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PC Games Giant Rouses From Slumber 164

Posted by Zonk
from the why-do-we-even-have-magical-weak-points dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Rocky Mountain news has a piece up looking at the revival of PC gaming." From the article: "'PC gaming used to take up the entire store,' said Ken Levine, president and creative director for Irrational Games. 'Now PC gaming get's a tiny little shelf. Literally you have a fraction of the shelf space.' So which is it for the future of PC gaming? Is it a dinosaur marching toward the tar pits or a sleeping giant ready to wake and reclaim its past glory? The industry's top advocates say there are plenty of problems keeping PC gaming down - but just as much potential that portend its inevitable rebirth."
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PC Games Giant Rouses From Slumber

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  • Sqrt(-1) (Score:5, Funny)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:21PM (#14743348) Homepage
    "Now PC gaming get's a tiny little shelf. Literally you have a fraction of the shelf space."

    The day that PC games do not literally have a fraction of the shelf space in a store is the day the universe faces some serious, serious issues.

    • It seems that he's using the second definition of 'literally.' [webster.com] Y'know, the one that means the exact opposite of the first one.
      • That's actually an incorrect usage.

        From the OED:

        (3)b. Used to indicate that the following word or phrase must be taken in its literal sense.

        Now often improperly used to indicate that some conventional metaphorical or hyperbolical phrase is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense. (So, e.g., in quot. 1863.)

        1687 DRYDEN Hind & P. III. 107 My daily bread is litt'rally implor'd. 1708 POPE Let. to H. Cromwell 18 Mar., Euery day with me is literally another yesterday for it is exactly the same. 1761-2 HU
        • Oh, I fully agree. I personally consider the OED to be more authoritative. But in the US, many defer to Webster's. I find it humorous that they consider the second usage of the word to be totally acceptable.
          • Re:Sqrt(-1) (Score:3, Insightful)

            by timster (32400)
            Merriam-Webster shows a better understanding of the fact that authority in linguistics is mythological. If you actually read the definition for "literally", it contains the following:

            "usage Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary."
            • That alternate use of literally is literally stupid.
            • What, are you literally incapable of letting a joke be a joke?

              *grin*

              • David St. Hubbins: We say, "Love your brother." We don't say it really, but...

                Nigel Tufnel: We don't literally say it.

                David St. Hubbins: No, we don't say it.

                Nigel Tufnel: We don't really, actually mean it.

                David St. Hubbins: No, we don't believe it either, but...

                Nigel Tufnel: But we're not racists.

                David St. Hubbins: But that message should be clear.
            • So it means either one thing or the complete opposite and if it means the latter it's either hyperbole or not? So effectively it has no meaning at all?
      • The second definition is just a figurative one.

        Duh.

    • The day that PC games do not literally have a fraction of the shelf space in a store is the day the universe faces some serious, serious issues.

      You should be ashamed! The fact that you did not complete your joke with a reference to the company's name, Irrational Computing, is unforgivable.
    • Hey slashdot, read it [paulgraham.com] and apply it to this article. In fact, apply it to every other article on /.

      Thanks.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:28PM (#14743402)
    "Shelf space" is obsolete - the last few computer games I bought were 100% pure electrons. (I paid online too, of course, before downloading.) The "shelf space" battle will always tilt toward the console-playing, Best-Buy-shopping, mouth-breathing masses. Show me "units sold" or "revenue per unit" and I'll pay more attention.
    • And how much can you get for those electrons on Ebay?

      I wouldn't buy electrons unless they're much cheaper than the boxed version. The used boxed version. There are too many overhyped and overpriced games out there. If you waste your money on a bad game wouldn't you rather have a physical copy you can resell?
      • "And how much can you get for those electrons on Ebay?"

        If it's less than $25 or so, is it really worth the Ebay hassle?

        "I wouldn't buy electrons unless they're much cheaper than the boxed version. The used boxed version. There are too many overhyped and overpriced games out there. If you waste your money on a bad game wouldn't you rather have a physical copy you can resell?"

