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PCs Losing Out as a Gaming Platform? 778

Snibor Eoj writes "The Boston Globe Online has an article by Hiawatha Bray discussing the state of gaming on PCs and consoles. He points out that PC users now suffer the same fate as Mac users have for years, that of waiting for a great game that's already out on another platform. Consoles continue to gain market share, and software companies are noticing that and writing more and earlier for consoles than for PCs."
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PCs Losing Out as a Gaming Platform?

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  • FPS's... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cornjchob ( 514035 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:01PM (#4321287)
    Anyone here want to sit in front of a T.V. and play Quake III Arena with horrible resolution with a game pade?

    Enough said.

    As long as there are first-person shooters and need for high-resolution, sharp graphics, computers will reign.
    • Re:FPS's... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tm2b ( 42473 )
      Mind you, consoles are starting to support higher resolution output via component video to HDTV.
      • Re:FPS's... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cornjchob ( 514035 )
        But how many of those HDTV outputs are utilized? Unfortunately, for the next 3 years or so, most people won't actually know someone with an HDTV. Computers, on the other hand, provide high-resolution, varied inputs, and a lot of upgradable horsepower--now. And affordably, at that. Upgradable, now, multipurpose, high-compatibility rate, and many game consoles can say that?
      • Still though... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by FaasNat ( 522755 )
        Higher resolutions won't compensate for the lack of control you have with the game pads.
        • You can purchase many more kinds of game pads for the computer than you can for any console. Most likely, there are more controllers available for the PC than all consoles combined. For example:
          • Joystick (ForceFeedback included)
          • Gamepad (ForceFeedback included)
          • Steering wheel with pedals (ForceFeedback still included)
          • Those nifty uber-controllers with lots of extra buttons (I don't know what they're called and couldn't find one for an example) They're usually used with the non dominant hand and just have lots of buttons for adding to a flight game, I think
          • Mouse (big plus esp. for FPS)
          • Finally, the keyboard

          I think all those available items will more than make up for the lack of only a controller to use. There are certain games that are much easier to play with a controller, so I went out and spent $20 (the average cost of any console controller) and use it. The good thing is, if I upgrade my video card to play those better games, I don't have to purchase a new controller.
    • Doom III (Score:4, Funny)

      by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:18PM (#4321493) Homepage
      This will be on PC before any console. Nothing else matters.
    • Re:FPS's... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Camulus ( 578128 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:19PM (#4321504) Journal
      This used to be a valid argument. However, the X-box is nothing more then a compact computer. Nvidia specifically designed the card for the box. Think about it. A decent video card (for gaming) is going to be around $100-$150, then a good sound card $75 (Audigy), you get the idea. An X-box is $199. Factor in, actually having to install the software, driver conflicts, computer lock ups, and the idea of just putting a disk in a machine and it "just working", as Mac puts it, is very appealing to the average American. The way the market is going, it is leaning towards the cheaply replacable throwaway consoles, esp now because they are going to start having the perks of PC's, broadband multiplayer, VOIP, etc (not to mention they have Suse 8 running on an X-Box now). Yeah, so for Joe Blow it makes a lot more sense to buy a $199 X-Box that he can replace with about $200-$300 hundred dollar unit in 3-4 years rather then a $1500 gaming machine. Don't get me wrong. I am a PC gamer right now. I like PC gaming. I like being able to tweak stuff. I like Mods. Mods are what keep me playing gaming. However, given time most gaming will probably be on consoles. It just makes sense to most people. I just hope there will be mods available.
      • Re:FPS's... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tshak ( 173364 )
        However, the X-box is nothing more then a compact computer.

        Thank you for explaining to us the definition of a console - a narrow purpose computer.
    • Re:FPS's... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DunbarTheInept ( 764 )
      I have the opposite opinion. It's the FPS graphic-fest that a console would really shine at (assuming an HDTV rather than the old 400 scan-line models). *BUT* that's why I prefer the PC for gaming. While mindless shoot-em-ups are fun for a while, especially in groups, they don't hold my interest long when I'm playing them alone. They are not as engrossing as a good, long term immersive RPG (like the old Ultima series was), or a good, long term strategy game. And that's the kind of thing where the ability to save stuff to a hard drive rather than a small flash memory makes a world of difference. Consoles are okay for the kind of game where not much needs to be remembered in secondary storage when the machine is off. But those kinds of games just aren't as much fun for me.
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by splume ( 560873 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:02PM (#4321297) Journal
    It appears that Consoles are keeping up with the technology curve. With awesome graphics and storage capabilities, with soon to come internet game play, why not? And why in the hell would you play a game on a 19" screen when a 25"+ is so much better? That, and surround sound with speakers the size of my girlfriend, how can I go wrong?
    • 25" (or even 35", which I think you meant) isn't so much better - the resolution (even with HDTV) sucks. TV's aren't going to approach 1600x1200 anytime soon.

    • so, you don't have surround sound speakers? ;)
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Funny)

      by pokeyburro ( 472024 )
      Why do you immediately think about your girlfriend when describing the size of your speakers? Do you store her in the box the speaker shipped in when you're not using her?
  • Bleh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wheaty18 ( 465429 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:04PM (#4321312)
    Consoles are great for some genres of games (such as FF-style RPG's, Sports games, party games etc), but when it comes to FPS, RTS or MMOG give me a PC any day of the week. How anyone can stand playing an FPS with a controller is beyond me. Consoles are generally a generation BEHIND by the time they are released, whereas you can get the latest and greatest graphics on a PC.

    Also, who wants to pay an internet connection fee PLUS a subscription fee (for XBox Live! or Sony Online) when they can just pay the internet fee and play the game for free over the net on a PC?
    • Sure, I can get the latest and greatest graphics on my PC - I can go out and buy a $300 video board every year. Meanwhile, an xBox is going for what, $199? And I won't have to dork around configuring it or looking for exotic settings to get the thing to work worth a damn. Yes, I use my PC for games, and no, I don't have an xBox, but there are times when I wish I did!
    • Re:Bleh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gabec ( 538140 )
      "Also, who wants to pay an internet connection fee PLUS a subscription fee (for XBox Live! or Sony Online) when they can just pay the internet fee and play the game for free over the net on a PC?"

