Game Theory: Grassroots Gaming



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But, I think the real problem with the pc gaming market is that its just turned into a really expensive habit.

 games that have $20million budgets but turn out to only have 5 or 6 good hours of gameplay, and are nothing more than graphics and cgi videos are really killing the industry. and spending $60 per title(with 3-5 installs) is just not worth it in most cases, and thats completely disregarding the $1200-$1500 you drop on a decent machine to handle these games.

 the latest ghost busters game is a prime example of this, the game can literally be beaten in 5 hours, but you'll have a good 18 clocked on your save file because of videos. is that really necessary? no....

lets face it, piracy really isnt the problem, the problem is that people are being expected to fork out $60 for a game that only lasts a few hours...and could possibly very well not work on the computer they have. THAT my friends is why consoles dominate.  not that the console dev's are much better, hell i know many people on the console that rarely buy games anymore, and just use subscriptions to places like gamefly and only buy a title when they find one thats worth buying.



I mostly agree with your comment. I think Thomas is on the beam about using
our dollars to support the PC platform, and his "or else" is
obviously the case, but...

I've been burned too often by bad PC games hiding behind the "no
returns ever for any reason" policy that they blame pirates for, but that
they exploit to publish crap that is buggy, incomplete, incompatible, or just
plain junk. 

I'll agree that piracy is a huge problem, but let's say it was solved today,
poof gone. Now, will I see a return to a 30 day return policy? Hell no, the
developers will say I'll just play it and return it, or some such excuse to
avoid actually producing a warranty for their products that means something.
Would any of us buy anything else with out even a 30 day warranty, again hell
no, but we have to swallow it for the software, film and music industries. Contrast that with a console game, I can run over to Blockbuster, do a weekend rental, risk to me is a couple of bucks. BTW: The PC industry killed this for themselves in the early 90's when they got Congress to pass a law against renting software.

I usually hate to do “back in the day” but in this case it applies. Back in
the day I used to go out once a month and buy 3 or 4 games that looked like
something I might like. During the next 30 days I’d load em all up, make sure they
ran on my rig, and play them up enough to see if I actually liked them. On
average I’d keep one or two, usually because the others didn’t run, or occasionally because I just
plain didn’t like them. At this moment, sitting here in my office at home, I can
look around at 6 bookcases, each 6’ high, all filled with software, most of it
games from Ultima I, SSI Gold Box series, to Bioshock and Fallout 1 - 3.

The number of games added to those shelves in the last 5 years isn’t a touch
on what it was in the 80’s or 90’s. The reason for this is simple, I can’t,
without theft, which I won't do, get a game, try it out, check if it runs, then
see if it’s worth my time and money. The publishers rarely even give me a
crappy demo version anymore. Instead I’m supposed to trust screenshots, videos,
and fan boy reviews that are often bought and paid for by the publisher!

For example I just looked up Hinterland, I figured if a writer I think highly of, like Thomas, liked it, it's worth a look. But, even at $20 bucks, no demo version is the kiss of death, I have no clue if it will actually run for me, much less if I'll enjoy it!

So, if the PC game industry wants my business back let them give me a return
policy, or a full release with a count down demo timer, but don’t expect me to pay
them money for a product with no warranty, little bug support, and no customer
service! Oh, and I will admit, that when I do find a game I want, I won’t buy
it until I check to see if it’s patched, AND if there is a crack so I don’t
have to keep the damned disk in one of my drives just so I can then play the
bloody thing.


American by Birth, But Southern by the Grace of God.


Joe D

First of all games on computer are $10 cheaper then consoles. Second the Ghostbusters game was only $30 and the developers knew that you we're only getting half the game so hence half the price for it. Third a PC that can run modern games will only cost you $800. As long as you know what to look for and how to get the most from your system. I can tell your a console fanboy with your terrible education of computer games. 


