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Online Consoles Marginalizing PC Gaming? 603

MattW writes "The gist of this AP/Miami Herald article seems to be that consoles going online will mutate the MMORPG space. Already, there is word that PC game development is withering, even though as a preferential PC gamer I see the best games ever. Is the console destined for superiority, or will the ubiquitous need and superior user input of the PC keep it as a viable game platform?"
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Online Consoles Marginalizing PC Gaming?

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  • Console vs. PC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:27AM (#8679182) Homepage Journal
    Well, there is always going to be the camp that would prefer to play games on their "PC" simply because they do not want a separate game box or they just don't play many games at all except for the occasional exceptional title. For instance, my work takes up most of my time (80-90 hours/week) so I really don't have much time or interest in playing games, but when Halo came out for OS X..... :-) Well, lets say productivity dropped a bit on the weekends, but I really don't have much interest in purchasing a game console.

    I suppose however that the console market may eventually become the place for the pre-eminent titles especially given the kind of hardware that will be going into the next generation systems (G5s in the next Xbox?) and that PC titles will become ports. Of course we did see this approach with Halo, but only because MS screwed it up for us by purchasing Bungie, thus delaying the launch of Halo for Mac/Win and killing it all together for Linux.

    • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by deathazre ( 761949 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:34AM (#8679247)
      I'd personally rather play on my PC because of the extra control that having a keyboard and mouse gives you. There's only so many buttons you can put on a controller, and a mouse gives you an accuracy in just about anything that involves aiming that a joystick cannot and will never be able to match.
      • by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:54AM (#8679459) Homepage
        > There's only so many buttons you can put on a
        > controller

        You just aint trying hard enough.
      • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:55AM (#8679472) Journal
        • I'd personally rather play on my PC because of the extra control that having a keyboard and mouse gives you. There's only so many buttons you can put on a controller, and a mouse gives you an accuracy in just about anything that involves aiming that a joystick cannot and will never be able to match.
        This of course depends on what type of game you're playing. From what you say, I'm guessing you have FPS games in mind, and all of that is very true. However, when it comes to playing a RPG like FFX, the difference is minimal. I personally find it easier to control the game on a console than on the PC. YMMV of course. Not to mention that many developers use far too many keyboard commands and the interface gets so complicated the game's a bear to play. There is something to be said for simpler designs on user interfaces to games.

        I think the thing is that there are quite a bit of games out there designed with the console controller in mind and they do a fine job making the controls work great. Then they port it to the PC and the game's annoying as hell to play without a gamepad. In that case I'd rather just stick to the console.

        One thing no one ever mentions when the whole console vs. PC gaming debate comes up is whether or not you can actually get any gaming done on your PC. I know myself that I have a tendency to want to check my E-mail, oh and then there's a website I need to read, and I need to burn this CD, etc. until all of a sudden it's too late to do any gaming. If I go to the living room the PC's not there and I can actually forget about it and play games on my PS2 for hours on end. I actually game more since I bought the PS2 than I did before on my PC, even back when I was in college and had more free time. I really doubt I'm the only person out there who has found this to be true. Thanks to discovering this I'm pretty much just a console gamer, at least I'll actually play games and relax that way, and I'm on the PC at work all day anyway, not like I really miss being on it another 4-6 hours in the evening. :)

        Of course it probably helps that I have never liked FPS games, and have found I prefer the cinematic-style RPGs on the consoles (like Xenosaga, with 22 hours or so of cinematics).

        • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:4, Interesting)

          by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:11AM (#8679607) Homepage Journal
          One thing no one ever mentions when the whole console vs. PC gaming debate comes up is whether or not you can actually get any gaming done on your PC. I know myself that I have a tendency to want to check my E-mail, oh and then there's a website I need to read, and I need to burn this CD, etc. until all of a sudden it's too late to do any gaming.

          Um, so your problem is that you get distracted from your gaming productivity by things? My problem tends to be the reverse. I sit down by my computer intending to write that important essay or whatever thing I have been putting off, but somehow my mouse slips and I start (Baldur's Gate 2, UT2004, Halo, whatever).

          "No! Bad computer! Oh what the hell, just a little bit then.... Ooops, is it midnight already?"
          • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:26AM (#8679763) Homepage Journal
            I should add that one thing I have done which has greatly helped with this is double booting with Linux. Default OS at startup is always Linux, and there I have all my important files, programming and productivity tools. I can still get distracted by web surfing (like now...evil evil Slashdot...), but I can't start playing games until I reboot the system and start into my toy OS... you know the one. :-)
            • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:3, Informative)

              by gaijin99 ( 143693 )
              See, that was true for me until I got Alpha Centauri for Linux, and started using WineX. Now I can play several games on my Linux partition and my work is starting to suffer for it....

              I still have to reboot for some games (Homeworld 2, StarTopia, Dungeon Keeper, etc) but I can play several others (StarCraft, WC3, etc) without having to reboot, its kind of a classic good news, bad news situation :)

      • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:56AM (#8679481) Homepage
        nahhhh. it's simple. there just haven't been any world-shaking titles for PC lately. When the next Starcraft or The Sims or Doom comes out, you'll see articles again speculating about the death of the console.

        just wait till World of Warcraft and Doom 3 come out.
      • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ruhk ( 70494 )

        I don't understand this attitude at all. Controllers are just peripherals. Given that they have a slowly standardizing interface (heck the PS2 has USB and the Xbox has mutant USB of a sort), you should be able to get all the control you want on any console. On top of that, all the modern consoles have configuration modes that come up when you boot without a game. This seems like a very easy problem to solve.

        I'm the proud owner of a Thrustmaster HOTAS/Cougar, quite possibly the sexiest stick-and-throttle se

    • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ferralis ( 736358 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:34AM (#8679248) Homepage Journal
      Absolutely, the PC will be around for a long time due to its extreme flexibility if nothing else.

      However, I believe that we'll see many more games that work on the console and work incredibly well on the PC as well... kind of a "yes, the 'rabble' can play, too" in a way, although I have a feeling the consoles will be catered to more and more over time. After all, one must follow the money.

      Still, I believe that as long as PC's are appreciably faster and featureful (and of course they will be- it takes more effort to stay ahead of the curve, and greater flexibility) all will be well.

      My vision is that long-term OS game engines supporting multiple platforms including consoles will take over the world, and that those of us with PC's will be able to "run games" much like MUDS of the 90's and today but with rich 3d and eventually VR-like capabilities.

