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Valve: Why the PC is the future

When Valve summoned a handful of US and UK journalists to its Seattle headquarters at the end of last month, it promised to talk about the future of Steam, its digital distribution system. That it did, revealing the ambitious Steam Cloud service for remote storage of game data, and boasting that it would soon be making more money selling games digitally, all the while remaining untroubled by piracy.

Valve mastermind Gabe Newell and his cohorts had an ulterior motive for bringing reporters together, however, and unusually for an ulterior motive, it wasn't a wholly self-interested one. It was this: to evangelise the PC as the games platform of the future.

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titntin3672d ago

Well you can't blame the guy for bigging up the platform he's most comfortable with, and he does have some good points to make.

But he's also missing a lot of issues and problems and is downright misleading in many of his statements.

Of course the sales figures for PC's are enormous, but its a very small fraction of these that are used for serious gaming. I have three high spec machines in my home office and am just about to invest more than £4000 in another workstation class machine, but I can't remember when I last bought a game (it might have been Half Life 2 actually..)

Sales of PC titles are overall, a small piece of the market and trends clearly show its shrinking. Whilst tending to have a longer shelf life, sales levels of software titles are very poor.
Piracy doesn't help - its the platform thats the most plagued by software piracy.

The games market now is no longer limited to hardcore gamers. The majority of gamers want simple pick up and play titles. Struggling with hardware incompatibilities, constant driver updates, variable performance, buggy titles, and requirements that often have you spending as much on a single graphics card as for an entire 360 or PS3, are all turn-offs for the majority of gamers.

A properly configured cost no object system is indeed always going to be the cutting edge of technical innovation, and will no doubt continue to be the play-thing of the devoted hard core gamer, who's prepared to put the effort and money in to get the very best technological gaming.

But for most people, its more effort and money than its worth, and when you look at the kind of stunning titles you can play from 360 and PS3 on a 1080P TV, it clear to see why people are buying games in these markets, and not for PC. Its simply less bother, and far less money - the performance per buck is greater.

In many ways, the PC is the past of gaming, and whilst it will always be the top end hardcore purists platform of choice, it will never regain the 'middle ground'.

QuackPot3671d ago (Edited 3671d ago )

Consoles will continue to dominate games sales with PC gaming only for the diehard gamers who are willing to fork out big bucks.

If it wasn't for the memory limitations and having a game OS instead of a traditional OS, the next gen consoles are essentially PCs(CPU, GPU, HDD, ethernet, K & M etc).

It is just a matter of time that the consoles will offer EVERYTHING a PC does. And these consoles will unlikely include a Windows OS but some new one based on Unix or Linux. But you never can underestimate Microsoft to make windows the main OS for the future xbox.

So Gabe can keep dreaming. The future is consoles not PCs; in particular, cheap, future proof PC CONSOLES - one off hardware purchase that will last at least 5 years and not requiring any expensive h/w upgrade.

ChampIDC3671d ago

A lot of PC revenue for companies comes in the form of the free ad-based games and games with in-game stores. Sure, there's a lot of gamers on PCs, but a ton of them are little kids playing Maplestory adn such. Steam has a good thing going for it, but consoles are gradually taking over.

Lethal_Venom3671d ago

I'll take the word of some successful businessmen, then some nobody children on a public board.

Statix3671d ago (Edited 3671d ago )

Or maybe you're just a biased fanboy who only believes what you want to hear?

Lethal_Venom3671d ago

No, I'd just rather listen to people that actually matter.

SaiyanFury3671d ago (Edited 3671d ago )

Well hate to break it to Gabe, but the future is in the living room, and not in some corner of your house. I, myself, spend a fair buck on my PC keeping it upgraded where I can play the latest games, but I spend far more time on the couch in front of my 1080p HDTV with my PS3 and Xbox 360. Most gamers don't want to be bothered with the cost of an expensive PC as upgrades do need to be performed once every year or so to keep with top performance. It was only recently that I started building my own PC where I could play games. I've been playing consoles ever since I was 7 back in the 80s. Considering performance, today's consoles often offer a visual and aural experience that is directly on par, and sometimes above and beyond what a PC can offer. I remember at launch, many people griped about the high cost of the PS3. Well the simple fact of the matter is, that a good gaming grade PC is generally more costly so I'm pretty sure those people would rather invest their money in a console that will have a lifespan of at least 5 years rather than a PC where the hardware will need to be upgraded in 12 months. Just a personal thought there as a hardcore gamer of both console and PC platforms.

titntin3671d ago (Edited 3671d ago )

@Lethal_Venom

Whats your problem dude? This is a site for people to discuss their own take on ideas and speculation in the media..

