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Thread: The death of PC gaming

  1. #17
    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    I don't know. For every PC gamer who knows exactly which games are worth 95% or above and can get enough Conventional Memory to play old DOS games, there's another PC gamer with more money than sense, a powerful PC world PC, and the ability to (just about) run every pap title with a pretty box.

    At the same time, for every PS2 gamer buying some utter rubbishrubbishrubbishrubbishe they'll be part-exchanging in just over a week, there's a 15-year console gaming veteran who can pinpoint every worthy title on every platform from the Bandai Wonderswan to the NeoGeo AES

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    I agree piracy is a problem and I hate people who just download a game rather than pay for it and then proceed to use it for an extended period especially online, often taking over someone else unique ID in the process.

    More manufacturers should produce decent working demos of their games at the time of release so that gamers can experience a game before they have to fork out for it. At least with consoles you can rent a game easily for a few days before you decide to buy. Downloading a warezed game gives you the opportunity to try a game in the same way you get to listen to a track or two of an album before you pay for it.

    If you enjoy a game then to not pay for it is not big or clever it's just selfish as it's obviously been designed with people like you in mind. Newly released games are expensive though and until it's possible to actually try them before you buy I don't see piracy getting any better.
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    Top 10 Selling PC Games of 2003 USA
    1) The Sims: Superstar (EA)
    2) The Sims Deluxe (EA)
    3) Command & Conquer Generals (EA)
    4) Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (Vivendi Universal)
    5) The Sims: Makin' Magic (EA)
    6) The Sims: Unleashed (EA)
    7) Sim City 4 (EA)
    8) Call of Duty (Activision)
    9) Age of Mythology (Microsoft)
    10) Battlefield 1942 (EA)

    Top 10 Selling Console Games of 2003 USA
    1) PS2 - Madden NFL 2004 (EA)
    2) GBA - Pokemon Ruby (Nintendo)
    3) GBA - Pokemon Sapphire (Nintendo)
    4) PS2 - Need for Speed Underground (EA)
    5) NGC - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo)
    6) PS2 - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Rockstar)
    7) NGC - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (Nintendo)
    8) PS2 - Tony Hawk's Underground (Activision)
    9) PS2 - Enter the Matrix (Atari)
    10) PS2 - Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (EA)

    Retail sales of console hardware + software came to $10billion.
    PC games came to $1.2billion.
    PC games made up over 30% of the games market, so far from being dead.

    Also from chart above yep lots of sims, but some rather nice pokemon on the console front.
    Flibb

  4. #20
    Senior Member RoGuE|SaBeR's Avatar
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    jco - PC Games have an intrinic promlem that they have to be INSTALLED. This leaves most of the game on the computer inevitably leading to cracks and other methods of removing the cd to have the CD inserted to play. This essentially removes the potential for games to be rented on a PC platform asides from the demos. Your right though - demos should be improved with perhaps a nod back to the days of "shareware" but once again that leaves the door open to cracks and I can hardly see ID releasing Doom 3 on shareware!

    hex - true but the ratio of muppets to informed gamers is sliding in the not so good direction. The whole "trade in" scheme in Game also puts a dent in PC sales as by law we cant accept PC games for trade. This wipes out quite a large portion of potential customers as there are quite a few who only will buy a game if they are trading one or will only buy a traded game full stop.

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Like I said, I use the Charttrack (UK) figures.

    The USA has the largest PC segemnt of the world market. In Japan it's infinitessimal, in Europe it's in the middle.

    Current sales information can be had at http://www.mcvuk.com/charts.jsp

    The PC's bumper crop in this & coming weeks (UT2004, BF:V, etc) is doing it a world of good - but is this a trend or a spike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoGuE|SaBeR
    or will only buy a traded game full stop.
    people who only buy games not deemed worth keeping? bleh :|

  7. #23
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    It is an interesting conjecture and it is certainly plausible, but let me suggest another plausible scenario.

    PCs are used widely for work and Internet access. They are not likely to go away. It is likely to become rare for a house to not have a PC as the average quality of living rises. Therefore most children will grow up computer literate and more able to deal with the vagaries of installing PC games. They can get started on PC gaming using their family computer, meaning there is a zero upfront outlay for the gamer, compared to buying a console, memory card, extra controller, etc.

    In the never ending drive that many publishers seem to have for churning out only tried and tested types of games and taking no risks the console games market eventually stagnates with little innovation. As you said, PC gamers with their more discerning tastes, allow the PC games market to innovate. As the generations of games buyers become savvier they bore of buying identikit games like FIFA 2010 (Hey, while I’m trying to predict the future I can indulge a little ). They may also get fed up of shelling out a few hundred quid every couple of years for the next PlayStation 9 or the GameTetrahedron . After all, on average PCs need upgrading around every two years, unless you want to really stay at the cutting edge.