      Who knows, with Maya et al, maybe that day will be sooner than I had thought. :)

      • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skater ( 41976 )
        One thing - for me, the constant concern about video drivers, new video cards, faster processors, etc. is a turn-off to PC gaming. I understand that can be an advantage (only upgrade what you need to), but still it's a hassle.

        The console systems have an advantage in that everything is set and the game is written for the console, which should remove any compatibility problems. I find this appealing.

        Disclaimer - I don't own any consoles and rarely play PC games - my most frequent game (once or twice a wee
        • the constant concern about video drivers, new video cards, faster processors, etc. is a turn-off to PC gaming.

          my most frequent game (once or twice a week) is Doom

          You are not kidding when you say you don't like to upgrade.

          Console empires have come and gone since.
    • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:2, Insightful)

      by baudilus ( 665036 )
      I saw this debate coming a long time ago, and I saw consoles winning. The reason is the hardware - if you're developing a game for the Xbox, you know everyone that has an Xbox will have the exact same hardware, and see your game just as everyone else will. PC titles will always have hardware issues because different people have different hardware. One person may see things smoothly and clearly while another will see them as very choppy. When internet play is involved, I'd like to thing I'm owning the newbie
    • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:2, Insightful)

      by k.ellsworth ( 692902 )
      .... just thinking... new video card for my pc, more ram, a new mobo/cpu.... no less than $900... just to play...

      my current machine is a celeron 2.4, 512ram DDR+ radeon 8500 is more than enough to work... but not for gaming...

      a PS2, is a gaming machine... unblocked (with especial chip) less than 250 dolars... and runs all the games for it... no more ram isues, no DX dramas.

      and for MMORPG, add the harddisk/network card for the PS2 ($120). and voila...

      a game console, is a better price/benefit than a comp
      • Re:Console vs. PC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by acidrain69 ( 632468 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:22AM (#8679717) Journal
        I happen to play lots of games on a duron 900 and GF2mx. Where are you getting your $900 figure from. Your first mistake was buying a more expensive, less capable Celeron. AMD rules the low end chips. I just went to an Athlon XP 2000+ for about $70 (cheaper if you buy online, I bought local).

        Yeah, it's a gf2mx, so I can't play it with all the pretty effects, but that doesn't mean I can't be competitive and have some fun with a decent game.

        So lets break it down. $200 to play a console that ONLY does console, or $500 to use a machine that I can modify to my liking, use for work and play, has better graphics (TV is still stuck at NTSC unless you're willing to shell out $$$ for HDTV, and that TOTALLY shifts things back in favor of the PC), and can play mods, which are arguably a better value than the game itself.
    • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:49AM (#8679408)
      Its interesting that the price of a new console (PS2, XBox, etc.) is less than the price of a highest-end graphics card for a PC. Given that most people have old PCs, buying a console is the cheapest way to get into gaming. Add to that the comfort of a couch and big-screen TV vs. a desktop, I can see why many go for consoles.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, sounds like the same flame war my friends and I had in the late 80s only this time I'm on the PC side.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:31AM (#8679204)
    Sorry... but I just don't see a PS3 version of Nethack coming out. PC games will never die. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:31AM (#8679205)
    Flanders: Is the console destined for superiority, or will the ubiquitous need and superior user input of the PC keep it as a viable game platform?"

    Lovejoy: ooh, Ned. Short answer no with a but, long answer yes with an if.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:31AM (#8679206) Journal
    This topic has been absolutely done to death.

    It's pretty clear that neither form of gaming is going to "die".
    • On the contraty. PCs seem to be dead set on doing things which consoles will always do better. Such as pretty graphics.

      PC was always a casual gaming platform. One games simply because he already has the hardware there in the PC. But buying a $400 graphics card can not be considered casual. This gaming 'requirement' is going to put a significant damper on 3d gaming on PCs if consoles can grab multiplayer gaming correctly.

      Much easier to carry an X-box to a LAN party than a PC.

      Non-3d intensive games wi
      • Consoles do graphics better? I'm still waiting for the newest consoles to catch up to games I played on the PC 3 years ago.

        Please... consoles are great for mindless gaming, but graphics is not their forte.

      • Graphical prettiness is not the point. That's not why PC games are better. It's because the complexity is better. more choices - more flexibility, the ability to more easily press the "buttons" on the "controller" (by which I mean keyboard. The console controllers suffer from the fact that you need more fingers than a human being actually has in order to simultaneously use the buttons and also have a good grip on the controller itself. If the "controller" is a keyboard you lay down on the table in fron
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:01AM (#8679525) Homepage
      Maybe not "die", but the stereotypical console game has small claustrophobic levels, quite unlike the spawling open areas of PC equivalents. Similarly PC based games are often seen as being more intellectually challenging as well, rather than just something to pass the time while the latest "reality" shows are on the box. I think the real point of the article is what is going to happen to MMORGs once the console crowd gets involved in a scene they have not yet really impacted on.

      For an example, take a look at Deus Ex and its sequel, Invisible War, which epitomises the sterotypes above. DX was originally written for the PC and had what often seemed huge levels, even if this was entirely down to effective design; the Hong Kong levels in particular were very impressive at this. There was quite sophisticated AI for the time and many situations could be handled a whole lot easier if you thought about what you were doing and didn't go in guns blazing.

      Segue to DX:IW, designed from the ground up to accomodate the console market and much of the magic is gone. The levels are smaller; so much smaller that you seem to spend as much time loading levels as you do actually playing them because you have to move back and forth so much. As for the "universal" ammunition for projectile and energy weapons which smacks of "four control button consolitis"; puhleeze! No more rueing using your last sniper round on the minion to save time and now having to face his boss up close and personal with a melee weapon in DX:IW!

      So, "Die"? No, almost certainly not, but getting hamstrung to the lowest common denominator of each aspect of the targetted platforms seems equally inevitable. All those PC game genres that take advantage of PC hardware, even trivial stuff such as having a proper keyboard, are really going to suffer if the trend continues...

    • Holy Hyperbole, Batman! What would writers do without stories like "PC vs. Console, which is going to die out?". Why of course, the writers themselves would whither away.

      Hey, maybe that's not such a bad idea...
  • Old School (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Analogy Man ( 601298 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:31AM (#8679209)
    I may be an old fart about this, but I think many of the slower more thoughtful strategy games are more fun than the twitchers. These games will always be on the PC side. I can see the migration where FPS's will tend toward the console.

