Daily Elysium : Wait, I Thought PC Gaming Was Dead.

I like cliches.  They make good fodder when making fun of stuff.  And, if there's one thing I never tire of it's making fun of stuff.  If there are two things I never tire of, then the second one is driving the wrong way in racing games, but trendily, I digress. 

For a good generation or two I've been hearing all about how PC gaming was on the way out.  I'm not sure whether there are some people who just want this to happen - perhaps they own stock? - or if they just string gaming key words together until a parsable sentence is formed.  Either way, I reject the claim that PC gaming has ever suffered more than a troublesome sniffle, or an annoying hacking cough at the very worst, much less a terminal illness.  It seems to me that the foundation for this argument has never evolved beyond basic, barely literate, flamebait cliches - also ripe ground for making fun - mingled with regular expletives and a self-certainty of psychic clairvoyance that makes Dione Warwick look positively sheepish.  It strikes me that to say PC gaming is dead is merely uninformed bandwagon hopping, and I've seen the people riding that wagon.  You don't want to be on it.

The other thing I really like is how wrong these people are proven to be time and again.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll be completely honest with you about the following.  What you're about to either read or ignore is a self-serving affirmation of all things PC gaming.  It is a metaphorical nose-thumbing at anyone who's ever said the platform was dead, and is neither meant as a sensitive discussion of the merits of console gaming, nor is it particularly analytical.  It takes sweeping assumptions, puts them forth as facts, and welcomes you to kiss its Gluteus Maximus if you don't care for it. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me clue you in to a little secret that I've learned about the gaming industry.  I'm not even going to charge you for it.  That's just how tight we are, you and I.  You ready?

People get over excited about new stuff.

Wow!  That was pretty amazing wasn't it?  I mean, I could've taken that kind of psychologically complex secret and sold it to a pharmaceutical company where they'd have used it to extract precious fanboy essence from rabid gamers to breed super-loyal soldiers that could might promptly conquer Delaware and perhaps even Rhode Island.  But no, I trusted you with this knowledge.  See, I told you we were tight!

Armed with this knowledge one can quickly see that PCs are not, relatively speaking, a new concept for gaming.  In fact, there are some gamers who, remarkably, can not recall a time when man did not have a computer upon which to play.  Such are the grim medieval ages of the middle twentieth century where the only fun to be had was listening to radio dramas while your father smoked a pipe and oppressed women.  And we all know the fate that befell radio dramas, thus the antique concept of PC gaming is certain to follow. 

Sure, console gaming isn't a particularly fresh idea either, but consoles do one thing that PCs don't.  They reinvent themselves every few years in a single leap of technology that sends most gamers into orgasmic convulsions of anticipation, while the PC wanders piecemeal, as if with a cane and a canon of boring stories about vaccuum tubes, toward incremental complexity.  So, while the Gamecube and the NES are both technically consoles, the difference between the two is not only a quantum leap of technology, but the lineage can be traced specifically: NES to SNES to N64 to Gamecube.  The evolution from the PC upon which I played Ultima VII and the one upon which I play Battlefield 1942 is a wandering trail of a hard drive here, a processor there, and a video card just over the hill and around the corner.

It is much easier, having played the Playstation for a quarter of a decade, to get excited about the Playstation 2, than it is to stir up much of a ruckus about a 5% increase in processor performance each month or so.  So, every few years the gaming throng salivates over the technical jump between console generations, as the PC quietly matches in its regular march of consistency.

But, it's all about the games, right?  Well, I'm swift to agree, and the cycle makes sense here too.  I'd be surprised if, with new consoles released, game developers didn't turn their resources heavy on the new systems and the glut of customers.  Which means for a year or two the consoles have a slight lead in terms of general interest, but I live for those magical middle years before the next slew of tv-top games have been announced, when the current generation ridiculously feels long in the tooth, when the PC is the superior technological platform and all this nonsense about dead PC gaming evaporates.  This is such a year, and it's no surprise that the PC is where the best games of this year are being developed.