      That reminds me of a couple very valid gripes about consoles:

      no fan mods to console games (quake would have been nowhere NOWHERE near as impressive if people couldn't make their own levels)

      GTA3 (for example) was a great game! it's made an insane amount of money, so they're coming out with "GTA: Vice City", set in the '80's. Neat, right? Yeah. But get this: if it had been a PC game Vice City would be a $20 expansion pack, not a $59.99 (presumably) full-fledged game that is nothing but the exact same game but with new missions and new textures.

    • Re:Bleh (Score:3, Informative)

      by _Tzzu_ ( 555214 )

      As much as I would like to agree with the statement that "you can get the latest and greatest graphics on a PC", I believe it too be somewhat misleading.

      Yes, you may be able to buy a Geforce 4 Ti 4600, or an ATI 9700, or (insert card of choice here), but how many games actually take advantage of said card. Unfortunately there is a _long_ lead time between features being available in a card and them actually being used. So, in that sense, PCs are on a very similar technology slope to the consoles - since all the programs for them are for _older_ generations.

      Example: 8 bit stencil buffers became available many years ago, but how long was it before games started using them? I've only recently seen games that actually started to use them to their full capacity. Yes, Quake III had support for stencil volume shadows, but they were very simple, only supported a single light source at a time, etc etc. Unreal hacked a few vendor specific versions that supported them, but again we're _vendor_ specific.

      A more recent example is Doom 3. What are the main visual features that stand out about this game? Per-pixel bumpmapping and cube map support (and realtime shadows etc etc). And these were available in.... the Geforce 256, but they have only _just_ become mainstream. John Carmack even mentioned this problem in his recent QuakeWorld speech - buy the time a piece of hardward is fully utilised by a game, the hardcore gamers have upgraded past that many times over.

      Consoles may be a generation behind at release (debatable, but beyond the scope of this reply), but they have very specific capabilities that you can target immediately. You can code for them directly _now_, without a shadow of doubt that it'll will be consistent for every gamer. Something that, at present, is beyond the realms of the PC with it's ever-shifting horizon of technology.

      Of course, most of this is business driven. It would be financial suicide at present to release a game that would only run on a Geforce 3+ or ATI 9700, since you'd be eliminating about 95+% of your market.

      All that said, I only use PCs (well, mostly, the occasionaly console sessions at a friends aside). I only code for my PC. And all of my work (film post-production) is done on Linux workstations. But it can be very frustrating when you know that you have a pile of very impressive hardware specs - that you simply _can't_ take advantage of, since not everybody has upgraded to them yet (and likely won't for a long while). Of course, I'd like to see this change. HLSLs which allow you to specify an arbitrary number of passes is A Good Thing(tm) for PC hardware.

  • by harks ( 534599 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:04PM (#4321317)
    Many of these companies are probobally scared by computer piracy and think that releasing games onto consoles will make their games sell more. After all it is a bit harder to copy console games.
    • Re:Piracy a factor?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:20PM (#4321520) Homepage
      In Latin America, piracy of both PC games and console games is rampant (and reasonably so - a typical game costs the same as a week's salary; this is a fact after recent economic crises, which means that some people have PC's or consoles that they could afford before their currencies devalued, but now cannot afford to purchase games for them legally). The selling of pirated games is completely tolerated at this point - many stores in malls sell obviously pirated Playstation, PS/2, and GameCube games openly, in window displays. However, PC games are still more popular. Largely this is because many people game at LAN cafes, and because it's easier to justify buying a computer than a console when under budgetary duress.

      I'm told that South Korea is almost all PC-based gaming, because of both the institution of PC cafes that act as a nexus of social life (in fact, I think I read that on /.) as well the fact that consoles are associated with the hated Japan.

  • well, sure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by egomaniac ( 105476 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:05PM (#4321319) Homepage
    Despite claims by PC fans of what their $400 accelerator cards can do, most console games look much better than PC games for the simple reason that the console hardware is a known quantity and can therefore be optimized for.

    You also don't have to deal with installation issues, device driver conflicts, patches, replacing your $100 soundcard because it causes Neverwinter Nights to crash for no apparent reason, and so forth. Plus all modern consoles have great controllers, whereas PC games can't assume they have access to anything but a keyboard and mouse.

    Seriously, what was anyone expecting?
    • Plus all modern consoles have great controllers, whereas PC games can't assume they have access to anything but a keyboard and mouse.

      I'd prefer a keyboard, mouse and/or man sized joy stick to those little controller pads any day.

    • Re:well, sure (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Once hard drives start coming standard on consoles don't be surprised if you start seeing game companies lower their quality standards on the initial game release. Now, they *have* to get it right the first time. What will happen when they get used to being able to patch their released games?
    • Amen brotha,

      I went out and spent 100 bucks on an audigy just for that stupid game.

      This month I purchased an XBox and vow never to do that again.
    • Define "better" -- I think most games running on my (mid-range) graphics accelerator at 1280x1024 look much better than their console equivalents. Crisp and detailed, not fuzzy and full of annoying interlace artifacts (yes, I know some DreamCast games can run at 480p.)

      For me, high resolution rendering is the main attraction of a new accelerator. Getting a decent frame rate at 1900x1440 (on my good 21" monitor) is really immersive. No console will match that any time soon.

      But that doesn't stop me from buying PS2 games if they look like fun...

  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cicatrix1 ( 123440 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:05PM (#4321322) Homepage
    We've heard this all before. It's just not true. I'd say there's about an equal number of games that first appear on the PC and the number of games that first appear on a console.

    It tends to follow a simple pattern: Developers first release games for the type of system that is more suited to it, based on control style, graphics qualities, etc... Later on, if it sold well, it will be released to the other type as a generally crappy port with bad control. Granted, this doesn't always happen, but even in the case of good games -- if you try to put a mouse oriented PC game onto a console (i.e. Starcraft), it will invariable not be as fun as the original version.
  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:05PM (#4321325) Homepage
    Consoles already have things like keyboards and network hardware. It's only a matter of time before consoles come equipped with monitor plugs - and in some years time, digital televisions will offer far better picture quality as well. In time, most high-profile gaming will probably move entirely to the console world. That's not to say PC gaming will be dead, but, as the article says, be relegated to a second tier status, where only some titles are ported and appear later than the console equivalents.