    • Re:Old School (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spellraiser ( 764337 )

      I may be an old fart about this, but I think many of the slower more thoughtful strategy games are more fun than the twitchers. These games will always be on the PC side. I can see the migration where FPS's will tend toward the console.

      I think you are right about the strategy games; the 'serious' gamers who play a lot of slower games don't usually buy consoles; and I'm not sure that there's a big incentive for the console developers to push into that market; except perhaps in Japan, where there seems to b

    • Re:Old School (Score:2, Informative)

      by aborchers ( 471342 )
      OK, I'm really not trying to flamebait here, but when was the last time you played a console game? The assumption that consoles only support twitchers and FPSs is seriously flawed. There are plenty of complex strategy titles available for consoles.

      Or are you talking about things like Adventure and Zork? I don't think those have been ported to the PS2. ;-)

  • by jjsaul ( 125822 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:32AM (#8679220)
    I love to be able to play against my console-loving nephews with a mouse-keyboard setup. Maybe I'd finally stop giving them the boundless amusement of slapping around Uncle Jim!
    • FFXI allows both, on the same servers.
    • by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:58AM (#8679501) Journal
      • I love to be able to play against my console-loving nephews with a mouse-keyboard setup. Maybe I'd finally stop giving them the boundless amusement of slapping around Uncle Jim!
      Once FF XI is released here for the PS2 it's one that is playable by both PS2 and PC games. Currently it's only available for the PC since Sony is delaying the PS2 hard drive launch (required by FF XI) for some reason. The hard drive's been out in Japan for at least a year now, so I'm not sure what the issues are.
    • by Jaguar777 ( 189036 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:00AM (#8679514) Journal
      I love to be able to play against my console-loving nephews with a mouse-keyboard setup. Maybe I'd finally stop giving them the boundless amusement of slapping around Uncle Jim!

      No thanks. I would rather keep the console and PC platform seperate when it comes to online play. I pay for Xbox Live for three reasons.
      1) It is extremely hard to cheat using the Xbox + Xbox Live system.
      2) High speed connections are required (read: No shooting at a 56K players lagging all over the place)
      3) Level playing field (everybody plays with the same graphic settings / options. HDTV being the exception)

      If gaming networks mixed PC players with console players I would cancel Xbox Live because I can get the same service for free elsewhere. I'm pretty sure the majority of subscribers feel that way too.
      Don't get me wrong. I don't think Live is "better" than plain internet multiplayer. I still play that way too. I just enjoy the clean sandbox benefits that Live brings to the table.
  • by Bander ( 2001 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:32AM (#8679223) Homepage
    If games stop coming out computers, how will we play them at work? My boss isn't going to be okay with me bringing in a PS2, but he doesn't mind if I play a round of Crimsonland [] to blow off a little stress now and then.

  • I hope not ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jasonsfa98 ( 648370 )
    We've already spent hundreds or even thousands on our PC's for gaming. No need to HAVE to buy a console either.

    IRC, ICQ, Voice Comms, email, website's, they all help the PC be a more complete package for gaming (see The CPL).

    PC's rule in my book.
    • I think the idea is that you spend a few hundred on a console INSTEAD of upgrading your PC.
    • Re:I hope not ... (Score:3, Informative)

      by adept256 ( 732470 )
      So true. My AGP card alone costs as much as an Xbox. And I don't mind paying for that, because the graphics on my PC totally cream Xbox graphics on the same games.

      Excepting games ported from the xbox, which always have terrible low-res textures, but run at much crisper resolutions anyhow.

      Those looking for a premium gaming experience will always choose a PC.
  • by Guardian of Terra ( 753181 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:33AM (#8679230)
    Because, show me game console equivalents of: Civilization Warcraft III ADOM :) Games of these genres does not exist on consoles, afaik. And i really need them, not something else. (I have never heard there are good FPS for consoles, while i don't know - not interested in) Consoles have their game-to-kill-weekend games market, but serious gamers will always like more intellegent devices.
    • IMO consoles are best for games that are more social. I use a gamecube and a ps2, but usually I only play multiplayer games with others in the same room (Worms 3d, smash brothers, mario kart, etc...)
    • Well, I don't know about Civilization, but SimCity was definitely in the Super Nintendo. And the game that started the whole RTS thing, Dune 2, was on the Sega Genesis.

      Granted, consoles suffer on these games as well as FPS because of the lack of a keyboard and mouse and the low resolution of TV. These problems will go away in the future when HDTV is adopted and when console developers devise a controller that makes these games more playable. I doubt it will be a keyboard and mouse since that's not a goo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:33AM (#8679234)
    Were are moving out of the era of the generalized computing device and into the era of the specific computing device. The are cheap enough now to make them to do specific things. PDA's, Cell Phones, PVR's, Game Consoles, Web Terminals... These are where Linux will win, because it will run on any of these things with minor modification, no need to wait for the "software vendor" to expand to the platform.
  • Mod'ing games, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superhoe ( 736800 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:33AM (#8679235) Homepage
    Mod'ing games is an aspect most hit games utilize to the maxx. And it rocks.

    Unless the consoles can make mod'ing (especially on advanced level like on Operation Flashpoint, mmm I love that stuff) as easy as on PC, PC definitely won't die.

  • MS's XBox (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:33AM (#8679238) Journal
    When will IBM, HP, Dell and the like turn on MS for directly competing with them. The number 1 rule of honest business is 'dont compete with your customers' -- Im sure that MS's effort to ruin PC based gaming (by creating the Xbox in the first place and directing developers) should be a sign to the BigPCVendors that they are getting stabbed in the heart.

  • PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blogboy ( 638908 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:34AM (#8679242)
    Me, I have to take the PS2 out of the media cabinet and hook it up to play. With the PC I can take a break from work and crank up UT2004, or even get my gaming fix from a quick game of Columns. Since I'll always have a PC, I'll just keep that hardware current, piece at a time, to support the latest games, rather than saving up for PS3. The PC is functional *and* fun.
  • Better screens? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Talence ( 4962 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:34AM (#8679245) Homepage
    I'd say that PC gaming offers various advantages including better screens, more flexibility in terms of choice of hardware, more flexibility in application (not just gaming, but also e.g. word processing), storage of games (harddisk), etc.

