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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Will PC Games Trump XBox 360, Playstation3 & Wii?@ Digital Trends

Default Will PC Games Trump XBox 360, Playstation3 & Wii?@ Digital Trends

June 19th, 2009, 18:53
Rob Enderle at tech site DigitalTrends.com takes a look at recent sales drops and aging issues among consoles and predicts that the PC may be making a comeback as a gaming platform:
With rumors that a new Xbox is in the works, likely slated for next year, and sales dropping like a rock for every game system (ironically the Xbox appears to be holding on the best at the moment), I wonder if we are about to see a PC game resurgence. Windows 7 and DirectX 11 are coming, along with an expectation that Snow Leopard will actually embrace games for once. So are we months off from a smack down by PCs on game consoles, once again?
The article goes on to look at the problem facing aging consoles:
When game consoles first come out, they typically have performance in line with some of the highest performance PCs. By the end of year one, they are in line with medium performance PCs, and by the end of year, two PC games are starting to look better in general. From here, it only gets competitively worse…
Next up is a look at expected advances in Windows 7 and Direct X11:
…Windows 7 is the maintenance release of Windows Vista, suggesting a much better experience with most things, including gaming. DirectX 11 represents a major jump, allowing for the graphics processor to do an increasing amount of work like game physics, artificial intelligence, and utilities (like transcoding).

The end result: You'll get a much better gaming experience, much more than the normal improvement you typically just get with a new card. For instance, with multi-threading under DirectX10, one thread would be prioritized and the rest would get whatever performance was left. With DirectX11, performance is balanced between the threads for less bottlenecking. There is also a new instruction set, better HD compression and decompression to preserve bandwidth, and a more aggressive use of tessellation, which allows you to seamlessly zoom…DX11 games promise to be richer, more engaging, and more realistic than their DX10 predecessors, and against their console equivalents, much more current.
Conclusion:
…I wonder if consoles will survive the onset of their twilight years, when their performance drops off and PCs start kicking their butts all over the map. Granted, some of the consoles can do other things, like play music and movies, but I doubt they can survive on these secondary activities. I do think there is a reasonable chance we are on the forefront of the decline cycle for console games, and that PC gaming, and services like OnLive are on the rise.
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June 19th, 2009, 18:53
Pretty stupid reasoning. People buy consoles because they are easy to use and don't make you worry about system requirements, not because they are capable of running games with better graphics. Wii isn't much more powerful than GameCube, yet out of all of this generation consoles it has the most impressive sales numbers.
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June 19th, 2009, 22:34
I don't want to upgrade all of the time, yet the author seems to imply that in order to take full benefits from direktx 11, every gamer should buy Win7.

Consoles ages, of course, but much slower, imho, than PCs.

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June 20th, 2009, 00:14
Nothing screams 'slow news cycle' more than yet another, 'PC Gaming is dying' article, albeit this time in reverse.

One gigantic pink polka dotted elephant of point missing from the article relating to the slow down in sales of consoles, console accessories, and videogames is, wait for it… wait for it… the global recession.

Normally this time of year i slow for new game releases but the effects of the global recession are really having an impact toward even less new games available. As far as new game releases (particuarly AAA titles) for the major consoles (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii) it's been stagnant since Christmas.

There's nothing I'd like more than to see the PC regain some of its past dominance. But I know this…the harbingers of 'PC Gaming is Dying' and 'Console Games are Taking Over' have had it wrong since as far back as I can remember (circa late 70s).

Until the recession turns into a full blown depression I think it's pretty safe to say that there will continue to be PC Games. And Console Games.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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June 20th, 2009, 00:44
I was hopeful when I started the article. But he's reaching.

I love PC gaming - I'm a PC gamer at heart - and I would love to see my platform of choice rise to dominance again. But it ain't gonna happen. Least not the way he's conjecturing.

Notice to all, especially editors / journalists: It's about the games, folks. Not the technology.