    • Uh, I'm thinking you read a different article from the one linked to.

      Assuming you read one at all.
    • Hmmm...

      Consider the gaming console as a thin client for a future where everyone who is anyone has computers and something of a home network. You have a device like a PS2. Remove the memory card and the DVD/CD drive. You plug your PS into your home network and the computer supplies the game data on demand, storage space when necessary, and an internet connection where required.

      You get all the advantages of a console, except the console only has to do two types of IO (to a TV and to ethernet), doesn't need flash memory cards, and doesn't need a hard drive. It's a box with 4 plugs - the controller, the TV, the ethernet, and the power - and it has no moving parts. You can mod the games, buy games over the internet, or even use the TV as a second screen. The gaming box does all of the stuff gaming consoles are good at (fixed hardware, rendering stupid numbers of polygons, etc...) and the computer handles everything else - and even some stuff that consoles can't do, like license keys.

      It's an interesting thought. It'd be a very minimal little box. GPU, CPU, RAM.

  • Consoles with never have shareware games made in Visual Basic by 12 year olds. They'll never take that away!

  • Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krugdm ( 322700 ) <slashdot@ikru g . c om> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:06PM (#4321332) Homepage Journal

    ...if I'm playing Madden, or GT3, or something like that, I'd actually rather kick back on the couch with the big screen, and the AC3 surround with the big sub, than sit in my office chair playing on a 17" monitor with my little PC speakers.

    Now that consoles are pushing internet connectivity, that's one less advantage that PC's have over consoles: the ability to play others online.

    The only real advantage that I see now is the ability to have downloadable updates or add-on features, but even that may go away soon. Didn't the Dreancast allow you to download bonus levels for certain games to the VMU?

  • Doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geeyzus ( 99967 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:06PM (#4321335)
    There are certain things that consoles currently can not do, or don't do well. MMORPGs like Everquest are much better served with PC controls, like a full size keyboard, and DSL or cable modem. First person shooters... can you say, mouse-look? As well as the use of several keyboard keys for things like strafing, etc. RTS games would be a joke without the use of a keyboard... good RTS players use all of the keyboard shortcuts.

    At the same time, obviously, there are some things consoles do very, very well. Sports titles, platform games, action/fighting games. These will almost always do best on the consoles.

    I suppose the point is that while some games cross over successfully (GTA3), most games are better suited for one location or the other, PC or console. Neither the PCs or consoles will disappear in the gaming world.

    • Consoles are getting all of the peripherals that pcs are getting. Consoles have modems (DSL and ordinary), hard-drives, mice, keyboards, usb connections, etc - I expect to see webcams at the rate we're going. Once the consoles get the controls to support pc-like games, why buy an expensive video card and sound card for buggy games that almost always require patches?

      Hell, I expect that after awhile, PCs and consoles and television will all consolidate into one device (think "giant computer with multiple interfaces - viewscreen w/ voice activation, portable tablet, gamepad, etc"). This is the kind of thing that consumers want. Hell, I want it (though I won't get it with DRM, unfortunately).

      Why do you think microsoft is fucking around with the XBOX and tablet pcs and even DRM? It all ties into this eventuality... (wow, I sound like a conspiracy nut with a lovely tinfoil hat, huh?)

      The thing to remember - a console is a computer. It's a dedicated device, but it is not very different than your x86 (ie/ xbox).
  • Blehhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pyrosz ( 469177 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:06PM (#4321339) Homepage
    It seems every 6 months or so someone comes out and says that either PC's or Consoles are losing the battle. Battle of what I'm not sure. I have both consoles and a good gaming PC and I find that the games are different for each system (FPS and Strat games on the computer and fighting and racing games on the consoles (and party type games)). Wish they would give it a break already.
  • when the Zork trilogy hits he console. 20 years and counting...
  • Don't say stuff like this, even in jest. I rely on the deep pockets of obsessive gamers to continually push for advances in computer hardware performance so that I can buy the top-of-the-line from 6 months ago for bargain-basement (read, true value) prices.

    PC gaming is NOT dead. Long live PC gaming!

  • Games are highly specialized applications that have very specific hardware needs for optimal performance. Those requirements are not the same as all other common applications (word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, writing code, etc etc) with the possible exception of multimedia production. I've always been of the opinion that I'd rather play games on a machine that is specifically designed for playing games on (note that aside from pr0n, games are always the leading edge of technology precisely for that reason). I would, however, like to see upgradeable consoles...
  • I have not yet read the article, but this seems patently ludicrous.

    While the line between consoles and PCs may be blurred, PCs are still a far superior gaming platform in most respects.

    1. Interface: My mouse 0wnz console controllers for analog input-- no argument.

    2. Modifications: The inherent difficuty of modifying or hacking content in consoles is a big bar to user-made content. You may get Counter-Strike ported to xbox... but it won't be independently developed there by a bunch of students with lots of time and a cool idea.

    3. Pure mind-bending speed. High-end PCs will *always* trump consoles for pure performance, simply because they cost more and don't operate on a 2-3 year product cycle.

    4. Display: Until HDTV becomes completely standard, even low-end monitors blow TV quality out of the water. High-end displays will always be ahead of the broadcast standards.

    5. Online play: Consoles won't be caught up to PCs in the next few years... if then.

    PC gaming is far from dead and and still offers choices far more varied than games available for consoles, even if the market is smaller and PCs do not plug-and-play as easily as consoles.
    • 1. Interface: My mouse 0wnz console controllers for analog input-- no argument.

      Depends on the game, of course. However, while I recognize that mouse&keyboard rocks for FPS games, Halo did things right.

      2. Modifications: The inherent difficuty of modifying or hacking content in consoles is a big bar to user-made content. You may get Counter-Strike ported to xbox... but it won't be independently developed there by a bunch of students with lots of time and a cool idea.