    One could argue that consoles could be gearing towards the above-mentioned advantages too, but wouldn't they inherently be turning into PCs then?
    • Re:Better screens? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 )
      I would agree. Some games that require small text (such as massive multiplayer games) REQUIRE a high res monitor. Your standard NTSC or PAL TV will not cut it. So untill HDTV because as cheap as owning a console, there will always be a PC gaming market simply because of the availability of the PC monitor.

  • Without PC games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:34AM (#8679252) Homepage Journal

    The difference between PCs and consoles is not the input but rather that PCs don't need a modchip in order to run user-written code (even though unsigned code and signed code run in separate but equal sandboxes in newer restrictions-management-enabled operating systems). Only PCs allow programmers to make games without getting a license from the hardware manufacturer, and console makers tend to grant licenses only to established publishers, reinforcing the oligopoly. Without PC games, how is anybody supposed to begin to learn to develop games?

  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:35AM (#8679256) Homepage
    My understanding is that they are stepping in to save the PC [] by uniting the X-Box and Windows game development environment.

    • That would be the first thing I'd really cheer Microsoft for doing in a long time.

      Of course, if XBox2 ends up being PowerPC [], that might still make things difficult for the x86 game world. PowerPC isn't merely a different set of opcodes...
    • I think that will do more to destroy PC gaming than anything else. If I see another half-assed PC/Xbox/PS2/GC game I am going to puke. Rather than being an exceptional game on one platform, they are mediocre on all of them. I really enjoyed playing KOTOR but I think it could have been a much better game if developed solely for the PC. When I compare it to a game like Baldur's Gate 2, it is shallow and the controls are lame. The more PC game publishers that get lured over to the Xbox, the worse PC gamin
  • Since I don't like consoles, if all the games went that way, I'd suddenly have more time to do other things.
  • by Hekatchu ( 684465 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:35AM (#8679266)
    To me Its a matter of the game, simple, FPS-type and jumping and bouncing like a mad rabbit type of games are absolutely best when there is console with decent gear involved. Then again, complex RPG:s (or did they already die 10 years ago?) and games where you are allowed to think before you act are in my mind always going to be better with real computer environment. But its only my opinion :)
  • by bliSSter138 ( 636922 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:38AM (#8679290) Homepage

    I host a local LAN event and even if/when I've seen consoles at said events, there was only one. No one that I know wants to lug a 32"+ television around. 17" LCD, oh yeah. Shuttle (or comparable mini-) PC - you bet. I can appreciate where console gaming is headed - it's needed to step up to the level of the PC experience for a while. At the same time, console gaming still, INHO, pales in comparison to gaming on a personal computer.

    The types of games that I, and most of our LAN attendees, play on a PC are dramatically different than a comparable console title. The Battlefield and UT2k series are beautiful examples. I have friends with Xboxes that hated UT Championship and I can't even fathom trying to play BF on a game pad. These games still harbor mass followings on the PC platform. At the same time, Splinter Cell is amazing on a console, and marginal at best on my PC.

    P.S. - Halo PC ran SO horribly on my system (Athlon 2500+, 1GB ram, 256MB Radeon Pro video), that I invoked MS' 30-day money-back guarantee. They were prompt with the refund so, apparently they are good for something. :-P

    • I have a similar system as you - AMD 2500+ Barton, 512 megabytes of RAM and a 128 megabyte Radeon PRO. Halo ran flawlessly on it (I grabbed it as soon as the first patch was released), and it looked awesome.

      It's a shame that it got really, really boring after the first couple of hours.

  • Disposable Income? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 )
    In a supposedly down economy, where people are losing jobs left and right, how do we come up with the cash and time to buy both PC games and consoles?
    • In a supposedly down economy, where people are losing jobs left and right, how do we come up with the cash and time to buy both PC games and consoles?

      Uh, because not everyone is unemployed?

      If you're unemployed then, yeah, buying a new game console (or a new gaming video card for your PC) might not be the smartest thing. Yeah, you won't be able to play Ninja Gaiden, or Doom3, or whatever, but that's really the least of your worries.

      If you are employed, and have sufficient savings (my wife and I have enou
    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:30AM (#8679809) Homepage Journal
      Recessions are classically a gold-mine for entertainment. Just look at the boom in hollywood during the great depression.
    • by Chibi ( 232518 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:32AM (#8679826) Journal
      In a supposedly down economy, where people are losing jobs left and right, how do we come up with the cash and time to buy both PC games and consoles?

      As another poster pointed out, one fact is that while unemployment is high, there are still a good number of people with jobs.

      The other thing to factor in, though, is that in the US, most people aren't as financially responsible as they should be. We love using our credit cards to spend money we don't have. It almost seems as if we think there's something wrong with saving money in this country. And our federal government is leading the charge.... Last time I heard numbers, the reports indicated that over 50% of households live paycheck-to-paycheck. Now, there are probably some people who are spending their money on essentials, but I imagine there are more than a few people spending beyond their means on leisure items, such as a video games.

  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GFLPraxis ( 745118 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:38AM (#8679298) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that FPS games play better on the computer, while the majority of other action games play better on the console. I generally buy games for console first, UNLESS the game supports Internet play, in which case I buy it for PC so I can play online. I have Zelda: Ocarina of Time for N64 and I downloaded the ROM of it to see how it'd play on the PC, and slamming keys on the keyboard is vastly inferior to using a controller. On the other hand, I could never stand playing a game like Jedi Knight 2 and Jedi Academy on a console with dual joysticks- I WANT A MOUSE. A game like Zelda: The Wind Waker is better on a console, and a game like Jedi Knight 2 is better on the PC.
  • by MolecularBear ( 469572 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:39AM (#8679305)
    If other OSes (i.e. Linux) gain popularity in the desktop market, then I would expect even more games to move to a console market. Let's imagine that Linux becomes so popular that it shares the desktop realm with Windows 50/50. Now a game developer must make the game cross-platform. Instead of dealing with issues with one OS, they now have to deal with two. At that point, it seems like it would be much easier to simply develop for a console where both hardware and software are known constants. Anyone else have ideas/opinions about this?
  • multiple factors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lust ( 14189 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:40AM (#8679315) Homepage
    I'm very concerned about this. With the console market so strong (and why not, with the cost of a PS2/Xbox system less than just an average-quality video card), I don't see any way a game company can afford NOT to develop for a console. And so will we see the end of games like Starcraft that really can't work as effectively without better UI?

    I really hope not, but we've already seen posts about Deus Ex II having a crappy interface that parallels that required for a console.