If youw ere referring to me as I kid I take that as a compliment. I'm 44 and I've been a professional artist/animator making video games for more than 15 years. Of course this doesn't make my opinion any more valid than anyone elses, but its more than the bleating of kid on a public site!

Simply being sucesful doesn't mean he has a hotline to the future any more than anyone else who works in, or is keenly interested in, the buisness.

Gabe famously said the PS3 was doomed and sony should throw it away and start again. His crystal ball was working too well then was it???

Nineball21123671d ago

I agree 110%. I gave up on trying to keep up with the PC requirements.

I could buy a console for less than a nice video card, I don't have a surround sound system with my PC, but I do with my widescreen TV, I don't have to upgrade all the time, I know the games will work out of the box, and it IS more comfortable on the couch.

I think Gabe is way off on this one.

N4g_null3671d ago

What is misleading about 120 million a month from WOW subscriptions? What is miss leading about 15 million steam users? Gamers where not suppose to hear about that meeting because it is the future of gaming unless you want to be like square and wonder what your sales are going to be like because of SONY miss steps on a very competitive HD console.

Simply put they are not playing buy the same rules as every one else most companies have no idea of what or how that future would work until now it seems. You may not play lots of world craft but I know tons of WOW and even starcraft addicts. Those players along will make up for the millions of fanboys who will refuse to buy a game because of a system bias.

Crysis is a triumph tech wise for artist just the way MGS4 was for kojima yet more people would have played it if it was free. Neither game has a really great replay value for most. Then on top of that you are not committed to the game play. He is also right that console gaming has way better PR. Hell I'm sure some of your favorite hardcore gamers on this site might just be getting paid just to do that, if not being paid out right at least you got stock options. I kid....

Believe what you will but I don't see them laying people off and they seem to be wanting to make a Wii game just for the fun of it. What ever flavor cool aid this guy has I want some, I'm guessing "it's great business plan green".

Just imagine how many people would have bought MGS4 if they didn't have to get a PS3 for $500-600. I understand most gamers are not worried about such things and only want their console to win.

Also Tin what are you putting in your box that's going to make it £4000 in US cash that's about $7000 dollar I think. Another question what are you going to use it for?

N4g_null3671d ago

Hey your an artist also great! Gabe does have his points and I'd rather be working with some one like him than against him. Truthfully the PS3 was still born and nursed to life by believers of the many promises and hype that sony drops on the masses.

"Gabe famously said the PS3 was doomed and sony should throw it away and start again. His crystal ball was working too well then was it???"

Truthfully he was telling the truth. SONY could be on top RIGHT now! but they are not and 20k above the xbox 360 on avg is not good. The xbox 360 has some great games but what has come out lately? And all they could get was 20k yes MGS did a nice couple 100K and fell off yet the game still sales. If you remember that exactly what the GC did to the xbox 360 till the end. The xbox is a fricken zombie man and bills money is the life blood LOL. The problem with having fans is they will be let down sooner or later and when they are they will hopefully leave in peace yet most will bash your system because that's what fan do. The PS3 is not good for developers is what he is trying to say. It is also in direct competition with steam and can not hope to provide the revenue that they currently make. What is the highest selling PS3 game?

Steam is a console in a since and it works on a phantom install base. If he gets what he wants he will also have content that people want to pay monthly for. If he can get that content I don't mind paying yet I don't need trophies. Free to pay and ads that enable that are going to be big.
It's like movies you see product placement yet movies only last a few weeks or a few month in box office games can go on forever it seems I mean the PC version of quake war has the next UFC match on the wall I didn't even notice it till my brother showed me and hell I though that was cool because it was some thing I want to see any way. Yet that same poster can be a victoria secret model if they want to the next week. In games you would get a patch in good online games it's downloaded in the games engine.