      That's okay, Counter-Strike sucked anyway. Change that to TF1 (for Quake 1, not TFC for Half-Life), and I'll agree. However, as you mentioned, the line between PCs and consoles is blurring. The XBox's hard drive may eventually allow for this kind of modification. Maybe nobody's doing it yet, but we're just starting to get into real second generation games for the XBox. Give it a year.

      3. Pure mind-bending speed. High-end PCs will *always* trump consoles for pure performance, simply because they cost more and don't operate on a 2-3 year product cycle.

      Except that PC games will *always* pick a target platform that's 2-3 years old, simply because they need to maximize their audience. For example, Unreal Tournament 2003 just went gold (should be in stores soon), yet it's still targetting a 733MHz processor (minimum, with 1GHz recommended) and a TNT2-level video card (again, minimum, with a GF2 recommended). So what if you can buy 2.0+GHz CPUs and GeForce4 video cards if the games are still targetting two year old technology? With consoles, the hardware doesn't change, so developers gain experience and learn how to tweak it fully. Compare first generation PSX titles with the last generation of titles, for example.

      4. Display: Until HDTV becomes completely standard, even low-end monitors blow TV quality out of the water. High-end displays will always be ahead of the broadcast standards.

      HD is standard (or "standard enough", anyway). Sure, you have competing input methods, like RGBHV vs. YPrPb component vs. DVI vs. IEEE 1394, but most TVs at least support YPrPb (mine supports RGBHV and YPrPb on the same HD inputs, determined by a config menu setting). And since that's really just the connector, you can always make new connectors. If suddenly DVI becomes the standard for all HD signals (for example), then expect to see a new HD A/V pack released for the XBox the exact same day, this time with DVI outputs. The standard resolutions are already fixed (4:3 480p and 16:9 480p aren't HD, but 16:9 540p (based on 1080i), 16:9 720p, and 16:9 1080i are defined). I'm sure the PS2 and Gamecube will do exactly the same, even though neither of them have high definition support (progressive scan is not high definition, and only the Gamecube can do that between these two, and then only in certain games, and then only if you know the special button combination. The XBox does at least 4:3 480p for every game, and will do better if the game and your TV support better).

      5. Online play: Consoles won't be caught up to PCs in the next few years... if then.

      Of course, that depends on what online play you prefer (MMORPG? RTS over Hack 'n Slash like Diablo 2? FPS?). I think the main sticking point here will not be the quality of the gameplay (assuming that's what you mean with "[catching] up"), but that broadband is pretty much required (sure, Nintendo says they'll release a modem, and I think Sony has released a modem, but expect to see all three really pushing broadband as the way to play). Then again, maybe online console gaming will help push the broadband market into expanding. If that happens, we all win.

      PC gaming is far from dead and and still offers choices far more varied than games available for consoles

      Agreed, though not necessarily for the reasons you list.

  • Consoles just don't work well for group gaming today. Their network connections are fine, but 10 TVs in one room is just too much. Add DVI connectors and I would have no objection.

    I think many of the opinions here will reinforce the general divide between /.ers and the general populace. PCs are great for games if you know how to run and configure them, but I've never heard of consoles having resource conflicts, bad drivers, or inconsistent performance issues. Anyway, /.ers should be excited that a mostly non-Microsoft platform is succeeding.

  • Loading drivers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by randomErr ( 172078 )
    You mean I don't have to worry about how much memory I have or if I have the right video drivers on consoles? I get better controllers? I only have to connect 2 or 3 connections and I'm set to go? Bigger screen on then my PC?

    Hell ya, give me a console anytime.
  • Gee, I sorta thought the Xbox would be the crossover platform -- write for the Xbox, make back the development costs, then do a quick port to the PC. I figured the lack of royalties to Microsoft would be incentive enough for the port, and the fact that an Xbox is really just a specific-purpose PC would make the port easy. Maybe it's too early to tell, but geeze, even Halo is coming to the PC, and you'd think Microsoft would be the last house to port their Xbox games to another platform.

  • The stronghold of the PC market are games and office tools.

    With Star Office, Gnu Cash and other efforts this lead is being whittled away.

    If the consoles take over the game market from Windows, then there will be no real reason for new users to use Windows over Linux.
    • If the consoles take over the game market from Windows, then there will be no real reason for new users to use Windows over Linux.

      Of course there will be. Joe Consumer buys a Playstation instead of a PC because it's less work to configure and because there's more software available for it -- the exact same reason why he'll buy a Windows OS instead of Linux.

      Linux would already have a stronghold in the market if all anyone wanted to do with a PC was surf the 'Net, rip MP3s and send e-mail. But eventually, sooner or later, everyone wants to install Quicken or Deer Hunter, or buy a webcam which says right on the box that WinXP drivers are included.

      Mod me as a troll, but it's still true. The very things that are moving game developers from PCs to consoles have always kept software and hardware developers from focusing on the Linux market.
  • by Fastball ( 91927 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:09PM (#4321369) Journal
    Slashdot community aside, most folks don't want to swap PCs every year or two just to run the latest and greatest shooter. I think game developers have simply put the PC market down like a dog with their recommended and in some cases minimum requirements. There just are not enough people who are gonna get a bug up their ass to buy a $400 graphics board, 1GB of RAM, 2.x GHz processor, and $200 Windows upgrade.

    Somewhere along the way, the number of triangles and polygons determined what kind of game you were going to make. PCs have been gaming lackeys since. Too bad. I really think a creative, resourceful effort could make a buck or two producing games for mid to low end PCs, but then again I'm a hopeless idealist.

    • You don't *HAVE* to have an amazing system to play all the games out there. You may not be able to run your new copy of UT in 1600x1200 in 32 bit colour but big deal.

      I've been hauling a piece of junk system around to lan parties for years now and I play the same games as the guys with the $5000 kits. Incidentally we have observed there is no correlation between amount of money spent and rank in the frag list. ;)

      • Amen to that:

        At the lan parties I attend, there are 2 people at the top:

        Me, with my measly 900mhz tbird w/geforce2mx
        The host, with an xp2000+ and geforce3 ti500.

        Now, I've seen him play, and he's seen me play. Regardless of how crappy I think my machine might be, it is all in how it's played.

