For PC Gaming Week, Kotaku has invited top creators to predict the future of computer gaming. Today, we hear from Ken Levine, head of Irrational Games, the heralded studio behind System Shock 2, BioShock and the forthcoming BioShock Infinite.
"After a long day in front of a PC, the last thing I want to do is come home and sit in front of a PC."
I hear this all the time from game developers.
It is not something you'll hear from me.
When I get home, my wife and I have a routine. We eat dinner together, and then I head upstairs. To my PC.
Rock Paper Shotgun.
And so on.
Then, I boot something up. Today it's Civ 5. Yesterday it was the Cataclysm beta. The day before, Minecraft or Torchlight.
Later on in the evening, I'll boot up the 360 or the PS3. And at bedtime, it's the iPad, which I read until I fall asleep. Maybe I'll pass out playing 100 Rogues or Sword & Poker.
But when it comes down to it, as a gamer, I'm a PC. I like the kind of games you can play on it. I like that designers know they have your full attention, so they feel comfortable EXPECTING your full attention. I like the ergonomics of the thing, the mouse and keyboard, the effortless transition from gaming to browsing to typing. I'm an alt-tab kind of guy.
What's the future of the PC? Social games? MMOs? Freemium?
Fuck if I know. But I know this: The PC will always be the place that drives innovation. The PC is the place where great game developers are born, even - and maybe especially - where great console game developers are born. Halo, Mass Effect, Call of Duty… PC developers first. And it's on the PC where the leading-edge ideas form, primarily because the barrier of entry is low and you can have an idea that goes like this:
"Hey, I've got an idea!"
"Cool! Who do we need to approve this idea?"
And then the idea gets done. Because magic can happen when there are no middle men, no marketers, and no naysayers.
Sometimes it's a disaster. In fact, usually it is. Most ideas are terrible.
But sometimes it's Steam.
And sometimes it's modding.
And sometimes it's Minecraft.
And then we all, gamers and developers, get to high-five the universe and think about how lucky we are.
What's the future of PCs?
Again, fuck if I know.
But here's something you can take the bank: If you want to know the future of gaming, buy a PC. And pay attention. Because above all, that thing on your desk is a crystal ball.
Ken Levine is the co-founder, President and Creative Director of Irrational Games. He led the creation of the multimillion unit selling, multiple game-of-the year award-winning title BioShock. He was named 2007 Person of the Year by the 1Up Network and was named the number one game developer of the 2007 by Next-Gen.Biz.