Faux Futurists Want To Keep PC Gaming In The Past

Faux Futurists Want To Keep PC Gaming In The Past

Some day soon, Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang is going to walk on stage at some obscure electronics industry event and say these words: “We love PC gaming. Our heritage is in 3D gaming hardware. And that’s why we’re more excited than ever to announce we’re never making another gaming video card again.”

Sound like a doomsday scenario? Then you might be a PC game tinkerer.

There are two types of PC gamers. Firstly, there are people who love PC gaming because of all the fantastic things PC games have that their console or mobile games do not: a complex, precise interface; the ability to easily extend game experiences with modifications both official and otherwise; an incredible wealth of indie and experimental games; and the best graphics and sound experience a normal human being can buy.

Then there are the gamers who like the PC because they mistake tinkering with hardware from a couple of dozen of vendors — all of whom get their silicon from three giant corporations — as some sort of engineering, despite that it’s more or less electric LEGO for masochists. These tinkerers are holding back PC gaming hardware — and that includes the very benchmark by which they gauge themselves: graphics performance.

PC gaming isn’t going to die — but PC tinkering just might. And it’s not heretical to be OK with that. I’m disappointed in the short-sighted, overly defensive members of the PC gaming community. Last week I wrote an effusive post about the Razer Blade gaming laptop, pointing out all of the laudable, intelligent things Razer (and its engineering partner, Intel) were doing with the new product line — as well as the thing they were screwing up. (The price.)

Instead of measured rebuttals, many of those that chose to comment on my piece trotted out arguments that have been in place since the original Nintendo hit the scene — arguments which are even less true in the modern gaming and technology landscape than they were two decades ago. (There were some polite, reasoned responses, as well, although they were the minority.)

It’s all the old insults: “Go play your console.” “If I wanted a dedicated gaming machine with fixed hardware specs than I’d buy a console.” Or perhaps most tellingly: “Honestly, this is why I *enjoy* PC gaming. Unless you have an amazing rig, you can’t play games. This limits the people I game with to people at least as geeky as me (you have to be geeky to assemble these systems).”

Tinkering is a hobby, not the basis for a platform. The average person (the people who actually make up the “mass” of the mass market that drives technology forward) does not want to build a PC. They don’t want to jailbreak their phone. They don’t even want to know what jailbreaking is. They don’t want to troubleshoot a broken computer to make a game work, even if it gets them a game with more impressive graphics.

I felt like I was watching a bunch of polo players quibble about saddle design next to a freeway.

Most people just want to play a game. Now, it’s true that PC gamers are not most people. We’re enthusiasts — the hot-rodders of PC hardware. There are a few million of us out there — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying our hobby — but most PC gamers seem to have forgotten that we are a small offshoot of a much larger industry, one that built computers for spreadsheets and word processing, not gaming. The same industry that is currently moving away from the Windows PC as the default, mainstream computing platform.

So PC gamers got very upset upon my suggestion that, you know, maybe it’d be OK to let Intel and Nvidia (and perhaps AMD) standardise the PC platform a little bit so that programmers and operating system engineers could more readily access the kind of computational power that’s inside our hot-rod PC hardware. And as I watched it unfold, I felt like I was watching a bunch of polo players quibble about saddle design next to a freeway.

It is absolutely asinine that our smoking-hot, electricity-slurping gaming towers and massive laptops aren’t providing experiences so far beyond that available on consoles and mobile phones that even non-gamers could immediately see the difference. Sure, we can tell the difference between Infinity Blade running on an iPad and latest Unreal Engine game running on a $2000 PC. But you know who can’t? Millions upon millions of people who buy games.

And don’t forget that the games will follow the money. And right now the money is moving into free-to-play, mobile, and hosted games, be they on Facebook or on streaming services like OnLive. Consoles aren’t even the only, or indeed the largest threat to PC gaming! We’ve probably got one more generation of “hardcore” dedicated consoles like the Xbox before they, too, are obsolesced by streaming or mobile hardware.

Disagree all you want, but I’m not saying anything that PC gaming stalwarts like Valve and id Software aren’t saying themselves.

“We’re terrified by the future,” [Valve’s Gabe Newell]said. “You need to be looking at what’s happening with Apple, Google Android and thinking that could impact the living room in a big way. You need to be looking at Onlive and how it is integrated with the television.”

PC gaming isn’t going to die. But it’s going to change. And unless PC gamers embrace that change, we’re going to find ourselves increasingly marginalised, with fewer games to experience that are unique to PC. I don’t hate the tinkerers. But it’s time they stopped pretending that they hold any real influence over where the electronics industry is going.

Comments

  • I’ll admit that standardising the platform will allow us take full advantage of the hardware in our systems. We may have graphics cards that are 100x more powerful but we can’t get our graphics looking 100x better than their console counterparts.

    I find myself in agreeing with the fact that we need to standardise the platform a little bit. It would only benefit us if AMD, Intel and Nvidia standardised it. It would not only be cheaper but we’d get more games out of it because it would be less complicated to program games for and we might actually get a few more true PC games instead of console ports.