        And that's why I'm saving pennies instead of forking out for a nice new geforce4. :)
    • Two years ago we had, what, the Dreamcast? Ubermega console built to last? No, it was a suckass piece of pixellated shit. Same with N64 and Playstation. Where are they? Sitting unused in your closet, I bet.

      Consoles don't last any longer than PCs. If they did, you'd still be playing all the 'latest and greatest' games on a Playstation instead of an Xbox.
  • I've always said that the only thing Windows was good at was being a gaming platform. Now it doesn't even have that. Oh well.
  • by aborchers ( 471342 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:09PM (#4321377) Homepage Journal
    ... always reckoning that PCs were always ahead of the curve technologically and more flexible. In the end, though, I switched to console gaming (PSX, then PS2, with a GameCube in my future the minute that Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee ships) and despite not always having the state of the art, I have a lot more fun playing games now. Not to mention my couch is a lot friendlier to my @ss than my desk chair (and I have a pretty good desk chair!), the ability for friends to gather round the entertainment center, and the fact that a modern console cost about the same as a top-end video card, something not to be underestimated when you're talking about mass market trends.

    Bottom line: if you're into overclocking and hardware and config geeking, PCs are great for games. If your fun is a little more casual, consoles can't be beat! Just my $0.02...
  • Sad, but true. Slashdot reported that 'The Sims' is now the best selling game of all time... did the FPS fans buy it? Nope. But kids did...

    Consoles have better appeal to the masses; they're cheap, they're immediately compatible and they're immediately usable. Therefore the markets are bigger, and they're more profitable.

    PCs are better for producing intelligent, detailed games... and I bet they always will be. But is the market there for intelligent, detailed games?

    Now that there's a TV in every home, how many shows appeal to the lowest common denominator? Most of 'em. As games become more widespread, they might well go the same way...

    Scary thought.

  • Computer games of recent years have a heavy multiplayer component (since the release of Quake 1 really). The gaming experience is nowhere near what it is for console games. A lot of people (like myself) have zero interest in the platform jumpers or tomb raider style adventure games that proliferate the console game market. Judging from the PC games sales numbers I have a hard time believing everyone is just going to stop making PC games all of a sudden.

  • Console games are different. It's easy to play 2 player games on a console, much harder on a pc (you need 2 computers.TV's are bigger than monitors..). Consoles don't have online gaming yet, but there trying.

    Casual gamers appreciate the ease of use of the console over the read the box about what you have computer/graphics card/os specs pc games require.

    Computers have mame though.

  • copy protection (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth_Burrito ( 227272 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:12PM (#4321420)
    Well, the advantage of a console is that games are harder to rip off. Even if you can find some sort of disk image online, you still need to have the hardware and know how to burn it. With PC games, all you need is a friend of a friend of a friend with the/a disk and a no-cd hack.
  • Possibly this is because PCs are growing up and becoming more serious. PCs are increasingly used as servers rather than game stations, and many are running OSen that don't have a lot of games available for them anyway.

    OTOH, the trend towards ever higher performance is mainly driven by games, and the number of users following this trend proves the popularity of the platform for gaming. I don't think PCs will ever stop being a gaming platform of choice, unless game computers (I find `console' confusing) offer the same upgradability. PCs are always on the bleeding edge of gaming technology, which makes them attractive for both developers and gamers.
  • Console gaming is very easy to use. All you have to do is pop in a new CD and your good to go. Compare that with the install and config for PC games...oh, and of course hardware conflicts and Direct3D support lacking in some OS's.

    Plus, you can throw a console across the room and it'll probably still work. Try that with a Dell.

    I'd say the convenence factor of consoles is why they are more popular with consumers.

  • Convergence (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chaltek ( 610920 )
    I've never played an FPS on any console that even came close to the control precision of my optical mouse, and certain genres are going to stay more PC-friendly for some years to come (i.e. strategy).

    But really, when we look 10 years down the road, the trend is toward total convergence of electronic devices, so consoles and PCs will slowly merge, if not be replaced by some new paradigm altogether.

    Quick fact check...
    Now it's PC users who sit with twitching fingers, waiting for PC versions of hot titles like the renowned action game Halo, presently available only on the Xbox.
    Apparently the writer missed the fact that Halo is the flagship Xbox game, and that the contract on it prohibits any PC/PS2/GC ports.
  • console vs. pc (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:18PM (#4321487) Journal
    For the price of a good PC video card, I can get a Playstation 2(w/ cpu, mobo, RAM, video and audio, dvd player, controller, etc.). I'll stick with the consoles.
    • consoles cost less and usually have zero headaches.

      the question is, what types of games do you play.

      I personally like FPS like RTCW, flight sims(especially multiplayer ones like warbirds) and RTS like WCIII.

      PC style controls aren't really utilized in the console world, but easily could be since usb ports are available on them.

      I prefer to use consoles for arcade style gaming, japanese style rpgs and sports games. its not too much fun to have 4 people crowded around one monitor unless you are playing you don't know jack.

  • Astounding... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leshert ( 40509 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:19PM (#4321508) Homepage
    Its amazing how a Slashdot story about a newspaper article comes to the exact opposite conclusion that the original article does.

    Did the submitter read the article past the headline?
    • by startled ( 144833 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:43PM (#4321776)
      No kidding. With quotes like this, too: "'There's still plenty of good revenue and good growth in PCs. If anybody wants to quit making PC games, Electronic Arts is more than happy to take the business from them.' So says Jeff Brown, spokesman for Electronic Arts, the world's largest maker of computer games."

      And now we get a bunch of fucking posts about how PC gaming isn't dying, the article is all wrong. No, it is dying, and here's why, I can get a console for $200, video cards are $200, console games are better, PC games suck, Donkey Kong sucks, you suck!

      I know, I know. I should just pretend this story doesn't exist, and not read any of the horribly inane comments. But it's like watching a fucking train wreck. Come witness, as the level of discourse on /. plummets to the insightfulness of your
  • I want to see somebody trying to play Doom 3 on a console with their low resolution & crappy texture.
  • Unless I read the wrong article I got a very different idea then the slashdot headline.

