an hour on a single Wii console, is that one hour of playtime or four?

  • I'd love to know what percentage of games are FPSs... They're cranked out like sausages not because they're the best that the companies can do, but because they can be played using a console controller. Meanwhile a reasonably well-equpped PC has far more power than any console, and features a real (gasp!) keyboard with more than 10 buttons! Game makers do shitty ports of titles to the PC; for example, I still have not played Skyrim because of the PC-unfriendly interface. And they wonder why sales are down.

Make sure your code does nothing gracefully.

Working...