The Return of the King: Why PC Gaming is Making a Comeback

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hmp_goose

So now that Pundits (and Teh Media)† have figured out they had their facts FUBAR, the Wintel platform is having a "comeback"? I'm thinking it wasn't down 'n out in the first place …

Part of the problem in the reporting, here, is how both "DRM/used games/piracy" and "crappy ports" issues muddy the water: It would seem any attempt to boycott such damaged products are interpreted as a slight against the platform. Any platform.

It will be interesting†† to watch Pundits (and Teh Media)† work through the next wave of consoles (Now with Xtra DRM®™!) and how they won't be adopted at a rate of 100%.

†See the pattern?
††OhGodOhGod: We're all going to die.

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bling581

I find it comical that you see "PC gaming is dead", then articles like this saying just the opposite. Same thing for "PC's are dead". We all know neither are dying but I just find some humor in it all.

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Badg3r1977

Why do people insist that purchasing a PC is expensive; you should look at it as an investment. I custom-built my PC 3 years ago and its still playing games at 1680 X 1050 in high-detail. Its had no hardware upgrades and I anticipate it will last another year or two before I would need to upgrade; that’s assuming I don’t over-clock it. Currently, if you work out the cost of my rig per month; its costing me £47.20 a month. To be honest, that’s not a lot and If you stretch it out to my max estimate at 5 years it would have cost me 28.30 a month; which is far less than I used to spend in the Pub per week! In addition, my PC is not just used for gaming also see: development work (web, programming, graphic design, modeling, etc), media (TV, movies, streaming radio, MP3s, CDs, etc), social networking and a whole host of other things.

So don’t think of a PC as an expensive purchase; think of it as a 5 year investment.

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Engelsstaub

I do both: I play some games on my PC and some on my X-Box. Problem solved.

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Trooper_One

I've always thought we now live in an Golden Age of Gaming - especially true for the PC.

So many good games, so little time...

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L0rDT1On

The King ALREADY came back, his name: DUKE NUKEM!

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OccultAssassin

The number one thing I love about the PC is that still in Win 7 pro I'm still rockin C&C, Tiberian Sun, and Red Alert yet the new ps3 can't do a lot of ps1 or any ps2 title which is BS. Backwards compatibility is one of my major reasons I consider the PC King in Gaming. By the way ever since the greedy bastards at EA fully took over Westwood C&C has turned into a shite sandwich.

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LatiosXT

I hate to be cynical/pessimistic/etc., but with next gen consoles except the Wii U sporting next gen GPUs (albeit, the midrange ones), this cycle is just going to continue.

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lillebusy

The next generation of consoles will be popular and generate a lot of revenue, but I think the tide has turned on PC gaming becoming less popular. There was a real danger that piracy was going to kill PC gaming for a few years there.

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lillebusy

1) Piracy. PC games used to lose a large percentage of their revenue to piracy. With the recent popularity of Steam, game companies get a built in owner authentication and distribution system which makes both gamers and game companies happier. Gamers are buying more, stealing less, and buying games for longer time periods after release. With the increased revenues from game sales, making PC games becomes a better value proposition than it was a few years ago. The momentum for game companies switching resources to PC centric programming is still occurring because developing new titles takes years.

2) Social Integration. Social networking these days happens in places that are much easier to reach via PC than Console. This has two effects. The first is that people are spending more time than ever using PCs, making PC centric games a natural fit. The second is that games themselves are becoming more social and PCs are a better way to link gaming, facebook, twitter, etc. in a way that consoles will struggle with.

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yawn

yep, this is once again the end of a lifecycle of console hardware so no surprise the graphics on PC games look much better than consoles right now. it looks great with all the casual games numbers lumped in with hardcore PC gaming these days but once the next generation of consoles arrives with prices far below that needed for a high end PC setup and one that will last for at least another 5-7 years before needing to be upgraded (unlike the PC world) and its clear why most people will take the relative ease of console gaming over PC gaming, despite some of the tradeoffs.

i must say though, whats with the disdain for console controllers? most of my PC gaming friends use xbox 360 controllers to play games on their PCs because w-a-s-d just doesn't cut it unless you are playing a RTS or RPG?

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lillebusy

One of the points made in the article is that the price for a suitable gaming rig has tumbled. This means that companies such as Microsoft will struggle to provide a new gaming platform that is as good a value proposition vs. the PC as the last generation of consoles.

If an XBOX 360 is now 300 clams after five years of supplier and manufacturing optimization, surely a next generation machine will be 450-500 at release. The choice to lock yourself into 5-7 years of technology for $500 starts to look questionable if you can get a similar performing and upgradeable gaming PC for $800. This becomes doubly true when said PC can be used for all sorts of other tasks, similar to the way a ton of PS3s were sold when everyone wanted a blu-ray player for some reason.

In answer to your controller comment. A ton of gaming revenue right now comes from first person shooters, where console controls are at their weakest.

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bling581

Another plus is being able to buy a title from Steam during their holiday sales. The prices are just insanely low! The only way a console gamer can find a cheap title is buying used and I still don't think they would be as low as $3.

