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What happened to the pc game industry?


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#1 Gorbstein   Members   -  Reputation: 120

Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:30 AM

You could say I've been living under a rock, so forgive me for this question.

When I graduated some years ago there was a pretty decent PC game industry. I could walk into a game or music shop and find walls of new and older PC titles plus a healthy pre-owned section.

When I left uni I dropped out of the computing scene pretty much altogether and spent my time on other things. Only recently I started getting the urge to get back into gaming and programming.

Yesterday, I decided to take a wad of cash into town and see what games I could buy. In the three game shops I tried, one did not have ANY pc titles, the other two had one row of shelves with about 15 different games, and no preowned section whatsoever. The places were full of console games.

I feel like I'm stepping back in time to the death of the Spectrum or the Amiga, when you couldn't buy new software anywhere.

Yet as far as I know the majority of people own PCs.. far more than do consoles. So I don't really get it.

So, I left with my bank balance intact and probably will continue to do so. The only game that really caught my eye was Fallout New Vegas (yeah I haven't played it yet..). I was all for giving them the huge amount of cash they were asking, but then I noticed the red box on the back about Steam. I suppose this is for another thread, but I already vowed never to buy another steam game, for so many reasons.

D

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#2 Choisir   Members   -  Reputation: 104

Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:42 AM

I am sorry to see that console games are far more popular. I think it is partly because market size of PC games (pirate copies are a serious problem) and changed client base.

Our generation that has seen primitives like Commodore 64 are not to be lured by yet another FPS with higher polygon and better graphics. But current client base is feeding game industry with fast paced games directed at reflexes, and game industry feeds them with yet another this type.

Adventure games genre is dead a long time ago. Many nice games, good ideas have lost the war. Strategy is trying its best etc. etc.

Unfortunately new gamers have no idea how much pleasure we get from playing a simpler game from 90s.

#3 dublindan   Members   -  Reputation: 448

Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:15 AM

PC gaming is still going strong on online content providers like Steam and Impulse. I guess stores find console games more profitable, but honestly I stopped buying CD versions of games long ago because I found them too inconvenient (plus they get scratched). Steam (and to a lesser extent, Impulse) have provided me and my friends with almost every game we've bought over the past four or five years.

I did buy sins of a solar empire on dvd, but only because it was just a few $ more than the digital version to geth the boxed version as well so I could play the digital version while I waited for the CD to arrive (I dont think I ever opened the box actually). Having said that, the few CD games I did buy were all bought online too.

But yeah, stores seem to stock very few, if any, PC games these days.

#4 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:17 AM

You could say I've been living under a rock, so forgive me for this question.

When I graduated some years ago there was a pretty decent PC game industry. I could walk into a game or music shop and find walls of new and older PC titles plus a healthy pre-owned section.

When I left uni I dropped out of the computing scene pretty much altogether and spent my time on other things. Only recently I started getting the urge to get back into gaming and programming.

Yesterday, I decided to take a wad of cash into town and see what games I could buy. In the three game shops I tried, one did not have ANY pc titles, the other two had one row of shelves with about 15 different games, and no preowned section whatsoever. The places were full of console games.

I feel like I'm stepping back in time to the death of the Spectrum or the Amiga, when you couldn't buy new software anywhere.

Yet as far as I know the majority of people own PCs.. far more than do consoles. So I don't really get it.

So, I left with my bank balance intact and probably will continue to do so. The only game that really caught my eye was Fallout New Vegas (yeah I haven't played it yet..). I was all for giving them the huge amount of cash they were asking, but then I noticed the red box on the back about Steam. I suppose this is for another thread, but I already vowed never to buy another steam game, for so many reasons.

D


Steam has well over 30 million active user accounts. The community is lively and sometimes you can buy games for a fraction of the cost they are in the stores without even leaving your house. PC gaming is simply out progressing consoles which is the reason it has so quickly moved to digital downloads. In about 10-20 years I'm sure you won't be able to fine a single console game in stores ether. I have over 150 titles on steam because I hate buying boxed games and it's obvious that all of the other PC gamers feel the same way.

#5 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 16725

Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:39 AM

What happened to the pc game industry?

It's right here.
And here, here, here and here.
Also here. And here(here), and here.
Plus here and here.

But most importantly, it's here and here. And if you don't like shopping here, you can't say, "Where are all the grocery stores? I can't find any!", "Dude, there's a Walmart across the street from you!", "Oh, I don't shop there." <--- Now who's fault is that? Yours.
You are isolating yourself from the thriving PC game market, and then lamenting it's loss. PC games have been doing better than they have in years, primarily thanks to Steam. Although there are now about a dozen different digital stores you can buy from, they are still growing. The largest competitor to Steam is Impulse, or at least that's my impression.
The PC market (as I view it) goes like this: Steam, which is gaining new PC gamers and revitalizing the market, and a fragmented bunch of others that are trying to steal share from Steam, including some that are backed by very large companies which will probably be pretty successful with a year or two's more growth.

