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PC Games (Games)

PC Game Sales Trending Downwards 81

Thanks to GameDaily for it article discussing a perceived struggling in the PC videogame business. According to the article: "The overall PC game category, from January through May of 2003, was $471.0 million in the U.S. according to NPD estimates. 2004 is well off of that figure already, according to The NPD Group's industry analyst Richard Ow, who put a dollar figure of $360.0 million for the January to May 2004 period." However, Ow also notes: "There's still lots of sales ahead and major releases are pending, so there's still a wait and see factor", and comments on the recently-gold Doom 3: "It is the most well-known among the core gaming group, which is a smaller market, but a group that can still drive sales."
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PC Game Sales Trending Downwards

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  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:05PM (#9743228) Homepage Journal
    I believe that video gaming is going to collapse into a small core of well known titles that sell very well, a group of niche titles probably six to eight times larger than the core that make a profit but not a huge one, then a big cloud of titles that are done for the love of it, not particularly for profit.

    A bit like books. Anyone know enough about the book, music and video game industries to draw informed parallels?

    • I'm somewhat familiar with the science-fiction corner of the book market.

      Despite constant cries about the "death of the midlist", there are more SF books being published now than ever. The average per-book sales are lower than they used to be, but the overall sales are up--in other words, the pie has grown, but not as fast as the number of slices in it.

      Not very similar to the PC gaming industry, where both number of titles and overall sales appear to be declining.

      Personally, I think the PC gaming indust
      • by obeythefist ( 719316 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @12:26AM (#9745296) Journal
        Excuse me? PC gaming suffers from lack of innovation where consoles mitigate this problem?

        Ever seen a moddable console game before? How's that for innovation? Where is the console "Perimeter"? Are there open source games for consoles?

        Poor quality control? At least if I buy a PC game I can be reasonably sure that bugs can be fixed by a patch. I read quite a lot about bugs in console games. I understand a certain James Bond game has bugs so wide you can install Linux with it. Is that quality control?

        Ever increasing hardware requirements? I want to play the latest Mario Bros on my Nintendo Master System. What do you mean it won't run? I'll just put a new video card in it. What do you mean I can't do that? I have to buy an *entire* new system at over 100% of the cost of the original rig? Now tell me about "hardware requirements".

        Competition from consoles is only prevalent for a few key reasons:

        1) Lower cost of entry (mitigated by a poorer gaming experience, you get what you pay for)
        2) Supply forces (Console games are being shoved down our guts because they're cheaper to make and they have a much higher turnaround - quality of console games is lower)
        3) Proprietary lock-in (I own this DRM console and I have to play DRM games that MS/Sony/Nintendo tell me to, I have no other choices).

        The big reason that sales are down for PC games is because PC games represent greater value for money for the consumer - one license of Half-Life will have you playing that, CounterStrike, Natural Selection, Team Fortress.. the list goes on. One license of BF1942 opens a huge array of different mods.

        So the only reason people are buying more console games is because they wear out so fast, they're narrow minded, finished with easily, and have no lastability. If that's what you consider quality, you're a publishers wet dream.
        • Where is the console "Perimeter"?
          Pikmin. Okay, not exactly the same game, but they shouldn't be identical when we're talking about innovation, right?

          Are there open source games for consoles?
          Yes, you're just looking for the wrong consoles. The GP32, for example, is a completely open handheld device. The GBA gets lots of coding competitions and even the Dreamcast is getting its share of homebrew games. There are a few people working on homebrew games for the three major home consoles, but they're few.

        • I read quite a lot about bugs in console games.

          This implies you've never encountered any yourself. There are actually relatively very very few as the console maker exacts some kind of standard (or tries to) or at least on the games they publish themselves. Recall the NIntendo Gold Standard. I have played PC and console games EXTENSIVELY and while the first thing I do when I get a PC game is install patches, I have only had this occur once with a console game and it was a port of a PC game.

        • I want to play the latest Mario Bros on my Nintendo Master System.