    PC's are more powerful today, it is a good sized market, and although not the largest can be adequately profitable to maintain a healthy level of competition.
  • by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:20PM (#4321524) Homepage Journal
    The reason pcs are losing out is because of the lack of revolutionary games. As just about every post here has stated the obvious. Different game genres play better on pc and others play better on console.
    Because of the new generation of console there have been recent revolutionary or almost revolutionary games in the genres that play well on consoles. Games like Kingdom Hears, which might as well be Secret of Mana 3D. Eternal Darkness, which is totally Lovecraft. Smash Brothers Meleee, which is a genre in and of itself.
    PC games have been stuck in a rut as of late. The games released for them aren't revolutionary in any way. WarCraft 3 IMO is just another RTS with improved graphics and gameplay. It didn't change the game. WC3 is still build stuff fast while balancing attack and defense. Neverwinter Nights is just Baldur's Gate, only newer and shinier. I'm not saying these are bad games. I'm just saying they don't bring anything new to the genre. They are more of an upgrade than a new game.
    The new console games are bringing in all sorts of new stuff. Pikmin (sorry for all the GC examples, it happens to be the system I own) is a brand new type of puzzle game, there's nothign else like it. Animal Crossing has more to do in it than any other game I've ever seen. You could play it for years and never do everything.
    New PC games like UT2003 (the demo) are just new games. THe UT2003 demo didn't amaze me in any way. There were lots of death animations and new levels, and pretty graphics. But it was the same as all the other first person shooters. It didn't change the game.
    Hopefully Doom 3 will be the revolutionary game we are waiting for. Quake 1 was revolutionary by bringing in true 3D. Quake 2 was also, it perfected the 3D fps. Quake 3 was not, it simply improved the graphics, tweaked some things, and added features. When more "must play" games come out for PC PC gaming will get better. Interest in PC gaming has not dwindled. It is simply that the genres that are played on PCs are in a rut, one that should hopefully end soon.
  • Ah yes, another lazy journalist who does not do their homework and who could care less about the story.

    PCs and Consoles are completely different markets. Sure there is some cross-over, but the majority of PC gamers could care less about console ports and vice versa. In fact, most people who have enough money for a PC have enough for a console.

    PC games have a wide variety of unique titles and are especially strong in the turn-based strategy, real-time strategy, free form role-playing (BG, NWN), and first person shooters. Consoles are strong in things like sports, mario-type platform, structured role-playing (FF). I don't want to play a FPS or a RTS game on a low-res screen with a console controller. Likewise when I play a sports game with friends I want to relax on the couch and not be huddled around a PC in the office.

    This guy probably knows nothing about Civilization 3, Warcraft 3, Neverwinter Nights, The Sims, Dungeon Siege, Evercrack, Quake/Unreal/CounterStrike. I could go on and on.

    Consoles have not gotten to the point where they are good for internet play either. Nor will they ever be good at creating custom content. Sorry, no custom clothing for your Sims. No Counter-Strike for your old FPS. No downloading of new adventures for Neverwinter Nights.

    Brian Ellenberger
  • by Xzzy ( 111297 )
    Too bad for them. I refuse to buy console systems, so that means when games stop coming out for my PC, I stop playing games. That = lost revenue for them. For me, it means I'm not whittling my life away playing said games anymore, which in the long run is probably better for me.

    Or perhaps more accuratley, better for my gut.
  • by daeley ( 126313 )
    Speaking on behalf of long-suffering Mac users everywhere:

    W00t! ;)
  • Here's [] Penny-Arcade's [] view on this
  • What you guys are missing is that what the typical slashdot reader wants in a gaming platform is not what a typical game player wants.

    Developers can sell more games for game consoles because game consoles only cost $200. Most of you are sitting on computers that cost at least $1k, let alone you overclocking zealots who ride the crest of the performance curve. Games on consoles are simply just a lot more accessable to potential customers than games on PCs are. Buy console, by game, put game in console, play. Takes $250 and 5 minutes of plugging it in.

    In the long term though, your gaming console and your PC may very well be the same thing. Prices for "necessary performance" PCs keep dropping - you can get a computer that does most user tasks for under $500 nowadays - and with HDTV, the biggest cost for owning a computer (the monitor) goes away - you don't have to buy one because your TV works great. A few years down the road, people will just spend $500 on a combined console/PC that they plug into their TV set - maybe even getting their internet over the same digital cable line their TV programs are coming in on.

    Anyway, that's just the long way of pointing out that slashdot readers are not the market, so it's pretty silly to judge the market based on what slashdot readers would do. Your experience most likely does not apply. Remember, you're too smart to be the typical customer.
  • Is this a surprise to anyone? the console gamers always get the "good games" first. it's always been that way. When the hot gaming pieces of software were FPS with multiplayer and MMORPGS of course it looked like the damn computers were getting all the good games. In the past console didn't have the ability to connect to the internet But now they do.

    And the fact that even the poorest kids in America have a console gaming system with a couple of games warrants that companies who produce entertainment software should go after that much larger market.

    Look at the inner city where some households bring in a total of 15k a year and have kids. It's still a given that the kid gets a console system.
  • for me, it made more sense to get a US $ 200 PS2, rather than a US $250 graphics card for my computer, in order to be able to play GTA3.

    Plus, since there's less hardware variation among consoles, support needs are greatly reduced.

    Finally, the fact that games like Halo aren't yet available on the PC maybe has to do with exclusivity contracts; it's the Xbox's killer game and it'd hurt sales if it were available for the PC as well.
  • While the article has some valid points, I think it's missing quite a lot.

    First, a very large fraction of games people play on PC aren't paid for. This includes illegal copying, freeware, free mod's to existing games etc etc. The "Warez" market for PC games is huge, for the consoles it's negligible. If you want a new game for your Gamecube/Xbox/PS2, you have to go out and open your wallet. There are no demo versions to download, no illegal copying to do or free mods to a game you already own.