    Sure if not heavily regulated AMD, Intel and Nvidia would create a monopoly if they joined together and then we’d ultimately lose out because they could charge what they want. But if they also started developing the same architecture then there would be no progress, no development and no competition to make new hardware.

    PC gaming is never going to die. But it is going to change. If the platform is not standardised it will end up doing nothing but play games like farmville because it will get too complicated and expensive to program for. Or it’ll become standardised and many people will be upset and will become an upgradeable console (which I am all for) but this will change the die hard PC gamers of years gone. But if we keep the superior interface of PC gaming (Mouse and Keyboard), the upgradeability (eg. cheap harddrives) we could be witnessing a brand new world in which PC gaming will be diving into and I cannot wait to see it.

    Note: I apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes I just woke up. =P

  • I play PC and Xbox, and see them as fairly different gaming experiences. Sometimes the PC is just too tricky to get it to work. I have built PCs in the past, but I really can’t be bothered any more. Maybe it’s the job, the responsibilities, but I just want to sit down and play a game. I don’t want to have to spend 2 hours reading rubbish on forums to find the one useful post that tells me what line in the *.ini file to edit just to get my game to run. And if you don’t want to tinker, a PC that will run maximum graphics on new games is going to cost $2,000+.

    • Untrue. Gaming PC’s being expensive is a very common misconception. You can build a PC that will run all the current games on very high graphics for no more than $600. If you want to play everything on MAX graphics and ensure you will be able to for quite a while, $800-$1000 is the MAXIMUM you will spend.

      • I know you can “build” one for less, but that takes a great deal of time to get it right. I was talking about buying one prebuilt.

        • yeah buying one prebuilt is a moronic idea no offence.

          There are plenty of places on the net that will tell you what to put in it.

          and it’s like a 30minute job top’s.

          and you really can’t muck it up.

          I get so many relative’s who are all like oh i bought a new PC it has this in it paid 2000 for it and all i can think, is why don’t they ask me. most of these builds they keep buying have less than 800 dollars worth of tech in them

          • It’s not moronic, sure there are plenty of places on the web that will tell you what to put in it, but you are up for days of research if you haven’t kept up with it for a while.

            Then you order all the bits, spend a day putting it all together. Then another day installing windows and getting all the updates and downloading the latest video card drivers and debloating windows.
            And then you install a new game and it crashes, or has a sound or runs slower than it should. So then you head to the forums and get tons of conflicting advice on various fixes, some which may work, some that make things worse, some that you don’t understand.
            If it all goes perfectly well, then you would spend maybe 20 hours researching a PC, ordering the parts, building it and installing and getting it all running. If it goes south at all, it is more like 60 hours.
            Even if your time is only worth $20 an hour, that is a real cost if PC building isn’t a hobby you enjoy.

        • OK, maybe I’m just being cranky and lazy. I used to know what a good hardware part was, but I lost track after the Pentium 2.

        • Your comparing brand new hardware to a 2+ year old rig. Parts improve quite quickly and will always be ‘obsolete’ within a year or two.

          I really dont get the people recommending these cheap rigs. yeah sure they work great for the short term. But give it a year or two and they will need some serious upgrades. More and more costs come in as you will want decent monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard, wireless card if needed, bluetooth if needed and of course a copy of Windows.

          PC gaming is not a cheap hobby and the benefits of it are slipping away with a lot of modern games. Its no surprise that people are shifting to consoles where they have a trouble free experience and a comparable graphics experience.

          • I lold at the ini files…

            Pentium IIs were sold in the late 90’s… a lot has changed in the past 13 years.

            One day, when consoles look as good as PC games, play as smoothly and give modding options then I’ll make the change. When streaming services are a viable option and readily available in Australia, I’ll gladly hand over my money.

            Until then, you will have to pry my box from my cold dead hands.

          • well researched post can i subscribe to your newsletter?

            You can get console games for just as cheap if you go to the right places, plus if you buy local copies you can trade them in when your done as well which is another benefit.

      • “Untrue. Gaming PC’s being expensive is a very common misconception. ”

        Nope, wrong again. PCs require freqent upgrades to stay cutting edge while consoles are only payed for one every few years.

        And seriously, if you are going to mention a price, put the freaking currency on the end. A decent PC rig for $600? That is only endough for the case and a graphics card. The rest of the parts (another $400 worth – yes I have learned my lesson in the other article) are still missing.

        At the end of the day – depite your devotion to the platform – PCs are and always be more expensive than consoles during the initial purchase and on-going costs of upgrades.

          • soo..i’d have the case and gpu but wait! i still need the keyboard, power box, mouse, fan, etc etc ( see where im going with this?)

            i used to be a pc gamer but like someone mentioned above, the hassle of tweaking things here and there and just figuring how to get it to work is too mind boggling.

            i just wanna put in my disc, press the power button and game away!