          You're going to have problems playing any game on a fictitious system.
    • from my perspective it seems that PC Gaming is growing into a Niche group, whereas Console gaming is growing worldwide by leaps and bounds. as much as i love playing on my PC, many games are just far more enjoyable on a couch with a dozen people passing a controller around, or even in bed staring at a TV. at the same time, i can't feel comfortable playing an RTS, TBS, or 4x on anything but a PC.

      i predict the Gaming industry will, and has, evolved more like the Movie industry than Literature. but Games

    • You know, it's not the quality of the games, that's for sure, it's the fact that the games coming out nowadays are so graphically advanced, and 90% of the people who play these games either don't know about or can't afford these new, expensive video cards... I mean, I am a poor college student, and I sure as hell can't afford the latest in video card technology. It's struggle enought buying the games, never mind spending $300 just to play a damn game.
      • That's always been true. At least now when you buy an expensive computer with an expensive graphics card you're far less likely to find that the popular games don't support it.

        As for not being able to afford it, that's why I bought a Playstation. I'd just spent a couple of thousand (A$) on a very nice new PC that never got proper DirectX support. Bought the PSX on sale, barely cost more than a new graphics card.

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paladine97 ( 467512 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:09PM (#9743262) Homepage
    Games done for the love of it, but not for profit?

    Wow that would great, but it sure wouldn't make any economic sense. Games today are huge in scope requiring not just programmers but an army of trained graphics professionals. Somehow I don't think they would all be willing to work on something 'for the fun of it.' They have mortages to be paid you know ;-)
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION ( 553878 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:35PM (#9743442)
      You rarely see games on the same scale as commercial efforts done just for the love of it, but think about all the flash/java/web games, or all the mods for commercial games.

      This is an interesting point the focus on sales might be missing--a lot of the gaming going on in the PC world might be happening with no money changing hands. This could be free games, pirated games, or emulated classics. Even if commercial PC gaming dies, console games will still face competition the complete library of games already written, and from developers with nothing better to do.

      On the other hand, perhaps at some point in the future, if commercial PC gaming truly dies, Nvidia and ATI will stop selling consumer-level PC graphics cards. Which would mean the end of all those mods. Which would mean less competition for the consoles. Which could very well happen, since one of the biggest factors in PC gaming, Microsoft, seems determined at all cost to make sure that the living room is the only place that video games will be played.

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

        by garibald ( 17833 )
        Actually Microsoft is trying to standardize the PC as a gaming platform. Also Microsoft has a great number of affliated studios that produce games for both the X-Box and the PC platforms.

        I agree that most independent games are less than AAA quality, which is fairly analogous to the movie industry.

        Anyway, I doubt that the commercial PC gaming industry will ever truly die; the industry is just currently in the nadir of the innovation. I mean how many different FPSs that add a single tiny feature, tweak th
        • Actually Microsoft is trying to standardize the PC as a gaming platform.

          They are? Do you have specific actions by MS in mind? If PC's and XBoxes were capable of playing the same games, I might agree with you--but MS seems to have done everything possible to make that really hard. Given how similar the hardware is, and the fact that MS actually makes money when a PC with Win XP is sold as opposed to when an XBox is sold, why wouldn't they release some sort of XBox player software for the PC, (following

          • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

            by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @01:24AM (#9745635) Homepage
            Maybe you don't follow the videogame industry very closely.

            But Microsoft announced, and will be releasing XNA [] which will give parallel paths of development between the Xbox (next one probably) and the PC.

            They do have a plan for convergence.
            • That is pretty interesting. Still, why wasn't this done before Xbox (the first) was released? And more importantly, why the emphasis on parallel paths of development, rather than actually making games that work on both platforms? They both have x86 processors, they're both directx based--it shouldn't be hard to set up some kind of virtual machine (I don't mean bytecode, but abstracted devices and APIs) so that sufficiently advanced future PCs could play games targetted to XBox Next?
          • "They are?"

            Yeah, it's called XBox.

            "why wouldn't they release some sort of XBox player software for the PC, (following the same lines as cxbx or xeon emulators) unless they were interested in pushing gaming away from the PC"

            Because XBox emulators suck. There is such variation in hardware that it's near impossible to get a consistatnt experience.

