Sunday, August 08, 2010

Is this the best of times or the worst of times for PC gaming?

In his regular weekly bargain bucket slot on Rock Paper shotgun this week Lewie Proctor made a simple yet profoundly controversial statement:
You know, if you stop and think about it, PC gaming is in such a fantastic state at the moment.

The very first response in the comments thread:
I don’t know what it is you’re smoking, but please can I have some?

This begins a lively discussion with strong views being taken on both sides of the argument. Many of the respondents are genuinely depressed with the state of PC gaming at the moment when consoles seem to get all of the love from big developers and the only happening things in PC gaming are the five year old World of Warcraft and Facebook's utterly casual games. Those supporting the golden age statement point to the incredible value obtainable on the PC via digital downloads and the explosion of creativity from independents.

Having worked through my own bout of depression about the state of my pc gaming hobby I have come through the other side and tend towards the golden age view. The hobby has changed enormously in the past couple of years. Many things we once believed sacrosanct have been overturned. If you look at the platform with a year 2000 frame of mind it seems to be failing. If judge the health of PC gaming by the number of first person shooter releases that stretch your hardware to the limit then the platform is dying. If you put aside those expectations though you will realise that there is more stuff going on in PC gaming than ever before and and MMorpgs and Facebook games are only a small part of this wildly unpredictable story.

We live in interesting times.


Jayedub said...

Great post. I believe it's a great time to be a PC gamer. I do hope that the new trend of sixty dollar games for the PC doesn't become the standard, but I don't think that the platform is dying like the console lovers would claim.

Tesh said...

I wouldn't call it the "best" of times, but the increasing indie scene means that game design is seeing a bit of a democratic renaissance. I love that, and think it's healthy for the PC game industry.

On the other hand, Big Brother, er, Big Business is increasingly DRM-happy and still infected with sequelitis.

I think you could be selective and find evidence for either extreme... but as for me and my house, looking at as much as possible in the industry, I think PC gaming is, on the whole, definitely more on the "better" side than the alternative.

mbp said...

Hi Jaye and Tesh. I am just deighted to have positive vibes about my hobby again after several years of waiting for what seemed to be the inevitable end.

Tesh said...

Aye, it's always nice to not be hanging on the brink. I like to believe that as long as there are good indie tools and players who buy stuff on the PC, we'll have good fun on the platform.

If nothing else, it's a LOT more likely to see things like "Battle for Wesnoth" on the PC than on a console. That gives me hope that the platform will never be truly dead, because people care about it.