Maybe you don't like gabe or you think he is too fat. He doesn't have a crystal ball he just doesn't go along with the rape train that many sheep love to ride for what ever reason. I also understand the argument that you want to play in the living room. I got a PC there too every thing is wireless also. Hell that's what I do with my old PCs. I'm not sure what your problem is with Gabe maybe you work on PS3 games I don't know but It would be nice to work on what you want to rather than what you have to. That's a big jump though. Hey nice talking to you man and good luck out there! You should come to the states the pay is way better over here for game artist as long as you don't work for lucas!

titntin3671d ago

@scissor_runner

thanks for your comments mate - its all opinion and you have every right to yours!

Your right I do think Gabe is over opinionated, but hey, I'm not alone in that view in the dev communitty, right! ??:) In fact Gabe wrote his opinion specifically to counter all the opinions and articles and analysis which specifically agrees with how I feel, so I'm definately not alone in my conclussions. How much intesting PC stuff will be shown at E3 this year compared with , say, 5 years ago?

You asked a few questions so will answer you! The PC I'm about to get it a Quad core Xeon, 8gig ram 3.5 TB (but raid 1 for data security), and a serious FireGL pro card - I need proper Workstation performance and you gotta pay for that. Gamer cards are fast for shaders but not too hot on pro work. I also need proper 10 bit output as I'm currently doing a feature film and 24 bit graphics is not good enough for film work. So you gotta spend about £1K to get a good graphics card for what I do.

I work on games titles for all platforms, Playstation, 360, Wii and Cube and plenty of PC titles - many AAA games over the years. they are all good and I have and use all platforms including every hand held. I had invites to the states dude, but I'm married and love life here in the UK. My brother is in LA though!

MANCREEP3671d ago

"...the rape train that many sheep love to ride..."

I. Just. Shat.

Dude, I have had the worst day ever. Usually coming to N4G is a hassle b/c its hard to sort thru all the crap, to find decent opinions and tips on where I can find more information I am interested in. So, here I am at work, going thru the motions, wishing I was at home(NEED SLEEP). And then I found that segment in your comment about Gabe Newell. At first it was a insane giggle....but then the "mental image" hit. Soon after, a sudden burst of gas left my anus, forced out by the constant tensing-up of my abdominal muscles(laughing). But something was hitching a ride on that methane pony. Now, I am at home. And its not because I am off early. Its because I shat my pants. Not alot. Just a smudge. Am I embarrassed? Not at all.
Next time something terrible in my life happens, I'll be prepared and will make it thru. Thanks, honestly.

N4g_null3671d ago

Nice rig yet I don't think I'll be updating right yet again. I'm waiting to see what the next wave of professional cards are going to do. Good luck on the films man! Nice to see people branching out. The first wave of HD stuff is going to kill you though LOL. I'm betting my money on a really sick GPU setup coming out with the current move to shader support in the big hitters. You may not be able to wait though and I understand. I never can either when I need equipment.

I don't mind gabe though. He can say what ever he wants and it does not phase me unless I get a contract with him. No need to roast him when his stuff is obviously taking off. Most people hate him for the PS3 remarks and that's about it. I guess if he was slim people would let him criticize more things also. I don't care about those things though because an artist needs money! He seems to have a plan that's doing pretty well.

It take a strong opinion to be a winner in this game guys sheep are most likely employees and you know it. If gabe thinks it will not work for him then that's that.

DeadlyFire3670d ago

I myself see PC gaming as the perfect platform that is and always has been the best of the best and likely will continue. PC gaming has slumped over the past few years in some areas like the US, but not there major territories. China, Korea, EU, and few other areas have big online populations. It will not die though. It will adapt and change to its market. PCs change first as well before consoles.

Valve is right about the PC and the console markets. Microsoft doesn't play a big role in supporting the PC market and until they do console gamers will tell everyone that the market is dead when its not. They are not the only ones to blame though. AMD, Intel, IBM, NVIDIA also play a role. Valve is the only company out there with its own internal PC server with downloads, anti-piracy, and server and mod support all linked into it. Since XP Microsoft has been solely focused on the X-box and until that favoritism goes away then noone will look at facts of the PC market.

