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PC Games Giant Rouses From Slumber 164

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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  • by kneppercr ( 947840 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:28PM (#14743409)
    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 the same time. You walk in see the display model of the Xbox 360 say "WOW cool graphics" and buy the system and game right there. For a PC game you have to rely on the screenshots the size of your thumb on the back of the box. The companies know this and they allocate shelf space accordingly.
  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwheeler01 ( 625017 ) <matthew@l@wheeler.gmail@com> on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:31PM (#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.
  • PC - Console - PC (Score:2, Insightful)

    by prionic6 ( 858109 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:38PM (#14743508)
    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.
  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoderBob ( 858156 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:41PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2006 @01:42PM (#14743554)
    PC gaming may not be dead, but when the idiots at Irrational put Starforce on their game, they're helping to kill it.
  • by Samedi1971 ( 194079 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:17PM (#14743817)
    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?
  • by CyberLord Seven ( 525173 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:17PM (#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. :(
  • by hal9000(jr) ( 316943 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:20PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:24PM (#14743874)
    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.
  • Re:Sqrt(-1) (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:28PM (#14743891)
    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."
  • by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:49PM (#14744043) Homepage Journal
    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 in the game and turn on the power, on your PC you first have to troubleshoot hardware lockups and software crashes, download and install drivers, install the game, configure your game controller, configure the game's performance settings, etc...

    4. Sometimes, despite your best technically-competent troubleshooting efforts (eating up valuable hours of your life), a particular game will just refuse to run on a given PC without locking up or crashing or performing way slower than it should on that hardware. No one can figure out why, and none of the involved companies seem to care about fixing it, even when the problem is being experienced by boatloads of people camped out in online support forums.

    5. Consoles are much cheaper than PCs.

    6. PC game controllers are notorious for sucking compared to console game controllers. In my experience the only way to get a good game controller on a PC is to go buy a console controller and a USB converter box from Lik-Sang.

    7. You can't easily play games on a PC on your big-screen TV while sitting on your couch in the den. Yes, I know it's possible to get a PC to display on a TV, but you have to be pretty technically-competent to do that. And then, it's not a comfortable way to use your PC for other common tasks you'd want to use it for, such as web browsing or typing up Word docs. And who wants to have to lug their PC back and forth all the time between a computer desk and the den?

    8. PC hardware tends to have a higher failure rate, in my experience, due to the variety of non-integrated components from a variety of different sources, never tested together. Consoles are completely integrated designs, engineered to be a lot more durable.

    9. PCs still have delicate little connectors with lots of pins that have to be carefully inserted the right way. Consoles always have tough connectors that can only fit one way, such that constant abuse by rowdy teens or children doesnt' destroy them.

  • by The_reformant ( 777653 ) on Friday February 17, 2006 @03:55PM (#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.

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