            Oh, and it would cost money to produce such a program. Plus, most XBOX games are designed to be played on a TV with the XBOX controller, not on a PC.
            • Wow, it's like you're posting this to show why Microsoft is pushing gaming away from the PC, and therefore I'm right, except for some strange reason it's opposite day and therefore you have to say that I was wrong?
        • Actually Microsoft is trying to standardize the PC as a gaming platform. Also Microsoft has a great number of affliated studios that produce games for both the X-Box and the PC platforms.

          HAHAHAHAHA.... HA Microsoft is trying to standardise Microsoft for the gaming industry, that is all, thats where they see the money coming in from, peopl buy windows because of games, people buy games because they're fun, if few games existed on Windows, more people would switch to a non-MS OS thats more stable

    • what about for the love of profit?
  • Moo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chacham ( 981 ) * on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:12PM (#9743287) Homepage Journal
    Does lower sales mean a bad market or lower quality?
    • Re:Moo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mike Hawk ( 687615 )
      Does it matter? Functionally its still less incentive to make PC games. Pointing blame doesn't help.
      • by Chacham ( 981 ) *
        You are correct. Pointing blame does not help. However, accepting responsibility does.
      • by UncleRage ( 515550 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:39PM (#9744846)
        Does it matter?

        Well, obviously it does to those who have posted here, to the article author, to GameDaily, to the gaming industry and even to you.

        Functionally its still less incentive to make PC games. Pointing blame doesn't help.

        What kind of corporate sympathy laden, bed wetting rationale is that?

        Game Developing Asshat: Well, yes... we have reduced the quality of our products... but since nobody is buying them now, can we please be the victim?

        Man, that's really twisted.

        Pointing blame most certainly does help. Consumers have two very powerful means of showing displeasure with substandard products:
        A: Withholding purchases for those products
        B: Voicing their displeasure about those products to those who produce them.

        You can hang that notion of consumer guilt by the door, because it's that kind of skewed thinking that created the problem.

        It goes like this: Corporate entities have a responsibility to their consumer base if they wish to see a profitable return on their endeavor. That responsibility is to provide a product of desirable value. If they choose not to provide a product of value then the (intelligent) consumer has the responsibility to find another product to spend their hard earned money on. It's just that simple. There is no rule of commerce that says people must buy shite. I promise you, in the real world, if someone offers you a steaming plate of horseshit, you have the right to refuse it... and if they have the actually have the gall to expect payment for said horseshit; well, you have the right to inform them to shove their incredulity of your lack of consumer loyalty right up their ass -- as soon as they remove their head.

        The other side of the issue is that that the big three (MS, Sony and Nintendo) have created console devices that effectively handle most consumer's expectations of "high end" games. It's very difficult to convince a family on a budget that the one (or more) console(s) in their home are not enough to handle their gaming needs. And when you add in the cost incurred by short-term PC obsolescence, well... let's just say the answer for the average (read: non-hardcore) gamer becomes obvious. I mean, my Xbox didn't need an upgrade between Halo and Doom 3... so why should I need to upgrade my CPU, RAM and graphics card on my PC that's actually newer than my console to play the same game?

        That's the fault of the industry, plain and simple: Banking on people's willingness to purchase yearly upgrades for one product while providing a (relatively) equal product to another consumer base upgrade free.

        In short, as long as game publishers rush bug ridden products (of less than original content) out the door, blatantly disregard the value of the average consumer's income and continue to divide the market between PC's and consoles... well, yeah, I think it's actually rather fair to point blame where blame is due.


        • Your rant is cute in all, but if you can't control it, it still doesn't matter. As a consumer you can control only one side of the issue so you can choose to take responsibility for it or not. Beyond that, pointing fingers can only make you feel good, but not really solve problems.
          • The more attention a problem receives, the more prone that problem is to being solved. This is especially true in a competitive market. Cooperative systems require a constant of checks and balances -- and in modern commerce, negative attention can be a very productive countermeasure towards creative lethargy (in this case, as it relates to value of product on platform y compared with product x).