    I had an opportunity to play Metroid Prime recently, given all its hype. I was very impressed with the game from graphics to story, but I got too frustrated by the controls. I couldn't stop thinking how easy these things I was TRYING to do were on a keyboard/mouse combo, but were complicated on the console by trying to press three buttons at once while moving one or another stick. So I scrapped it for Tony Hawk, which is totally suited to a joystick/controller.

    Please tell me that PC gaming will live forever :)
    • and why not, with the cost of a PS2/Xbox system less than just an average-quality video card

      You can get an ATI Radeon 9600 Pro w/ 128MB for $120. That's more than a GameCube, but less than either system you mentioned.

      Yes, that's only part of the system, but you can put together a very good system (AthXP 2500+, nForce2 MB, 512MB DDR3200, 40G HD, above video card, case, keyboard, mouse) for $525 ($617 once you include XP Home). Still much more than a console, but you can use it for a lot more than a consol
  • by RailGunner ( 554645 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:42AM (#8679323) Journal
    The PC as a gaming platform isn't going anywhere any time soon - and one of the reasons is that the PC Games market is different from the console market. Sure, there's some overlap like there is in any good Venn Diagram, but for the most part it's two distinct segments of the gaming community. For example: A friend of mine will only play PC games. Sure, he's a bit of an elitist, but he's not touching any "inferior console". He plays Call of Duty, Medal Of Honor, Warcraft 3, GTA3 / GTA3 Vice City, etc... My brother-in-law is a fireman, he owns a PS2 and plays Madden 2004, NHL 2004, NCAA Football 2004, SSX2, Tony Hawk's Underground, and has no intention of upgrading his PC to play games on it. There are those of us in the middle, who play both PC and (in my case PS2).

    In the end, it's all about the games, not the console. Some games, even the multi-platform port releases, just seem to play better on one platform over the other. Madden 2004? I'd rather play it or any other sports games on my PS2. Unreal Tournament 2004 or any other FPS? PC. Warcraft 3 or any other RTS? PC. Button Mashing Fighting Game (Soul Caliber, Tekken) - PS2.

    The PC as a gaming platform is far from dead - there's just too many of them in homes for game developers to ignore. Also, most of the biggest console games (GTA3 / Vice City) get ported to the OC, and in the case of GTA3, the graphics are FAR superior on the PC.

  • Room at The Top (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RetiefUnwound ( 472931 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:43AM (#8679340)
    A lot of pundits on the topic of console vs. PC seem to keep ignoring a subset of PC gamers - the Power Gamer (we know who we are).

    The top echelon of PC hardware will ALWAYS offer better performance than the latest console - and a lot of software houses (Lionhead comes to mind) are constantly seeking to push the envelope - not just graphically but in terms of AI and interactivity.

    Consoles are great - but no substitute for the power of a screamin' PC box. Sure, PCs can be a pain in the ass to code for because of the mishmash of hardware on the market - but a lot of gamers will build new PCs to experience the best a new title has to offer. Knowing that this audience exists will keep software houses producing for the PC until there are no more games to be played. Nuff said.

  • by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:44AM (#8679357)
    This topic has been beaten to death and beyond, so let me just repeat the most common arguments:
    • Consoles are social gaming devices, PCs are anti-social. In other words, consoles encourage more than one person playing at the same machine, while PCs are much more solitary. On-line gaming is solitary. Thus, only if consoles transform into dumbed down PCs they would able to marginalize PCs as a gaming device.
    • Consoles are living room appliances, PCs are office appliances. There still are games that require a keyboard to play, and believe it or not, there are still lots of gamers who like such games. These games will always remain on PCs.
    • Consoles rely on royalties, PCs don't. It's much easier and cheaper do develop low-level games for PCs than for consoles. For example, I spent all this month playing new freeware adventure games, which were released this month only. That's a month worth of gaming for free. Show me a place where I can easily download a bunch of freeware for a console, and show me a way to install it easily. Independent gaming will always be another strong point of PCs, and there are people who like these games.
    As a result, consoles and PCs will coexist in the future. PCs would catter to certain games and certain audience, and consoles to others. It's not my place to comment on the quality of the different gaming genres, but my personal preference would lie with the PCs.
  • It's simple really. Both will be around as long as there are people shelling out enough cash for the games. When the PC game market becomes unprofitable, then and only then will it die.

    Consumers have the power. If they continue to buy PC games, game developers will continue to put the money into developing better games for PC platforms.
  • by Perdition ( 208487 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:49AM (#8679409)
    I have played PC games before, although I am absolutely not a "power gamer" by any measure. The problems I saw were ones of investment, maintenance, and learning curve.
    For instance, I remember loading a relatively simple game on what was once considered an OK laptop. I came to find out that in order to truly have the game running at anything near a fun speed, I had to add RAM, and quite a bit of it. Now the game no longer costed the original $25, but potentially hundreds more. I didn't like it that much. Plus, most PC games I have seen install scads of undesirable adware, spyware, etc. (I'm sure that things have improved on this front, however), and the unending act of cleaning up menus and doing uninstalls of old games I no longer enjoyed (if the uninstalls went smoothly, which often they did not), just got tiresome.
    Another, much more minor gripe: keyboard/mouse/joystick setup. I admired some PC games for their flexibility with all the added buttons that a keyboard brings, but having a dozen keyboard overlays and remembering what alt-shift-A does from one game to another seems a bit much to me.
    Once again, if you're a PC demigod with a passionately deep understanding for how to clear up these problems, you probably just think I'm dull-witted. However, I'd rather keep my PC as a productivity tool, and buy the occasional console instead of installing card upon card (among other bits that others could more effectively list here) to play similar (if superior) games. As consoles more successfully go online and increase their power and playability, the role of the PC as gaming machine seems more and more to be that of hard-core hobbyists, and not just people who want to play games.
  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee ( 605179 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:50AM (#8679414)
    The sale of PC hardware is driven a lot by video games... what other reason would I have to upgrade from a 2.4ghz p4 with Geforce4 except to play Doom III with all the snazzy new effects enabled, for example? The next gen consoles might have cutting edge specs now, but so did the Xbox when it came out. Now it's 700mhz processor and graphics are pretty dated compared to the state of the art.

    I think if video game publishers ease off of the PC platform, we will see money from Nvidia, ATI, and Intel that will support cutting edge video gaming on the PC.

  • "...or will the ubiquitous need and superior user input of the PC keep it as a viable game platform?"

