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Opinion: Who Killed PC Gaming?

IndustryGamers writes:

"Before anyone gets up in arms about this, we know for a fact that PC gaming is evolving right now and not dying off. There's a well established indie scene on PCs and casual games have become a booming business. Online games, particularly titles like World of Warcraft and MapleStory, have taken off and browser-based games might become a force to be reckoned with very soon. And yes, there's still a dedicated group of gamers out there that swear by their gaming PC. Certainly, as long as PCs exist, people will play games on them.

However, when we talk about the "death of PC gaming" anyone who follows the industry should know what we mean. On retail shelves, less and less space is allocated to PC titles. Increasingly, multi-platform developers are treating the PC like a secondary priority. The PC used to get many games before consoles, and now it's often the other way around. And then there are games like Gears of War 2 which won't even be coming to PC at all. Core gaming on the PC isn't what it once was, and the situation isn't likely to get much better with time. According to NPD, PC games totaled just $701 million in 2008, which is down 14 percent from 2007.

So what's killed core PC gaming at retail? We look at the prime suspects."

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2962d ago
Pandamobile2962d ago

Technology killed PC retail games.

Why would I want to leave my house and go to a crowded mall only to find the game I'm looking for is out of stock at EB Games?

I'll just buy my game off Steam or D2D and I'll have it within an hour or two. No disks to scratch, no serials to lose. Digital distribution is just better and is widely adopted by PC gamers.

Rainstorm812962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

Once consoles became more marketable, more profitable & more powerful it was over. Now majority of devs are making console games. Consoles are cheaper to buy than a top PC gaming rig and you get more variety in Games. Consoles killed the Arcade as well

Edit:

Maybe not killed but definately wounded

Serg2962d ago

Consoles haven't killed anything. They have dampen the PC yes, but the PC is here to stay. I wouldn't trade my PC for anything and yes, I own a console as well.

Traveler2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

PC gaming is alive and well. If people were more aware of all the advantages of PC gaming I think a lot more people would be enjoying it. I like consoles too, but the kind of quality and support you get with PC games is beyond what you can get on the consoles.

FantasyStar2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

It costs about $400-$500 to build a rig, while it would be guessing around $200-$500 (360 and PS3 respectively) to buy a console. Let's break it down and see how much it really does cost to get the optimal experience. (average costs everyone can agree with)

PC Gaming (TOTAL:$589)

Rig - $400
LCD Monitor - $150
Speakers - $15
USB Keyboard - $12
USB Laser Mouse(<1000DPI) - $12

Console Gaming (TOTAL: $600)

Console system(w/ controller) - $200
HDTV 32" - $400

As you can see, the costs are about the same. And this is just "Bare optimal". If we start factoring the luxury items like 5.1 Speaker setups, extra controllers, upgrading PC parts, repair expenses. It's just going to go back and forth. One can argue that console repairs are more expensive. One can also argue that console add-ons are more pricey. But, one can also argue that a "good-enough" PC exceed the $400 budget. One can also argue electricity costs as well. Either way, it just goes back and forth. So let's drop the "price" argument eh?

Pandamobile2962d ago

People want cheap and easy alternatives to PC gaming. That's essentially what this console gen is.

Cheap, user friendly PCs.

I'll be a PC gamer my whole life. Sure I'll own a console or two, but nothing beats the high end PC experience.

Traveler2962d ago

Actually, you don't really even need the monitor or the speakers, since a lot of people nowadays are hooked up to a 1080P HDTV.

The truth is, you can build or buy a gaming PC for around $400, plug into your HDTV and sound system, and have graphics and performance that put the consoles to shame.

Most of the multiplatform games are available on the PC and usually cost less to boot. Not to mention you get to play all the games that are exclusive to the PC.

Rainstorm812962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

Where are you getting a Gaming PC for under 600? link please.

I mean a PC that can compete with Killzone 2 graphics. Besides its about the game lineup that makes me like Consoles and the fact i dont have to upgrade til a new console.

Jinxstar2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

Fantasy star. PS3 is 400$ respectively...

Also PC gaming is here to stay. I love my PC as well. Great gaming platform. Can't wait to load up bioshock 2 on this puppy.