And I really have a tough time even imagining PC gaming being dead in a world where so many are plugged into World of Warcraft. I guess once a particular PC game gets to be so big, it ceases to count.
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June 20th, 2009, 02:00
A fun ride through deranged reasoning. I have a DS and a Wii (that I most use for exercise-i luv it), but all one has to do is go into any game store and compare the shelves for PC games vs Console games and then draw their own conclusions.
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June 20th, 2009, 02:55
Yeah, gotta agree with the sentament here. Advancing tech is important but there are a ton of other factors. Easy of use being the biggest that comes to mind. Piracy being the second biggest.

OnLive could turn the whole world upside down if it actually works well. Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac, just a TV and a cheap little box…. won't matter a bit. The platform wars will be fought out in OnLive boardrooms.
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June 20th, 2009, 03:09
It is amazing, as TheMadGamer said, how one decline means 'PC games r d0med' and a few up cycles means that consoles will be crushed under PC's feet … um, no. PC gaming isn't dying, nor is PC gaming going to suddenly become the 'go to' standard.

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June 20th, 2009, 04:02
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
A fun ride through deranged reasoning. I have a DS and a Wii (that I most use for exercise-i luv it), but all one has to do is go into any game store and compare the shelves for PC games vs Console games and then draw their own conclusions.
As I see it it's not PC and consoles. It's PC and PS3 and XBox360 and Wii and DS and PSP and a few others. Accumulating all the different consoles into one big sack doesn't make much sense, especially when comparing shelf space.,

And as stated elsewhere: Downloads from Steam, Impulse and similar sites don't show up as shelf space.

For a platform that has been dying for more than 15 years, the PC is surprisingly alive.

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June 20th, 2009, 04:26
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I don't want to upgrade all of the time, yet the author seems to imply that in order to take full benefits from direktx 11, every gamer should buy Win7.

Consoles ages, of course, but much slower, imho, than PCs.
I disagree. PC's doesn't age particularly fast. New hardware arrive more frequently, but the need to upgrade is highly exaggerated. I have a PC with fairly average performance. So far I haven't found any game I can't run on my PC (including Crysis). Of course I have to reduce graphic quality to "yesterday's standard". Which is the standard consoles have to stick to after a couple of years.

If I want the latest graphics (unavailable on consoles), I can upgrade. But I don't have to.

As for DirectX 11 and Win7, that depends on MS decision. Obviously they use DirectX as a tool for marketing new windows versions, like they did with DX10/Vista. They weren't particularly successful with that scheme. Let's hope they fail miserably if they make DX11 an Win7 platform.

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June 20th, 2009, 04:34
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
It is amazing, as TheMadGamer said, how one decline means 'PC games r d0med' and a few up cycles means that consoles will be crushed under PC's feet … um, no. PC gaming isn't dying, nor is PC gaming going to suddenly become the 'go to' standard.
Amen!!!!!!!!!! (Exclamations inserted to pass the 10 character limit).

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June 20th, 2009, 06:48
I just upgraded my computer a couple of months ago and my previous system lasted over 4 years and I was still able to get medium-high quality graphics at the end. My upgrade cost about $500 and I now have almost the highest end and probably won't upgrade for another 4 to 5 years or more.

I think that the only way that the PC will "Crush" all the gaming consoles is if the world went into a full on depression and all game developers/publishers went to cheap/low end games that would work on most computers. People then would only be able to afford those games and since anyone can either get a lowend computer cheaper then a game console (or buy used) or already has a computer then they can play those games.

PS. The reasons why I upgraded my computer are because I was intending to just so it would be faster and because I ran short on getting the laptop I wanted.
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June 20th, 2009, 07:17
Why is it always "Them or Us" why can't both do well in their chosen market place. Not all consolers would switch to PCs even if every console on the planet vanished and was no longer sold. We all have different tastes and some of us don't mind fiddling around with the computer to get a game up and running and some of us just want to put in a DVD and play.

It's like when I try playing a FPS with a gamepad. It's the strangest experience. I absolutely hate it, but my brother loves it and can use that gamepad with ease. I need a mouse, he doesn't and thinks it's weird. Two different types of gamers using two different types of machines. There is a market for both of us. It doesn't HAVE to be one or the other.