        Every game available I've found in electronic-only format has also had a demo version available; if you don't try-before-you-buy

      • Not much but on the upside I'm paying for them by the kilowatthour.
    • by hal9000(jr) (316943) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:20PM (#14743838)
      The "shelf space" battle will always tilt toward the console-playing, Best-Buy-shopping, mouth-breathing masses.

      Not to be a dinosaur, but in the last 20 years, I have seen size of PC games shelf space cycle at least twice. The last big swell was when PC were selling like hot cakes a few years ago. I'd go into EB or even Walmart and somewhere like 75% of the shelf space was devoted to PC games. I think the problem now is that people aren't turning thier PC's as fast as they the "industry" thought they would. In addition, alot of modern games require some serious hardware like sound and viddeo cards that aren't always installed on units. So people don't buy the games because their machines won't run them. Christ, I have a pretty ripping laptop, but I can't play Quake on it.
      • "I have a pretty ripping laptop, but I can't play Quake on it."

        That statement doesn't seem to mesh, either your definition of ripping is different than mine, or you haven't tried to install quake.. and I assume you mean quake4? You too good for 640x480 gaming? :P
      • Christ, I have a pretty ripping laptop, but I can't play Quake on it.

        Do you mean Quake 4? Because I've got a Libretto 100CT [toshiba-dme.co.jp] and it plays Quake just fine.

        And by no stretch of the imagination could that Libretto be called a 'pretty ripping laptop'. It barely runs Windows 2000.

    • Agreed - I think that Steam and demo systems are the way to go. I actually rather like Steam - I don't have to worry about codes or my disks, it's all there. (Yes, there is the issue of "what if the company dies", which is why I have backups, but for the most part Valve's done pretty good.)

      I wanted to play "Silent Storm", and at being unable to find it in stores I've pretty much figured "Eh - later. Maybe." Sure, it's only $20 on Amazon.com, but I'd rather just click, download, go play my DS for a bit,
  • Well, off the top of my head I would say that shelf space is directly proportional to profit. Used console games generate a TON of profit so they are going to be displayed prominantly. With (comparitively) little profit coming from PC games and the non-exsistance of used PC games at stores, it just wouldn't make sense from their perspective to devote alot of valuble eye level shelf space to them. Also, you can walk into EB games and GameStop and buy a console game and the hardware you need to play it on at
  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwheeler01 (625017) <matthew.l.wheeler@gmai l . com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:31PM (#14743443)
    When you have great games like FEAR or Civ IV or HL2 or Battlefield 2 still being produced, you can hardly say that PC games are on the way out. I don't buy the argument that if you're providing less and less shelf space for a product that the product itself is getting marginalized. If customers know it's there they'll seek it out and grab at it. I think the shrinking shelf space is a symptom of pressure to push crappy console games from EA or the fact that the used console games market is where games stores are really making their money and reselling PC games is sort of an area that most retailers would rather tread lightly in if at all.

    Take a look at Walmart. Walmart deals in small margins anyway so they don't care what you buy as long as you're buying. They give just as much shelf space to PC games as they do the each of the major consoles.
    • Fear = Badly coded, should play on system specs far below what it does.
      Civ IV = Memory leakage, lots of memory leakage
      Battlefield 2 = EA likes to change the rules every so often, and makes you pay for expansions you don't want by includeing game changeing items to the regular game though the expansions.
      HL2 = I like

      Hopefully as the first two get ported to consoles the major bugs will get fixed and the games will run better on PCs. The best thing about PC games is that bugs get fixed and stuff gets added, ei
      • HL2 = I like

        Wait a second here. You can point out the problems with the other three games (btw, I think the Civ IV mem leak was pluged in the latest patch, I haven't had a problem with it lately), but completely leave alone the fact that you need internet connectivity to play HL2? Or the fact that the game seems to load agonizingly slow compared with the other three listed games? I mean, you're talking technical issues that I agree with on the other three accounts, but you have to admit that HL2 has som

    • Absolutely true! It isn't that computer games arn't popular or "they're dying". The reason for this trend is that there are a handful of EXTREMELY solid titles out right now, and every gamer is playing those handful of games. WoW, BF2, HL2+Mods are all very popular right now, and they have huge player bases. A half-assed game or a non-multiplayer game isn't going to sell as much anymore. For (most) games to have serious selling potential and longevity, they need a strong multiplayer first! And if not everyt
  • Part of the Problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MorderVonAllem (931645) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:34PM (#14743469)
    I think part of the problem is that whenever I go into Fry's Electronics (i used to work there), there are 100's of games on the shelf. It's hard to weed out the ones that might be interesting to you.