FantasyStar2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

Just build one yourself. I built one for $400 very recently actually for my nephew.

2GB of DDR2 667 RAM (or PC 5300) is like $20
A decent GFX Card like an 8800GT is about $100
The 250GB HDD was $60
The mid-size ATX Case(CM Elite) was $40 w/ 500W PSU (I would prefer to buy my own PSU from ThermalTake, but whatever)
I got a nice AMD Biostar mATX for like $50
I bought a AMD 5050e 45W for about $60
Got a card reader for $12
Bought a Samsung DVD-Writer for $25

W/ tax and shipping costs. It came to about $400. It's not impossible at all. This rig can play CoDWaW with all settings at max w/ 4xAA at 12x10. It can play Crysis at Very High w/ .cfg setups playing at 12x10 w/ 0xAA. Sure I would desire for better results, but it's a decent rig for most things. AA is a luxury most of the time. IMO, once you start gaming at 16x10: AA is hardly necessary anymore.

EDIT: Killzone 2 graphics? That's a matter of opinion. Both games look good enough for me and far exceed the competition. For me, there can be more than one-winner when it comes to graphics.

@Jinxstar

Yah, I know the 80GB PS3 is $400. I was thinking about the 160GB model. I just wanted to go from the lowest to the highest costing console. Notice how I used the Arcade 360 MSRP to represent the lowest costing console on my list. I personally cannot build a decent PC rig for less than $400 without sacrificing stuff. But I'm sure someone out there is talented enough to hunt for bundle deals on CPU+Mobo combos of that nature.

Tony240ZT2962d ago

I have a gaming PC, but it constantly needs attention to keep running smoothly. Share a few files, browse a few web pages and you have a virus infested gaming rig that needs to be re-imaged to get the performance you had on day one of OS install.
I'd say it's solid for 3 months, but then needs some kind of attention that is taking away from my gaming time. Much like a car's required maintenance. I really like just popping a disc in and playing. My PS3's performance hasn't degraded since the day I purchased it. I vacuum it occasionally, and make sure the discs I insert are clean. A single source firmware upgrade is all that is required as needed without any thought on my part to install it.

reddevilyi2962d ago

Dude, I know the whole "It costs 3000 dollars to build a gaming quality PC!!!!" argument is bunk, but don't come in here and tell me you can build a PC that's going to run new games at decent settings for $500. It's going to be $600-$800 for a decent rig.

DuneBuggy2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

Well assuming this graph is acurate,the console market has risen and the PC game market has fallen.So somthings going on.

I'd like to respectfully disagree with Fantasystar as far as including a HDTV into the cost of owning a console. That same HDTV is probably already in your living room showing "Happy Days" reruns, so I dont see factoring that as part of consoles price. You dont even HAVE to have a HDTV really (but try playing Dead Rising without it)
Most people buy a computer monitor to use as a...computer monitor.
A TV tends to have a broader role in the living room if theres a console hooked to it.

JsonHenry2962d ago

NPD does not even come close to accurately reporting PC sales and digital distribution. By their own admission.

IdleLeeSiuLung2962d ago (Edited 2962d ago )

I don't know what sites or programs you are using (warez maybe?) to get constant viruses and malwares. In my many years of computing I have only encountered viruses/trojans a handful of time.

The key is don't download files you don't know where they come from and stop visiting those questionable sites (the ones with nude people on them).

The issue with PC gaming is cost. Sure you can build a computer for $400, but that often excludes OS cost as well as upgrade cost in short time. The thing with PC gaming is the developers are in race to get the best looking game without regard for users PC spec, but rather ideal specs. A console purchase will generally last you 4-5 years easily. With a PC that is probably every other year if you are a gamer. Top that with constant maintenance and dealing with hardware incompatibilities. I would just take a console instead and the couch seating position is much more relaxed than PC. The only thing I miss on my console is a good RTS.... Halo Wars is getting closer, but not the equivalent experience yet.

Viper72962d ago

well there are many things that PC gamers might accuse in when talking about "death of Pc gaming"

1. Consoles
While consoles still stay overly simple when talking about games, you just pop the CD in and it will always work. While you never know in Pc gaming where theres just a small thing in your hardware or software that may interrupt with launching the game or interrupting with the installation. With consoles, ppl who want to play can play witouth any real problems can do that.

