Game Stash: The Death of PC Gaming

Steve Butts

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Game Stash: The Death of PC Gaming

Why it?s not true, and why you would cry if it was.

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Treblaine

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Jul 25, 2008
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"The open development environment means that the PC catalog is so full of mediocre titles that it's sometimes impossible to separate the good from the bad."

Uuuhh... Metacritic?

What a ridiculous statement, it is EASY to find the good games on PC from friends, forums, reviews, magazines and websites like this. My problem is I find TOO many great PC games, I literally don't have enough time to play them all.

(frankly you aren't taking a very even handed approach considering all the shovelware on Wii and Xbox 360, Microsoft or Nintendo have yet to refuse a licence to release a game on their console merely because the game is crap)

Console games are easy to START, but all gamers still have to work to sort the wheat from the chaff of what games are actually worth playing, no one can just pick a random game and hope it is good.

Also what's all this jibber-jabber about drivers and patches... have you not heard of Steam?
 

tautologico

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Apr 5, 2010
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For games developed by big studios, yes, the risks involved are an incentive to keeping to well-known formulas and mass-market appeal.

But aren't the experimentation and niche-marketing being addressed (at least in part) by the indies now? The indie game developing scene takes advantage of the lower barrier of entry the PC provides.
 

tautologico

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Treblaine said:
Also what's all this jibber-jabber about drivers and patches... have you not heard of Steam?
I too don't agree with the argument that it's harder to find good games on the PC. It's also hard to find them on consoles, and on the other hand it's not very hard at all with the internet around.

But regarding Steam, it patches automatically but it will not solve driver problems or other system configuration problems. Case in point: I bought Batman: Arkham Asylum from Steam and couldn't play it. After looking for information around, I found out I had to manually install the PhysX drivers from nVidia, and only then the game started working.
 

Andy_Panthro

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May 3, 2009
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The biggest boon to the PC is indie developers.

Especially for those of us that like old-school adventure games or RPGs.

PC Gaming cannot die so long as there are people willing to make new, interesting or niche games for it. The AAA games may be fewer now, but there's still plenty of other games around.

Just as we hear about the new XCOM, there's also Xenonauts [http://www.xenonauts.com/], The Two Sides [http://ufotts.ninex.info/] and others.

As we hear about Dragon Age 2, theres the alternative of Eschalon: Book II [http://basiliskgames.com/], Age of Decadence [http://www.irontowerstudio.com/], A Zombie RPG and more.

We may also be waiting for Diablo 3, but there's also Torchlight, Din's Curse and Grim Dawn [http://www.grimdawn.com/].

And of course while Activision are generally trying to out-do EA in the nasty stakes, we get The Silver Lining [http://www.tsl-game.com/] released for free!

Good times for all.
 

porschecm2

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I'm enjoying your articles so far, Steve, and this is one is as good as the last few. I couldn't agree more. Just earlier I was having a conversation about how "broader appeal" is just another way of saying "dumbing down" or "homogenizing" a game or genre.

They still have yet to prove, however, than an RTS game can work anywhere but on PC. Long live RTS!
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Treblaine said:
Also what's all this jibber-jabber about drivers and patches... have you not heard of Steam?
Steam brings with it its own special problems [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/7827-Stolen-Pixels-211-This-is-Not-Funny].
That has happened to me far more times than it should in the 6 years I've used Steam.

OT: PC gaming isn't dieing, but Publishers sure seem to be trying their hardest to kill it.

PC's aren't consoles, and publishers/developers need to stop treating it like a console.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Consoles are comfortable and rigid, PCs are tough and flexible.

Problem being that the big companies are trying to force everything to be more rigid.
(Note how all 3 consoles only let you go onto the Internet via their products: Something that Micro$oft were dragged through court for trying on the PC)

PC gaming isn't dying, but there's enough assassins being sent after it. All of whom have been taught to chant "complex and expensive".
 

Caliostro

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Jan 23, 2008
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Steve Butts said:
Steve Butts is a dying genre.
One of a kind.

I like you Steve. I really do. I think your 'stache has magical good article writing properties. Hang on to it.

Anyways, PC gaming has been declared "dying" or "dead" since the 80s... Hasn't gone anywhere yet. That said, it is taking a bit of a beating lately, mostly due to publisher's own ignorance and greed. Things like Ubisoft's DRM scam, leaving out dedicated servers, holding out on mod tools... Then they complain they have poor sales. It's kind of the equivalent a guy pissing against the wind and complaining he's getting wet.

Hey guys, want to sell a lot more on the PC? Stop treating your legitimate customer's like crap. Stop trying to nickel and dime us every chance you get, and stop treating everyone like criminals. Pirates will get their free games anyways, you're not stopping them, you're just fucking with the legitimate customers. Take every measure you can to stop piracy, but not at the cost of your customers. What good's a game that is impossible to pirate, if nobody buys it because it's also impossible to play?


But I rant... Good article Steve. I predict PC gaming will continue happily "dying" for the rest of our entire lives and then some...
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Treblaine said:
"The open development environment means that the PC catalog is so full of mediocre titles that it's sometimes impossible to separate the good from the bad."

Uuuhh... Metacritic?

