@godziothc Nah? I don't care about Strategy games. They are so? PC-esque!! Anything involving keyboard and mouse is a thumb down to me. Civilization Revolution was fun, tho. But it was designed around the gamepad indeed. Still, I am waiting for my copy of Dark Souls. The only game I would buy an high end PC for is The Witcher 2. Yup, I am a RPG gamer. And consoles do them better. :)
PC publishing and development luminaries share their thoughts on the current state of the PC gaming platform and where it's heading.
Whether it's the rise of indie games, the growing popularity of digital downloads, or the sheer horsepower or creativeness of its community, it's undoubtedly a good time to be a PC gamer. We spoke with several prominent members of the PC development world while at Gamescom to get their thoughts on the current state of gaming on the PC platform, the biggest hurdles it faces, and where it's going.
Karl-Magnus Troedsson, general manager, DICE
How does the European PC gaming market compare with the Asian and North American markets?
First and foremost, and this is based more on feeling than actual numbers, but I would say it's bigger. PC gaming is really big in Europe compared especially to North America. I'm unsure of Asia, but I can guess that PC gaming is quite big in South Korea, for example. Our general feeling is that our Battlefield community on PC is definitely the largest in Europe, which is something we're very proud of.
How would you say the taste in genres compares in Europe and North America?
It's pretty similar. PC players around the world probably play very similar games. There are a lot of massively multiplayer online games and shooters; those are probably the two biggest genres, except for the whole free-to-play and Facebook spectrum of games.
What would you say is the biggest threat to PC gaming?
In light of recent events, not just gaming but everything, hacking is one of our biggest problems. I think every company out there is arming themselves to the teeth when it comes to security. It's natural for a company to gain its credibility and take care of a person's credit card. The problem is that if [hacking] keeps increasing, then this will perhaps take focus away from making the best games and services possible. That's definitely a threat, one way or another.
I understand where people come from with this whole anarchy; everything should be free kind of situation. I think a lot of us who work in the game industry were hackers from the beginning. Some people hacked code and they managed to get into the games industry. There's definitely some kind of connectivity between the subcultures or whatever you want to call it, but the problem here is that we want to focus on making the best games we can. Let me give you an example. We're working on Battlefield. We're spending a lot of our time just fixing problems that have to do with hacking our game, people creating cheats, or people ruining the game for others because they have aim bots…all the kind of crazy stuff people can come up with when they reverse engineer a game.
I can see the pride people take in this because they will learn a lot from it, but they're ruining the experience for a lot of people. That makes me a bit sad. We want to create entertainment that people enjoy, but instead, we have to spend time focusing on the bad parts of it, which we will do, of course. It's part of our responsibility, but if that would magically go away, it'd be a good thing for the whole industry.
The second thing: I still believe piracy is a big problem for us even though the public discussion has disappeared a bit. So far, Battlefield has been unaffected by it because we have a multiplayer online game where you need to be logged in, so we haven't had any huge problems with it. We've had other titles that have been hit hard by it, so piracy is still a problem. I'm not advocating draconian DRM solutions. I don't believe that's the best way to do it. I'd rather have people buy our games, direct to consumer through different e-tailer solutions. And then by doing that, they should get something more in the game. I don't know…it could be early access or a boost pack for free or something like that. But piracy is definitely still a problem.
Where do you see the PC gaming industry in five years?
I think PC gaming is going to explode. Battlefield was founded on PC, so we feel very close to the PC community. With Battlefield 3, we've chosen to make our main SKU the PC version. Not that we're giving any less love to the console version, but the PC version needs to be true to its PC roots, and that's why we have PC-specific features, like 64 players. That in combination with the rise of e-sport community is something that we strongly believe in as well. This is the future. We have e-sports on consoles as well. I'm not dissing that in any way, but PC is probably the major platform for the e-sports community. And this is just starting to grow from being a subculture to becoming something much, much bigger. That's definitely going to be a kick-starter for PC gaming.