You're welcome to argue the subjectivity of that last sentence, or even tell me that I'm biased.  I don't mind, because I'll sit here and smile at my certainty that you're wrong and I'm right.   

I don't need to tell you how many fantastic games are coming out for the PC this year.  You already know.  I just want you to remember two years down the road, when people are getting into fistfights over which multinational conglomerate's chipset is superior for rendering rehashed platformers and you're inclined to talk about how reliable old PC gaming is in its twilight, that you're only digging yourself a grave of idiocy which I will later be happy to push you into. 

- Elysium


Hmm, not sure what to make of this Elysium.  I'm totally with you on PC gaming not dying and fanboys getting way too excited.  However I do have to argue the subjectivity of the PC having the best games of the year, just as you said.

You know me, I just need the fun factor.  Too many PC games are good, but overly complicated or cerebral to simply sit back and enjoy.  Don't get me wrong, I love strategy games and the like as much as the next guy, but for pure simple fun nothing can beat a console.  I'm sure we could both name a ton of games for both PC and consoles that are great, but with the current generation of consoles out I think they are experiencing a revitalization of gaming interest.

Will they replace PCs?  No.  But they will blur the lines between what's on a PC and a console, especially with net-connected gaming like XBox Live.  You can already play games like the current football crop over Live with PC players.  Then you have games like GTA, Splinter Cell and KOTOR, blockbusters that are on or coming to both.  I think there is room in the market for both audiences.  As long as companies still make money doing it, it will be done.

PC gaming will begin to suffer when HDTV are the norm and Consoles can output graphics that can run at 60+fps at those HD resolutions..

Take that with their ability to interface into existing home entertainment setups and the increasing predominance of WiFi and you have a table set for PC gaming to take a back seat.

Add on top of that Wireless USB and it gets even scarier for PC gaming.  I don't think PC gaming will ever die though..because PC's will always be more powerful and cheaper to produce for.  As long as there are developers like Id, Valve, and Blizzard I'm pretty sure PC gaming will continue... but there might be a time when all the "big" titles are console only for a period of time.

If I were to be logical about this, and I'm not prone to do such, I'd agree on the expanded WiFi stereo home theater aspect.  On the other hand, I'm not sure that much of what appeals to PC games is really enhanced dramatically by such things.  That's not to say that PC gamers don't like big screens and awesome sounds, but that the computer 'feel' provides a different and enjoyable experience. 

Most of the arguments I've seen for the death of PC gaming are based on the volume of titles and systems sold.  Console fanboy says: "Console games sell a billion-gazillion-catrillion copies while PC titles only sell a few thousand, so consoles are going to wipe PCs out of the market."  The first part of this statement is (duh) generally true.  Why?  For the same reason that Hyundai sells more cars than Ferrari.  Sure, PC and console titles often sell for around the same amount, but the systems are massively different in terms of price.  More people can afford an Xbox than an Alienware gaming rig, so lots more people have consoles.  Then there are all the people that are just too stupid to maintain and use a PC properly.

Hyundai is not going to be putting Ferarri out of business any more than consoles are going to kill PCs as gaming platforms.  There will always be a market, albeit a smaller one, for PC games.

One genre that currently keeps me playing the PC are MMORPGs.

Once I am able to play a MMORPG that mirrors or improves upon the features of SWG, Horizons, WoW etc. I have a feeling I would migrate to the comfort of the couch, the large tv and the home theater system.

However, I don't see this happening very soon, there is a huge gap in the level of intricacy and content between PC MMORPG offerings and that of say... EQ Online Adventures. I could see the possibility of consoles having some killer MMORPG potential in the future with familiar licenses such as GTA, or maybe even Gauntlet or Castlevania... even Zelda.

I'll say this:  I'll be damned if I have anything WiFi, or wireless network, in place before they start introducing damn good encryption.  Right now I can take my laptop down the street and find out what a neighbor is doing.