        • Anyone who says this clearly hasn’t been keeping up to date recently. My 3 year old rig can still play today’s games comfortably. A computer doesn’t have to be “cutting edge” as you put it anymore to play games. Console technology doesn’t change and it just so happens most games are designed with consoles in mind first and thus the hardware required for PC gaming isn’t as demanding as it was in the past. You build a computer that will play today’s generation of games and you’ll be able to use it until the next console generation comes. Sure it might be anywhere from $200-1000 more expensive than a console but given all of the other stuff I use my computer for, I don’t mind one bit.

      • What about the fact that you’d need to upgrade it again after a few months? Thats where the price starts to climb. Just my 2cents 🙂

        For me, i just don’t have the time to build one, I’m going to have to get it built for me

    • I agree. I grew sick of pc gaming years ago. I was sick of constantly having to buy new hardware on an almost monthly basis. Plus, dicking around with files to get shit to work? screw that!! PC gaming seriously needs to hurry up and die so we can all get on with our lives.

      • “PC gaming seriously needs to hurry up and die so we can all get on with our lives.”

        Mate, despate the price, complexity and the crippling nature of DRM, PC gaming is not going to go anywhere.

        While I do admit some PC games do require tampering with files, I have not seen this since the late 1990s, early 2000s.

        The only cases these days is when you get a fan mod for a game – such as for Morrowind, Fallout, etc – and it does not follow the content packaging system used by the game.

  • Oh boy here we go again :). I’m not even going to say anything this time, as my mother always said ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!’

    • Then shut up then as your comments are also off the mark.

      While I admit that it was in this very forum that my estimate for $1500 for a decent PC rig was wrong, you always over look the fact that PCs need to be upgraded at least every six months to stay cutting edge.

      So contrary to what you say, PC *ARE* more expensive as you only pay once for a console (360 excluded) and it lasts for a good 5 years.

      • yeah but the fact is you dont have to be cutting edge. you can buy a rig that will currently look awesome since there has been minimal advancements in games lately for like 600. this will probs look reasonably good in 2 years or in 3-4 and maybe 5-6 you should start think about a new rig. but hey you have your HDD your dvd drive your case and powersupply plus some cooling items can all be recycled unless they change the standard which they wont. that means you only really need a new board, gfx card, maybe ram depending on standards and cpu. people need to get over this oh its no longer the top of the line and therefore i cant use it anymore. you dont just buy the new part as soon as it is released unless you have serious $$$ a mid rig is perfectly fine and gets the job done.

        • But if you are not going to upgrade your PC for 5 years, you may as well get a console and do the same and save the hassle.

          Despite all of this, the article points out that yours and my PC effectively runs at half speed at best due to the lack of standards and the constant new product cycle.
          Christ, look at Doom3 on the original XBOX, and that was a PC with a celeron 700MHz and a Geforce3 chipset, and it absolutely rocked graphically. You needed a PC at twice that spec to even get close.
          If the new products stopped for 3 years, PC gaming would get faster than if it didn’t.
          There is no impetus to squeeze every last drop from PCs and the multiple standards and compatibility issues make programming and QA an expensive nightmare.
          I’d love MS to stop making new versions of windows for 5 years and just keep fixing Windows7 until it was smooth and humming as well.

        • What? I have to factual. The early models are prone to failing, thus one has to buy a new one once the three year warranty runs out.

          I never had issues with the RRoD, but that does not mean I can exclude it.

  • This is precisely the reason I moved from a pc to a consol. I want to be able to purchase a game and play it not have to fiddle around to make it work. Yes I would love a keyboard and mouse but I had one too many bad experiences with games not working or not working as well as I had hoped.

  • Standardised platform hey?

    Yeah that’ll be a great idea. I can’t wait to fork out $3500 for a $1800 computer. *Looks at Apple*

  • First, wow at the arrogance in this article. Is this original thinking? Yes, and it definitely seems like a plausible direction things could take, but only if you’re assuming people only build computers for games. This assumption is wrong.

    • Why would people build computers if not for games? If you just want to save money, buy a netbook.

      Well, okay, I will admit that computing professionals usually have a reason to build computers, so they don’t have to fill out a purchase order to upgrade a machine, but the electric Lego comparison is very apt.

    • It’s been a few days since their last traffic spike. Good to see the Australian standard is just as high with them re-posting this tripe.

  • I don’t think we should go with a standardised platform ala Apple or console’s

    Since they are inherently more expensive than doing it yourself.

    however i do believe that 18 month tier’s of Low Medium and High GPU’s would allow for people to know exactly what they are buying and how long it will last.

    You know if you lay down cash in the high end range you’ll get 4.5 years out of it.

    or you could stick with the low end moving from 50-80 GPU every 18 months.

    For Example the 9800GTX that is the recommended for Rage. is 3.5 years old and can be found for about 70AUD.

    the 8800GT hit’s it’s 4th birthday end of next month(and i actually can’t find anywhere that sells the card new anymore but last i saw it was about 50 dollars)

    It would also provide a Used cycle for those who want something cheaper.