2. Pirates
Ppl downloading games illegally from online trough different methods doesn't only hurt the sales but also brings out these ridiculous methods to counter piratism. In worst chase scenario you need to "CRACK" a retail copy of the game for it to work just because of DRM or some problem your computer or OS has with the piracy protection mechanism or software on the game..

Traveler2962d ago

You can buy something like this http://cgi.ebay.com/GAMING-... off ebay, if building it yourself intimidates you, and it will play most games at a higher graphical quality than what you get on the consoles.

Look, I love my PS3 for all the games that it has that can't be played anywhere else, but when you are talking about multiplatform games or PC exclusives the PC can't be beat.

AhemZasan2962d ago

I think it's pretty much the exact same thing that "killed the retail music business". Why buy a CD when you can just access whatever you want, whenever you want, and at a reasonable price.

It's far more convenient. You download games to your PC and then play them right then and there. With music you download the songs and dump 'em onto your MP3 player. Simple. It's no coincidence that CDs are being phased out right along with PC games on retail shelves.

Of course we shouldn't bring up the aspect of piracy. That would be naughty. I'm sure only a tiny percentage of the population actually partakes in such dubious activity.

evrfighter2962d ago

oh gawd not this again. LOOK. NPD cover's only boxed copies sold. Now ask any friend, cousin, anyone you know who's a pc gamer and isn't an old fart (those guys still don't believe in Digital Distribution) and ask them where they buy their pc games...

Steam is the most common answer you'll hear.

I bought Arma II, Cod WAW, ALL of Valve's fps's over steam. I havn't gone to a store to buy a boxed copy of a game in about 5 years.

NPD doesn't know the sales of steam, impulse, EA downloader, Direct2Drive.

I won't say this is a writer fishing for hits. But merely a writer who didn't do any research.

Serg2962d ago

Also NPD is NA only... the PC has an installbase of.. uhm, a billion people? Not all gamers, that should be clear, but 200 million gamers worldwide should be a somewhat accurate guess. Did you get the keyword? You give up? Ok here it is: WORLDWIDE. The PC market is far more popular in Europe and Asia so NPD can get lost on this topic.

Also piracy is a popular excuse for developers producing shovelware. OMG our game didn't sell as we expected, we even rushed it on the market with bugs crawling all over it and didn't bother to polish it in any way and it still hasn't sold well! These "facts" that 80-90% of PC gamers are pirating the games is just bull****.

I do pirate a game occasionally, like Terminator Salvation, downloaded it, tried to run it for an hour (Installer making trouble, on the legit copies as well, so much for quality I "should" pay for), finally it was running. 20 minutes later I hit the Exit button and deinstalled it because just like I thought, I didn't like it, at all. So, why should I buy or rent a game to try it? No demo, installation wasn't working at all, poorly optimised, didn't run smoothly in full settings on my rig (which is capable of running Crysis with 40 FPS on 'high'), then I read it is only 4 hours short and after testing it, clunky controls and unpolished gameplay. The damn pirates are responsible for bad sales! Not our bug infected shovelware!

free2game3652962d ago

Consoles aren't more profitable than PC games, as time has gone on this generation has shown that. On the hardware side "next gen" hardware manufacturers Sony and Microsoft have both LOST billions of dollars on each respective console. Publishers aren't doing very well either, THQ for example lost money last year, EA had an increase in money coming in to the company, but lost money. All of this is because the profit margins for console games is much lower. They're much more expensive to produce and it takes a lot more to make them profitable. As per the next console generation, you're not going to see a large hardware increase like you did this generation because of it. Nintendo made too much money on marketing only slightly upgraded hardware centered around a gimmick. When Microsoft and Sony and losing money on theirs, they're just going to follow the money.

+ Show (17) more repliesLast reply 2962d ago
xwabbit2962d ago

I think this is quite obvious don't u think...

Roper3162962d ago

noone, been on steam lately??

JonnyBigBoss2962d ago

PC gaming isn't dead, but it has had a huge decline. Yes, the article points out some things that people overlook.

TheIneffableBob2962d ago

Declined in some markets, grown in others. PC gaming overall has actually gotten larger, primarily in the Asian and European markets.

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