What a ridiculous statement, it is EASY to find the good games on PC from friends, forums, reviews, magazines and websites like this. My problem is I find TOO many great PC games, I literally don't have enough time to play them all.
I think this ties in part of what Steve was saying (and forgive me if I misinterpreted); some of his favorite games have a very niche appeal. Thus some games he LOVES could have low or average metacritic scores for instance.

Metacritic generally favors AAA blockbusters. Firstly, games such as Dwarf Fortress or Nethack or other great free/indie games aren't even on metacritic. However, imagine if they WERE: These games probably appeal to 5% of the people who would review them or possibly less, and would garner very low ratings. Yet these games have two very dedicated, even rabid, fan bases. Some still claim Nethack is the best game ever made.

____________________________________________


In regards to the original article:
This was well written, Steve. One thing I noticed though, you're REALLY playing it safe trying not to offend anyone with this article. I get that's probably what you intended, but it would great to hear your views in a more... direct manner :p

Anyways, here's hoping on some more PC articles in the future!
 

V8 Ninja

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I'm really starting to love your articles Steve. They're a nice and refreshing addition to The Escapist. As for the actual article itself, I agree. The PC is much more unique than any other console out there. But the problem nowadays is that companies making games for the PC are ignoring what makes games on the PC so great. Flexibility, user created content, and independent communities; these are what make PC gaming so amazing and diverse. And a majority of companies are completely ignoring the potential of these things. Oh, and there's the whole DRM scam. I hate that too.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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PC is always going to be viable I think. Its great for releaseing those small, casual games...and then the over-clocked behemoths too! Also, with all the flexibility, I think PC gaming, although sometimes overshadowe by the console generations, which, is a shame
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Its hard to see PC as a gaming platform when companies like EA and Ubisoft go out of their way to invent and use crippling DRM.

The best thing about PCs is when a new console comes out and is touted the best thing available, 6 months later new PC hardware comes out and the new console looks like a turtle by comparison.

Games on consoles tend to be less buggy tho...
 

Timbydude

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Jul 15, 2009
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Wow. This is one of the best articles I've read on The Escapist.

I do love playing games on my PC more than my consoles, but I'm not oblivious to what's going on in the market. PC gaming is in way more danger than it ever has been. If you need evidence, just post that "Happily dying since 1985" picture. Yes, I consider that to be supporting evidence for the argument that it actually is dying. There are very few recent games on there, and some of them aren't even PC exclusive to begin with!

Keep in mind that in gaming's early days, there were very few large companies dominating the market, like we have today. Most games were made by incredibly small teams, and the risk of making a game was greatly reduced. "Indie" meant nothing; almost every game was developed by what we would call an "indie" studio today.

That also meant that the people with the best ideas were mostly part of new, smaller development teams. Now, people with awesome ideas find themselves at the forefront of a large team dedicated to making AAA blockbusters. The indie scene is the only thing that's really tailored to the PC anymore (aside from the games of a few select developers), and in the last four years, I've only seen one PC-exclusive indie game (Aquaria) that came even close to matching the quality of a commercial title.

PC gaming isn't going to decline much further, but I can't see it getting much better either. The PC crowd is more or less doomed to live off of mediocre console ports and countless Valve/Blizzard games until something drastic changes.
 

Quad08

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Dexter111 said:
Thinking about it, are there even any games on the consoles that are "free"? You know... games made out of passion and fun and not with the sole factor of just making lots of money? xD
So in order for a game to be made out of "passion and fun" it needs to be free? I think thats a rather insulting statement to many of the designers who work hard on making games.

OT: Very interesting article, definitely going to have to go back and read your previous articles Steve. Looking forward to your next one!
 

Gaderael

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Andy_Panthro said:
The biggest boon to the PC is indie developers.

Especially for those of us that like old-school adventure games or RPGs.

PC Gaming cannot die so long as there are people willing to make new, interesting or niche games for it. The AAA games may be fewer now, but there's still plenty of other games around.

Just as we hear about the new XCOM, there's also Xenonauts [http://www.xenonauts.com/], The Two Sides [http://ufotts.ninex.info/] and others.

As we hear about Dragon Age 2, theres the alternative of Eschalon: Book II [http://basiliskgames.com/], Age of Decadence [http://www.irontowerstudio.com/], A Zombie RPG and more.

We may also be waiting for Diablo 3, but there's also Torchlight, Din's Curse and Grim Dawn [http://www.grimdawn.com/].

And of course while Activision are generally trying to out-do EA in the nasty stakes, we get The Silver Lining [http://www.tsl-game.com/] released for free!

Good times for all.
Dear lord, Grim Dawn looks fuckin' sexy! And from the guys that made Titan Quest, one of my new favorite games (yeah, I'm a little behind)? Fuck yeah, I cannot wait. Thanks for bringing this game to everyone's attention.
 

GodKlown

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What bugs me is when they port a console title to PC, then add small things to try and make it unique and desirable to the PC gamers. Take GTA4... they added nothing significant to the game, other than changing the resolution and improving the graphics. So what? It's still the same game, just with a prettier picture. Did this make anyone who bought it on 360 or PS3 want to reinvest in the title for PC?
DLC is really the bane of my existence. Remember when devs used to give that sort of thing away to gamers who liked playing their games? With all this cross-platforming going on, they don't want to piss off the console gamers by releasing DLC free to PC gamers just because they prefer to game that way, so they generally screw everyone equally. I'm fine with that, it's just business, but what happened to the old days? How long will it be before they start charging people to update their games to the current version?