    As the guys in the high section and to a lesser extent the medium, want to upgrade to the new high standard when it pops up(or just a new card in general) they can sell the GPU’s they have down into the medium or low demographic’s enabling them to recoup some cost and provide the lower tiers with some cheaper gear.

    then you could put clear cut stickers on the boxes that say this is a “Medium Tier GPU” It will fall out of the low tier on Dec 22 2014.

    At which point you can no longer be guaranteed to meet the minimum system requirements of any new release games.

    This way people know how long they are going to get out of their card’s Regardless if their is a sudden superboost at the top end of the spectrum.

    not to mention that 4.5 years fits with the upgrade mentality we used to See in console’s. But they have thrown advancement out the window

    Note: I didn’t see the Post on the Razer Blade, it is everything that’s wrong with PC gaming today. Especially since it was marketing itself as a savior yet all it has done is re-affirm the misguided belief that PC gaming is expensive by releasing an expensive laptop.

    I’m a tinkerer and i can honestly say that withing the next 6 months i will be building a new machine again. Partly due to some upcoming release’s and partly because i need to build a Media centre and the current Rig I have can be put to good use in doing so for the whole house

    • This is a brilliant idea, at least then I could properly help non-pros decide what they need in a system. As it is, when I recommend a system it’s a bunch of acronyms, letters and numbers “jibberish”. If I want to go to my boss and say “we can build X machine with Y capabilities and it will be useable for a minimum Z years” there’s a higher chance of my boss saying “well that makes sense, go do it” instead of the current “no (wtf was he talking about!?”

  • By the by, developers were doing fine with multiple configurations for PC setups for years. It’s only now that the quickest buck can be made on consoles that they can’t be bothered. Why change something that’s been working just fine because developers are becoming lazier and greedier?

    • Well he did say “GAMES WILL FOLLOW THE MONEY”, and you can replace “games” with “developers”. Because really, its the same thing.

  • It’s not as if you don’t have a point but it sounds like the reaction to the last article really hurt your feelings. Chill out bro.

  • I just think the average person is not so bright and has poor eyesight. Also the green bit in the pie chart should added to the purple bit.

  • Wow, this guy doesnt like being told he is wrong or his vision may not be what everyone agrees with?

    The PC has enough standards now.. DirectX and OS alone can define what a system is capable of doing/achieving. While these arent the main factors, they can very well paint a picture of how a game should be developed and appropriately look.

    The problem right now is a lot of times, games arent optimized to use all these features sets or settings. Hell we are still getting DX9 games that come out that support XP, yeah some of them can look good but if you take advantage of the new hardware and DX improvements you can get a lot more power out of your system.

    Lets even look at dual core, developers have been using multicore platforms since the new generation of consoles come out, but how many games have truly used more than 1 core fully to push a PC game to new heights?

    “”Sure, we can tell the difference between Infinity Blade running on an iPad and latest Unreal Engine game running on a $2000 PC. But you know who can’t? Millions upon millions of people who buy games.””

    All I have to say to that is, well freaking DURR? How many games have been developed with only the PC in mind in the last 5 to 10 years? All of them have been designed with porting to the consoles, but also looking very similar to get the “Same experience”. You take that out of the equation and how would a PC game look then?

    Any way you want to look at this, standardizing the PC any more is just creating a new console. Then we go to the even murkier waters of being boxed in by tech thats 5 years behind like the consoles, for the sake of “making it cheaper” and “more accessible”. Your solution is worse than the current problem hardcore PC gamers are facing.

    Im no PC elitist, I love my consoles and the Gamecube will probably go down as my favorite platform ever, but I just cant agree with much of what you are saying.. If people only care about playing a game, then what do graphics matter? If graphics are a huge factor then why shouldnt people have the choice of spending thousands on a system they would love to improve upon the experience?

    • “Console port” is a little overused IMO. My PC copy of Borderlands is frequently whinged about on the Steam forums etc, but I reckon it’s awesome. The biggest thing people complain about is the narrow FOV and the fact that mouse smoothing (or something) can only be turned off manually. Not really big issues. And Dead Space is another one – it’s awesome on the PC.

      • Not really.. I think you make a good point with Dead Space. If they are going to port a game over, port it right! And Dead Space did extremely well on that front. Loading it up on an triple monitor system, and have it play smooth as silk and having fitting controls made for an enjoyable experience that eclipses what you got offered on the consoles.

        Borderlands on the other hand.. I had a hell of a time with that game, but it was poorly done. Little to no support for PC triple monitor setups, controls centered around console experience and felt a little bit unnatural to play. Fun as hell game but yeah.

        At the end of the day, a port is still a port.. If done right it can be just as good/better than consoles. But it still a port, meaning we are potentially missing out on a lot of bells and whistles we could be getting.

        • to be fair though triple screen support is one of the last things you should be complaining about when it comes to ports. There are so many that fall down long before they ever reach well can it run on 3 screens.

          I still believe the biggest blight consoles have ever given us is the 2 weapon system.