            This is where human nature comes in. The average person reacts to valid negative attention with a desire to o

    • In many cases the same game sells cheaper on PC. So the "lower quality" is in the form of additional complexities and annoyances required to play PC games, or so one could infer.
  • by kryptoknight ( 638324 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:13PM (#9743298)
    Besides a few notable games like Battlefield:Vietnam and Far Cry, there were only few good titles released from January through May of 2004.

    Also there must have been a lot of carry over sales from the slew of games released for the holiday season '02 as compared to the lackluster game sales of holiday season '03.

    Things should really pick up for the PC with the releases of Doom 3, HL2, Rome:Total War, and the likes.
  • by harikiri ( 211017 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:44PM (#9743516)
    These days I'm far more inclined to spend money on a DVD movie or two as opposed to a computer game. The games that I do have I tend to play for several months. I don't have the time to play anything more than a few titles.

    At present it's Battlefield Vietnam, and C&C Generals. I used to play heaps of America's Army, Enemy Territory and Dark Age of Camelot as well.

    Most disappointingly, I noticed when I recently purchased splinter cell: pandora tomorrow - I played it for two nights then forgot about it. My Xbox is sitting under the TV gathering dust, while my DVD collection keeps growing.

    These days when I walk into the local EBgames, there are very few titles that jump out at me. The handful that I'm probably looking forward to - I already know about and will pickup as soon as they appear. It's been a long time since I've gone in and made a on-the-spot purchase of a game I've never seen before.
    • Whats the point in owning a lot of movies? I could never figure that one out. You can rent them for cheap and how often does your movie collection actually get used? Most movies you buy you watch a few times and then they sit on your shelf just like games you've finished. I never got why people could have collections of 100's of DVD movies. I can see owning a few or major releases that are worthwhile but I never understood the fascination with purchasing a huge movie library.

      You say "... while my DVD
      • I usually have friends over a lot, so they get to go through them and pick out something I like. Plus, depending on the group makeup - the girls might win out with a romantic comedy "three to tango" - or the guys might win out with something like "Predator".

        Most movies I've watched at least 3-4 times, and probably seen the directors commentary on about 25% of them.

        As to what the attraction is in purchasing them... I'm in a wierd situation at my place. Me and my housemates are the first to move in since it
  • Gee... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by InfinityWpi ( 175421 )
    ... when you put out a lower number of good games that people want to buy, people spend less money on games... who woulda thought it?
  • by DeComposer ( 551766 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @08:57PM (#9743630) Journal
    I don't know about you, but it seems a bit much to ask me to pay twice the price of a good DVD. Call me a nut, but I'm guessing the average production cost for a PC game is a bit less than that of a motion picture (even allowing for a smaller audience).

    Even so, I'm happy to pay cash for a truly enjoyable and well-made game like FarCry or HL2. I'm even happier if I'm paying from a game from a little-known (and not-well-funded) developer like CryTech to fund their future endeavors.

    I used to buy almost every new game I could get my hands on. Anymore, though, I see a game price on a store shelf and I spend a lot more time thinking over whether I really want it or not--the pricing has driven the product out of the impulse-buying range.
    • that's not all... (Score:2, Interesting)

      Though i do believe that the increase in the price of the newer games coming out is partially responsible for my lack of purchasing latley, i also think that recent lull in creativity has also helped out. I notice when i'm heading out to Best Buy and CompUSA that i'm not seeing a lot of "new" games for PC. I think that if the PC gaming industry wants to spur a major sales boost, they're going to have to come up with some original ideas instead of half-hearted remakes and sequels and expansions and the like
    • The cost of an item like a video game or dvd with gigantic fixed costs but nearly zero marginal cost (burning DVDs) is entirely based on the demand curve. Not only do the games have a smaller audience, but think about what the REAL cost of a video game is. The fifty bucks you lay on the retailer's counter? No--the hours of time you invest in playing it. If I give up 20 hours of my life to play a game, whether the game costs 50 bucks or 20 bucks or 0 bucks doesn't really matter as much.
    • > I don't know about you, but it seems a bit much to ask me to pay twice the price of a good DVD.

      You raise a couple of very good points. Let me elaborate:

      Let's look at entertainment, specifically in this order:


      Music is the most accessable, with games being the least accessable. By accessable I mean by how much attention you need to give it, in order to enjoy it. And also how many times you tend to repeat the experience.