    While with modern consoles having USB ports they could add a keyboard/mouse, the most obvious missing input devices missing, the major point about consoles is really not that. Rather it's all about the video.

    Console video is pretty much all about TVs. And while TVs have become far better than those in the past, they still arn't designed to the level of computer monitors.

    Get a copy of FarCry [] and bump up
  • If it isn't already apparent, consoles are already customized PCs. The two platforms will continue to converge. PS2's have hard drives. Xboxes do as well. Both have a form of USB which allows keyboards, they have network adapters... Hell they have available VGA outputs. It's kind of like racing your pickup truck, which can also be used for other tasks, against a dedicated race car. Just doesn't make sense anymore. Not to mention the price/performane ratio seems to be higher for consoles than a compar
  • For some bizarre reason, some group of people thought this was flamebait. Perhaps they find the concept of someone not owning a TV too much for them or something.

    I don't even have a TV to connect a console up to, and haven't had one in years. The idea of buying a piece of hardware just to play games on is mildly offensive to me. But the high levels of DRM (note, that I have purchased every single game I've played in the past 5 years) on them is extremely offensive to me.

    So, no console games for me. If th

  • When I was in grade school, I used to think that PC gaming was vastly superior to console gaming. Better graphics, more buttons, etc.

    Now that I'm an adult, the only games I play are on consoles.

    What changed?
    I went from windows to linux.
    I don't have time to troubleshoot my 3d drivers, soundcard, etc.
    Generally, when I want to play a game, I just want to relax.

    IMO, the quality of console gaming has increased immensely.
    With games like Metal Gear Solid out there, I just don't feel like I'm missing any
  • Ok the heart of PC gaming is 80-90% correlated with graphics card and its problems.

    I have had top ranked cards from both of these companies. I'll tell you right now... if you game hardcore.... open case and giant fans still doesn't cut it. The driver problems just never ever stop. Look at rage3d forum, it's ridiculous.

    If the API is so incompatible with this and that, they should just wait. Wait a long ass time until they can get a solid product out the door. I have returned my new ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
  • by Zetta Matrix ( 245803 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:52AM (#8679444)
    Don't give your computer too much credit, now.

    It's more about fitness for a particular purpose. Console controllers are very good for certain kinds of games - platformers, sports games, shooters, etc. I agree that if your universe only consists of FPS, then I think the mouse and keyboard will beat a console's controller (imo). Computers are also well suited for strategy games that involve clicking on units such (both real-time and turn-based).

    There's a reason that strategy flourishes on PC and platformers and shooters flourish on consoles.
  • The moment Linux becomes a game platform that is as supported as Windows, console sales will plunge.
  • by laird ( 2705 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:55AM (#8679469) Journal
    I think that the consoles are winning. While PC gaming will never die out (a high-end PC will outperform an affordable console, and it's natural for people who already own a PC to play games on it), there are a number of reasons that the videogame market is shifting more and more towards consoles, mainly because of the predicability of the console environment:

    - Support costs: Since consoles are extremely predictable, the customer support costs for making a game work are much lower than on a general purpose PC. If you sell a game for $40, you might make $20 after cost of distribution, and a half hour phone call to get video drivers updated means that you've lost money selling that copy of the game. So if I sell the same number of units on a PC and console, the console games will cost me much less to sell.
    - Customer satisfaction: It's easier to play on consoles -- put a disk in and turn the console on. PC's require installation, keyboards aren't as nice to use as joysticks, etc.
    - Piracy: Piracy is rare in the console world, and common in the PC world. This effectively shrinks the PC gamer market, making it less attractive to sell games.
    - Development costs: it's much easier developing software that runs reliably on a console than all PC's. Sure, the PS2 development tools are weird, but you don't have to worry about testing on a wide range of CPU's, RAM, video cards, etc.
    - Not a moving target: In PC game development, one of the hardest tasks is to figure out what a PC will be like at that point in the future where your game will ship, and to engineer for that point. If you guess too high, your game won't run on mainstream PC's. If you guess too low, your game will suck compared to someone else. Sure, there are new generations of consoles, but that's only every five years or so, and always screws up the game market until things stabilize. The PC market is always in the turmoil of change.
    - Competition: somewhat counter-intuitively, since the PC market is completely open, there are a near infinite number of games written. This makes it very hard to get your game produced, distributed, and marketed. The last time I saw the numbers, it was around 1 in 100 games that were written got distributed, and 1 in 100 games that were distributed that were profitable. The console market is more controlled, so you don't have to compete against a flood of random programs to get noticed.

    So while the PC game market will always be around, for lots of good reasons, it'll become (IMO) more and more games in a couple of niches:
    - Gamer geek games that appeal to the high-end gamers willing to pay $3K for a machine to run better than a $200 console.
    - Weird games that can't get distributed on the consoles. Some of these will be very cool, and get ported to consoles to make the real money.
    - Ports of the 'hit' console games, to make a little money. I think that companies will "port to the PC" for the same reasons that they "port to the Mac" -- if it's a hit game, you can make some money selling into smaller markets.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:58AM (#8679491) Homepage
    The main problem with PC gaming is too much diversity.

    PCs sold today come with either those crappy integrated graphics or advanced GPUs from ATi and nVidia. And even those with good graphics systems have would have a wide varieties of drivers installed, which means that some features are enabled and some are not.

    Also, most PCs sold do not come with controllers and/or joysticks. And if the user buys such devices, there are numerous brands to consider.

    There are also various sound cards, processors, etc., each with different features that gaming authors may or may not be able to take advantage of.

    If you want to sell games for the PC, and you if you want to sell a lot of them, you're essentially forced to aim for the lowest common denominator. Only a handful of gaming publishers can sell high quality games without pandering to crappy computers.

    And lets face it; there are essentially only two gaming engines for the PC, id's Quake and Epic's Unreal. When Carmack quits to devote himself fulltime to getting into space (which will happen after Doom3) that'll leave only one engine left. And let's face it, without Carmack, OpenGL will be dead on the PC too.

  • by Lejade ( 31993 ) *
    Sorry, but this article is just misinformed crap.

    It implies that MMPs are the only type of games still being played on PC, which is dumb. Not only that, it also states that "their growth appears almost stagnant" which is, of course, completely false [].

    I'm a game developper working on MMPs.
    I've been hearing about the demise of the PC as a gaming platform for *years*.
    Every year brings its new fad : consoles, cell phones, set top boxes, PDAs, next-gen consoles, online consoles, you name it...