    Second, online multiplayer gaming prolongs the expected lifetime for a game. For instance Quake and Half-Life (and their mods) are games that people have played actively more than 4 years after the initial release. The experience of online gaming makes up for what it lacks in technology. For consoles, the game gets boring a lot quicker and there's nothing to help it so you have to go out and buy another game. Yes, online gaming will come for the consoles, but will the Xbox players be able to play with the PS2 players ? I doubt it.

    Third, the MMORPGs available on PC offer something not even remotely available on console; community building for the players and a steady, predictable, stream of revenue for the publishers. Until we see DAOC-like revenues for consoles, the PC games will keep coming, and coming. People are paying $12.95/month for some games, which means they in effect spend the cost for a new game every four months. This is NOT petty cash for the publishers.

    Also, keep in mind that the console market is sub-divided in different markets for each console system. That means a similar cost of porting to different consoles as compared to keeping up with all different video- and soundcards and OS's for the PC market.

  • by tm2b ( 42473 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:31PM (#4321651) Journal
    Penny Arcade [] just covered this topic pretty well, in response to the fallout from the announcement that Starcraft: Ghost would be console-only.
  • At their release consoles will nearly always edge ahead of PCs, but after a few months the PCs will have caught up power wise, if not game wise.

    I'd like to reference Penny Arcade's latest strip [] which I think covers the situation accurately
  • A prime example of this is the new Mech game that's being released on the XBox, exclusively (for now, at least. I wouldn't count on a PC release, though - personally). (I don't recall the exact title name, but it's a Micropose game - which is owned by MS, of course). I suspect that there are many, many more Mechwarrior/Battletech fans on the PC (due to the high use of PCs by geeks, and the history of Battletech universe games being released on PC fairly exclusively). Now, personally, I don't have a game console. They're too expensive and too limited in function for me for just a couple titles that I'd like to play. (And I already have several PCs for video editing, etc.)

    I'd say a large part of the situation revolves around MS trying to take over the industry, and the fact that Sega now exclusively develops games for consoles. Sega has always been a kickass game developer - Genesis had some of the best games ever (some of which still are a lot of fun to play).

    A large part of it is simple economics, too. PC titles have almost always been aimed at the geeks in society. COmpanies see that almost everyone plays consoles - and it's harder to pirate games for consoles, providing secure rental potential. The fact that there haven't been any games of Half-life impact in the last couple years might be an indicator as to why. On the other hand, PC games seem to have a year or two of really good games every once in a while, and then a bunch of mediocre derivities.

    Personally, it seems to me as if this is correct. I see a lot more games on PS2 and Xbox right now that I want to play than I do on PC (well, there are quite a few PC games I want to play, but they're going to be released "RSN" - Star Wars Galaxies, DN4R, et al). PS2 and Xbox games generally seem to work more on the gameplay aspect than the graphics aspect, and the PC games viceversa -this might have something to do with it.
  • Although they're not the biggest market of the gaming industry, flight simulators and other 'simulation' games will always be cutting edge on the PC simply because of the hardware requirements.

    And, by its very nature, console hardware is static, so I don't see pioneers like Carmack and company developing for X-Box2 and then porting to the PC.

    Where's the innovation at? Other than the Mario guy at Nintendo's track record, how many non-PC games have you just HAD TO HAVE? Enough so that you'd buy the hardware just for that game? A handful, maybe.

    Whereas on the PC, you've got the FPS, RTS, and whatever genre you want to call The Sims for starters.

    Both PC and consoles will find their best markets. Like I've always said, consoles are best for the sports games. The controls are easy. Multiplayer sports games work on the console (no split screen bs). PCs will be best for hardcore flight sims, etc. etc.

    And for those few cookie-cutter clone games that will be console exclusives, it's not the first time PCs have lagged. In the beginning, XT PCs always lagged behind the Apples and the Commodores for the latest games.

    Deal with it. 'Sides, if the only thing you're doing is sitting on your couch playing games all day, you've probably already got all the consoles and a PC.

  • Slashdot's:

    "PCs Losing Out as a Gaming Platform?"

    Boston Globe's:

    "Despite console market share, all is not lost for PC gaming"

  • Apples and Oranges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lejade ( 31993 ) <olivier.mekensleep@com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:38PM (#4321716) Homepage Journal
    Of course there are more games on consoles than on PCs: the market for console games is much bigger, it's easier to target a game for a console and there's a less piracy going on.

    However it doesn't make sense to say that because there are more games being done for consoles therefore the PC as a gaming platform is obsolete.

    Console games are more action driven and can be consumed in short sessions: such as racing, fighting, or platform games.
    PC games are geared towards longer sessions and complex interaction: such as simulation, strategy or online games.
    It's apples and oranges really...

    It's going to be interesting to see how consoles perform online, but my guess is that to significantly take online gaming out of the hands of the PC, consoles will have to absorb some of the PC attributes. They've already started with the network adapter and the HD but eventually they'll have to go all the way to the keyboard. Unless some kind of revolutionnary input method comes along first but I don't think that's going to happen.

    Anyway, PC games will be there as long as the PC itself.
    Let's not forget that from a developper standpoint, the console is to the PC what proprietary software is to Free Software...

    But in the end, there's no reason why both plateform couldn't co-exist peacefully.
    And you know what? That's exactly what's going to happen...
  • * Play Half-Life multiplayer on your PC.
    * Then play it on the PS2.
    * Play BF1942 on your PC.
    * Then play it on- oh wait.
    * Instantly realize that the article is BS.
    * Finally read the article to realize that the submitter completely misinterpreted what the article says wasting your time and energy.
  • Amiga was just good at games, PC were serious tools while amiga was "just a console replacement with a keyboard" to quote the infidels ;)

    Funny how things changed in a matter of 10 years, and how games pushed the broad need for better technology more than CAD or 3D rendering software combined.

    Anyways, saying that the PC is losing the game war is only a sensationnal catchy title to get people to react, in that respect I think it worked. In the real world, it's true that game companies face a barrier: you need a TEAM to design a big title game, it's no longuer the work of one programmer in his basement making a card game (at least for the MMORPG and FPS).

    Consoles games originally were "simpler" and more arcade-oriented. While being complex in some perspective, the majority were still under the complexity level of the major PC titles (emphasis on MOST, and not ALL).