      Music: You can listen to it anywhere, and you tend
    • Movies make their primary income from the box office, Marketing promotions are secondary(spiderman crap from McDicks, etc. )DVD and VHS sales are a very small piece of the income pie.

      whereas for games, the sale of the actual game itself is 95% of the pie

      hence the increased price

    • See but if cost were the issue, I would expect console games to be doing worse than PC games, since they tend to be released at a cheaper price. For example, a game I bought just recently, Painkiller, is listed for $30.00 on Amazon and Far Cry is listed at $34.99, but it's rare you'll see a new console game that cheap (unless it was a disaster). In fact, just yesterday I bought Silent Hill III for PC for $9.99, it's still listed at $19.95 on Amazon for PS2 (oh, and Amazon is slightly higher on the PC vers
    • I don't know about you, but it seems a bit much to ask me to pay twice the price of a good DVD. Call me a nut, but I'm guessing the average production cost for a PC game is a bit less than that of a motion picture

      Umm, backup a bit. Before VHS and Cable there was a thing called a 'movie theatre'. Oh wait, I think those are still around. Yeah, I think that's how hollywood can recoup movie-making costs...just like they managed to do for the previous 60 years.
  • I'm running a pretty out of date PC these days. It keeps up with HL and its mods, but probably couldn't play a newer game like Far Cry. As soon as HL2 is out I'll put together something a bit more state of the art. This will probably encourage me to buy more games, too. I imagine many people have been waiting for the next big game (be it doom3 or hl2 or, poor suckers, Duke Nukem Forever).

    It could be the market is just waiting for an excuse to upgrade before buying a bunch of latest and greatest games.
    • I imagine many people have been waiting for the next big game (be it doom3 or hl2 or, poor suckers, Duke Nukem Forever).

      I know I sure have. Every time I think "It's time to go get a new computer game" a fear overwhelms me. "What if Half Life 2 or Doom 3 is released tomorrow! I will have to throw the game I'm buying away! Not to mention the fear of not being able to afford it when it does come out!" These two games with their delays have probably cost the gaming industry quite a bit of money, but pers
      • Call me an enthusiast, but I don't wait for a new game to come out before I upgrade. I buy at the sweet spot, where you get powerful, cheap components at very reasonable prices.

        All the games I'm currently playing play better than ever, and all the new games work just fine.

        Furthermore, when you buy at the sweet spot, you get core components at a lower price than a new console anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if PS3/Xbox neXt cost $1,000 AUD when first released. That will get you a much nicer PC to play g
  • Blame ATI and Nvidia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @09:06PM (#9743699)
    I have said this before. No 2 other companies are more responsible for the success and failure of PC gaming. If video cards work like they should...

    1.) There won't be 8 million forums for troubleshooting. You don't see tons of PS2 owners complaining about their games not working.

    2.) There wouldn't be a new driver needed every month. There is no reason for regression. The old drivers should never work better than the newer ones.

    3.) There wouldn't be overburned cards and returns. Christ, I shouldn't have to run a cable to my bathtub.

    • ATI and Nvidia contribute, no doubt. But then you have multiple operating systems (even within the Windows brand), two main lines of processors, MANY motherboard chipsets/configurations per processor style, several sound cards (even if we assume Creative has the bulk of the market, they release many versions of their cards), etc, ad infinitum. Heck, I wonder how many different mouse/keyboard drivers are floating around on people's computers.

      PC games will never have the plug&play simplicity of consol

      • Just wait for the upgradeable consoles to start hitting the market! They're already plugging keyboards and mice into consoles to try and make them play FPS games properly. AI assisted aim, sheesh. What are consoles, kindergarten toys?
    • 1.) There won't be 8 million forums for troubleshooting. You don't see tons of PS2 owners complaining about their games not working.