    Also, most of the video games come in fairly large packaging with just a CD. Even the manuals are now in PDF format on the CD. Give me a break. I wanna hold it in my hand and read it.

    Third. Most games only make like 50 cents to a couple bucks profit per game, when stuff like stuffed animals (fry's electronics sells them in the same area) make probably 800%-1000% profit. Not much incentive to give shelf space to a product that doesn't make you that much money in the first place.
  • PC - Console - PC (Score:2, Insightful)

    by prionic6 (858109)
    When will people get it? There is obviusly a cyclic development. When new game consoles come out, PC gaming suffers. When the consoles are a bit outdated, PC gaming will rise again. And so on and so on.
    • Re:PC - Console - PC (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ultranova (717540)

      When will people get it? There is obviusly a cyclic development. When new game consoles come out, PC gaming suffers. When the consoles are a bit outdated, PC gaming will rise again. And so on and so on.

      But there is also a long-term gradual slide towards the death of gaming. The slide is caused by, ironically, technological advance.

      Each game must look better than the previous one, and that means more detailed 3D models. 3D models are slow and difficult to make, and the time needed goes up exponentially

  • Best Buy gives PC games an isle or two which is more than what they offer other indiviual systems. Even Target and Walmart give PC games an isle, compared to a glass case. Usually PC Games get half of the space at Electronics Boutique stores. I don't think there is any merit to the claim.

    I suppose all of that would change if the PC Games would distribute in consistently smaller packages.
    • 1/2 of an EB? What? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wuie (884711)
      The last EB I went to, they only had about 1/6th of the store dedicated to PC gaming.
      • The last EB I went to, they only had about 1/6th of the store dedicated to PC gaming.

        Wouldn't a fraction like that make sense in any case? EB, right now, is going to stock games for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, Gamecube, GBA, DS and PSP - at a minimum. Most also have some space set aside for DVD movies. If PC games are getting a sixth, or even an eighth, of the shelf space - especially considering the vast number of people who own PS2s and GBAs - then they're probably doing all right...
    • In my area, there's two EB games and two Gamestops in close proximity to me. In one gamestop, PC games get one 4'x5' shelf in the entire store. The other Gamestop has ZERO PC games (the sales guy said they had some promo copies of Quake 4, but literally could not sell me a computer game). Of the EB games, one has about 1/4 shelf space devoted to PC games (this is where I generally buy them), and the other has 'virtually' no PC games. No new titles, just an aging rack of left overs on clearance. Major retail
    • I suppose all of that would change if the PC Games would distribute in consistently smaller packages.

      What, DVD boxes aren't small enough? What do you want, jewel cases?
      • What, DVD boxes aren't small enough?

        True, PC game boxes are smaller than they used to be. They used to be over 8x10 inches (20x25 cm) in size; now they're like double-thick DVD cases, but they're still double-thick, and that extra thickness isn't even taken up by a printed manual.

    • Best Buy gives PC games an isle or two which is more than what they offer other indiviual systems.

      I didn't know Best Buy owned islands and built stores around them.
  • I would think that high costs are a big problem with PC games, both high development costs (having to develop for a huge variety of hardware combinations) and high costs to play -- PCs that play the latest games at respectable levels are expensive compared to consoles.

    Note: I own no consoles and many PC games.
    • by ivan256 (17499) * on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:45PM (#14743571)
      I think the complaints about piracy are actually developers being optimistic that there is actually somebody out there running their buggy pieces of trash.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        ironically, they may actually be correct about piracy being their largest problem. Although, not in the way they think it is:
        Pirated games give people the chance to try-before-they-buy in a way no demo can.