    On the piracy front, it is certainly easier to pirate PC games than on any other format. However, you cannot be sure that this will always be the case. If DVDs were to become the normal format for games then it is possible that the size of games will outstrip the pace of home broadband. I admit, DVD copiers are all ready quite cheap, but what about multi-layer DVD copiers, not so cheap, but they will come down in price. Of course, games creators will always be coming up with some “wonderful” new copy protection (that cripples the performance of the game ).

    Anyway, with my scenario I’m trying to illustrate that there are many plausible futures for gaming. These might be the sales ratios now, but you cannot be sure what sales will be like in the future, unless of course you have a crystal ball. If so, please e-mail me next Saturday’s lottery numbers, and I promise I’ll spend the money on good games.

    What are the figures like for budget sales of games? Last time I looked around in Game or HMV there were shelves more PC budget games than console games. How much revenue does US games sales generate compared to games sales elsewhere?

    Towards the end of your post DirectHex you make some good arguments in favour of PC gaming. I think it is likely that, along with other entertainment forms such as Music, online distribution will become a major part on selling games.

    Flibb, I think games sales have been rising healthily the world over.

    Geez, in the time I was writing this quite a few people have followed up, so I hope I have not repeated anything.
    Last edited by Anders; 24-03-2004 at 12:45 AM.
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  8. #24
    Senior Member RoGuE|SaBeR's Avatar
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    Hex - Was public content that main factor you thought we missed? (If it is you ain't getting any spares )

    Budget games - In the store I work in the number of UNITS sold on the full price vs budget games issue definately favours the budget section. On the wall theres are 3 bays of PC games and one bay for the chart - There are an entire 3 bays for budget games alone. When it came down to actual gross profit I would say the figures would be closer but then again it could just be that ppl in Northern Ireland are cheap!

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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Oh dear. I'm not arguing against PC gaming, I'm arguing against the current way that the PC is treated as just another console format. EVERY format has money-grabbers (i.e. EA), every format has innovators (Nintendo, Sega, Blizzard), but whilst the console market can survive on a business model where people pay £40 for a game or don't get it at all, the PC market can't. I'm not arguing against PC games, I'm suggesting a return to better business! iD Software of all people know the good old days, Doom & Wolfenstein survived on the old Shareware principle that is all but forgotten today.

    There is almost no budget games market for consoles. However, what that tells ME is that if games were cheaper, people would buy more of them. Surely developers should take note, and start selling games on a system where more people pay less but they make more money? That's what I'm arguing for. Budget games make diddly squat for the developer - by the time they're budget, it all goes to the publisher, wholesaler & retailer. How about paying the same, for a new game, direct from the developer? The way shareware used to.

  10. #26
    Senior Member SilentDeath's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, I have to agree with directhex that online distribution, similar to steeam, is definatly needed.
    Also I have to admit, that if only £5 from a £30 game goes to developers, then I dont feel nearly as bad having in the past, downloaded one or two games without paying.
    Recently I havent been playing nearly as many games. Ive played demos of lots but thats about as far as I got.
    I think if games were sold online, like with steam, then I expect there would be a HUGE drop in pc piracy. Firstly online games can not be pirated as working cd keys can not be generated by apps with 99% of games. If the cost of games was to drop from £30 (release price) to £10 (fixed price) then I would also see the sales going up a lot. console games are being realeased around £50 iirc (dont own a console), so 5x the cost of pc games, the console itself might be cheaper, but for buying lots of games, the pc would eventually become cheaper.
    Another problem is that games sold this way online would need huuuuge amounts of bandwidth etc.. and wouldnt that cost money? possibly enough to keep the cost of the games the same? either way I can see games sold online will still be priced VERY closely to boxed games, why? because they can and most people wont know that its cheaper...
    Also most of the console owners I know think that pc's are bearly capable of running office apps.

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    The problems with piracy on PC reminds me of the problems Piracy caused on the Amiga & Atari ST, everyone i know (And i admit, even myself) didnt buy all there games and i think the ratio between most of my friend was 50\50 original\copied games.

    The main reason for this was money, as you couldnt afford all the games released that month and as we were still at school we didnt have much money to buy them but someone you know had them and so you traded.

    It did me a favor really as i started to get very guilty and started to replace my copied games i played the most with the original version and chucked away all the other copys or formatted them.

    And when i finally left school and got my first job i started buying all my games, no copys as i wanted the games companys to thrive and make more games for me to enjoy.

    But alas it was too late the Piracy problem on the 16bit computers was rife and they were abandoned as not profitable enough , even though the PC games market was also filled with pirated games there still was enough people buying to make it worth the companys making new games.