          Yes it makes sense on a console where you have no real ability to scroll through a bunch of weapons in a second and having a switch weapon button makes things easier.

          it can easily take the fun out of a game because the game makes it nigh impossible to take certain weapons into certain area’s for hilarious results. Something Duke was sorely missing(well that and a Duke nukem worthy level design)

          • OH I agree, but as far as a point goes – it was a console port done perfectly right! It worked out of the box with awesome features, and had controls that felt right and tight on the PC. As far as an example of a “port” that went beyond the console its good.

            Outside that, yes its not a fair comparison.. But you are still playing on a PC, I dont expect it to be optimized, but Borderlands still doesnt run in triple wide, and still while playing well, felt like a port. Hell, I even had to tinker with the INI files just to play the game in the first place.

      • Don’t forget weapons that you couldn’t see the stats on without a cfg hack, and the UI that didn’t use scrollwheels

  • To never make a PC 3D card ever again is ridiculous, a lot of that technology bleeds onto other applications that will assist in future micro-tech. If this is forgone any company would see their future competitiveness quickly disappear.

  • Can’t say I think of it as tinkering, but I like having the option to swap out a cheaper, less powerful part for a better one. My last motherboard survived 3 video cards, 2 CPUs, and several HDD and memory upgrades. CPU and GPU split out of neccessity, so I don’t have much of an issue if they go back to one chip.

    But you have to keep some separtion of components, to allow redundancy and choice.
    And so what if there’s only 2 choices? It’s still a choice…

  • After twenty years of sitting in front of a computer and constantly struggling to keep some sort of pace with technological advancement I find buying a new video card every other year gets old.
    Then it gets expensively old. Then it gets painfully old.
    Then you just hang onto your old system and hope it plays Skyrim on min specs :/

    Each iteration of directX (openGL anyone?) has a dozen titles which barely scratch the surface of what is possible before people start talking about the “next big thing”.

    I don’t necessarily agree with “standadization of specs” as a business model because it sounds uncomfortably like “enforced monopoly” with less chance for new hardware start ups to push the envelope of what is possible while enabling entreached monopolies to play for safe returns.

    I’ll gladly hitch my pony to a wagon that gives me longer production cycles though, where software developers are given time to explore the landscape and find the limits of the tech (and gamers are given longer to save for their next fix).

  • I’m all for SOME standardisation of hardware for PC’s.

    It can be downright confusing trying to mix and match motherboards, ram, graphics cards, hard drives, etc. And not everyone knows all of the lingo.
    I can understand how casual PC gamers could get frustrated with this – so I’d support a standardisation that makes it easier for the customer to decide what part they should get, and how much it would improve their current system, as well as making it easier to install.

    Yet, I would rather die with my tiny screwdriver in my hands, before they take the ability to upgrade my own computer system with new hardware to my own chosen specifications. If that makes me a hardcore PC gamer, then fine.

    I love putting together my own PC every 3-4 years. It’s a chore, but its also a labour of love. And its cheaper. I’m looking at building another PC, and then handing on my old one to my father so he can get back into PC gaming (he’s close to retirement, and loved PC gaming it before he lost the time to spend on it due to work responsibilities).
    I can save about 300 dollars on building my own gaming rig, as opposed to buying a prebuilt pc that wouldn’t be to my slightly higher specifications.

    I guess to sum up what I want to say, I am all for some standarisation of PC hardware, but there should always be an available gateway to customize and tinker.

  • Massive who cares.

    Raw power does not a good game make.

    And given that these days developers are too interested in pumping out Asset Tours, showing off the latest advancements in cloth physics or facial animation, presented in hopelessly bland EMOTIONAL 3D CINEMMERSION™, maybe standardising and slowing things down will bring on the renaissance.

    • Agree completely. Maybe if developers were hindered from wowing thickies with shiny things, and actually putting their talents towards some well thought out design, we’d see less Cutscene Generators and more Games.

      • If console developers could make a console game as responsive and precise as a PC I’d ditch my PC now … unfortunately they can’t …

        Still yet to see a console game play as precisely as Starcraft 2, or even Quake Live for that matter …

        … and imagine playing an MMO (wow anyone?) with a 10 button max controller? 11 million wow players (read: customers @ $15/month) can’t be ignored …

      • Except that console are in the perfect position to do this and what do we get remakes and sequels.

        I don’t care if your game is shiny i just want something interesting.

        And for the most part they have stopped delivering.

        Only console(only) games on my horizon are Dark souls, because at it’s core it honors the old Hardcore PC RPG’s shame they won’t bring it to PC.

        And Uncharted 3 but that’s solely for the story.

        And ironically it’s on the PC where non shiny game’s rule. there are so many awesome games out there that console gamers have never heard of.

        Because they aren’t shiny, or they have what on a PC game is a menu system on a console it’s an evil convoluted screen of evil that is getting in the way of me killing things. Or they appeal to a certain audience and they do it well, but could never distribute Boxed copies with a reliable rate of return.