"World of Warcraft is real life but with Night Elves and Orcs" quoted by my brother



was that really necessary? no. must have struck a nerve.


 ok einstein, cod4 was $60 even a year after its release, $800 will get you something, but that something doesnt include a decent monitor to play on. or even something that's really gonna last you awhile. and where did you get "console fanboy" from? i'm just stating the cold hard truth. consoles = easier for the average joe to maintain, and is more reliable. hence the wii of all consoles outselling pc games this month quite possibly over 10 to 1. i know its hard to swallow, but major dev's really dont want to invest in pc gaming, its simply easier for them to develop for the console. hence the OP's good points about supporting smaller developers. which brings me to my exact point to begin with........yeah crysis' graphics are freakin sweet, but do you really wanna drop 1200 on a pc just to play this game at 60fps max? deal with crappy drm schemes from other games? or pay $20 for a game where the object is to literally bounce a ball around and nothing more?(crude examples, you dont have to get all "wheres your sources on me") or the logical thing of firing up your "console" on a 52 inch hdtv hiccup free and just hope right into blowing up people in southeast asia?

 the latter sounds more appealing to the average joe and that is why pc gaming is being crippled. until the price drops dramatically, pc gaming will always take the back seat to consoles. i dont like saying it as much as you dont like hearing it, but its the truth.


Joe D

cod4 sells for $50 on pc and $60 on consoles. Console games are more expensive then PC games because it's more expensive to develop on consoles. $800 was including the monitor, if you don't shop at a store your going to find great deals for hardware. For example I got a core 2 duo e6750 for $100 cheaper on NewEgg then I would've at Best Buy. Got to be a smart buyer when shopping for parts. Lets not even get into all the extra crap you need for your console; TV (for some a LCDTV/plasma) being one major expense. A decent one will cost you $500 alone. Add that on to your 360 and you got $800 there. Not to mention the extra cooling unit you need to keep that sucker cool, $50 more right there. Then there's the extra $50 you pay to play online, on top of what your paying monthly for Internet service. Not to mention an extra controller or two for buddies to play with you, another $50 right there. So we're already at $950 and you haven't even bought a game yet! If you want to play in HDMI that's a $100 cable!! MY GOD IT'S SO EXPENSIVE! You can sit there and say consoles are less expensive and easier for the "average joe" to use but really there not. 

PC gaming has so many advantages that consoles don't; for one the MOD's! Huge selling point for most of PC Gamers. Consoles don't even support MOD's. How about the ability to customize your controller layout and visual settings. Back seat to consoles? 12 million subscribers to WoW, 7 of that 11 million people who play/played COD4 we're PC gamers. LOL come on man to sit there and say that PC gaming is being crippled is just stupid. I haven't even mentioned all the features that a PC has over any consoles either. 


"World of Warcraft is real life but with Night Elves and Orcs" quoted by my brother



you still fail to come up with a decent explanation as to why the console market is doing better than the pc gaming market.

 (and thats why i have a ps3 LOL@ $50 online fee)

 seriously dude.....11 million people on wow? blizzards numbers are full of crap. they are not taking into account alter/dual/quad accounts. or even accounts that havent been played in months.  



Ok then, I will give you a reason for the rising dominance in console gaming. The console market raps a bubble around their customers, their customers get little to no exposure to PC gaming. Not only that, false assumptions are constantly circulating the console community, things like "It cost $1000+ to play PC games well" or "PC's are complicated and I don't want to learn how to build one" or even "I don't want to fuss with managing a PC to play games" Holy hell those are false claims. Managing a PC is about as hard as managing your movie library on your 360 or PS3. Building a PC? It's not hard either. If you want to know what hard is, go back to the 90's. All PC hardware that is bought today comes with comprehensive intructions on how to install each component. There is only about 8 - 9 components to install, wow, that must be melting consoles gamers minds. That's like an 8 - 9 piece lego set. Yet somehow, all of this is scaring people away from PC gaming. Even if you are having to do just a little extra work, it's far more worth your time than buying one of those consoles. Even the one thing that PC gaming shines in, mods, is shadowed over. I have several friends that didn't even know what mods were really about. All of them have the impression thats mods are somewhat like Halo mods... Golden warthogs, haha. When I showed tham the enormous variety of mods out there for The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion and what they did, they kicked themselves for ever buying it for on console. I KNOW this is the case for millions of consoles gamers. All of these false assumptions lead back to how the consoles market puts a bubble around their customers. If more people actually knew what PC gaming was all about, many of them would switch. When it comes to consoles gamers, many of them are not educated enough to make a concious decision on what they really want, there are millions out there that unknowingly wish they had a PC to play games with. 

 By the way, with $750, I built this PC two months ago. 