      Unfortunately with the PS2 you do see this happening quite a bit because of the cheap lens used by Sony. Although I do see your point that setting up a graphics card to work with a computer game can be quite a chore for some of the average users. Maybe thats why some companies have started developing those consoles that can play PC games. Maybe those will help sales out some.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @10:08PM (#9744208) Homepage
    We need to compare system requirements with the average home system. If games are relying more and more on higher end video hardware then there is naturally a smaller audience. It would be interesting to track the sales of less demanding titles and see if they follow the same trend as the high end eye-candy laden titles.
  • by ScorpiusFan ( 651257 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @10:23PM (#9744356)
    With the improvement of console system technology, PC gaming has turned back into a niche market the past few years.

    However, characeristics of the current PC gaming market could be reducing the need for customers to buy more titles each year:

    1) Quality titles usually take time and insightful management with talented, dedicated employees to produce;
    I don't think this point needs an explanation.

    2) Replayability of older titles: While waiting for Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, I still play older titles like Starcraft, Counterstrike, and X-Com.

    Since these titles still run well under XP, and offer good replayability, this helps to reduce my need to constantly purchase a new game every few weeks.

    3) Utility from online gaming: Many people are fans of online games like the Battlefield series, Unreal Tournament series, Counterstrike.

    Also, MMORPGs allow players to frequently experience new game content in exchange for their monthly subscription fees.

    4) Mods/Customization: I still see new mods appearing every month for games like Half-Life and UT2004K. Mods also allow players to extend the utility of the old game title with new content.

    5) Appeal to wealthy customers: Not to brag, but I plan to upgrade later this fall with the fastest video card and CPU I can acquire, so I can enjoy Doom 3, Half-Life 2, Dawn of War, Far Cry 2, and other system-taxing games at a high frame rate.

    I have followed this same behavior for a number of years, including upgrading for Doom 1, Quake 2, Deus Ex, Splinter Cell, and probably other titles I like so much I'm willing to pay extra to ensure they run as best as possible.

    There are other people, wealthy and not wealthy, who are also willing to spend extra money to have the same utility from computer games. I think I went $2,000 into debt when I upgraded my 386 to a 486 to play Doom 1, but, I wasn't just using the computer for gaming.
    • by Colazar ( 707548 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:02PM (#9744615)
      I think you make a lot of good points. To my mind, the biggest factor is a combination of high system requirements for new games and the inexpensive cost/high performance of current consoles. When a Gamecube costs the same as a new video card, which is the better purchase for gaming? (Spoken as someone who was always a PC gaming snob, until my kids got a Gamecube for their birthday.) Add to that the fact that for most computers, gaming is almost the *only* reason to upgrade, and I think it's natural to see PC gaming go into a bit of a lull for awhile.

      It's all cyclical though. What will probably happen is computer game sales will either "dip" or "crash" (depending on how far they fall), which will mean that there will be less money available for new game development. That will mean that the games that *are* developed will have to be stronger, and will probably be made more slowly with fewer people, which *ought* to improve quality. PC games will then be ready for a resurgence about a year after the next generation of consoles come out--after the early adopters have gotten them, but before the price drops enough for them to become too widespread.

      Or, I could be completely wrong. But that's my guess.

  • Let's see..the first half of this year..I can't remember one single PC game that I wanted to play. The last game I wanted to play on the PC was Far Cry.

    Could it be that all the games that came out sucked?
    I predict the next press release will say "PC games sales surged in the latter 2004 but I dunno why!" Of course you have to look at the games that were released in context of the hard numbers. mm w/ Doom 3 and hopefully Half Life 2 coming..the sales should shoot up!!
  • Bah! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jwnewman ( 255304 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @10:44PM (#9744516) Homepage
    The PC game market gets a death notice about once a year for the last 20 years. Yet it lives on. All it takes is one or two 5 star titles to kick start the beast again. I think we know what those titles are this year.
    • Sonny, PC gaming has been dying a slow death since about late 86 early 87. That was about the last time the "mainstream gamer" was a PC gamer. The gaming platform of choice being the C64. Nintendo took out Commodore on the low end easily enough and since many people felt that had to have DOS PC's so they could bring work home, that killed Commodore on the high end.