There's also the fact that the PC gaming platform itself is getting so powerful that you can do a lot more on it than the consoles. I'm not saying the console cycle is ending in any way, but it's getting toward the end. We're getting close to the limit of what we can do. We know that there's more power to find when we do more optimizations and when we have smarter solutions. We know by the end of console cycles that the games that were shipped at that time looked a lot better than games that were launched at the beginning of the cycle, and we're going to see that here as well. The closer we get to the end of the cycle, the games are going to run smoother, look prettier, and sound better. The fact that the PC platform can do so much more now…in five to 10 years, it's hard to imagine what you can do on the PC.
I would also argue that Apple is a force to be reckoned with because of their platforms. We don't have such a big core following there because they sell a lot of machines, but not all of them are powerful iMacs or the higher-grade machines. But I definitely think they are really catching up here, and I think we're going to see increased sales of their powerful machines. And when they get into a state where people want to play not ported games but ones that are native to their platform, I think that's going to help diversify this kind of gaming. For us, as developers [working on] the PC and Apple platforms, the Apple platform is actually easier because you have the same input device. Naturally, it's going to be a big challenge for us to get it running on a different operating system, but that aside, it's the same input devices.
There's one other thing I will point out as well, and it's a reason why I believe in the PC's future, and it's what I like to call the rise of the indie developer. I work for DICE, and we're a part of EA, but I'm really happy to see that there are so many indie developers that grow from being in a garage with one to two guys into a proper developer. The power that they now have to self-publish and do all of these kinds of things means the diversity of games on the PC is going to grow exponentially. It's going to explode. You might even argue it already has exploded. And this goes for the PC and Apple's platform too. This will probably happen more on the console as well, but it's a bit harder for a new developer to get in there and start doing things. The rise of the indie developer on the PC is definitely going to lead the way for this as well…to gain more people and accumulate more players on the PC platform.
@slainta You act as if I gave You a complete list of PC exclusives. Just some of the epic ones I truly enjoyed. PC's have a genre that's exclusive and as a huge fan of strategy games that's good enough for me. Console exclusives are rarely worth purchasing a console just to play it (the only game I ever seriously considered purchasing a console was Red Dead Redemption, well and LA Noire but its coming :) And don't even start that i can find strategy games on the console aswell. Just don't man...
@rawkfist45 You see though a lot of games you don't have to pay you can play on a console. You say that console games are only good for certain types. I disagree. I'm sure there are good games on PC... but like I said... it costs so much. Take away the monthly cost of the game like you say. Ok... that is still a small piece of the cost. I still have to get a computer that can play games well, buy the game, download it and play with a "controller" that has over a hundred keys. Plus again, you say console is only good for those three types. I strongly disagree. In my eyes PC gaming is good for the online role playing game... other then that console games will do it. Honestly though that is off topic. Yes I could just buy a game that has no monthly costs, which as I said most I see I can get on a console. However, there is still so much more of a inconvenience to PC gaming then its worth. Just a out siders opinion. That is why I don't like PC gaming. Is it not good to hear why a outsider doesn't like it. So you can try to fix it and get us outsiders. PC gaming isn't going to die... you all are WAY too loyal.
@XxCRAFTYxX The game looks nice, but I won't give "indie developer and PC gaming empowerment" a second thought without seeing: 1.) How great Hawken costs and 2.) A single player indie game with a good plot, characters, gameplay, similar graphics and an optional multiplayer mode, at a rational price. I'm sorry, but multiplayer alone doesn't do it for me.
@Meet391 It may happen sooner then you think go check out the Hawken trailer....it was made by a small indie game studio....
@MEDzZ3RO I can understand how liking beat em' ups and fighting games could make someone sway away from the PC as they are undoubtebly better with a controller and there is a much larger selection for consoles. The former can be changed for a PC but you have to pay for a peripheral unless you have an Xbox controller etc and the latter is just straight up fact. As a PC gamer I tend to find I dislike fighting games and beat em' ups. Over the years it just came to be. I only just thought to ask myself "Is it because they just aren't as good on PCs?" and I think that that, at the very least, influenced my thoughts. I mean, when I was 10 I used to play almost exclusively fighting games (It was the only good games we had and it allowed for you to play against friends without split screen)
Then there are those who hack and pirate games. The do this for many reasons. Some, because they find most games are terrible, and want to try them first (very few games these days let you try before you buy). Some, because they cannot afford the games, but really want to play games. Both of these issues can be fixed by the game providers. Let players try the games first, and only provide quality games. When I was young I used to be one of those who would use hacked copies of some games, because I couldn?t afford the cost. Now I buy every game legitimately. In a way, the hacked copies when I was young, turned me into a viable consumer when I was older. Some use hacked copies because they cannot access their games due to their location. This has somewhat been alleviated by companies such as Steam etc. Some hack because they wish to protect their privacy. This is due to increasingly invasive demands by companies re DRM etc, and also because companies can find it difficult to protect our data. Again, game providers can fix this. Then there are those who hack because they are immoral people who want the game for free, and couldnt care less if they ruin the game designer, or poop over other players in online games. The issues outlined above apply to both pc players and console players. And whilst we continue to have contents over which is better, these issues will not be resolved. Lets unite and do something about this.