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June 20th, 2009, 09:12
The console cycle is always going on, it may help PC for a short time in a minor way, but it won't change substantially. I think a few things would really help PC gaming:

DRM that works. Meaning doesn't inconvenience players unnecessarily but stops pirates. In my opinion that means having "added value" strategies for honest customers and moving content server-side even for SP games, taking advantage of the aditional possibilities that such models provide (content updates, modular development, individual customization, gaming communities integration, etc.). There are many models that haven't been tried yet, we have been through the discussions here.

A simple to use performance grading: I think having to study the hardare requirements for each game is something that hurts PC games. A simple grading system through a windows internal tool would help a lot. It has to be a real simple lable - e.g. if you have a "PC2007" PC, you can play any game that says "PC 2007 or higher" on the box in good quality.

Having a dedicated game mode in windows - a bit like safe mode, a way to automatically switch of all the services and software that causes so many of the problems that plague the hardware and software issues sections of all game forums.
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June 20th, 2009, 15:50
He is also assuming people only buy one console. How many people only game on one system? I used to be exclusively PC gamer, but with good games spread across all systems, I had to cave in. I finally said screw it and now I have a x360, PS3, and a strong gaming PC. If the wii ever offers something I want, I may buy it as well.

Another thing I hate is competing with the rest of the family for a machine. Definitely need more than one.
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June 20th, 2009, 17:04
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Notice to all, especially editors / journalists: It's about the games, folks. Not the technology.
Yes, that's right. And imho that's one of PC gaming's far biggest problems.

A game is only a game when it can be played. And not used as technology demos.

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June 20th, 2009, 17:06
Originally Posted by lghartveit View Post
I disagree. PC's doesn't age particularly fast. New hardware arrive more frequently, but the need to upgrade is highly exaggerated.
That imho greatly depends on what you want to do with a PC. A bureau PC doesn't need to be upgraded in ages, but a real gaming PC needs to do so very often if the person sitting behind it really wants to have the newest technology incorporated.

Originally Posted by lghartveit View Post
As for DirectX 11 and Win7, that depends on MS decision. Obviously they use DirectX as a tool for marketing new windows versions, like they did with DX10/Vista. They weren't particularly successful with that scheme. Let's hope they fail miserably if they make DX11 an Win7 platform.
They'll use ANYTHING for their marketing. Remember, half of the company purely consists of marketing ! It goes even so far that they call internal structures with names only a marketing person could invent !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 20th, 2009, 19:52
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
That imho greatly depends on what you want to do with a PC. A bureau PC doesn't need to be upgraded in ages, but a real gaming PC needs to do so very often if the person sitting behind it really wants to have the newest technology incorporated..

Any PC, bureau PCs, game PC's needs upgrading if - as you say - "the user wants to have the newest technology". But it's not necessary, not even for gaming PC's.

And that's where the confusion arise. There is a huge difference between having to upgrade and wanting to upgrade. As I said, I have yet to find a game I can't run on my average PC which is now nearly 3 years old (with one exception: vista only games, but those are few, and it has nothing to do with performance requirements).

The claim that you have to upgrade again and again to play PC games is in my not-so-humble opinion invalid.

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June 20th, 2009, 21:15
I bought my Xbox360 when the console had been on the market for about a year and a half. Six months later I upgraded my PC to one step below state of the art. Now I'm every so slowly able to drag myself through Sacred 2 at medium settings (while still turning into a slide show if it starts to rain while there are too many enemies on the screen at the same time) and my rig just barely makes the requirements for Dragon Age. Meanwhile my Xbox is running just fine, even though the hardware is 2 years older than my now ageing PC.

So yes, in terms of gaming the PC hardware is ageing faster than the current line of consoles.

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June 20th, 2009, 22:01
This was outstanding analysis by Enderle, IMO, especially the information about DirectX. The compression stuff is worrisome, though (for reasons you have to go to school for a long time to even begin to understand — I didn't and don't). It just seems like advances in every kind of compression technology have happened more slowly and painfully than was anticipated.

IMO, the PC will prove to be a better tool for taking advantage of blisteringly-quick data services that will soon become available in the US and Europe. Not only will it impact the console market, it will also have a huge impact on MMOs, because it will create metropolitan-area markets (fracturing their worldwide market).

That's probably 7-10 years out, IMO.

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