    And you know wha
  • by xylix ( 447915 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:01AM (#8679532)
    I had actually been thinking about getting a PS II recently. Then I went to a friend's house last weekend and actually PLAYED a PS II for the first time ever. (Yeah, I live under a rock. Shoot me.) A few months back we played Unreal Tournament (PC) via the internet and I ran circles around him. We fired up Unreal Tournament 2003 (PS II)... and I got absolutely slaughtered!

    I know it was my first time playing a FPS with a game pad but I can't imagine actually prefering that input over a keyboard and mouse for a FPS. After that experience I am having second thoughts about getting a console, and thinking about just building a good PC gaming system instead.

    Playing the Lord of the Rings game was a better experience with the game pad ... but that isn't my kind of game anyway. Simpsons was another game where I didn't mind the game pad, and actually might prefer it after some practice.

    But at the end of the day, I can easily get a game pad to work with a PC, if I prefer that input for some games, but AFAIK you can't use a mouse + keyboard with a console.

    I agree with a poster above - it is all about what you play. With certain genres of games (FPS, RTS...) PC input is better.
  • Hardware Issues (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maddogdelta ( 558240 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:02AM (#8679537)
    One point I haven't seen made yet is about hardware issues. One of the problems with game development on a PC is what hardware is in use? I know that as a consumer, I can purchace the best hardware available, but that doesn't mean that the programs will be written to take advantage of it.

    Case in point, remember 3DFX? Great hardware, great software interface, great linux support. Lousy longevity. They are gone, swallowed up by Nvidia. So all of the games that worked great on my voodoo 3 card now absolutely stink with an equivalently priced Nvidia card (maybe if I buy a newer card)

    My point is not to bash nvidia, but to emphasize that the games that worked great with voodoo were specifically coded to take advantage of that card, and because of that, would almost have to make other cards look bad. If I had purchaced games that were coded for nvidia, then i would have seen the exact opposite effect.

    Now what is the development team to do? Re code software so that every single video card is supported? Rotsa ruck. As soon as it goes gole, there will be 30 more cards that aren't in the package that will require the patch to be downloaded.

    Contrast this to ANY console. Sure, I can purchase much better hardware for a PC, but every console developer knows exactly what hardware he/she is coding for, and doesn't have to waste 6 man-years coding for multiple cards. Everything works. Performance is squeezed out of those machines to the nth degree.

    I don't think that this will mean either platform will 'die' but until video card developers come up with a 'consensus' set of api's that developers can code for, then it will always seem that the user will need a custom pc to for each game to get the best performance out of that particular title.

  • by wwwrun ( 633859 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:03AM (#8679549)
    It astonishes me (as something of a non-gamer*) that the PC games market can survive. How can anything like enough people be prepared to fork out $1000 for the PC they need to play the latest games, compared to the market for a $100-$200 console? Especially given the games are roughly the same price. The spec you need to play recent games bears little resemblance to the kind of machine you need for almost any other task, so it must be less and less the case that PC gamers are making use of PCs they'd own anyway.

    I understand the modding scene is fantastic, but can anyone offer an insight into how PC games find a market worth developing for?

    (*)I take it nethack doesn't count?

  • by Dragoon412 ( 648209 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:12AM (#8679626)
    ...PC games are on their way out.

    The PC's viability as a gaming rig, as best as I can tell, rests on two traits: superior display technology (via hi-resolution displays), and superior control in some games, via a mouse/keybaord setup.

    Think about that... the PC's viability rests upon a rapidly-closing gap in display technology (see: HDTV), and $10 peripheral (and even at that, I think if half the people shrieking about the loss of control with dual analog would actually give it a fair shot, they're see that's not the case; I mean, how long did it take to get good with a kb/mouse in the first place?).

    So, what we'll have in a few years are:

    +Large back catalog of games that may or may not actually work
    -Hideously expensive in terms of upkeep (hardware)
    -Game-breaking driver and hardware-related problems
    -Expensive OS required in addition to expensive hardware
    -Notorious for buggy releases with players essentially paying money to do QA work for publishers, and devs with a "we might fix problems later" mentality.

    +Comparitively inexpensive
    +Works with already-ubiquitous displays
    +Little to no hassle to play games; consoles just work (for the most part... Ubi can't seem to get it right)
    +Excellent performance due to standardized hardware
    -Can't play games based around bleeding edge hardware.

    So what's left? Online play? Xbox Live blows away anything the PC's ever seen. Give it another generation to clean up the UI and make a few other minor improvements, and online gaming via PC will feel downright archaic.

    The point is, considering the cost and issues inherent in PC gaming, and the console market rather swiftly nullifying the PC's few advantages, what possible reason could there be for the continuation of the PC as a gaming platform?
    • You missed a major disadvantage for consoles:

      The majority of the games are targetted towards 15-18 yr. olds who think they are 25. Games requiring deep thinking and an attention span (Final Fantasy has little strategic/tactical depth) rarely see the light of day on a console that is not the GBA (compare the GBA's strategy titles to those on the PS2).
  • by Squideye ( 37826 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:21AM (#8679714) Homepage Journal
    PCs give a tremendous amount of control over the user experience, and a tremendous amount of flexibility for game design, that most consoles don't allow (or at the very most, exploit).

    Keyboard and mouse control have already been mentioned. Let's take it a step further into oddball-land, with trackballs, spaceorbs, cyberman, joysticks, flight harnesses, USB peripherals, voice-activated microphone controls (UT2004)...

    Then there's hardware modification. Modding a console voids your warranty and risks prosecution under the DMCA, or at the very least disqualifies you from online gameplay. This is compounded by the fact that to make consoles cost-effective, they need to have lowest-common-denominator performance profiles: the cheapest, minimal amount of RAM necessary to run anticipated games, the most cost-effective processor available when the entire line is published, basically minimal functionality beyond what the designers anticipate. A PC user can increase performance beyond the "specs" by loading up on RAM, high-performance video cards, hard disk space for more saved games, multiple-monitor output... basically, today's PCs have the capacity for levels of performance that even the "next generation" of consoles won't have when they're finally released. 3GHz processors with 1GB of RAM? With increasing bus speed and dedicated graphics processors, the kind of gameplay possible with PC hardware will doubtless exceed what any priced-to-sell console will do (keeping in mind that new consoles will probably go for $299-$399 and lose their vendors millions of dollars in the initial stages).