        So, if you produce shitty games, piracy means people can't be marketed into buying your product. It actually has to appeal to them on valid merits.
  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoderBob (858156) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#14743540)
    He points to piracy as a chief culprit in the sales drop. He says developers need to first find ways to make people pay. "What developers and publishers need to do is come up with distribution plans and new copy protection plans," he said. "When you see a game that requires you to be online to play, people can't steal that game."

    It's also a good way to get people to not play your game. It's always the "big bad pirates" who are stealing money from the game manufacturers. The industry doesn't want to admit that they're churning out a lof of junk lately, so let's jump on the bandwagon of "It's those damn pirate kids" to save face.

    I haven't bought a new PC game in about a year (I've purchased a couple "older" games now that they're in the <$20 market)- and I haven't pirated any, either. I've bought console games, though. When the PC market comes out with something that's worth playing, I'll probably be first in line. Where are the X-Coms, or the RTSes that actually break new ground? Where are the adventure games with their beautiful story arcs? Hell, Deus Ex was a phenonmenal game, and I could see a variation on that (new story, but a similar engine) selling well- something that actually draws the player in. What about stuff like Dungeon Keeper? That game was a blast, it spawned a sequel- and then dropped off the face of the earth. What about Worm- before the 3D crap that made it so much more irritating to play? What about the Baldur's Gate-style RPGs? Hell, Icewind Dale was somewhere between Diablo and BG, and that game was loads of fun. It had it's own feel to it, even though the interface was almost an exact copy of BG.

    It's sad that the days of off-the-wall games that sucked a gamer in seem to be gone in the PC World. Instead we get direct sequels that don't offer much more than a smoother engine or prettier graphics. We don't get the stuff that either offers an incredible story or that brings about something "new". And as the gaming market ages, that's going to keep being a problem- to keep the "veteran" gamers around, they're going to have to draw them in with something that they haven't seen before.

    • "When the PC market comes out with something that's worth playing, I'll probably be first in line. Where are the X-Coms, or the RTSes that actually break new ground? Where are the adventure games with their beautiful story arcs?"

      They didn't sell very well, so game companies stopped making them.

      If you are in possession of some strange new marketing scheme that would allow game companies to dig their way out of debt by making more of these fun but unprofitable games, I'd love to hear it.
    • Where are the X-Coms, or the RTSes that actually break new ground?

      In the clearance bin because noone bought them. Seriously, you can pick Perimeter and Arena Wars up paying a tenner for both together. The uninspired clones and sequels fall in price much slower.

      And is it just me or are PC games getting buggier and buggier? I mean, XBTF was very buggy and prone to crashing but X3 can't even install without patching. Severe mission scripting bugs are common even in high profile games. Bugs take forever to fix
      • I would ask how many people didn't buy them because they games were bad compared to how many people didn't buy them because someone had released a "flashier" game. When consoles can match/rival PC games in terms of looks and sound, one of the ways PC games could "shine" would be to make good-looking games that just can't be played on a standard console controller.
    • Not to mention that with a game pirated off the net you don't have worry about some copy protection fucking up your computer [glop.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:42PM (#14743554)
    PC gaming may not be dead, but when the idiots at Irrational put Starforce on their game, they're helping to kill it.
  • Most games can be played pretty easily on a console ,including an FPS as Halo has proved. I know, half slashdot if not more probably doesn't agree with me, but I don't feel like arguing which is better, since Halo just proved it can be done, and I have no clue if it is better. One genre I don't see playing well with consoles any time soon (unless maybe the Revolution's input changes this) is RTS. Although it can be done (C&C was released for the n64 as I recall), it's worse then playing with a trac
    • One genre I don't see playing well with consoles any time soon (unless maybe the Revolution's input changes this) is RTS.

      Try Advance Wars: Dual Strike for Nintendo DS to see what is possible. True, it isn't real-time, but the control scheme would be the same.