      Sure there have been surges of PC game sales about every 5 years or so. 93:Doom 98: Half life, 04: Doom 3 HL2. but the overall trend is downwar
    • Re:Bah! (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      On the other hand, I've noticed that computer game stores which used to devote at least half the store to PC Games, now only devote a small corner to PC games.
  • by PocketPick ( 798123 ) on Monday July 19, 2004 @11:40PM (#9744868)
    I think that if PC gaming is to succeed in the future, it's imperative that game and card developers address the issues of game setup and configuration for less knowledgable users (from a sound, control, and graphics perspective). An average gamer may not know what 'AGP', 'DirectX' or 'Hardware Transform and Lighting (T&L) Capability' mean. He isn't able to judge how well his system can handle various texturing options. He may not even understand the concept of resolution or which ones his system supports. Yet some less knowlegable users that may feel compelled to try out to a new PC game are still put in a position that forces them to configure options blindly in hopes of getting some sort of visual performance they had envisioned when they bought the game.

    Some may say that if a gamer cannot understand these sometimes simple options, then he shouldn't be playing PC games anyway. But in reality that statement summarizes the PC gaming industries inablility to bring on new users and proves my point. If the game and card manufacturers are unwilling to devote time to more simplified setup (even at the expense of graphics), then they probably deserve to see thier market share dwindle.

    I think that it's unreasonable to to believe that the PC industry has to reduce its interfaces to the level which console game enjoys, but certainly a lot more could be done.
    • Even though you say that I still think the problem is very difficult because on the PC you're trying to be all things to all people, so your drivers and software have to interact normally on different platforms, motherboards, chipsets and whatnot. This is why I never bought Via or 'non-intel' chipset motherboards because of the stupid random crashes, driver issues, and whatnot you'd have to deal with for going with a cheaper board.

      You have to stay compatable with games that are many years old already that
  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @02:47AM (#9746016)
    I think the problem is that... there's too much quantity and not enough quality. Too many "me too's" and very little original ideas or IP at all. But the downward trend was caused by companies abandoning the PC for consoles. Case in point - Bioware, Microsofts 'Mechwarrior developers' (forget their name), Blizzard focusing on console's and MMO's when they should be doing Diablo 3 and/or Starcraft 2. (Both games with HUGE audiences that would most likely love a sequel). But lets face it...

    1) PC games are too obsessed with hardware requirements (especially your video card) no one wants to upgrade their card every 1 to 2 years at 300 and 400+ a pop for the latest and greatest and possibly on top of that a CPU/Motherbaord + ram and/or powersupply.

    2) There have been no good PC games in diverse amount of genre's in a long time. The last 'half decent' singleplayer RPG released for the PC was KoTor but you can get Kotor multiplatform anyway. Also there has been a dearth of good RPG's for the PC. NWN was a let down, there has been no word on baldurs gate 3 or whatever either and bioware success started out on the PC.

    3) Too many FPS games. I'm sorry but everyone's flooding the market with FPS and/or MMORPG's. I'm thankful EA still ports the Need for speed series games to the PC because no one has a good game that can really compete in the racing/driving arena. Most of the companies stick to the tried and true formula. For instance how many mechwarriors, dooms, unreal tournaments, and whatnot do we really need? Every update fragments the multiplayer online game community.

    4) No one's made a serious attempt at publishing console games and designing with PC hardware in mind, this means NO CRAPPY PORTS of OLD GAMES. They must release at the same time on all platforms or for the PC first and then the consoles. Part of a games sales is exclusivity. Doom 3 and Half-life 2 are first and foremost PC games and are exclusively better on PC. If console companies would try to design a game with the PC in mind as well as for their 'sacred' consoles from the start then we would see better sales and whatnot period.
    • The Diablo storyline is over. There is no reason for Blizzard to make a Diablo 3, except to cash in on the name. The only problem is every game Blizzard makes is a million seller, so there's no reason for that, either.

      The Baldur's Gate storyline is also over, so, again, there is no reason for a Baldur's Gate 3.

      I think this is one of the problems with today's gamers. Instead of wanting new titles, they want the old titles with better graphics and a higher number cat'd to the name. What's the point if a
    • 1) PC games are too obsessed with hardware requirements (especially your video card) no one wants to upgrade their card every 1 to 2 years at 300 and 400+ a pop for the latest and greatest and possibly on top of that a CPU/Motherbaord + ram and/or powersupply.