    Of course, there's also software modification. 120GB hard drives mean that we can download Counter Strike and make Half Life into a whole new game. We can download Enemy Territory, Aliens for Doom, or Quake Rally, or any of thousands of mods which make our game into something wholly new. We can create, share, and seek out new third-pary maps, models, skins and rules for our FPSs, and gameplay experiences like Neverwinter Nights (as opposed to just MMORPGs) become possible. At the least, gameplay becomes more participatory and creative, and in many cases, game design careers are launched this way.

    It's commonly noted that progress in technology is driven by two applications: porn and games. If consoles become the only venue for gaming, tech progress will face a glacial pace of innovation. While "the gameplay experience" hasn't been pushed on the PC recently thanks to gaming market stagnation into a few reasonably-successful genres, the capacity for PC gameplay innovation has always been vast; this can lead to new ideas in UI, in AI, in graphics quality and performance, sound, in modifiability (is that a word?).

    The only real qualm people seem to have with the PC as a game platform is that games don't seem to sell too well. Well, some of them do. Others just don't seem to sell well enough to justify Hollywood-level production values. Ingenuity can come from smaller development studios too, and the nature of the PC and Internet allow these studios channels of distribution distinct from the Big Studio's dominance of shelf space in EBGames. Doom was an object lesson in this, but it doesn't end there. At least, hopefully it won't. Steam, for all its faults, is a bold new way to sell games; in an ideal world, Valve would open up Steam as a shareware distribution system, with new demos and for-purchase games showing up there from time to time.

    Wow, I ranted.
  • by Ochobee ( 672000 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:23AM (#8679734)
    I don't think that PC gaming will ever die out for one simple reason:

    Everyone will own the platform.

    Some people may by an Xbox, some may buy a PS2 and some may buy a Gamecube. When future generations of consoles are released, there will be people who buy them as well.

    But nearly everyone is going to have a PC (or a Mac) because they use it for other things as well. Not everyone will stay on the cutting edge of PC gaming, but they will continue to use the PC for years to come.
  • by El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:35AM (#8679864)
    Four words for the guy that wrote this article:

    Half-Life 2... Doom 3.

    Yeah, it's dead.

    Why would I want to play Tribes 3 or UT 2k4 when I can play Halo 2 in a couple of months, and perhaps have to spend a couple hundred bucks to get the new machine?

    Beacause everyone knows, Halo is "the GREATEST" (Tribes rip-off). Christ, I was playing Tribes so long ago that Microsoft wasn't even in the games business, but instead wanted to sell you a joystick with their one crappy game as their strategy. People are already screaming of the death of the PC as a gaming platform when they do a rehash of an idea that came out FOUR FREAKING YEARS AGO?

    Halo? Played it. It sucked. UT 2k4 is where it is at. It was there for all the poor saps that finally discovered that there are sometimes VEHICLES AND MULTIPLAY IN A FPS.

    That was five years ago people. Welcome to the future.

    Speaking of vehicles, in order to save you fanboys from losing your minds, I won't even discuss the Battlefield games... it would hurt you too much.

    So why is PC gaming dead again? Someone please sit me down and explain it to me. I gotta know.
  • by barryfandango ( 627554 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @11:51AM (#8680020)
    Look at the home entertainment market. The plasma screen TV is essentially a big monitor, and offers high enough resolution and sharpness to display text and anything else you might like. The PC is slowly morphing into a Home Entertainment Centre; the X-Box itself is just a glorified PC! It's already pretty common to walk into a well equipped Home Theatre room and see a wireless keyboard and mouse on the coffee table. In short: convergence is going to make the distinction between consoles and PC's meaningless. As it stands, the only difference left between the two is the position in which you sit, and how close the screen is to your face.
  • Superior UI? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @12:15PM (#8680298)
    That is a highly debatable claim.

    A superior UI is one that is very easy to figure out, and lets the user do anything that the game can let them do without it being awkward.

    Consoles arguably have an edge because using a D-Pad or Joystick is very intuitive. And fewer buttons typically means that the UI is easy to figure out.

    PC's have an edge in that for games that require alot of unique inputs or menu interaction, since a Mouse was specifically designed to point and click. (Which is why RTS games play better on a PC).

    If you think that a PC offers superior input, it is probably because you tend to prefer the kinds of games that play better using a Mouse.

  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @01:34PM (#8681176)
    I have no doubt in my mind that PC game development is slowing as games companies move more and more over to consoles. There's several reasons for this:

    1. Sheer number of titles / emulation: it's probably a safe assumption to make that the kids & young adults generally go for the consoles while the parents & older ones use PCs for gaming. Therefore, it's probably safe to assume that the older lot (myself included) enjoy the emulation scene and reloading up old games - in turn, we have less free time for new games and buy less of them. Therefore there's less and less profit for the games companies in PC Games.

    2. Game modding: great for the general public to extend the life of favourite games by downloading free mods for Half-Life, Quake, etc. but ultimately a tactical mistake by the games companies. After all, I'm still playing various Half-Life mods several years after its original release meaning, again, I've bought and played very few new games.

    3. Game quality: console releases seem to be much better thought out than PC game releases. Console games tend to be more formulaic - beat-em-ups, sports & racing games, etc - but also seem to be of a consistently better quality. In my experience, maybe 10% of all the PC game releases are of a reasonable standard while only a handful each year are classifiable as "classics". The games companies have only themselves to blame for this - magazine and Internet review sites mean the general public can be a lot more selective with their purchases.

    4. Network gaming: modding aside, it's possible to buy a first-person shooter on the PC and finish it in about a day's worth of play to be ready for the next game. Network gaming, although great for us players, extends the usable life of titles to be much longer meaning that, again, we buy less new games. This is why the gaming companies are obviously moving to a model of server subscriptions to keep the money coming in. But ultimately it'll result in less, longer-life titles being released.

    From a personal perspective, I'm getting older and getting slightly bored with the modern games scene anyway - I'm now really only looking forward to Doom3 and Half-Life.

    And while I'm pretty comfortable on the "disposable income" front, I'm simply tired of with the endless cycle of hardware upgrades that seem to be a requirement every 6 months or so in the PC gaming scene.

    I really miss the 8-bit and 16-bit days when games developers were forced to push the hardware further and further to create better and better games rather than simply expecting us to upgrade all of the time.

    The classic days of gaming are long dead...

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!