Gaming companies are a mix of those who really care about gaming and making games, and those who only care about sales, well beyond the point of common business sense to being evil corporate sharks that will sell their grandmother if they think it will get them a profit. The sharks are wrecking the quality of the games we play. We should be uniting as consumers and saying, regardless of the platform, GIVE US GOOD GAMES. Good games mean more than just graphics. It means interesting gameplay and/or immersive story premises.
I wanted to say that everyone has the right to their opinion, including the console gamers. There is no reason to flame them just because they have an opinion. No one is out to prove anything here. The experience and preference for console/pc is largely subjective. What matters is this. WE ARE ALL GAMERS. Many of us love games and playing games and it is intrinsic to who we are. Gaming is a fundamental human behaviour that goes right back to our caveman ancestors.
First up let me say I am a die hard pc player and have been for 30 years (yes 30 games were out on computers in 1981). My first computer came with a little slot in the side that you put the cartridge in. The second came with a tape player and the games were on tape. Then it went to the large floppies. I can also remember playing the old ataris and sega megadrives. I also have an xbox 360 but never touch it. Anyway...
Great article, and it's always a good time to be a PC gamer when a console generation reaches it's twilight years. Well... in my opinion it's ALWAYS good to be a PC gamer, but we just get a lot more attention during times like these. ;) Consoles are important nonetheless; as a fighter fan I think they do that format better than PC. But my best gaming experiences for everything else are on my computer. Just the way it's always been.
@stonhengehill - i agree with you.. with the new and upcoming technology such as 3D gaming, this will make PC dan console gaming a new kind of sensation..
@Meet391 I think with all entertainment sectors weather it be movies, gaming, or television it seems they are all super resistant to new market ideas for fear they may not work. Yes not every idea is going to be well received but at least take a chance... It's better then the alternative: Losing your fan base and making failed game.
@XxCRAFTYxX Good point about the indie game developers, but I'm afraid its gonna take longer than 3-4 software generations for the empowerment of indie developers. You see, while the tech to make current graphically-supreme games becomes cheap, software developers aren't gonna sit around waiting for the indies to overthrow the big-guns, nor will the gamers. They WILL build better software for better game-graphics and gamers WILL buy those games. Give me one example of any indie developer from the times of Deus Ex who has gotten big than any big-budget company. Unless we reach a saturation point of software development, from where we cannot build anything more advanced, today's conditions will remain the same in the times to come. And let's face it, even if indie developers do make it big, they will just be another profit-seeking game developer company, like the ones we have today. BTW, loved your "politically correct" comment.
@Hellavation You're right. And I was pleased with EA's move to make NFS World free after selling a million copies or so. It "shows" that they know about the limitations of their customers and are willing to trade money for their loyalty. Of course there is a great chance that I'm wrong and they may not care about it at all, but hey, who knows? After all, its just good business (sarcasm intended). Also, I liked your ideas about different selling strategies for different types of games, and found them very plausible and applicable. After all, MMO game developers easily earn more profit from subscriptions than the sales of the game. If similar strategies are implemented by the developers, the PC gaming sector would be blooming economically in no time.
@Meet391 Yes it is greed that is killing gaming because when I think about it, the solution for game developers (especially on the PC) when it comes to gaming is very easy: If it is a single player game charge for the game and specialized DLC content like; Clothing, rare developer levels, or alternate special playable characters for multiple play throughs. When it comes to on-line multiplayer games (Some of you will hate me for this) make the initial game a free download with a 15 day free trial, then if you like the game pay a nominal monthly ($9.99 or something comprable) on-line fee for the game. That way developers can get compensated for the amount of money that was put into game development and make a better follow-up game because they will have a larger budget from their publishers. This will also lead to less buyer remorse from players so they don't feel like they are paying twice to play one game.
