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Default Gamasutra - The New Old Wave of PC Games

January 24th, 2009, 20:30
Gamasutra posts an op ed from Chris Remo that takes a look at some of the overlooked strengths of the PC gaming platform, using Valve and Stardock as examples of successful business models:
Amidst the neverending talk about how the PC is changing or declining as a market for hardcore games, outside of perennial chart-crusher World of Warcraft, commentators seem to lose sight of the historic strengths of the platform and its place in the gaming world.

Meanwhile, studios like Valve and Stardock — successful, independent companies comprised of staffers whose memories seem to go back a little further — understand some key principles that have always defined the PC platform in a positive way.

These include ongoing, direct contact with their audience; agility and responsiveness in development and support; and smaller teams that can afford to take interesting design risks and thus foster a loyal niche (not to mention thrive on sales that are less than astronomical).
On the consoles v. PC comparison:
…PC games have traditionally not had the per-title sales numbers that the most successful console games muster.

This is only a shock if you try to treat the PC as just another console, like so many modern-day publishers do — loading it up with ports of multiplatform games whose franchises (and sometimes entire genres) have never had a strong base on the PC to begin with, then expressing disappointment when they underperform…
As an open platform in contrast to the manufacturer-controlled consoles, the PC is a place where developers and publishers can be the ultimate gatekeepers of their own games….
On the future:
The lesson seems simple, but it's often overlooked in our NPD-obsessed industry: return on investment is a lot more important than units sold, especially as budgets continue to balloon dangerously.

And making games that can afford to succeed with a smaller audience often means the developers have more creative freedom — which, in an ostensibly creative industry, means a lot.

It is worth noting that both Valve and Stardock, as entire companies, are smaller than some of the individual teams making competing triple-A games.

These companies show that it is a fallacy that successful modern game development must be bloated and unwieldy, and they know that the PC platform and its audience do not reward offerings that treat the system like an afterthought or a multiplatform port repository.
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 24th, 2009, 20:30
You can go through all that analysis the article goes through. But it's so much catchier (and hip) to jump on the 'PC Gaming is dying' bandwagon…

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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January 24th, 2009, 23:41
It is worth noting that both Valve and Stardock, as entire companies, are smaller than some of the individual teams making competing triple-A games.
Valve small? On their about page they say they have just over 160 artists, programmers and writers. I'd love to know which development teams beat that for size on any competing title.
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January 25th, 2009, 00:36
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Gamasutra posts an op ed from Chris Remo that takes a look at some of the overlooked strengths of the PC gaming platform, using Valve and Stardock as examples of successful business models:
On the consoles v. PC comparison:
On the future:

More information.
That would be great if valve actually produced more than just fps/multiplayrs. There are like million of those allready on the market.

For many years Stardock has produced mainly one 4x space strategy which while ok is not exactly as good as master of orion was. Propably the best thing about SDs space strategy is the AI. I have never really been able to beat it like I did in Moo2. The only thing I really want for galciv is turn based battles and carriers with figthers. And possibly better land battles. But they are not really bothering with those details. Luckily they are finally expanding with new games. It will be interesting to see what they can produce.

Lately Ive been playing old space strategy called imperium galactica 1 and 2 from many years back. Imperium galactica is a realtime paused space 4x strategy with tactical land and space battles, ship designing, research and simcity style planet building. It also has small adventure game part where you can travel around your ship and rpg elements where you gain ranks by doing missions to the high command.

Imperium Galactica is even older than moo2 but still I have more fun with it than the latest space strategies like newest galciv expansion or sins of solar empire. It was kind of suprising. I just thought they might be fun for a spin (they belong to the same series as another space game i have) but didnt think the fun would be lasting.

Steam/impulse are of course neat systems - no hassle with patches when the system does it all for you automagically. However I rather buy games from other places because the prices on those shops are higher than in stores and I dont feel comfortable lokcing all my games under a single account.

EDIT:
So impulse has started to use 1€=1$ conversion too. Dollar was a throw away money last year and now its equal to euro. Great. Steam did it too earlier:

Just read this on a Dutch gamesite. Steam is now showing prices in Euro's
It includes the 19% tax and the conversion of the Dollar to the Euro. The 1€=1$ conversion is insane.

For me and I think many other European people a reason not to buy on Steam anymore. They used Steam for the benefite they had with the currency difference. And now will turn their back on Steam.

I will buy even more at CD WOW. Its cheap and reliable. You get physical game and they have low prices. Shipped for free in 7 days from Singapore.

As an example I pick COD WAW, Far Cry 2 and GTA 4. On Steam they all
cost a €49,99 while I can buy GTA 4 for €35 COD WAW for €32 and Far Cry even under €30 online and shipped for free.

Smart move by Steam in this time of Economical prosperity.
Steam is charging 50€ for digital copy of Cod / far cry2? Thats rich lol.

In US gamespot far cry 2 pc is 50$. In europe its around 40€ max and 24€ min (play.com). Steam is selling the game for 50$ for US (same price) and 50€ for EU (up to 26€ more).

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
"Those who dont read history are destined to repeat it." Edmund Burke
Last edited by zakhal; January 25th, 2009 at 03:07.
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January 25th, 2009, 11:03
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Steam is charging 50€ for digital copy of Cod / far cry2? Thats rich lol.
That is rich. It's only €37/€31 (FC2/CODwaw) on Steam here, and it's about the most expensive game. Most are only €30 or so.
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