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PC Gaming

edited January 2006 in Video Games
I think your analysis of the PC game market is off the mark. Saying that a low-spec game still selling well means that high-spec games are of poor quality is flawed.

The Sims sells much better than FPS games such as Half Life 2 and FEAR because The Sims has a much broader appeal, that doesn't make Half Life 2 a sucky game (I cant speak for FEAR as I don't own it). There's still good reason to get a PC capable of playing future games such as Oblivion, NWN2 or the next Half Life.

In terms of the scale of sales, there is a definite decline that I have noticed in high street stores stocking PC games, gamestation near where I live doesn't stock any PC games outside of the chart and preowned sections, this obviously must be due to the companies seeing PC games as a weaker market though I can't claim I know why.


  • I didn't say that the success of low-powered games means the high-powered ones are poor quality. In our "building a computer" episode, we said that a high-end gaming rig is almost useless unless you're a hard-core gamer who plays all of the newest newest games, as the vast majority of games require very little to play. This just backs that supposition up.

    The PC gaming market in terms of store presence is in decline, as you say. I note that Dell and other computer manufacturers have reported that high-end and new PC sales have also declined significantly. They go hand-in-hand. Most people upgrade a computer to play a new game. If there is no game they want that requires an upgrade, balls to the PC manufacturer.
  • There are two factors at work:

    One is the volume of sales, driven by appeal and marketing. The Sims appeals to many people. I myself own the Sims 2, and played it for a little while back in 2004.

    The other is the quality of games. The Sims 2 is a high quality game, as is World of Warcraft. I played the latter more, because I got more out of it, even though its appeal isn't quite as universal.

    Given the volume of high-quality games relative to the overall volume of PC games, I cannot say that the quality of PC games is declining.

    I believe the most harmful thing in PC gaming right now is genre stagnation. In their pursuit (and achievement) of the perfect MMO, Blizzard has set an example which will inspire companies to imitate them, not innovate. Games like the Sims, on the other hand, are very positive, in that they find entirely new ways to entertain...and bonus: they aren't violent, and they appeal to women as well as men.

    Also, PC games have another nasty habit: chasing graphics. Graphics are often made a priority even in games who have a lot of other important things on their plate (like, say, Elder Scrolls 4). This is because graphics on PC's change constantly. On a console, there is only so much you can improve from one game to the next, because the graphics hardware is static. We don't think much of the games that exist to flaunt graphics (like the entire Xbox 360 starting lineup).

    That being said, I personally spend much more time playing PC games than console, because I don't like many of the types of games that dominate consoles. I think all shooters (including Grand Theft Auto) play better on the PC, and all strategy games, and all non-Final-Fantasy-style RPG's, and all simulation games. That leaves fighting games, sports games, adventure games, and delightful nonclassifiables like Harvest Moon and Katamari Damacy, which I gladly leave to the console world.

    This is to say nothing of mobile gaming, in which consoles are hopelessly far ahead of pitiful PDA's and mobile phones.
  • I still blame Myst for the epidemic of graphics chasing. Go look at a timeline of games released in different years. Myst came out when Windows 3.1 was still awesome. And they had pre-rendered graphics that we wouldn't see rendered in real time until years and years later. Myst was the Archduke Ferdinand of the video game graphics arms race.

    Not that Myst was a bad game, it was actually pretty good. But I still blame it for the problem we have today.
  • Well, I don't see anything wrong with improved graphics per se; I mean, I have an appreciation for asthetics, and nice graphics can really complement solid gameplay, making for an immersive experience.

    Of course, the solid gameplay needs to be there first, and too many games, both PC and console, seem to sacrifice gameplay for graphical niceties.
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