      • Yeah, I love Advance Wars (I've played the GBA version), but it is turn based. And the DS is one of those odd devices that doesn't speak for normal consoles. I think it's well suited for RTS with the touch screen practically working like a mouse, and hope to see many more RTS made for it (I saw AoE was released for it recently).
  • I thought they changed PC games to a standard (and imho, far too small) game boxes because they were taking up to much space.

    Make up your mind!
  • "'PC gaming used to take up the entire store,' said Ken Levine, president and creative director for Irrational Games. 'Now PC gaming get's a tiny little shelf. Literally you have a fraction of the shelf space."

    Meh, I buy/download every game I can via direct2drive [direct2drive.com]. Hopefully, in the future, there won't even be a tiny little shelf for PC games. And as more consoles go online, in the future game stores themselves might go extinct. And, maybe they'll even drop the prices due to lower cost to distribute... ye
  • No matter where I go*, the PC always has the most shelf space. Probably because of the sheer number of games (roughly 50% of the games released each year are for the PC, according to the USK which ALL games released here have to go through) and the fact that old PC games can be sold for much longer than console games (because there's no generation change).

    Maybe it's different in the US but here in Europe (or at least Germany) the PC is still going strong.

    *= EB Games tends to allocate very little space to th
  • I can only speak for my reasons for returning to PC games, but it largely has to do with consoles losing their unique advantages.

    When I bought my PS1 it was WAY better than playing games on a PC, because:
    1) It plugged into your TV,
    2) It hardly took up any space,
    3) It had no fans, ran cool, and hardly made any noise.

    With the Xbox and PS2, they both have loud fans and are much bigger. I remember being very disappointed to hear that fan when I turned on my PS2 for the first time.

    With the increasing popularity
    • Anyone who's more than mildly in to DDR must eventually hook a PC up to their TV and start using Stepmania or something similar. Hundreds of songs available online (all illegally, I'm sure, but oh well), no more swapping discs in and out of the PS2 to play this song or that one.

      What I really want is for someone to come out with a PC FPS that includes a 4-player splitscreen multiplayer mode, and 4 USB keyboards+mice. UT2004, 4 players+bots, one PC, one TV? AWESOME.

      Too bad no one's done that yet, AFAIK :(
      • Anyone who's more than mildly in to DDR must eventually hook a PC up to their TV and start using Stepmania or something similar. Hundreds of songs available online (all illegally, I'm sure, but oh well), no more swapping discs in and out of the PS2 to play this song or that one.

        I used to do that all the time when I went to the local community college and had a friend who lived in the dorms. I would bring my laptop and PS2 controller to USB adapter [lik-sang.com], and another friend would bring his metal DDR pads. W

    • but it largely has to do with consoles losing their unique advantages.

      Unfortunately, affordable multiplayer in the same room is still a console advantage.

      With the increasing popularity of Media PCs, more and more people have their PCs plugged into their TVs

      So where are the four-player shared-screen PC-native titles? Why don't more PC games have a split-screen or overhead- or side-view mode that takes input from four USB gamepads? Where are the equivalents of Bomberman, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., etc

      • So why don't PC game publishers let me split my 1280x720 pixel HDTV into four 640x360 windows for four players, all controlled by the same PC?

        Hopefully the answer is obvious: there is zero customer demand.

        Notice that you only pointed out Nintendo titles for your examples. Consider some non-splitscreen, single-player Nintendo fare, and try to come up with PC equivalents. You can't do it- there's nothing similar to Paper Mario, Metroid, Zelda, or even Resident Evil4.

        There is minimal intersection between the
  • by mnmn (145599) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:08PM (#14743759) Homepage
    There has been a recent surge in the cool factor of console gaming. However PC gaming will always be on the top. Heres why.

    The cpu power per dollar is highest on wintel platforms due to the huge market. Thats part of the reason why Apple went to get Intel chips. You buy one machine and it does many other things, PVR, game machine, computer, dvd player... a given nonx86 console would be hard pressed to match what a PC can do... for the price. PCs also have the largest install base. Since no one company dominates the platform, its future is also guaranteed (I know MSFT dominates the OS market, but doesnt OWN the PC). So building games for the PC makes sense. Its really building a game for one console, and not for the PC that makes little sense. So far PCs also have the best array of available controls, from wheels and joysticks to the ubiquitous keyboard and mouse for FPS games. Make a good game for a PC... it'll sell. PCs are also more cutting edge. The best graphic cards and CPUs are available for it.