        PC Gaming might have the hardcore edge that want’s everything nice and shiny but you’ll also find those same people replaying games like baldur’s gate, icewind dale, planescape and other assortment’s of gaming history

        instead of right im done with this quick trade it in

  • Personally, I hope PC gaming stays exactly where it is for a very long time to come. Most people do want to just ‘play a game’ after a hard day’s work. That’s fine. But there are people who simply love to pore as much money as they can into a system to get the best possible specs. Like any enthusiast, its about achieving Perfection (or as close as possoble given a budget). By standardising PC gaming, it means that most PC systems will be exactly the same, and PC enthusiats will no longer have a unique system that defines them or who they are a person. And that hardly seems like approaching perfection to me.

  • There’s a fundamental mistake in your reasoning: tinkering isn’t just for gamers and enthusiasts.

    The ability to replace or upgrade individual parts easily and cheaply is worth a _lot_ to the rest of the PC/server world.
    The platform is already rife with standards to facilitate this.

  • For me, I just don’t have the time, or knowledge to build a computer. As much as people make it out to be ‘easy’, it really isn’t, not for someone who isn’t PC savvy.

    So i’m going to get one built for me 🙂 I’ll still primarily game on console, but I enjoys MMO’s and thats why I’m getting the PC

    • LOL I like that one.. Hell I love the look of the laptop, it is unique and fresh! But apart from the keyboard, whats under that hood isnt very overwhelming..

      • this article, much like the razer one, is dripping with arrogance and to state so explicitly that the standardization of pc hardware is a good thing just because this guy has a hard on for easy mode apple style products fails to take in account the many benefits of pc customization unrelated to gaming, not to mention the monopoly argument…This guy is obviously just reporting what he wants to happen. one companies statement isn’t the writing on the wall.

  • I did fine with a computer that was a good 3 years old until I upgraded maybe a year ago. The rig I have now can easily run things on high if not max:/

    To be honest I like having a solid rig because I play different games on my PC and my consoles.
    RTS’s,RPG’s, and Shooters I usually get on PC because I like having a mouse and keyboard.
    But I HATE using a mouse and keyboard for things like sports games, racing games, and action games.

  • I used to be a PC gaming diehard. I still have a custom-built PC, but I haven’t upgraded it in 3 years and I haven’t played a game on it since Mass Effect 2. Why? Because I got sick and tired of the way every single PC game without exception would crash or have problems of some nature or other. When I was a teen, dealing with this stuff was vaguely cool and it was partly worth it because so many great games were PC-only, and internet and network play was effectively PC-only.

    Now most games I want to play come out on console as well as PC. Complex games like Deus Ex Human Revolution are fully playable on console. Consoles have few if any crashes. The online play experience is smoother on console. I don’t need to keep upgrading the console.

    I think the last straw for me was Dragon Age, which I loved but drove me around the bend with all the crashes. I got Dragon Age 2 on console instead. Mass Effect 3 I will play on PC only because of the gimmick of carrying through my choices (if they invent a way to import those from PC to console, I will be all over it).

    • I used to be the same – PC all the way. But the headaches of getting drivers and hardware to work together just for one game and possibly having to do so again for another. Then there is also the cost.

      But the main factor that keeps me away is the god-forsaking DRM. The only time I get a PC game these days is when I can find them at a decent price and if they use Steamworks as the DRM or have no DRM at all.

      Quite ironic considering that consoles are mostly DRM boxes but at least they reconise a purchased game where as PCs tend to flip a coin.

    • “Because I got sick and tired of the way every single PC game without exception would crash or have problems of some nature or other. ”

      Sounds like you have no idea what you’re doing with a computer then. So it’s probably for the best you stick with the consoles.

      • I get the same issues and I am a programmer.

        The problem is PC have more condfigurations in hardware and software than they do transistors in their processors. So why it is a freak of nature at times, constant crashes and incompatibilty does not discriminate. It happens to both novice and expert computer users.

        Add into that the grade of the games code and the stability loss by DRM (StarForce anyone?).

      • There is a certain point in a lot of people’s lives when despite knowing plenty about computers to fix any problem, they think ‘you know what, I actually value spending my time on other things more’.

    • “Because I got sick and tired of the way every single PC game without exception would crash or have problems of some nature or other.”

      He said PC builder … didn’t say he was good at it …

  • I bought a laptop for $1000 3 or 4 years ago. I use it to play games. Sure, maybe I can’t turn the graphics up to max, and one or two games are a bit jittery, but I never intended it to be a top-of-the-line gaming rig. It *is* a laptop after all.
    Maybe in another year I’ll buy another laptop with better hardware. Less than $1000. And I’ll still play new games when they come out.
    I don’t see why people have to upgrade their rigs every couple of months. It makes no sense to me.

    • No one has to upgrade every couple of months. Anyone saying that is either full of it or has no idea what they’re doing when it comes to computers.

    • Heh, I’m sitting here on my couch will a <$1k laptop, a Steam account with somewhere around $500 of games bought for a lot less than I can buy a console game.