      True. The PC gamer's expectations are higher than those of the average console gamer. PC games today do not have a chance unless they have the latest pixel shader, filter and bump-map effects. The monitor is far less forgiving than the television.

    • Actually, i add to that the opposite argument: the PC market is a victim of its own success.

      Let's elaborate:
      - the PC has had some great games out in the past year. Those games have a good replay value, enhanced by the fact they work on internet and allow multiplayer setup (think UT, Ennemy territory, warcraft 3...).
      - people are still playing those games
      - the newer games do not bring much more
      - there is only 24h in a day

      Hence, why should you buy a newer, but less complete game if you are still happ
  • Crunch time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think that from now until the end of this year is probably the most important period for PC gaming in the last decade. Simply put, it's do or die. The reputation and success of PC gaming is now inextricably linked to that of two games; Doom 3 and Half-Life 2. If they do well, PC gaming has a chance, if they don't make so much of an impact, I'd predict PC gaming will be effectively dead by the end of the first year of the next console generation.

    Why? The PC gaming market has succumbed, in the last few yea
  • I must admit I've 'got out' of PC gaming mainly due to a general malaise about the state of games on there. There just isn't the macroscopic innovation anymore on the PC side of things, probably because the market is shrinking, whether this is because of the consoles or the lack of variety, I'm unsure, but it seems to be locked into a downward cycle now.

    If a developer comes along with something unique but which may be considered a risk, there's practically no incentive to go for PC over PS2, unless there i

  • Year of the laptop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fr0dicus ( 641320 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @08:14AM (#9747240) Journal
    Are we still in year of the laptop (or was that last year) ?

    Either way, there is precious little software taking advantage of this supposed boom in laptop sales, where the common-or-garden FPS need not apply (ever tried an FPS on a trackpad?).

    There are also a lot more 'lifestyle' PC's around these days, like Sony's VAIO stuff. Is the platform changing too quickly for the developers to notice/react?

  • In January of this year, I pieced together a small LAN game machine in the hopes that I would be playing HL2 or Doom 3. It was a nice P4 2.8Ghz, 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA HD, Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB in a nice little Shuttle XPC.

    It was great and I was highly anticipating the release of said games but then they were delayed. So here I was with this awesome gaming rig and no game to take advantage of it. Sure, there was BF: Vietnam and Farcry, both of which were entertaining but not what I wanted (Demons and Aliens
    • I think the big thing is not many big-blockbuster franchise releases happened yet this year 2004. Most of them struck in Q3 2003 or are coming in what looks to be Q4 2004. The Sims 2 was due for Feb 2004, but EA decided to let the game go to Sept for it to be polished. Doom 3 countlessly been pushed back MANY times. HL2 got pushed back to Sept. 2004. Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines isn't due 'til around November 2004, if I recall. Personally, this year has been quite dead for PC gaming. Far Cry was pr
  • Maybe you would get more PC sales if you:
    1.) Released the game on PC.
    2.) Release it on PC when you release it on [insert council name].
    3.) Release them with the same features as the council game (Yeah I'm talking to you Microsoft, dbing it with no halo pc co-op, True we did get online, but Xbox got it with gamespy tunnel, ok so we got some new maps and we got the halo CE, I get your point, but I was looking forward to playing with some of my high school buddies that live on the other side of the country)
  • Of articles comparing the sales of a single period of a single year to the same period of the next and calling that a fucking trend.

    Much of these sales figures largely depend on what was actually released during said time period. So, what, we didn't have another Sims expansion pack released in Q1 of this year, so profits dropped from 2003 to 2004? You don't say...

    Either way, it's silly to call this a "trend".
  • I wonder if the same trends hold true for all the re-packaged collections that have been coming out.

    For some time now I've been saving a pile of cash by just buying things as they get re-released at a lower price point, or with more stuff. And it seems these types of compilations are coming out more quickly these days, so I've less time to wait before buying a game.

    Of course only the larger games come out this way, and there is the slight chance that supply and demand might make a game harder to obta

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.