When tech to make games becomes exponentially cheaper expect the small time game developer to start taking over the industry and putting the big dog a-holes out of buisness...it's going to take about 3-4 generations of software to happen but if you look at how we went from photoshop and image altering software from being something of a unique thing that only few people used to it being something even a kid in elementary school had access to to master....in our lifetimes we should see triple AAA titles that look like the current generations titles coming from indie developers....anyone that doubts that look at the fact that games like Limbo or Bastion are better then what we had on Super Nes graphically now imagine what indie devs can do in 15 or 20 years....
These dev's are being PC(politicaly correct) ,(how ironic)...what they want to say is... 1. We havnt figured out how to put in anti piracy protection that works and wont get hacked eventually ending to a net loss in profit on PC compared to consoles. ( this isnt an excuse for bloatware or scanware as not doing it right yet isnt an excuse for a$$ rape last I checked) 2. We want to bastardize our properties in the future. DLC is a huge moneymaker thats why your seeing more of it everywhere and the next evolution is all games will become DLC, look at the current state of PC sales Steam, Direct to Drive, Onlive, "origin"(spits the name out of mouth and shivers in disgust)....that is where gaming is going even on consoles just dont expect a price drop now that you dont have packaging or discs to pay for we will now try to make games more like MMO's and constantly nickel and dime you at every turn unless you wise up and dont buy our crap cause ultimately it will always be a consumers market and you determine the best way for us to make money by your purchases.....you wield all the power and we are di@kless scrubs that will rue the day we crossed you if you ever figure out that we serve you not the other way around...
File this under no duh You mean PC's are more powerful then consoles? A fact every console fanboy likes to deny up and down You mean PC's have ever evolving tech and consoles that have been out over 5 years and havnt expanded their chipsets will have trouble keeping up? Wow! A developer that isnt a moron....how about try making a PC build that is superior 6 months after the consoles launch built off of PC arcitecture instead of a Xbox 360 port or base all the ports off of a superior PC build and scale back the graphics for the other systems then just release the PC version last IE, later in the year to avoid initial piracy...that being said it's not like you cant get pirated on every console out there....console piracy is just as prevalent and easy as PC piracy but always online isnt the answer, how about online code activation for all multiplayer since thats how you play it anyway and singleplayer that plays out of the box with a phone in code to an automated system since even people in the middle of timbuck two have acess to a phone they could even have the stores activate the second they bought the games so that only games that were purchased initially would work..and even our troops could have their wives phone activate prior to their significant others mailing them a game..that might be a solution everyone could swallow...oh wait makes too much sense guess you'll hae to go with scanning hardrive with bloatware and contracts that say you cant ever own the game because it's a pay service cause your double dealing whores that would rather look for ways to screw PC customers over and make us feral a-holes
Good read and good points raised. With the shifting trend towards digital allowing smaller developers to thrive and creative, innovative games to circulate, the PC really is striding into a positive future.
@suprsolider Did you try compatibility mode? i know some games won't work but none the less i ran Hlaf-Life Source on 1080p and Call of Duty 2 too, i also ran many many old games on win7. @Simeon_Crane plus I watch TV (not internet tv), and i control my rc-heli too. NoodleFighter & nyran125 totally agree with you guys.
@comb5 Yes, but only 6 months later to the original release date. Not to mention the need of a game-pad/controller for proper gaming experience. Why not just make it mouse-compatible like Prince Of Persia? Ans. --> Greed. Like I said in my recent post.
@Hellavation Very well said. A fact that needed pointing out, and I'm very thankful to you for doing so. Greed is what is eating up the PC gaming industry, and it may lead to its eventual destruction.