    I guess the only console that can beat the PC is something thats really specialized for its game genres or one that is based on a PC (the older xbox comes to mind). Even that would be more expensive than walmart/dell/beige box PCs.
  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:17PM (#14743821)
    No one is talking about the BUGS!
    From the article:
    And when the newest PC hardware hits, game developers can start taking advantage of it immediately.
    That's usually too fast. When I buy a console game it works. It's been tested.
    Buy a PC game and fear the BUG. In the back of your mind you are going to be wondering how far you can go before the BUG bites you on your @$$. And then you wait for the patch. :(
    • wait for the discount rack! Love the patch!
    • by The_reformant (777653) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:55PM (#14744589)
      In the other hand on a console if you hit a bug your completely screwed. I played morrowind on the xbox and a flaw in one of the quests resulted in a death sentence incurred for completeing one of the quests not being lifted on completion. The result meant that i couldn't safely enter about a third of the cities in the game making it pretty much a waste of time.

      This was a known bug in the PC version which was patched and could be addressed in a non-patched copy using the command console but unfortunately those with the xbox version were left screwed.
      • More than that, things that aren't outright bugs but are probably unbalanced don't get fixed in the console version. It really only takes one overpowered character to make a game not very interesting to play in tournaments (oh look, every single "pro" took Taki or Hinata again). Even Starcraft had several patches that tweaked the values of some units that were over/underpowered. Getting the balance right on the first try is not easy (unless you just clone both sides, which is completely lame). It takes
      • Some console games with bugs have resulted in replacement of CDs. You guys needed to get together and file a class-action lawsuit to get them, of course, but odds are after a while y'all would get new games and some lawyers would get a bunch of money...
  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Evangelion (2145) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:26PM (#14743881) Homepage

    They've released another game since I bought WoW?
    • Somebody mod this insightful. This is not the first time I've heard MMORPG players say that they haven't bought (never mind played) another game since they got into EQ/WoW or other variations.

      In my opinion, there's three reasons why gaming is down, and especially PC gaming:
      1) Consoles are actually good alternatives to PC games now, both from a technical and game-type perspective.
      2) MMORPGs.
      3) Copy protection that's more like play-protection.

      None of it is down to piracy.
      • Same here; I've probably spent more on PC gaming in the past year than in the previous 4 years, and little of it in the shops. I've been playing WoW and City of Heroes, and also bought the HL2 Silver package on Steam. The only bricks-and-mortar shop purchase was the WoW retail pack: altogether, I've spent around EUR200, only EUR40 of which was spent in a store.

        As far as I'm aware, none of the methods used to calculate current PC game spending would have taken into account that hidden EUR160.

        P.
  • Is the game makers themselves.

    Im sorry given the choice between a quality PS2 game and a quality PC game that gameplay wise is exactly the same as the PS2 game but requires me to buy a 300 dollar graphics card only to replace it 1-2 years later with possibly the whole system, Im going to buy the PS2 game.

    Going through a quick look of my PC games (rather mac games) every one of them minus 2 do not require my entire system yet are entertaining, the way it should be. But far too often even the games that s

    • The PC platform is too complex, so the customers don't know whether the game will work with their computer or not. Do you have enough harddrive? Do you have a supported graphics card? Do you have sufficient processing power? Do you have enough RAM?

      When you buy a console, you keep it for four-five years and buy games for it that are clearly labeled.

      This simplicity is why the console wins.

      Joe Sixpack don't wanna know about ATI Radeon Atomic SuperXXL 991213000. Or whatever they call 'em nowadays.
  • It's not all piracy people. That is such a cop out.