Your big mistake is two fold:

1) You walked into a store.
The PC game market is digital now. The majority of it you wont find in stores. People walking in a store to buy a game are console gamers, mostly, so the stores cater to that crowd. Instead, there are a dozen or so (I listed above only the ones I'm aware of) stores that cater solely to PC gamers... they are just digital.

2) You ignore Steam.
Steam is what carries the success of PC games today. Not supporting Steam is not supporting PC games, for the most part. Don't like that? Well, that's your problem. Millions of people are perfectly happy with Steam, myself included. They do so much right, that I'm not about to go on a crusade because of the few things they get wrong. If they made a mistake in the past, then just forgive, forget, and go enjoy some great games.

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#6 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:40 AM

Does anyone have any actual numbers that indicate PC games are doing worse? I feel like they are doing just as well but are just overshadowed by more popular console games, which have every reason to be more popular.

This discussion has come up enough in the past that I am curious to know if they are actually doing worse or if they are doing the same but are just overshadowed by greater successes.

#7 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:13 AM

Does anyone have any actual numbers that indicate PC games are doing worse? I feel like they are doing just as well but are just overshadowed by more popular console games, which have every reason to be more popular.

This discussion has come up enough in the past that I am curious to know if they are actually doing worse or if they are doing the same but are just overshadowed by greater successes.


Actually the PC gaming market has grown quite a bit: http://www.gamepolitics.com/2011/03/01/pc-gaming-alliance-big-pc-gaming-growth-2010

#8 DarklyDreaming   Members   -  Reputation: 363

Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:40 AM

The sky has been falling for quite some time now for "the death of PC". So far, it just hasn't fallen.
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#9 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:44 AM

The OP's question can be answered quite simply:

online distribution and increased console competition. The PC market remains very healthy and at the moment it seems to be booming.

P.S. Steam is NOT the only online distributor. Direct2drive is another one for example, and there are many others you will find if you care to search for them.

#10 Gorbstein   Members   -  Reputation: 120

Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:07 PM

I'm pleased to know it's still ticking over, for the majority at least. What about the indie PC market?

Regarding steam (or other digital providers), I confess I know nothing about it's past failures or present successes. I have no crusade. It simply isn't compatible with my lifestyle or my current setup. If I find the rare time to play games, I don't have the time to wait on download progress bars . In addition, I move around frequently and so I run on mobile broadband. While this meets my needs in almost every way, I simply don't have the bandwidth to download gigabytes of updates. If that means I can't buy games.. then I can't buy games.

It seems that if I want to walk down the street, pay for a game in cash, pop it into my machine and shoot away for an hour.. I'll be looking at a console, which is fair enough.

(or.. do consoles now require a connection to play single player games too?)

D

#11 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:15 PM

I'm pleased to know it's still ticking over, for the majority at least. What about the indie PC market?

Regarding steam (or other digital providers), I confess I know nothing about it's past failures or present successes. I have no crusade. It simply isn't compatible with my lifestyle or my current setup. If I find the rare time to play games, I don't have the time to wait on download progress bars . In addition, I move around frequently and so I run on mobile broadband. While this meets my needs in almost every way, I simply don't have the bandwidth to download gigabytes of updates. If that means I can't buy games.. then I can't buy games.

It seems that if I want to walk down the street, pay for a game in cash, pop it into my machine and shoot away for an hour.. I'll be looking at a console, which is fair enough.

(or.. do consoles now require a connection to play single player games too?)

D


Indie PC market is now also mainly being sold on platforms such as Steam. Also a few console single player games require a connection or require a connect to unlock extra content but the large majority do not. Seems like the money you would spend on a console could go to paying for a high speed internet connection but if you really don't want a real internet connection then by all means buy a console.

#12 Gorbstein   Members   -  Reputation: 120

Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:34 PM

Also a few console single player games require a connection or require a connect to unlock extra content but the large majority do not.


That's cool.

Seems like the money you would spend on a console could go to paying for a high speed internet connection but if you really don't want a real internet connection then by all means buy a console.


It's not a question of money really.. most high speed wired connections require long fixed length contracts and I never know whether I will be living in the same place long enough. In the last place I stayed the phone line had been disconnected by the last tenant and the company wanted a huge fee to reconnect it, and then only offered a fixed 18 month contract. It wasn't worth the effort. In these places the mobile broadband actually gives a better connection anyway, not to mention I can work on the move.

D

#13 freeworld   Members   -  Reputation: 321

Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:36 PM

When it comes to stores not selling pc games, it's probably do to the fact that online portals can easily provide the game, and back it up for you. Plus they tend to sell the games cheaper than if you were to buy the actual disc.

