: Editorial: Why PC Gaming Is Dying

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Editorial: Why PC Gaming Is Dying

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It's a common topic these days, and always subject to much debate. For the longest time, I refused to believe PC gaming really was dying, primarily because some of my finest interactive experiences as a child came from my old Tandy/IBM. I distinctly recall the good ol' days of text adventures (shut up, they were great), Hero's Quest, Earl Weaver's Baseball, Ms. Pac-Man and more. Later, in college, I had a blast playing the likes of Diablo, Heroes of Might and Magic III, Baldurs Gate 2, Icewindale and Unreal Tournament with a bunch of friends. Therefore, in no way would I ever want to come to the conclusion that PC gaming is dying. If I do that, it feels as if a part of me would die along with it. But unfortunately, the time has come: it is dying, and I have to come to terms with it.

Now, I could spend hours comparing the cost:value ratio between PCs and consoles, but that's an argument that can be spun in a variety of ways, and one that's loaded with hidden pitfalls. And I could claim that an appalling lack of diversity and innovation in the past decade has led to the PC's demise as a gaming platform, but I'd rather not. It's a valid claim - just about every last big title these days simply builds on the foundation set by either Half-Life, Command & Conquer or Baldurs Gate - but that just generates a lot of animosity. The PCers hate to hear it, regardless of how true it is. There's far more diversity in terms of genres and innovation when it comes to gameplay on consoles, and that's a straight-up fact. All of this has contributed to the PC's downfall, along with the elitist PC developer mindset ('cough' Valve 'cough') that basically says, "we're the best, we don't ever have to change." However, it goes well beyond this.

I'm playing through The Orange Box on the 360; this is my first time through Half-Life 2. The hype for this game was through the roof, so of course, I was very excited to finally get a chance to play it. And this is a great game, but the further I got, the more something was eating away at me...it was gnawing at my brain, desperately trying to tell me something. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but last night, it hit me- it felt cold. It felt stark, bland, and most importantly, lifeless. At that moment, I realized that most all PC exclusive games felt this way to me now. They lack the warmth of some of the colorful, vibrant, dynamic worlds we've been seeing in the console realm for quite a while. I had just completed Uncharted: Drake's Fortune before starting The Orange Box, for example, and the contrasts are plain. Granted, it wouldn't be fair to compare the two games in terms of gameplay because they're in completely different genres, but it is certainly fair to compare graphics and design.

1/9/2008 Ben Dutka

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Friday, February 13, 2009 @ 2:43:49 PM

This is the ridiculous article I've seen in a long time. I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to pick apart your specious reasoning Editorial guy.

First of all, Half Life 2 came out 4 years ago. It is THE game of its era.
Of course it's less advanced then those that built on its formula, that borrowed the conventions and styles it invented.
Your arguement here is like saying Shakespeare sucks because he uses so many cliches.

You say console games have far greater innovation, yet don't support that. You simply state it as though it is somehow a priori. Which considering the thrust of the piece is the inferiority, and hence "death", of PC gaming to console, is circular reasoning.

You argue Valve's elitist and resistant to change. Aside from utilizing the same engine, where does that come from?

You state every major game release builds on the foundation of FPS, RTS, or RPG greats. To begin with, those are genres. It's like saying "Movies are dying. I can't find a single one not set on Earth, in Space, or in the Ocean".
Second, Civilization 4. World of Goo. Prince of Persia. All available on PC.

You compare a handful of games made years after Half-life 2 by pointing out body mapping technology has improved since then, and from that, with truly byzantine logic, you deduct points from all of PC gaming for it with the truly mystifying qualifier "only on PCs does this happen".
What the heck? You spend a paragraph proselytizing the inferiority of Half-life, and then the entire point of your arguement is presented, undefended, in a single line?

You argue PC gaming hasn't embraced the aesthetic of the console, and thus they are, to utilize your eloquence, "teh suck". Setting aside for a moment the sheer hilarious self-importance of saying a platform is dead because you personally dislike its looks, the glory days of LucasArts held just that aesthetic. But the PC gaming market moved on to gunmetal grey and burned trees. Consider the major console games, GoW, Halo, COD:4, seem to be showing a similar trend, with a few notable holdouts. It would appear the superior form of life has begun to adopt the camouflage of the inferior. How very....strange.

In closing, thank you for this article. Happy Valentine's Day :)

-Summer Gau.

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