@evilweav I'm not being pessimistic about PC gaming, and I love my PC too. I have developed this notion after seeing certain changes and new "innovations" brought in the games, by their producers who want more profit from each copy they sell. PC gaming is getting costlier by the minute, and the average casual gamer cannot afford these changes. For instance, take the World Of Warcraft series. First you have to buy the game, which is already costly for the average non-earning gamer, people like you and me. And you still have to pay extra to continue playing a game you bought just a month ago. Secondly, PC ports of good games frequently get cancelled or are released very late. Not to mention the system requirements needed to play the game, and newer games demand these to be very high. You need a rig good enough to play new games, which again is costly. That too becomes outdated in a matter of years. This costliness in-turn leads to piracy gaining popularity, which affects the sales of the game and the developers get annoyed. Its a vicious cycle. On the other hand, a PS2 you bought 5 yrs ago still plays all the games and many more that are being released for it. I have thought about this for a long time now, so I'm not saying what I'm saying without any rhyme or reason.
When it comes to gaming I think that developers should be compensated for the work that they do and should not have to worry about vigilante hackers trying to hack their network to prove a point. What I don't agree with is paying to play a game after I have already purchased a game which is why I think PC gaming was started to falter. If companies like EA can keep the greed side out of it I think gaming could grow as a whole.
i am a pc gammer and i really like it it is so much better than 360 or ps3 but some games dont release for pc and thats sad
Minecraft, Terraria, GTA San Andreas, and Unreal Tournament '99 are all I need to keep my PC gaming alive.
@NoodleFighter, very true, and from my point of view it definitely applies. I buy games that are made well and ignore the rest. However, I believe that we cannot just ignore piracy - I personally know more working people earning a proper salary who pirate all their games than I know guys like me who buy each and every one. Granted, the piracy card is also skewed if you assume that every pirate is a lost sale - not every person who pirates a game would have bought it if a pirate copy wasn't available. Unfortunately most of the publishers and their "analysts" love making that assumption. @Milhouse09, stay 1 to 2 generations behind the latest tech, and you'll find PC gaming is MUUUCH cheaper than you thought. :)
I think Piracy card is used most of the time for devs/publishers to make up excuses on why their games don't sell on PC. If you actually try to make the game actually designed for our platform instead of copying and pasting the console version but with updated graphics then they'd attract more of us to multiplat titles. Look at Cd Projekt they actually treated PC gamers with respect with The Witcher 2 and actually had faith in a lot of us buying it, now look at them they surpassed 1 million copies within 2 months. I think it shows it's more of a quality thing, if you make a modest, well made, supported even after launch PC game then you'll be fine
@Milhouse09 its not really THAT expensive. Sure if you look at the massively powerful pcs such as the alienwares then yes it'll cost you a ton but you can get a decent gaming pc for between 300 - 500 which is close to what many people spend on game consoles (trust me Ive seen people spend 500 on a console plus games) So its not that expensive.
Only the console fanboys say stuff like "PC gaming is dead" and"PC gaming is expensive". PC games are cheaper on launch and go on sale more often, and a gaming PC is not a expensive as most people think.
Great article. PC gaming is not dead and will never be. E-Sports will grow and the PC has the best support for it. Indeed PC gaming is more expensive than playing on consoles, but the PC can be used for many other things beside gaming. Also the competitive gaming segment is by far larger on PC than on all consoles together (except fighting games like Tekken, MK and SF the competitve gaming doesn't really exist on consoles).
personally i like to buy a game and have the case, manual and other cool stuff that comes within, and from where i`m living, the internet speed and connection istn good, i don`t wanna download a 8,5 gb install and get cut at 8,4 and restart downloading because some fracking error
Wow, this is pretty telling, actually. I never thought about the transition to e-versions of software to combat piracy, but that makes total sense. I guess that means Steam isn't going anywhere soon. Really interesting.
@vernholio You spent 2,200$ on a Alienware? I feel for you.. I made that mistake a long, long time ago and now I build my own. Jesus man, you could have built something truly amazing yourself for that price.
@Lpedraja2002 "...we have enough shooters." AGREED! Also, agree with you on the need for the consoles to have an "accessible" keyboard/mouse option (I guess the PS3 has something, but it's not the same). Where I tend to disagree -- just a little -- is your point about a console "catching up hardware-wise" to the PC. While conceivably, the next-gen consoles ("Xbox 720" and "PS4" or whatever they'll be called) could be released with hardware equivalent to a good PC rig, it would just be too expensive for the consumer (Hell, my Alienware rig just set me back \$2200). Sony took it in the teeth at first and were losing a lot of money because they had to drop the price on the PS3 to meet consumer demand (Microsoft did, too... just not on as grand a scheme). Don't know too many "casual gamers" (or mommies and daddies) williing to drop $1,000 on a video game system -- especially in this economy. Also, there's the the fact that PC hardware will continue to improve, while even a new next-gen console will stagnate because it can't be upgraded... And we'll be right where we are now. Hey... could be completely wishful thinking on my part. I'm a PC Gamer at heart.