    When many of the industry's most popular games are available on Xbox and Playstation, why on earth would I spend $600 for a top of the line video card and at least another $1500 on a gaming system, when I can play the same game on an Xbox that costs less than $200?
  • There are some major probems (for gamers and game-makers) that plague the whole concept of PC gaming:

    1. It's easier for PC games to be pirated, so it's less lucrative an enterprise.

    2. Unlike a console, where every unit is identical hardware, PCs have infinitely many hardware combinations. It's impossible to test for them all. It's also impossible for non-technical / non-computer people to clearly find the answer to the question, "can my computer run this game well?"

    3. Unlike a console, where you just put
    • Wrong on several counts.

      1. It's easier for PC games to be pirated, so it's less lucrative an enterprise.

      There's this thing called "the chip", available for PS2 and Xbox. Costs around 10 bucks, already installed. Lots and lots of people get it, and afterwards pirating games is even easier than it is for PC. Funnily enough, it IS near to impossible to pirate GameCube games; by your logic, they should outsell PS2 and Xbox games in droves, right?

      3. Unlike a console, where you just put in the game and turn on th
      • Rarely. Once your PC works fine, it probably won't develop problems unless you add hardware or do something boneheaded.

        Boneheaded? Such as install a 2006 game, for example?

        Just like Toyotas are cheaper that Ferraris. And for pretty much the same reasons.

        Comparing PC gaming to a Ferrari does disservice to the PC game market.

        Ferraris are a failure as a car, just like the Space Shuttle is a failure as an airplane. Certainly, it is drastically better on several obvious metrics, but the relatively low importan
  • Easy question (Score:3, Informative)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:54PM (#14744084)
    XBox 360: ATI card with no equivilent on today's market and 3 3.2 ghz processors - $299.99.

    Computer with best available ATI card and only a single 3.2 ghz processor - $1000+.

    Computer manufacturers are not receiving a cut of every piece of software used on the system (unlike MS and the Xbox or Sony and the PS).
    • Lifespan of a console? 3 years? 4 years? Between their release date and the release date of the next-generation console, PC's will get a lot more processing power.
  • PC Gaming was great a decade ago when everyone had a 486 or Pentium and graphic capabilities were rather standard across the board. You could make a fun game for relatively little investment and not too many headaches on the compatibility side. They were also generally aimed at a different market than console games of the time. No-brained action games were on consoles, lengthy strategic games were on the PC. Nowadays the PC has to directly compete with late consoles, except it costs a crapload of money
    • I used to play games in the 486 days, and I would say if anything, it's much easier now. I bought a new $1700 PC in early 2003, and since then, I have not upgraded it and not had any problems getting any game to run, and be playable.

      In college, I had a 486. I regularly bought games that I could never get to run on my computer. I would say that my failure rate was nearly 50%, on a Dell, which was then still an up-and-coming manufacturer.

      I think you make some valid points about PC components being much more e
      • I think a good chunk of your problems came from having a Dell. The biggest issue with games of the mid-90's was sound support. If you didn't have a true SoundBlaster or maybe a Gravis Ultrasound, you were SOL. There was no such thing as "updated drivers" back then, so either you bought a big name card, or you slumped along with zero support. I still have my old 486 from those days, and a year ago I fired it up, loaded Dos 6.22 and took a trip down memory lane playing all my old Dos games. Dosbox/VMware
    • PC Gaming was great a decade ago when everyone had a 486 or Pentium and graphic capabilities were rather standard across the board.

      A decade ago, you were in the era that was borderline DOS.

      Graphic capabilities in that era were *NOT* standard, even under Windows 95. Some graphic cards supported 3D (classified as Prototypes) and others did not. Some graphic cards supported VESA 2.0, while others were VESA 1.x. Don't get me started on the whole slew of drivers required for pre-VESA cards.

      Next, you have s

  • 1) First of all, portability is a MAJOR problem. I have a number of little cousins, and they move their PS2 wherever they please. The same goes for my friend and his XBox. In order to overcome the the lack of mobility, you need some kind of anchor that keeps people buying PC games. That anchor used to be exclusive titles, but now damn near all of the top PC Games have been ported to console. Although that has always been the case, the difference is that now PS2/XBox have enough power to run them without loo
    • Have you noticed how many patches and releases NWN has? eew.