    What i am worried about is the PC market now so rife with piracy and not profitable enough that the publishers will avoid that market and only concentrate on the console market? also you dont need a school full of child to trade pirated copys it's all broadband now
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoGuE|SaBeR
    Hex - Was public content that main factor you thought we missed? (If it is you ain't getting any spares )

    Budget games - In the store I work in the number of UNITS sold on the full price vs budget games issue definately favours the budget section. On the wall theres are 3 bays of PC games and one bay for the chart - There are an entire 3 bays for budget games alone. When it came down to actual gross profit I would say the figures would be closer but then again it could just be that ppl in Northern Ireland are cheap!
    i'm starting to get confused. gonna start using the quote button more.

    what's been missed is my suggestion that PC gamers would welcome some kind of system which put the power of distribution back in the hands of developers, offered them an easy way to distribute episodic games, lower prices, gave easy access to gaming buddies & servers, online distribution, and release-day activations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by |SilentDeath|
    Interesting thread, I have to agree with directhex that online distribution, similar to steeam, is definatly needed.
    Also I have to admit, that if only £5 from a £30 game goes to developers, then I dont feel nearly as bad having in the past, downloaded one or two games without paying.
    Recently I havent been playing nearly as many games. Ive played demos of lots but thats about as far as I got.
    I think if games were sold online, like with steam, then I expect there would be a HUGE drop in pc piracy. Firstly online games can not be pirated as working cd keys can not be generated by apps with 99% of games. If the cost of games was to drop from £30 (release price) to £10 (fixed price) then I would also see the sales going up a lot. console games are being realeased around £50 iirc (dont own a console), so 5x the cost of pc games, the console itself might be cheaper, but for buying lots of games, the pc would eventually become cheaper.
    Another problem is that games sold this way online would need huuuuge amounts of bandwidth etc.. and wouldnt that cost money? possibly enough to keep the cost of the games the same? either way I can see games sold online will still be priced VERY closely to boxed games, why? because they can and most people wont know that its cheaper...
    Also most of the console owners I know think that pc's are bearly capable of running office apps.
    |SilentDeath| wins the "mail me an IDE cable" prize for mentionning Steam first

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    The server bandwidth issue could be countered by using some form of secure p2p, possibly giving people a discount for allowing the use of their bandwidth, or some other perks.
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    Vive le pants! directhex's Avatar
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    Cunning idea. I wonder if the BitTorrent creator's recent hiring by Valve is related at all.

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    Good Thread I like a topical flame

    The buying over the Web idea does sound like it will save money until you start to think about what would be involved, you would need a lot of very (very) secure server(s) that would need to be monitored at some level, you would need some hefty tech support in case of something going wrong and to explain 'how too...' for the less technically inclined then youve got the webmasters, shopping carts, hosting sites, order processing, refunds/cancelations and so on. And before you know it your going to employing at least 10 people full time to sort all this out and another 2-5 on top of that to manage it; and if it's a popular game or your catalouge increases you are looking at double or even triple etc....Soon you end up with a something very similar to a publisher and if it's not in house they will probably charge you for the service, back to the same problem...

    Add all that too the fact that people are still not too sure about ordering online because of fraud..
    And.. (the last 'and' I promise) I remember reading before Christmas that only 13% of the UK has broad-band, imagine download 1.45Gig of game on a 56k without it blowing up....

    I mean look at Steam, I don't trust it as far as I could throw Vanessa Feltz, it's up, it's down, security issue A, and most 56k'ers hate it, I've stoped playing CS because of it.

    What is probably causing half the problems for developers is the rate that the technology moves, things are moving too fast these days for them to be able to keep up; As technology increases the the complexity increases.
    Take Gran Tourismo 1 (bad idea using a console game to explain this I know ) it took a 3D artist 1 week to make a car for that - GT4 it takes them 1 -2 months, with consoles you know the spec and can build to that spec, with a PC who knows what the next feature of Directx is going to be you have to guess ahead and hope you right or you will run into huge delays which could fold your company.

    Although you can develop games for a low spec PC it will get rubbished (From what I've heard about Deus Ex 2 it fit's nicley into this catagory) because the people that have gone to the trouble to make a gameing PC have the top of the range Graphics cards and their the ones that buy the games and feel they arnt getting their moneys worth.

    Personaly I think the main problem with that puts off Joe Public from a gaming PC and what puts me off buying games for them is the complexity and compatibility issues, how many times do you remember getting a game home and it doesn't work because of some part of your machine it doesn't like, hunting around FaQ's, Tech Forums, Driver pages etc hoping that someone will produce a fix, it drives you nuts.
    Consoles are part of your home entertainment - plug it in load it and it works!

    I don't think your seeing the death of the PC as a gaming platform, after all it's what you develop games on and it can still produce a higher quality of graphics and sound than a console.
    I think what you are seeing is a bigger split in the what types of games people are using a PC for - I still use my PC for FPS and RTS games their just easier to play on a PC because of a mouse/keyboard combo, the other games that benifit from this are Flight Sims, you see more of these games coming out on PC than the console and vice versa. Anything third person, sport or racing and (I will probably burn in hell for the amount of flame I'll get for this ) roll playing games seem to work better and be better suited to the consoles control system.
    Although you get FPS's on console they are designed for the console and so dont translate that well.
    So I think your going too see it stay much as it is at the moment, although after HL2 and Doom 3 are out you will see a lot more FPS's coming out, everyone will want to use the new FPS engines after all.

    God I'm tired and so with that I'm off to bed!
    Last edited by Devilbod; 24-03-2004 at 03:41 AM.

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