I don't know about you but 260 Million active Gamers on the PC vs the how many on the PS3(13.68) + X360(19.41) + Wii(28.07) = 61.16 Million + PS2(115.36) = 176.52 + about 80 Million Gamecubes and Xboxs sold = 256.52 Million. So last generation + this generation still doesn't add up to the number of PC gamers in the world. You can't say that doesn't dwarf the console population. 260 Million compared to the 61.16 Million new console owners with even some playing the old consoles still it doesn't add up to the number of PC gamers out there right now. I know all owners of the last generation don't play the new consoles just yet as well and that a majority of new console owners don't play their old ones that much. That's 76.48% of gamers that prefer the PC over the new consoles globally.

Its not that expensive to keep an up to date PC. You don't need a new GPU and updated PC every year to play new games. You don't need to pay $1500 for a new PC either every time you buy a new one either. The newer Graphics cards and GPUs are getting cheaper as well with each generation now that they are moving to multi-chip and multi-core designs. You can find a good Dual core or Quad-core for $100-200 bucks and a new graphics card for $100-500. Motherboards range from $50-300. Rest is under $100 a piece for Good Power supply, Good amount of Memory, Hard Drive, Disc drive, any other small parts.

Consoles will copy few more features with their next generation in 2010-2012. Not sure on which though. Sure consoles have Netflix and stuff coming to them, but PC users have that as well. Its not built into something like X-box Live or PSN, but its on the net and available to us.

DeadlyFire3670d ago (Edited 3670d ago )

- Delete

+ Show (12) more repliesLast reply 3670d ago
Snoozer2823671d ago

I class consoles as un-upgradable PCs. They have their own OS, graphics cards, hard drvives, games etc. The only real difference is you play with a control pad at a high res.

Drekken3671d ago

The good thing about consoles is it is an equal playing field for devs to create and for players playing online.

When playing games online on PC there is always someone with the advantage because they have a better rig. With consoles everyone is equal which makes it preferable to me over PC's.

Once KB/M become more standardized with consoles this argument is moot. I would rather know my machine is equal to everyone, plus I'm in my lazyboy playing on my big screen. Cant beat that!

Lethal_Venom3671d ago

well my chair is better than yours, I guess the experience isn't as equal as you thought.

Drekken3671d ago

LOL!!!

I remember a while back playing CS my game was totally off and I couldnt figure it out. Well, I finally figured out someone messed with my comp. chair and it was lower then usual. I put the chair back up and started killing as usual. SOOO DAMMIT, you have a point! hahaha

thereapersson3671d ago

So in a way, he's right. He's still a fatass whiney little punk who stays way too far into his own development comfort zone, however.

perseus3671d ago

Nononono.

He's a fatass, whiney BIG punk. And he smells. Like doritos. And sour milk.

juuken3671d ago

Um...perseus, have you been sniffing the guy's clothes or something? xD
j/k

But that was funny.

jessupj3671d ago

He's right in this just like he was right that the ps3 has no future and it's a piece of crap. Just one look at mgs4 makes him look like the biggist a$$ right now.

Gabe is a stupid, closed-minded, arrogant d!ckhead. True story...

Swiftfox3671d ago

I will agree on the fact that the PC with its cutting edge technoligy is they leading factor in graphics and communications properties. However, when all is said and done, nothing has changed on the PC except these feilds. Innovation in game design has taken a back seat to Graphics Cards and Internet Connections.

Also, to me, there is a draw to console gaming in the software alone. When I buy a console I know in 5 years or so I will be able to buy the newest game and play it on that console. I wouldn't even get half that life out of a new PC.

The upkeep is massive, and to the faithful it's well worth it. For me however, I will stay with consoles becuase I get a more complete gaming experience.

Bazookajoe_833671d ago

It´s kinda hard to play splitscreen on pc and you cant play at the same time as youre relaxing in the couch..

deeznuts3671d ago

I hear this all the time. If you got a comfy chair, why not relax on the chair as well? Just get a better chair.

They're both good (PC vs. Console) they both have their faults, they both have their place.

Now, just hide your twinkies when Newell is around ...

N4g_null3671d ago

Or just use HDMI get your self a wireless key board get a couch and a adjustable desk for serious FPS gaming and your fine. Yet you can always use controllers and even config your own button layouts.

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