      Worse, with their stupid "copy protection" i have to insert the FREAKING CD to play!
      Then, I got stuck because now I don't know what to do, and there's nowhere (in the game, I mean) I can get hints from. I just have this "to do list" so generic it drives me mad. "Collect all the words of power". WTF? I know that, but where's the NEXT one dammit!

      And why don't the companies release 2D games for the PC? And I mean those that keep selling in portables (
  • I've always been under the belief that what ever is happening in computer games will happen on the consoles in the future. Given the current state of the gaming market in general, perhaps consoles will stop sucking again.
  • He points to piracy as a chief culprit in the sales drop. He says developers need to first find ways to make people pay.

    Look, I'm an adult who plays my share of games. I pay actual, real money for them. I'm what you call an honest customer. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna let a Starforce-esque DRM scheme take over my computer just to play a game. And I'll be damned if I have to log in every time I want to play a single-player game on a computer that I might not even want to have connected to the Intarwe
    • For 3rd System Shock game, with modern graphics (to make it EVEN SCARIER than SS2, if that's possible), similar gameplay to the second one, and a worthy ending to the series' storyline, I might actually be willing to part with the $55-$60 that they want for new games these days.

      In fact, I would definately be willing to do that. So would every one of my friends who have a real interest in gaming.
  • Did they take into consideration that PC Games are no longer packaged in huge boxes? Remember the good ol' days (5 years ago) where PC Games came in these enourmous packaging with many colorful pictures and wordings, but only contained a CD with perhaps a small manual?

    The PC Game packages have since moved to smaller boxes and guess what...they take up less space.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the PC gaming industry is still alive and strong. Consoles are better suited to certain genres and many of those genres are a dime a dozen. PC gaming, however, has RTS, FPS and MMORPGs to its credit. And while consoles have penetrated all three of those genres, they are the bread and butter of the PC gaming industry and they offer a far superior experience.
  • Perhaps it's important to note that PCs aren't really good gaming machines. (ack, the flames, they burn!) PCs as platforms have inconsistant hardware, inconsistant controls, they are expensive for consumers, difficult to support, and generally located in less comfortable spaces than TVs. I say let it go. To my eternal shame, I had to upgrade my computer to play Civ 4. I would much rather have had it on my PS2.
  • After reading the article, I just dont see wheres the sleeping giant rousing, whatever. All the article says is PC gaming is in all time LOW (actually if it werent for MMORPGS like WOW it would be even worst) so is time for an upswing! (rolls eyes)

    So.. using the same logic, if the cubs havent won the series in 20 years, is pretty sure they will do now!

    Heres a clue to get more shelf space, stop pricing the 3d cards at $500 expecting everyone to buy them, stop forcing PC users to buy those cards by pushing de
    • > start making games that can be played rigth from the dvd

      WHAT!

      You nearly made complete sense there, unfortunatly that one part made none.

      make games playable from the HD with no disk might be a good and valid point, however no sane person who knows anything about computers would want to have a game playable off of the dvd, ick, i'm just hoping ms aint screwed the xbox 360 by making the hd optional, please developers ignore this, make abox 360 games require the hd, or at least run CRIPPLED without it.
      • Uh? well.. thanks but, making PC games that run from the DVD makes a LOT more sense than you think, the sad reality is ordinary people dont know and want to learn how to install and setup their PC software I do family tech support and 3 out of 5 times is to install some program (that includes games) believe it or not. these people honestly believe they can mess up their systems bad if they do an incorrect install. If I werent around to help them do that, they probably wouldnt buy any programs at all.

        Why? w
  • Okay, I admit, I'm a console gamer, former disgruntled PC gamer, I tend to like the style of games that come out on consoles, so I'm a bit biased. But from about 1999-2003, I had a PC (I'm back to Mac for good now), and tried to get into the PC gaming genre. This was probably the most frusterating experience of my life. Every year, I found I was outclassed and couldn't run the latest games. To keep up, I would have had to throw $150 at a video card every year and a half, and $300 on a new motherboard/proces

I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock. -- Henny Youngman

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