      I have a wired xbox 360 controller, to finish the story off. I rarely, if ever, have a problem with steam games. And they are patched a lot more often than console games.

      I'm no PC elitist, though I was. I now own just about every console platform that was sold in Australia (I recently got outbid on a Vectrex), and I have spent thousands on the latest console generation games.

      I've been building PC gaming rigs since the late 80's, and there is no doubt in my mind that the best value you can get for your money fun wise is by investing in carefully managed blend of a laptop with a dedicated graphics processor, a steam account, and a critical eye for bargains on eBay and key resellers.

      PC gaming dead? lol – its bigger than ever, its just all digital, and distributors are being pushed out of the PC games market.

  • I thought this was a brilliant forward looking article about gaming. One of the best I’ve read on Kotaku.

    Seems unfortunate that so few people actually read it before commenting. I suspect pie chart induced blind rage might have been a factor.

    • It seems crazy that we live in a world where people stop reading articles before they are finished because they decide it’s their right as an audience to not finish what they started.

      It sure is their right, but in doing so they lose the right to comment.

      I can’t believe the phrase “too long; didn’t read” exists. It sickens me that if people see more than a paragraph of text they consider it the fault of the author and refuse to engage in a meaningful way.

      The facts are this, yes this guy could be wrong. But he’s probably right. You’re probably going to be affected by the fact that he’s right, but you’re shooting the messenger just because he’s telling you something you don’t want to hear.

      It’s childish and not befitting of the superior intelligence many PC gamers *believe* they possess.

      The graph is spot on. That much is obvious. Don’t confuse “loud” with “numerous”.

      • It seems Joel has failed to consider that should graphics card manufacturers stop making graphics cards, then all gaming that isn’t phone or browser base will grind to a halt. People seem to forget that high end PC’s are used to make video games, regardless of what platform they are released on.

        Almost every single game you play on on every single console platform was built using a purpose built PC.

        Also Joel, if you are going to compare hardcore PC gamers to people who rent TV’s to watch “days of our lives” then you shouldn’t be surprised when we call you a lazy fanboy git.

        • I thought he was doing that as well. But if you look closely he’s not saying they are part of the same group he’s saying that the graph is not zoomed in enough to show that the amount of people who have 2 video cards is comparable to the amount of people who use Apple TV for Days Of Our Lives. And highlighting that their segments of the pie are so small they can’t be seen unless you “zoom in”.

  • If your look at it subjectively console gaming and PC gaming do in the long run end up costing as much as each other it just depends on when and where you pay that money.
    Ultimately at the end of the day tho you PC even when out of date for gaming is still useful.

    I find the true reality of PC gaming dying will be when Consoles have standardised keyboard and mouse support that can be used in any game natively and not with having to use hardware or software workarounds to get it to work. That and the ability to MOD console games.

  • Can’t say I mind standarisation of the platform. I definitely play PC games because I much prefer a PC interface and PC controls for many of my games. I’ve never quite understood the love for tinkering. I’d much rather concentrate my hatred at the horrible console to PC ports we often get.

  • I actually felt motion sick reading this article from nodding my head furiously in agreement. Yes, let PC tinkering die! All it is is spending a lot of time and money so your games can look just that little bit shinier. Because there is such a large market for that companies have to jack up the system requirements for games, making them look ugly and run badly on an average layman computer.

    • Yes let PC tinkering die, so that there are no computers capable of creating the video games and movies we enjoy so much! Weeeeeee!

  • I’m all for standardisation – but I am yet to see it work in practice.

    Some may have even heard this phrase before: “I just love standards – there are so many to choose from.”

    On top of this, standards at best act as guidelines. How they are implemented is up to providers/manufacturers so there is no difference from non-standardisation.

  • See, the thing about this article that makes me just switch off from its argument is that you’re basically just using a common fallacy – appealing to the majority.

    The core of your argument rests on the notion that there aren’t as many hardcore PC gamers as there are others. But that doesn’t do anything to back up the argument that PC hardware should be standardised.

  • Great article Joel, I think your points are rational and spot on. Glad you wrote and posted it based on the flurry the previous piece kicked up (that served to exactly highlight your points). OoOo look out, I’m going to be called a ‘plant’ from ‘gizmodo US’ soon.

    For those engaging in the argument about ‘the cost of a rig’ – please factor in the cost of peoples time. If its going to take me a few hours more than just walking into a shop and saying ‘that one’, then it’s not worth being a couple of hundred dollars cheaper to me. It’s very easy to not factor in the value of time when the said area is your area of interest.

      • Then PC tinkering is your hobby, so you obviously enjoy that time. -just have to appreciate that for a lot of other people, it’s very different, and industries tend to move towards catering for the greatest sector of people.

    • if your time is that important why are you even gaming in the first place? and whats stopping you wandering in to a dick smiths and pointing at the nearest Dell and saying ‘that one!’? is it the price? because if PC hardware becomes standardized that’s the only choice people are going to have.