You can't download (except pirate) 90% of console games, so stores are still a must. Even so online companies like newegg, or amazon tend to have the game cheaper than the stores to, aslong as you can get around the shipping costs... alot of times standard is free.
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#14 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 105

Posted 08 May 2011 - 01:41 PM


Also a few console single player games require a connection or require a connect to unlock extra content but the large majority do not.


That's cool.

Seems like the money you would spend on a console could go to paying for a high speed internet connection but if you really don't want a real internet connection then by all means buy a console.


It's not a question of money really.. most high speed wired connections require long fixed length contracts and I never know whether I will be living in the same place long enough. In the last place I stayed the phone line had been disconnected by the last tenant and the company wanted a huge fee to reconnect it, and then only offered a fixed 18 month contract. It wasn't worth the effort. In these places the mobile broadband actually gives a better connection anyway, not to mention I can work on the move.

D


I have Time Warner cable and I've been able to drop my contract 3 times without a problem. I think you have to pay a $50 cancellation fee though but you are paying in advance so basically you just end service and stop paying.

#15 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1627

Posted 08 May 2011 - 02:15 PM

Regarding steam (or other digital providers), I confess I know nothing about it's past failures or present successes. I have no crusade. It simply isn't compatible with my lifestyle or my current setup. If I find the rare time to play games, I don't have the time to wait on download progress bars.

Heh this reminds me of when Crysis 2 came out. I didn't feel like using my parent's slow home connection to download it so I just waiting the 24 something hours for it to download via 3G. CDs always seem so archaic to me. I mean the game is going to be patched after release since the complexity of current games can't really afford a flawless release apparently. (Or if it fits into my schedule I take my laptop to work with me and just download the 10 GB in 5 minutes using a gbps LAN cable :unsure:). I think people will stop complaining once we get real competition in the US and more people offering cheap gbps lines.

However I'm in the group of people who play a game once then uninstall. I have no real connection to a game after I play it for a few hours. If you feel the same way and have a 5 mbps line you should try OnLive if it has the game you want. I played a few games on it at work. Amazing system they have there since there's no downloading required.

#16 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 08 May 2011 - 02:19 PM


What happened to the pc game industry?
In a word, piracy. Its a very unpopular fact on many forums but its the single largest reason why PC gaming aint as big as it was.
i.e. why console revenue growth has been outstripping PC console revenue for a few years

eg the biggest game title currently is call of duty X,
now if you look at activisions own numbers, sales ratio is around
consoles ~95% PC ~5% (even though the PC has better graphics, controls etc & usually cheaper to boot!) ppl are not buying it
10 years ago the number ratio would of been much closer, if not higher on the PC
hell even most/all of the once mainly PC focused developers have jumped over to being primarily console focused

#17 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 08 May 2011 - 06:36 PM

I mean the game is going to be patched after release since the complexity of current games can't really afford a flawless release apparently.


It has more to do with companies being able to afford fixing broken games. Go back and play some old games. There are tons of bugs that would be easily patched today that aren't because there was no dlc. Games were always shipped less than flawless.

eg the biggest game title currently is call of duty X,


call of duty is a horrible example. It is designed to be a console shooter, and is outclassed by a lot of PC games. A much better example would be battlefield, but even then there are tons of PC fps's that sell amazingly on PCs, but suck on consoles.

#18 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:10 AM

A much better example would be battlefield

OK thats another excellant example, granted not so bad for the PC, the title use to be only on the PC now its the consoles that dominate it in sales (sorry bout the bold,underline)

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
According to Chart-Track, BC2 is the "best ever launch for any game released this early in the year." Interestingly, 53 percent of BC2 sales went to the Xbox 360 version, followed by 31 percent and 16 percent of sales for the PS3 and PC

http://www.joystiq.com/2010/03/08/battlefield-bad-company-2-is-new-king-of-uk-sales/

#19 MatsK   Members   -  Reputation: 223

Posted 09 May 2011 - 05:09 AM

What happened to the pc game industry?

It's right here.
And here, here, here and here.
Also here. And here(here), and here.
Plus here and here.


I noticed you linked to OnLive. I hope I'm not the only one consistantly choosing not to support it. Quite frankly, I think the notion of cloud computing is ruining the PC industry altogether. The day that Microsoft releases a cloud-based OS is the day they won't get my money. I want the right and the priviledge it is to be able to store games and applications on my harddrive, so I can make modifications for them. OnLive, if truly successful, will ruin indie mod development.




#20 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 09 May 2011 - 06:47 AM

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
According to Chart-Track, BC2 is the "best ever launch for any game released this early in the year." Interestingly, 53 percent of BC2 sales went to the Xbox 360 version, followed by 31 percent and 16 percent of sales for the PS3 and PC

http://www.joystiq.c...ng-of-uk-sales/


but again you come back to which is better, having 100% of sales when sales are 10% of what they could be, or 16% of sales when sales are 100% of what they could be?




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