CPU - Phenom 2.5GHz Quad Core.  GPU - Radeon 4830 512MB.  HDD - 640GB Hard Drive. RAM - 4GB of Memory.  Those are just the main specs. It also came with the power supply, DVD, a 20 inch moniter, mouse/keyboard. It came with everything I needed start right off to playing games and whatever else I pleased. I'm playing every modern game out there at max settings without any problems and have plenty room for more on upcoming games. The XBOX 360 can't touch this machine. I barely ever have to do management. I scheduled to defrag the HDD every week (I don't even have to open the program, haha, so hard) Every month I install a new video card driver which requires me to download the installer and run it, which take me less than 10 minutes. There, that's management in a box for you. This machine is worth every cent and more just for the gaming aspect of it. I can also browse the web and do anything else I need. Whenever I do run into a problem running a game (which is next to never) I can google my problem and there are several answers to my problem to quickly fix it.

 I had to do so little to get so much. I learned a couple essential PC skills so I'm ready for the 21st century and I'm enjoying using all the quality, free mods that enhance and extend the life of my games. Oh yeah, let's not skip on that. All the games I buy are lasting much longer than they would have on a console.

 May I get struck by lightning if I am lieing. There is your truth buddy.






hop right into*



i'm not trying to make this a flame war. just stating what I see as the truth that noone is willing to admit.


Joe D

I don't care what your sorry a$$ excuse is to steal a game. Oh I don't have the money to pay for it right now! Well then don't get the game you sorry excuse for a human being! Wait until you get the money then go out and get the game. There is no justified reason to steal a game. It's that simple and I'll be damned if I sit back and watch my beloved PC gaming fall to pieces because of a bunch of low-lives. Someone needs to step up and shut down places that support this. I want to know who would join me in creating a petition to ban piracy all together. It's a long shot but something has to be done.


"World of Warcraft is real life but with Night Elves and Orcs" quoted by my brother



Wait.... Who are you going to petition to get rid of piracy? The lawmakers? That would be a good idea, except it's already illegal. How about the pirates themselves? Not much use there, the ones that are determined to get everything for free aren't going to change their minds anytime soon.... I'm sorry, I really do want to get rid of piracy, but it's already "banned" in many countries.... What good will a petition do?  :P


On the subject of World of Goo, it is indeed a game worth paying for. I've only played the demo so far, but sometime I might get around to buying the full game.... I'm really sad to hear that it's developers got hit so hard financially.  :(



Great Article Mr. McDonald, thank you for writing about the grassroots of gaming.  I am definitely going to check out Hinterland, sounds like it’s right up my alley.  :)

Does anyone else remember “Slay”?  A great little plug’n play strat game.  I think I played the first one maybe 12 years ago or so, it was on a “free” games disk from Best Buy I got when I bought Warcraft II or Lord of the Realms or something.  I loved it so much that a couple years ago when I saw that there was a new one, I downloaded the demo, played it to see the new stuff/make sure I would like it, and paid my $20 bucks for the full version.  These small games developers typically have a higher chance of peaking my interest with games and keeping it long term with the exceptions of RoN, Starcraft, Diablo II, and, to a certain extent, WoW (which I've played off and on for the last 4 years).


Thanks again for the article!




But did you stop playing the game? Probably not. There was a World of Goo demo out there you could have tried that was free, but no you decided to steal the game and to justify it you told your self that you will pay for it after trying it. Try that with anythin else say like a soda. Stealing is stealing. Noe there are people that created the game out of work, Nice Job buddiy



Agreed on all points. EA is the worst of the worst. At least Activision makes games that are not ridden with glitches.


You can kick me in the nuts, and i'll gladly accept the $20. I also feel terribly sorry, because after playing the game I thought "they deserve my money". Wanted to pay for the software, lost my job due a long story and paying for World of Goo tumbled down the list pretty quickly, more important spendings such as eating taking most of my saved up money.



he is the problem, just a common thief. the kind of person i wouldn't let in my house. i do not believe he would have paid for the software, in his mind after he stole it. he owned it. if he actually lost his job, i am glad

now i hope his puter fries



 Couldn't agree more. Guy like him make those of us who torent to get backup for broken cds we purchased (two or THRE TIMES!) look like jerks when it's really them!

Coming soon to --Tokusatsu Heroes--
Five teenagers, one alien ghost, a robot, and the fate of the world.

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