    While in the PC world game companies are often facing a "pass or break" financial situation at every released title, consoles are catching up very fast with the same complexity and requirements in dev teams. You hear a lot of PC software companies being bought out or closing, I think this is one of the cause, either the project was too big for the dev team, either there was bad planning, or either the complexity was underestimated and the programmers got overloaded with work and cash ran out (i.e. bad planning).

    Of course a console platform gaining more complexity will eventually face the same issues, I don't see the PC fading away anytime soon as a gaming market. The people claiming that also clamed that the PC would be dead many years ago and be replaced with "intelligent" consoles.

    We're not even there yet, those webtv thing died a miserable death, and while companies like microsoft can afford losing million to make the concept real, if they really want this to pass, they will have to offer something that the PC doesn't offer, or offer it in a way that the PC looks obsolete by 10 years. DRM (i.e. restriction and proprietary solutions) is one of the "solution" and will not make this paradign shift happen, this is a very bad idea, we don't need to extend on this. So I don't see what else could.

    Unless microsoft releases a console with a geforce 5, or buys out both ATI and NVIDIA and boycott PCs, it will simply not happen for the next few years.

    To conclude, I'd say that the Console market and hardware looks more and more like a PC, with upgradable options (DVD, remotes, steering wheels, etc), PC video graphic chips, PC-like media instead of cardriges, etc. Console to PC way more than the PC trying to look like a console. So if they need to do that shifting in order to get more sales and keep up with technology, what does that tell you?

    Yes of course some companies are delaying on PC, who cares, some others are releasing on PC way faster than console, no need to be alarmist about it, it's a buisness decision, and there's no number out yet saying if it was a good one or not.
  • by Dark-One ( 24259 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @03:40PM (#4321751)
    Why does it have to be an exclusive thing? The author seems to miss a key point that people can and do own both. I am a die hard gamer, I own modern consoles and I just spent a bit too much (possible?) money on upgrading my pc. People are not jumping ship for one or the other. I do not know of a single person who has "left" computer gaming for consoles. They both have their own unique market. A pc will never do fighting games as well as a console, because its just not as easy to get 4 people around a compter screen playing tekken as it is around a tv in a living room. But by the same token who wants to play an RTS with a 8 button joystick?

    It seems to me that there have been only two games of note, halo and Starcraft:Ghost, that seem to have jumped ship for consoles. But lets look at why. Microsoft bought halo to push its console. They purchased it in order to make it their flag ship. Now ghost I am not so sure on as details about the game are still sketchy.

    The other reson PC games will survive is the MOD community. Look at Halflife and the Sims, both have been modded beyond belief. Halflife predates the PS2 and is still played quite a bit. Should I even mention Quake1?

    By the same token Consoles are not going anywhere either. For simple reasons, they are much less expensive than a PC they are a bit more reliable, no drivers etc. But they are static. The Gamecube/Xbox/PS2 you buy today will be the same as the one you buy tomorrow. This is a double edged sword, yes its easier to develop/optimize, but you are stuck with technology that remains static once you have pushed it to the limits you cant get any more.

    But the long and short of it is both platforms are here to stay. And I am personally going to keep playing on both and be happy.
  • by phriedom ( 561200 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @04:12PM (#4322055)
    Poster A: Consoles are better because...

    Poster B: PC's are better because...

    Poster C: I like both. It depends on...

    Poster D: The author is an idiot because...

    90% of these posts should be marked redundant, and that is being generous. If your post falls into one of these categories, spare us and move on to the next topic.
  • MY GOD! (Score:5, Informative)

    by c_jonescc ( 528041 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @05:05PM (#4322506)
    There have already been over 400 posts, and still I have not seen ONE reference to Penny Arcade. It's like Slashdot is emulating PA, and nobody has bothered to notice.

    Yesterdays comic: =2002-09 -23

    And Gabe's rant this weekend:

    "Wow, the response to Starcraft: Ghost has been pretty insane. I took some time this morning and visited a few message boards just to get a feel for what people thought of Blizzards latest title. It seems that an overwhelming number of you guys are pretty pissed off. I have seen links to no less than three different petitions asking Blizzard to make a PC version with robust online support. I can understand how all you PC gamers might be upset over Blizzards announcement but I for one couldn't be happier. If you have any questions about why I might be uninterested in a PC version of Ghost Just take a look at this quote from one of the many angry threads out there on this subject:

    "if you honestly think 1 game is going to increase console sales you're an idiot. i'm not going to buy a console under any circumstance. if they came out with the game on pc i would've bought it, but oh well. hopefully they'll make up for the loss by becoming a 10 minute fad for teenage console kiddies."

    Oh if only Ghost was a PC title with multiplayer support, then I could play it with this fucking winner. You want to know what the worst part about Blizzards past games has been? PC gamers. That's right, it's you petition signing sons of bitches that have ruined every other Blizzard game I have ever played. The thought of enjoying a well designed and masterfully produced Blizzard creation on my favorite console is just shy of erotic. No whiny bitches complaining about a huntress rush. No junior high school kids using hacks to kick my ass while calling me a n00b. No, just me and my console of choice playing through a well thought out single player campaign set in the thrilling Starcraft universe. I'll go a step further and say I hope that Blizzard decides not to include online support for their console versions. If I want to play a tactical shooter on a console while someone relates a wild tale of sexual debauchery with my mother, I'll play SOCOM. If Blizzard simply must include some kind of multiplayer experience I hope they limit it to a split screen mode. At least that way I can choose the assholes I want to play with from my own stable of friends.

    -Gabe out"

  • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @05:09PM (#4322542)
    This is bad news for PC makers, as well as Intel and AMD. I've read numerous articles stating that the market for high-end machines in the home is driven by gaming. With consumers buying game consoles, there will be far less motivation to upgrade. Typically, the high-end systems carry the biggest profit margins for PC & chip makers.

    Console sales will not compensate for this. The big three consoles are sold at a loss. Sony uses a proprietary CPU, Nintendo uses an IBM PowerPC chip. Only Microsoft's Xbox uses an Intel chip - in this case a low end 733 Mhz PIII - a fairly low margin chip.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein