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PC Games (Games)

Will Next-Gen Consoles Kill Off PC Gaming? 1214

An anonymous reader writes "CNET is predicting that next-generation consoles will drive the final nails into the already half-closed coffin of mainstream PC gaming. The root of their argument isn't one of power, but of price: 'The bottom line is that console manufacturers often heavily subsidize their new machines, swallowing huge losses up front in hopes that they'll make it all back selling games... Other things being equal, the DIY-heavy PC gaming industry can't hope to compete in that kind of market.' Which is to say that once the 18-34 demographic starts buying $400 PS3s instead of $400 video cards, developers may have no choice but to follow suit." Will there still be a market for PC games, or are the graphics of the next generation of consoles going to make PC games unnecessary?
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Will Next-Gen Consoles Kill Off PC Gaming?

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  • Tell me again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mboverload ( 657893 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:20PM (#12714727) Journal
    ...Why video cards cost 400 dollars when you can get a WHOLE CONSOLE with DVD drive and custom hardware for the same price?
  • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) * on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:21PM (#12714741) Homepage Journal
    Lets put it this way:
    Consoles will take over PC gaming when they get the advantages of PC Gaming like bigger harddrives, better memory, better quality graphics...
    And to get that, what do they have to be? Modern day PCs with rigid hardware. Basically a laptop.

    I'm guessing within the next 5 generations, the console and PC market will converge...
  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:22PM (#12714762) Journal
    I don't want a console or appliance or what is really a second, specialized PC. I also would like to be able to play my old DOS-based games (Red Baron, various Star Treks, Dawn Patrol and the like) on my exising PC without having to jump through a thousand hoops to do it.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:22PM (#12714765)
    You know, you can buy video cards that are well under $100 that have enough power to play any PC game out there. Only a fool spends $400 on a video card for their home gaming rig.
  • More than video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:23PM (#12714767) Homepage Journal
    PC games are about a lot more than just the graphics. And there are still going to be a lot of people who own a PC- to do PC things, who wont own a console. PC games may not be the top money maker but they will still be around for a long time.
  • by Kainaw ( 676073 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:24PM (#12714788) Homepage Journal
    I had an Intellivision and then an Atari 2600. After that, I felt that if it deserved to be a computer game, it deserved to be on a computer. Then, over the past few years, it became a headache. My wife would buy some new game and I knew that I would have to spend a few hours downloading updates and configuring it to work properly. I just got sick of it and bought a PS2. Now, you just pop in the disk and play - no driver updates and no configuration. I think that the ease-of-use will be a major factor in getting people to move from PC to console.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:25PM (#12714815)
    Um... I don't think so... Can you name a $100 (new, not used) video card that'll run HL2/CS:S at a decent framerate (40+ fps)? If you can, then I'll return my $300 video card and buy your $100 card!
  • by mikerun ( 749816 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:29PM (#12714893) Homepage
    In order to get the full value of the graphics from these consoles, one will require a hi def TV, and those ain't cheap!
  • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:30PM (#12714928)
    I'm guessing within the next 5 generations, the console and PC market will converge...

    And then which will be left? Will the result be best called a "console", or a "Personal Computer".

    I am afraid it will end up as a console, without the computer part. A PC, by definition, allows the user great control to run (arbitrarily defined) computations. Video game consoles have a tendency for a monopoly gatekeeper to prohibit all but a small number of carefully examined programs to run on the system.

    It might be no more "a computer" than your existing DVD player or clothes dryer. There's a computer inside, but it's not for you to personally compute with.

    This means no Linux or Open Source programming, which will at best be breaking DRM and at worst be illegal.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davew2040 ( 300953 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:32PM (#12714962) Journal
    You know, some people value visual quality enough to justifiably shell out the money without being fools. You're correct in your assessment that cheap cards exist for casual gamers, but then you decided to be a jerk.
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:32PM (#12714971)
    Someone needs to write a unique and really great game that is only available for Linux.

    Commercial companies would never do that, as they'd be shooting themselves in the foot profit-wise, and most private games won't stand up to the quality or scope of commercial games.

    Granted, simple games can be really great, but they're also easily copied and aren't likely to convert anybody in the first place.
  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:33PM (#12714976)
    Console gaming is for those who just want a plug-and-play gaming experience at a reasonable cost.

    PC gaming is never going to go away. Simply put, there is an installed base of several hundred million users. Is any rational CEO of a software company (gaming or otherwise) simply going to pack up and leave all that money on the table? Absolutely not.
  • Re:Geforce 6200 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:36PM (#12715027)
    to get console (640x480) graphics, you can use a frickin on-board vga chipset.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:37PM (#12715055)
    I know there are people who like to have the best at any cost. But really, by the time you hit the $200 mark, you're already pretty close to the top of the line. The differences between the $200 and the $400 video card are pretty small.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:44PM (#12715140) Homepage
    Other things being equal, the DIY-heavy PC gaming industry can't hope to compete in that kind of market. Which is to say that once the 18-34 demographic starts buying $400 PS3s instead of $400 video cards, developers may have no choice but to follow suit.

    A $400 video card is a red herring. They are only for early adopters who want to win pissing contests. The latest games are written to run well on far more modest cards. A DIY'er could buy a $150 video card when building the system and then upgrade to a different $150 card 18-24 months later and not miss out on any games. Been there, done that. In comparison my console is stuck in time for 5 years.

    Also some games just seem to work much better on PCs, RTS for example. Even with games that do work well on consoles, FPS for example, my personal feeling is that FPSs designed to work on both PCs and consoles seemed "dumbed down" compared to FPSs that were designed to work only on PCs.

    I'm sure others will mention the more obvious reasons why PC gaming will not die so I'll only mention an offbeat on. It is a much easier market to enter. A startup can develop a game and market it themselves. No need to get blessings from some arbitrary authority.

    PC gaming will only go away when PCs themselves go away.
  • by EulerX07 ( 314098 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:44PM (#12715141)
    Anyone who paid US$400 for a graphics card to play Half-Life 2 is a complete sucker.

    Bear in mind that for some people that doesn't even make a scratch on their monthly disposable income.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:44PM (#12715144) Homepage Journal
    "Modern day PCs with rigid hardware. Basically a laptop."
    Take a good look. Modern PCs are heading that way also. The Mac Mini is a good example.
    I think you are right about convergence but the wrong way. I see the "home" entertainment PC going away. People that need a home office will keep them but everyone else will use there consoles.
    Any bets on when the PS3 supports iTunes and the iPod?, Dumping pictures from your Sony digital camera? Printing your pictures on an Sony printer? Downloading DRMd video and downloading it to your PSP?
    Any bets on when the Xbox 360 will allow you to download DRMd music and video?
    Add a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to any of them and you could have that mythical "grandmother" system that everyone talks about. You know the one that is only used for surfing the web and email? A Playstation3 with a browser, email client, and OpenOffice, Quicken, and TurboTax would what about 99% of what people use home computers for. They would also be pretty hard to write a virus or malware for.

    I for one hope it does not happen. I am old school. If I can not write code for it then I do not consider it my computer. That is not the way of the world today I am afraid. What % of people even on Slashdot write any code?
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultramk ( 470198 ) <ultramk@paIIIcbell.net minus threevowels> on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:48PM (#12715198)
    My father in law spends a lot more than that on a golf club... Hell, the greens fees here are over $300 (with a discount).

    If you can't afford it, sure, it's a waste. If you can, and this is how you choose to enjoy yourself, why not?

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:49PM (#12715203)
    wow... you must really enjoy the upgrade treadmill... me, I enjoy the fact that a game for my console will work... and I don't have to piss about finding the latest drivers for my hardware or downloading a massive patch for the game a few weeks after the release...
  • FPS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JazzTao ( 888769 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:53PM (#12715272)
    Until they sell a mouse, no FPS on a console will be superior to that on the PC, the control is just more adaptable and precise w/ keyboard and mouse, its what i live for! muwuahhaha

  • Consoles will take over PC gaming when they get the advantages of PC Gaming like bigger harddrives, better memory, better quality graphics...

    If by "take over" you mean "have more players", you're way too late. Console gaming already has overtaken PC gaming in terms of the # of gamers. It did a long time ago :-)

    If by "take over" you mean completely destroy, I doubt this will ever happen. I disagree why though. A "bigger" hard drive does nothing to enhance the gaming experience. Especially considering the next generation looks to start at a 20GB size. What more does one need if you don't have to install the game like you do on a PC? Better memory? What does that buy you other than perhaps your next point of "better quality graphics"? Yeah, the PC will probably continue to stay slightly ahead in the graphics arena, but it comes at a hefty price. For me, the graphics I get on my XBox and GameCube are pretty much "good enough".

    The real reason I think that consoles will never compltely destroy the PC market is the input. Real-time strategy games are an example of this. It's gonna be difficult to play one without a mouse. Now, a DS hooked up wirelessly to a Revolution is a possiblility, but ultimately it requires purchase of two hardware devices, which means game manufacturers aren't likely to create many games in that genre.

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:55PM (#12715312)
    You can get a $100 video card that will be able to play most any current gen game out there. But if you also want it to look good, you're gonna want to spend more than that. If you want it to look really good, you're gonna have to spend even more.

    For some people it isn't just about being able to run a game, but to run it well; to see the stunning visuals they advertised.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:56PM (#12715325) Homepage Journal
    Console gaming is for those who just want a plug-and-play gaming experience at a reasonable cost.

    PC gaming is never going to go away. Simply put, there is an installed base of several hundred million users. Is any rational CEO of a software company (gaming or otherwise) simply going to pack up and leave all that money on the table? Absolutely not.

    And it is less costly and complicated to devellop for PC than for console, you don't have the console approval process to get through, which means less hassle, and less last minutte polishing: Patch it later.

    You can do whatever you want on PC, but with console makers, you always have the stress that they might be hard on you this time, force you to change trivial details before resubmitting, making you miss your printing window, etc.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:58PM (#12715344)
    one thing that is not been addressed is the cost of making titles for these new consoles. Games will be so expensive to make that only the largest mega-corps like EA will be able to make games. Not to mention that they games will all tend to be clones of each other.
    PC games have the advatage that small start ups can revolutionize a genre. Small start ups like BioWare will never be able fork over the millions it will cost to make a PS3/XBOX360 game.
    i have heard it said that these new console games are likely to start at $75 bucks and only get more expensive.
  • by aka_big_wurm ( 757512 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @12:59PM (#12715359) Homepage
    Many of the games that are being made for multi platforms are dumming down games, for the consoles. A great example of this is DesEx 2. Most console games dont have the depth of a good PC game, most likely thats what will keep the market alive. And dont forget about RTS the console cant do them right (but would like to see a verion of AOE for DS, and Simcity)
  • by Evil W1zard ( 832703 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:03PM (#12715439) Journal
    I wanted to reply to this specifically because HDTV was mentioned which is becoming more and more of a requirement to get the great visual quality from these new console systems/games. PC games are not going to get replaced by consoles anytime soon because of a number of reasons, but one reason is that people need to upgrade their TVs to something a hell of a lot more expensive (HDTV) to get the picture quality that you can get on a fairly cheap monitor...
  • by PondScum ( 51944 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:07PM (#12715515) Homepage
    You hit it spot on.

    Trying to lump "gaming" together as a single market is an extremely shortsighted and naive view. There are at least two "very different" types of gaming.

    The trend in console games is to optimize for graphics. For certain types of games this is absolutely perfect. FPS, Racing, one on one fights, etc.

    For Strategy games, (MMO)RPGs, RTS etc the gating factor is the game's decision making AI rather than the ability to render graphics. The PC hardware is optimized to maximize processor cycles, which is more suited toward neural nets and decision trees.

    One other note: As long as people have PCs, there will be a PC gaming market. I need a PC for other reasons, and since I have one, I see NO reason to spring the $$$ to buy a console. If the console could do everything my PC can, then I might consider the switch.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:10PM (#12715540)
    Why video cards cost 400 dollars when you can get a WHOLE CONSOLE with DVD drive and custom hardware for the same price?

    For one thing, console makers subsidise these boxes heavily so the PS3 and XBox 360 may well sell at $100-$200 losses to start with.

    The other reason is this - when nVidia makes a new card for the PC market, do they know how many they will sell? No. So they have to price the card high to make it worthwhile to pay for initial manufacturing and R&D costs.

    With GFX chips for something like the PS3 and XBox 360 they know the chips they will make will go into the millions in production! And for the PS3 Sony seemed to help them with manufacturing setup at they are using the "Sony 90nm process".

    Lastly there is complexity. With a PC video card the card itself must hadle all of the supporting circutry to work in a PC, as well as cooling. For consoles all of that is baked into the console design so the GFX chip is really just a chip, and thus cheaper as there is no card to design around the whole thing.
  • by starman97 ( 29863 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:12PM (#12715554)
    The problem with that is, it doesnt sell the maximum number of games. That's where the profit is.
    The more consoles out there, the more games can be sold when they come out. It's in the munfacturer's interest to sell as many consoles as fast as they can produce them to get the games sales.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:13PM (#12715568)
    Anothing thing to remember is, if you already have a decently fast PC, the video card is the only *additional* cost needed to upgrade it to a gaming PC. Although consoles will probably pick up features like web surfing, email, and media players, the non-gaming features of a PC are still more useful, enough to justify its purchase alone.
  • by SpecialAgentXXX ( 623692 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:17PM (#12715617)
    There goes the usual /. response again: "You know, you can buy video cards that are well under $100 that have enough power to play any PC game out there. Only a fool spends $400 on a video card for their home gaming rig."

    Know what? I bought the BFG 6800 Ultra when it first came out and Half-Life 2 running in 1600x1200 on my LCD display looks friggin awesome with all of the eye candy turned on. In fact, all games look awesome compared to when I used to play them with my old $100 card. Don't knock it just because you can't afford it.

  • I guess the next gen of consoles having standard USB ports will probably help the adoption of support for these types of input.

    The only sad part of that is the possiblilty that you're going to have to keep up with the best of devices in order to compete if you do online multiplayer. One of the nicer aspects to playing Halo 2 on Live is that you can be pretty sure that everyone is on the same playing field.

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bman08 ( 239376 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:29PM (#12715747)
    Would your FIL buy a 500 dollar club if there was one golf course a year worth playing on? Especially if he could buy a whole set of clubs and a cart for 300 that somehow enabled him to get onto more and different courses.

    The price of PC gaming isn't arguable if there are good fun games. In the last year, everything has pretty much sucked. I go to EB with cash in hand LOOKING for something to play, practically begging. Nada.

    I have not, historically, enjoyed console gaming. I'm more of a private gamer than a social one. The PC is where I want to be, but when Quake 4 comes out I'm probably not going to upgrade my video card again because for the same price I can put an xb360 on the 50inch and send my wife to her mother's for the weekend.

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gosand ( 234100 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:32PM (#12715772)
    I ran Half-Life 2 on my 1600x1200 flat panel at its native resolution with no problems on my Radeon 9600 Pro (128MB). I paid more than $100 for it at the time, but it now sells for about $75-$80 on Newegg.

    But that card would have been around $300 if you would have bought it in anticipation of HL2. I *almost* bought that very card. Then I took a step back and said to myself "Are you nuts?". I knew in a year or two the card would be half the price, the game would be fully tested, and I wouldn't be missing out on anything. In fact, the game release was delayed several more months, and by the time it came out the card was $100 cheaper. I am sure there were gamers all over that were kicking themselves. Or probably more likely, cursing Valve for some reason. I still haven't bought the game, and am not sure I want to with the whole Steam debacle.

    I got Half-Life only 3 years ago. It was "old" by gaming standards. But I could play it with my cheap hardware, there were walkthoughs online for when I got stuck, and as soon as I finished I was able to install and play several user-mods that were a blast. For me, it was worth the wait. I don't get the whole buy-it-at-12:01-on-release-date mentality.

  • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:41PM (#12715879) Journal
    If you're broke and can't spend the money, then don't. But don't call me a fool because I want everything I run to be very nice and fluid.

    Especially because my LCD native is 1920x1200, I want a high end card. I won't pay $1000 on one, but I did pay close to $400 for my BFG 6800GT card when they first came out.

    Now, I can skip at least one new major GPU release from both ATI and nVidia, and still have plenty of power to play the games, if I wanted to. Sure, I could buy a $200 card now, and then another $200 in another year.. Might as well pay $400 now and have cutting edge for awhile, right?

    Every time a new game console hits the market, there's another story about how it will kill PC gaming. It's not going to happen. It never has, and it never will.

    When the first Xbox and the PS2 hit the shelves, they were touted as "PC Game killers" just the same. The hardware was strong and easily could compete with what PC's had going at the time. Then, six months passed, and PC games easily out-gunned consoles in terms of sound, graphics, and speed.

    Will anything be different this time around? I don't think so. The XBox 360 has three PowerPC chips in it, or a multi-core CPU, or whatever. It's got a (currently) top of the line ATI chip in it for video. This machine will be very cool, but multi-core CPU's and SLI technologies are already making strong headway on PC's now.

    Do you really think the Xbox 360 will be more powerful then a high end PC a year later? I don't.

    Don't get me wrong, I like game consoles. I've owned the Xbox for a long time, and I still use it (although this could be because it's modded and a modded xbox is the shit) and there's some games that are only fun if you play them on a gamepad in front of the TV with some friends.

    PC Gaming will be around for as long as people keep buying PC's for gaming. Visit any of the big PC gaming forums and you'll find the most active (albiet annoying) forums on the Internet.

    No, the PC games will keep coming.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Axe ( 11122 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @01:45PM (#12715929)
    I ran Half-Life 2 on my 1600x1200 flat panel

    That reminds me that it would not be enough to shell out $400 for a PS3 to get the quality.

    You will need to shell out another $2K - $8K for a high definition TV (that still will be like 1300x800) if you do not have one.

    And you will be tied to a 3-ton TV installation.

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:00PM (#12716095)
    I love driving on my high def TV

    So, you need a special TV or monitor for a console to become good for some games. And then, as others have mentioned, you need to plug a keyboard and mouse for some other games. In the end, the difference between a console and a PC is exactly what?

    Basic consoles have two advantages over PCs: they are cheap and small. They have several disadvantages: poor screen resolution on standard TVs, restricted choice of input devices, do not run non-gaming software. If you start improving a console to eliminate these disadvantages it becomes a PC. My bet is that consoles and PCs will continue to coexist for a long time.

    Of course, there are some titles that aren't available in PC versions, but there are also titles that aren't available for every console as well. If you want to be able to play every game available in the market then a console is not enough, you need to have one console of each model.

  • Re:Geforce 6200 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Axe ( 11122 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:03PM (#12716127)
    Lets see your computer do 1080i

    Let's see you console do full 1080i on a $100 TV.

    Even $5K TV will only give you 1380x780 or something.

    Seen as a package High Def TV + console vs PC , PC is cheaper even with a $400 card.

    And you STILL need to get a PC at home, even after you paid for a console and its overpriced games.

  • by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:21PM (#12716289) Homepage
    Way to miss the entire point of consoles. The fixed platform is what makes consoles as powerful as they are. Every developer knows that every copy of their product will run on the platform because every unit is the same. There is no need to program in fallback code to make the product run on video cards that don't support all of the whiz-bang grapics, or to deal with systems at the bottom edge of working.

    Look at the GRand Theft Auto games. Look at what kind of PC you need to get those to run and then look at the PS2. In PC standards the PS2 is a laughable pile of crap. But it runs games that need significantly more power tio run on the PC. Why? Because the hardware is fixed and programmers can write to the metal.

    If you want an upgradable console buy a PC.
  • Re:Tell me again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeadChobi ( 740395 ) <DeadChobi.gmail@com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:24PM (#12716323)
    *snicker.* I can run Doom 3 at around 35 at Medium quality on my 9600. Honestly, I cant tell the difference that the additional 25 frames per second makes. If it were the difference between 5fps, and 30fps, *then* I would be able to understand.

    The biggest gripe I had with Sony and the PS2 was that the hardware was absolute shit. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/home_electronics/so ny_play.html [consumeraffairs.com]

    My unit needs regular cleanings to be at all playable, which would cost me $90 and a trip to the factory. As it is, I've voided the warranty and cracked it open a number of times to clean the lens. What's the point of cheaper hardware if you have to ship it off to the factory every 3 months? Longest lasting PC I've ever owned *still* runs, and we bought it when it was new. It's a Sony VAIO, with a Pentium 200 in it. Everything works. And what's the point of having 200+ FPS on a console when regular televisions (NTSC) can only process 29.99 frames per second? I'd rather pay the extra $250 and purchase a solid, dependable set of parts that I can assemble myself, be assured that they wont break down, and have some options in the visuals.

    Why assume that all a gamer wants is graphics? I'm not going to go into the graphics over gameplay argument, but I will argue that a mouse is a much more versatile HID for first-person shooters than a puny little joystick any day.

    So, to conclude my rant, I'm just going to say that being able to customize my system, have reliable equipment, and the versatility of a computer, I'm willing to spend about $300-$400 more on a computer, than on a console.

  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:31PM (#12716406)

    Why not? It would make A LOT of sense to release a game on a livecd/dvd. For one thing, it would let you optimize the kernel for your game. You could customize the kernel with the hooks it needs so that the game could run in kernel space.

    Why? If I'm playing a game on my PC, I don't want to wait for a reboot to be able to play the game. Unless you can reboot in a matter of seconds (just shutting down Windows and the BIOS POST takes longer than that), it's too long. Besides, you've just removed one of the few benefits left to PC gaming -- you can use the machine to do other things. I may not leave Word open while playing Far Cry, but I'll certainly leave IE running. Unless your PC is specially engineered, it's never going to reboot as quickly as a console (and if it does, why would you buy a $1000 PC when you could buy a $300 console)?

    Having the game in a totally standardized run-time enviornment would also greatly simplify tech support -- you don't have to worry about incompatible library versions, dependencies, non-standard drivers, or any of a littany of other issues. Having a standard run-time environment is one of the main advantages a console gives developers; a live cd brings this advantage to the PC.

    You're not quite right on the console advantage. Sure, console games generally get to provide their own run-time environment, but that's not the win. The biggest benefit a console provides is a standard hardware environment. Even if you have a standard run-time, you'll still have to deal with ambiguous hardware on a PC. What kind of video card, CPU, RAM do you have? I can almost guarantee mine will be different than yours. PC game developers have to test against that, regardless of the run-time environment (really, when was the last time you saw a game fail due to incompatible library versions? Maybe drivers, but I don't think I've ever seen library versioning problems). A live CD/DVD environment can't fix hardware ambiguity.

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by (54)T-Dub ( 642521 ) * <tpaine&gmail,com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @02:43PM (#12716512) Journal
    I heartily agree with you in reference to flying, fighting and driving games. The console controllers are far superior to anything specifically designed for the PC. Thankfully they make handy adapters or else my bf1942 flying skills would have remained elusive I'm sure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 03, 2005 @03:32PM (#12716917)
    The "patch it later" attitude is a significant cause of the decline of PC gaming.
  • by Jugurtha ( 802448 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @04:06PM (#12717238)
    PC gamers drive the video card industry, it's the reason we have geforce 6800's and anti x800's vs the original geforce card or voodoo cards. If people won't buy those new cards why put research into them? I suppose that the video card companies could just focus on consoles every 5 years and create some new business model, but I doubt that would even work. Much of their research into video cards for high end pc's ends up in consoles, so how is that going to work when they aren't designing cards for high end pc's? We wouldn't see the same rate of progress in terms of video card technology. All those console lovers better hope and pray that computer gaming stays around for a long time to come.
  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @04:16PM (#12717344) Homepage
    There is no way a console going at $300 can even come close to that performance level.

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh. Your computer spends most of its time waiting for you. The most expensive video card in the world isn't going to change that performance level.

  • Re:Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuba_dude ( 584287 ) <tuba.terry@gmail.com> on Friday June 03, 2005 @05:01PM (#12717809) Homepage Journal
    That's a common misconception. 25 is (for most people) the minimum frame rate that can be used to produce what looks like motion. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the apparent motion.
  • by some damn guy ( 564195 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @05:11PM (#12717898)
    I think the PC is safe. It may seem simple to for a console to replace, in the near future, what PCs do today for most people. However I think people will still buy PCs because of their flexibility. Why is this important? Because some of the things that people will choose PCs over consoles for in the future haven't been invented yet.

    The PC does not need to wait until Sony or even Microsoft decides what the next big thing is. Remember at the height of the internet boom when so many people were predicting that thin clients would kill the PC? The death of the PC has been predicted many times before- even hoped for by companies wanting to stomp competitors, but it's ability to do the newest stuff first has always been it's edge. The invisible hand of the marketplace can still smack even the biggest companies around given the slightest chance.

    Even if consoles catch up in the graphics department, don't think for a second that the PC has run out of tricks. People are fixated on graphics because they have seen such dramatic improvements lately. Eventually these will be less so and something new will take it's place, as is always the case with technology. Physics processing maybe? If I knew for sure I'd be rich, but SOMETHING will be next. And when the next big thing comes out don't doubt where it will be first.
  • by jp10558 ( 748604 ) on Friday June 03, 2005 @11:45PM (#12720737)
    Yeah. Get process explorer from sysinternals, and turn on CPU time used by processes and get ready for an eye opener.

    I've had Opera 8.01 running + proxomitron and browsing on and off for about 5 hours here. Guess how much CPU time it used?

    Opera : 1 Minute 39 Seconds.
    Prox : 2 Minutes 26 Seconds.

    That's it. In fact, aside from the system, Process explorer has used the most CPU time, though I've been running that for about 12 hours.

    And it has used : 15 Min 46 Seconds.

    So, your PC spends A LOT OF TIME waiting for you.
  • by Finkbug ( 789750 ) on Saturday June 04, 2005 @12:00AM (#12720835)
    PC gaming will survive just fine. Most of the damage has already been done--games brain damaged in cross-development.

    "First of all, ignore Yahoo! games etc., because that's a different market"

    Agreed, though it's worth keeping in mind. I play Tangleword or Wordyacht most every night. Free, word based, definitely requiring PC.

    "1. You need A-list titles like Half-Life to sell PC gaming rigs, garner interest, make big money."

    PC will continue to slip but won't bottom out. It'll always be the only source for some niche games like flight sims (same as fighters are console only). Yet to play an FPS on a console where I didn't want to through the controller across the room from combined frustration with auto-targeting, squished verticals, and save points.

    "2. The last half-life took YEARS to develop, and there's nothing wrong with the development team."


    "3. Game graphics will flat-line to the point you can't tell real TV from videogame TV."

    Sure. On the NEXT-next generation of consoles.

    "4. The new consoles are on High-Def- often higher Def than computers."

    I'll believe it when I see it with decent frame rates. Should happen a couple years into next console generation when developers have mastered the new equipment. For late released titles on current set it largely boils down to art direction: some games look really good Big (resolution aside) and most look better on a PC if given a decent port.

    "5. More people are buying laptops."


    "6. Game and computer companies are getting serious about IP, and the computer is their weak point. You can't copy anything on a console."

    Point taken, though I'd reverse it: I know many who are moving to console version of cross-platform games *because of* the protection on PC games. Also know a couple people who gave up playing PC games entirely because it was so much easier to download and burn all PS2 & XBOX games.

    "I think real PC gaming is done. My friends still play Starcraft"

    Equivalent to saying, "Console gaming is done because all my friends are still playing with their N64's."

    "You're not a fool, but you're on the wrong side."

    To your credit, you're not claiming open source triple-A titles will save PC gaming. ;) That's an extra special brain twitch many /. folk have.

    I don't disagree PC gaming has taken a hit. I do think it ridiculous to imagine it a body blow.

    For the PC, consider:

    1) PC's are used for other things. All the non-game functions touted by the upcoming consoles are available to any $499 (monitor included) Dell slimline, plus the online play without ongoing fees. Plus same system does online billing, Yahoo! games, etc.

    2) PC games are generally cheaper.

    3) Mods are important. Yes, consoles are (very slowly) moving in this direction--but they're also picking up the patching and bugginess that is PC games' worst "feature".

    4) Indie developers or new kids in their Russian parents' bedrooms can knock out a PC game without the millions required to dev kit and release a console title. Do most suck? Sure! but not all. More and more the PC (perhaps running Linux) will be the birthing ground of the new talent.

    5) MMORPGs are the world of PCs. Love 'em or hate 'em. I mostly hate, A Tale in the Desert aside--come say hi there. Wait! that's an indie title! and revolutionary. See #4.

    New generation of consoles will steal the thunder, PC will bounce back in a couple years. Maybe not bounce as high as before but it'll happen. Same as last time. And the time before...
  • by adamfranco ( 600246 ) <adam AT adamfranco DOT com> on Saturday June 04, 2005 @01:20PM (#12724186) Homepage
    One other note: As long as people have PCs, there will be a PC gaming market. I need a PC for other reasons, and since I have one, I see NO reason to spring the $$$ to buy a console.

    As well, there are those of us who, believe it or not, don't have TVs. I have a 21-inch LCD which is more than adequate for watching movies, playing games, or doing just about anything else. As there is absolutely nothing on television that I consider worth adding to my life*, I have zero need for a crappy 620x480px television for playing games.

    If the console could do everything my PC can, then I might consider the switch.
    If the console could do everything the PC can do, then it would be a PC.

    * One of the neatest experiences I've had has been the [almost] complete removal of advertisements from my life. I live in Vermont (were we don't allow billboards), don't have (or otherwise watch) TV, use Ad-Block to remove Web-Ads, and only listen to CDs, college radio, or NPR. As such, then only advertising I see on a weekly basis is that in magazines and newspapers.

    What was most shocking to me was not the lack of advertisements (I honestly didn't notice they were gone for 5 years), but rather -- having become re-sensitized over years -- how insulting advertisements seem when confronted with them again while traveling/visiting friends.

    All advertisements are trying to sell you their product, implying that your life would be better were you to buy their product. While this may seem benign (and may be with simple notifications such as, "Joe's pizza: opening Saturday"), the flip-side is that they are implying that your life is not full/rich/rewarding and that their product can make it so.

    Think about that one for a minute. It seems to say that the difference between an an un-fulfilling life and a fulfilling one is the advertised product. If my dreams, goals, career, family, friends, etc couldn't make my life fulfilled, but this item can then they must be worth roughly the same. If this wasn't the implication (lets say them implication was that friends are a hundred times more valuable than items), then I should quit wasting my money and just go out and make one new friend every year.

    So, if this advertisement implies that I will be fulfilled having purchased something, then they are in effect implying a monetary value on the rest of my life. I am insulted that anyone would tell me that the worth of even a single family member is as little as that of a Ferrari (and you don't see many advertisements for Ferraris).

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!