@Meet391 this has been an excellent year for PC gaming, and it's not over yet. The reason no one cared very much about Halo 1 and 2 for PC was because it wasn't optimized very well, requiring ludicrous system specs (for the time) yet still managing to lack in just about every way. The PC will always be the best platform for risk-taking developers to get amazing products out that never would've seen the light of day on a console, such as Crysis 1 or The Witcher 1 and 2. If it weren't for the PC community embracing these games, the developers would not have the cash to release them on consoles later. For a PC gamer, you're very pessimistic, especially in light of these great interviews from industry professionals who claim that the industry is doing just fine and will continue to thrive thanks to innovative indie devs and guys like Zynga.
Also, the first console that mandates mouse + keyboard for most of their games as an optional accessory would win me over. The only games I do miss playing on consoles are platformers, I used to love Ratchet and Clank on my PS2, God of War etc. If I had a console I would get a PS3 just for Uncharted, I'm a big Indiana Jones fan and I played both Uncharted games and they're just stupendous. Wish we had more platform games for PC, we have enough shooters.
I don't think PC gaming will cease to exist anytime soon, to me the biggest strike to PC gaming could come if the consoles would update their hardware to match that of a good gaming PC. If a game console would become more capable of multitasking then most of the people who have PC's mostly for gaming would start to consider. Either way, indie developers imo have better success in the PC gaming industry than that of the consoles, so as long as PC's are needed to create games, we'll be ok. Also, I love my PC because of it's awesome multitasking capabilities like: Burning a DVD movie while playing a game on Steam while chatting with 3 or 4 friends on steam, while having Mozilla open with a dozen tabs with walkthroughs and videos (especially if I'm playing an RPG), maybe the occasional song playing in case I don't want to hear the game and having the ability to switch between every program I have open with Windows Alt+Tab feature. Oh yeah, I love my PC!
I have a completely different opinion. I feel the spectrum of PC games is getting thinner by the day, and I wouldn't be surprised if PC games became antique collectibles by the end of the century. PCs may have the technological advantage, but they lack the financial one. Take the example of the Halo series, 3 and beyond. Microsoft made it 360 exclusive on the sole ground that the profits from the PC versions were very less. I was very disappointed, as I could not fulfill my hardcore-gamer wish of completing the trilogy, only because I didn't have enough dough to get that unreliable piece of scrap-metal called the Xbox360. I am myself a PC gamer, and a hardcore one (in terms of dedication, not skills). So I get very disappointed when I see great games like DMC series, God Of War series, Gears Of War etc. that are only console exclusives. The profit-seeking world of business is not for us PC gamers.
@M_Splinter I, for one do pirate some games, but I will eventually buy them if they were worth buying to begin with in my opinion. The recent one's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for me. It's useful, when the game doesn't have a demo and basically forces you to buy or rent the game to figure out is it any good. It's also allowed if you own the game, and for instance, your disc breaks (happened to me with Hulk CD - as the cover totally sucked and broke my disc 3.) [the only disc I've got broken by the way.] That's right, it's legal to download a game you already own. The third one is - if you can't find the game from anywhere and you really want to play it. Fable: The Lost Chapters - at least a few months ago used to be very much of a rare find to find on PC. My point is, some, like me do buy after pirating (to test the game), maybe most don't, but some do. [quote="M_Splinter"] However gaming on PC only won't let you access a lot of great stuff that's only on the consoles. [/quote] Care to elaborate? I'm actually more than happy to have Steam ingame when I'm playing. It feels a little crippled playing without being able to talk properly since having gotten used to Xfire first. I personally dislike PSN's lack of social interaction. Steam gives me the ability to talk easier while playing. Xbox Live did this right too, but Xbox Live costs, which is definitely a minus considering Steam offers the same - or better for free on PC.