    • How about I factor in the “rig is essential to build the damn video game regardless of which crappy console it gets played on” argument instead.

  • I think a lot of people seem to forgot that their PC is not just used for gaming. Browsing the internet, office, photo, video, audio editing etc, people need to take that into consideration when comparing to consoles in terms of value.

  • this article, much like the Razer one, is dripping with arrogance. to state so explicitly that PC hardware should be standardized just because this guy has a hard on for easy mode Apple style products ignores the numerous other benefits of PC customization besides gaming, not to mention the monopoly argument…… This guy is clearly just reporting what he wants to happen. One company making a statement doesnt qualify as the writing on the wall. -1.

  • I think the way the author of this article has responded is unfair.
    He gives the impression that he read the comments, why doesn’t he respond in the comments?

  • I get the feeling that although the percentage of ‘Hardcore PC gamers’ is quite low, perhaps the actual number hasn’t really dropped – and perhaps grown.

    ie. In 1998 there were 20 million ‘Hardcore PC gamers’ and 60 million Console gamers. Today there are still 20 million ‘Hardcore PC gamers’ but 300 million console gamers.

    So there’s not as much money in PC gaming as in console gaming, but there’s still just as much as there ever was. More than enough to keep the industry going.

    On a different note, barring gaming, I can switch between so many things to do and entertain me on my PC. The fact is, my PC shits all over any other form of media because unlike the PS3, it actually does do everything.
    My PC isn’t just about gaming – it’s a central part of my lifestyle. And I enjoy exercising a very high level of customisation with something so central to my life.
    I don’t mind paying more for my PC than I would for a console because it’s obviously worth it.

    • Yeah but you have to understand that as the market changes so does the demographic focus of the companies within it. Just because there’s “just as much as there ever was” in PC gaming doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. No company wants stagnation, they want growth, more money than they were making the previous year and the year before that.

      If they look over and see that console gaming has exploded into this massive lucrative market, that smart phone gaming has as well, it’s their responsibility to their shareholders to shift at least some of their focus to these sectors.

      I think many people who play games, especially the hardcore fans, seem to forget that it’s not just about creative endeavours and fan service, it’s largely about money.

      • I think that’s a fair point, and even though I don’t know much about business and keeping shareholders happy or whatever, I can see how that makes sense.
        But I would also think that catering to 3% of billion dollar industry is still going to make you quite a lot of money. And that 3% are forking out hundreds of dollars for your new products once or twice a year. Compared to a few hundred dollars once every 5 or more years (for a console). Though I guess they are making more money on console games than PC games. (ie If a game company had 100 console gaming customers and 100 PC gaming customers, they would make more money from the console gaming customers I expect.)

        Obviously businesses have to grow – it’s inherent in capitalism – luckily, they can now expand into console and mobile gaming…I just don’t think this necessarily equals the end of PC gaming.

    • WOJAus, you have perfectly articulated how I feel about the PC.

      It’s not just a gaming system for me, it’s a part of my life. I use it for everything, and it seems stupid to me game on another system when I have something that does it better and so many other things besides.

      Also, regardless of the number of people who own various systems how many games does each demographic buy?

      I’d be betting that your average PC gamer (especially the hardcore variety) buys more games over their lifetime than any kind of console gamer.

  • if your time is that important why are you even gaming in the first place? and whats stopping you wandering in to a dick smiths and pointing at the nearest Dell and saying ‘that one!’? is it the price? because if PC hardware becomes standardized that’s the only choice people are going to have.

    Haha what a bizarre comment. I’d rate playing games (I detest the word ‘gaming’ and ‘gamer’) as the one of the most important things I enjoy spending my time on. I don’t care how much any given PC or console costs, I just don’t want to think about how or why it works, I want to play games with it. I’ve done the PC thing. I’ve sat looking at forums working out why this specific games has a problem with the specific card I have and what I have to do to make it work that then screws up another game. For me, thats just not worth the hassle.

  • It would make no sense to wait until now, when consoles have become ruined by becoming more like a PC, and then stop making the thing that keeps PCs good…

  • Hey look, PIE CHARTS.

    I’m totally absolutely convinced.

    What’s also amazing is that somehow this market data not only manages to segment PC gamers into groups (ergo: hardcore and casual) but it manages to do it despite the fact that the largest PC game distributor doesn’t release any sales data.

    Your arguments aside, you lost me with the multi-colored chart bullshit. Next time you try to make a point, less trolling and more facts.

  • I love PC gaming, but I’ve never been a ‘tinkerer’ as this article describes them.

    Would I be a tinkerer if I could AFFORD IT? Probably.

    But I was lucky to have a 4 year old hand-me-down computer from my uncle when I was in high school and I spent and entire summer’s wages on a 3D card that could run Half-Life decently enough for my tastes. That’s about as far as my ‘tinkering’ history goes.

    I can’t afford to upgrade as often as I want to, and I usually just end up getting a laptop because I still don’t have a permanent residence of my own. Money is tight, and it’s never really been loose for me 😛

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