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lillebusy

This is exactly the kind of revenue stream to which I was referring. Similar to the 'long tail' that allowed Amazon to make a mint by offering older or unpopular books, Steam and related sites offer older PC games that can mean revenue streams for some PC games that are years old. I purchased an XCOM pack from Impulse last year for goodness sake!

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bling581

Actually, if you follow their holiday sales you can buy a lot of popular and new games for a huge discount. I couldn't believe that they had Batman Arkham City for 50% off this December! I thought I was saving $10 by pre-ordering it and my jaw dropped when I saw it on sale. I haven't touched it since it was released so I wish I had waited. There were many other new games on sale too such as Skyrim.

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shommy2002

"And hell, we haven’t even gotten to the PC-only titles of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dota 2, and Diablo III, or the free-to-play phenomenon and MMOs."

Diablo III is not a PC exclusive. It has been confirmed to be

released on consoles.

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Pyrophorics05

Don't need to read 4 pages of junk. PC gaming never left, yet Maximum PC continued to relay the idea that it was dying.

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h e x e n

In the last year, I've talked to quite a few converts who now prefer the PC master race over console trash. Over the weekend I got to show a friend BF3 on the PC with all the settings maxed and he couldn't stop talking about it.

The PC is the supreme and ultimate entertainment device for enthusiasts and hard core gamers. It's always been this way. There are far too many people who care about quality and demand more than the sub par performance consoles deliver, for PC gaming to die.

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Wingzero_x

This article says that it's unfair that they lump all consoles together, but isn't also a stretch to say all PCs are able to run games made for the platform?
If that was the case, I doubt consoles would've ever took off, but when you compare the costs of buying a $300 dedicated gaming platform that plays perfectly fine on the TV to what you have to spend (in cash and time) to get the family Dell to do the same. It's not hard to see why PC gaming is niche.

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Blues22475

Which makes sense. I can understand why players would prefer console over pc, but now adays it's getting easier to buy machines that are actually built for gaming. Granted, it's more costly, but you're paying for the labor and software plus whatever markups are incurred. Though I feel experiences in some games are better on the PC than a console.

Personally, I used to be a console guy. I shifted to a PC because I am tired of having to buy a new console every couple of years. It also seems some games are more expensive on the consoles than they are on the PC.

PC gaming might take more work, but imo I think the results are well-worth it . Example: I have Fallout 3 along with my friend who has it on his ps3. I can tell some graphic differences between our systems (better draw distance and graphical differences on my side opposed to his some graphical framerate differences as well).

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illusionslayer

That's why you don't use the family dell.

That's like trying to be a serious gamer with a Wii.

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chipmunkofdoom2

Lol at all the "PC gaming isn't dead" propaganda. I'm a PC gamer, don't get me wrong, but PC gaming is not doing that great. All this talk about how great PC gaming is doing seems a lot like a patient in a padded room with a straight jacket. He thinks he's somewhere else, he thinks that he is someone else, and he mutters his stories aloud as he rocks back and forth, just to help himself believe. Who are you really trying to convince with these articles, MaxPC? Me, a PC gamer? The console gamers? The industry? It sounds like you're really just trying to convince yourselves.

Here's the deal, plain and simple.. RPGs do better on PCs than consoles, as do MMOs. The same with micro-transaction based games, developers have done a fantastic job of getting people to pay money to play these games. These things almost have to exist on PC... that's just the way it works.. that does NOT mean PC gaming is alive and well. Big blockbuster titles that are actually worth buying and playing on the PC are non-existent. If they do exist, they're slapped with DRM and GFWL and are more trouble to install than they are worth playing. The most recent example I can think of is Arkham Asylum, my game always crashes at a certain point. I reinstalled every driver I can think of, even the game.. no dice. How am I supposed to buy games I can't even play? You have no idea how powerless that makes you feel (unless it's happened to you. Then you do). I find myself playing games from 2007 on up because none of the big budget games of late are even worth pirating anymore. Crappy games designed to waste your time are doing better than ever on PC.. if you call that the return of the king, I suppose you're right. PC gaming is seriously ill, and I have to agree with everyone saying that this small renascence we're experiencing now will be crushed by the next-gen consoles. Again, I'm a loyal PC gamer, but all it takes is a few brain cells to see the writing on the wall.

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Ledoubleu

I'd like to kindly disagree with the doom scenario. PC gamers have an even larger advantage that you may not have noticed or haven't looked at yet. The Indie community is huge and growing and thanks to that we have the most unique gaming experiences from developers and enthusiast from around the globe. Now I also have Xbox360 Kinect but nothing compares to the exciting cutting edge of the current and future Indie crop.

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Ghok

The first issue I ever bought of PC Gamer was over a decade ago and featured an article about how PC Gaming was not dead.

Both what Gordon and you are saying are not new things.

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The Corrupted One

Have you ever tried playing an RTS on a console?

Hell, have you ever seen an RTS on a console.

Terrible, the controls aren't suited for it.

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theabsinthehare

Starcraft 64!

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Griffin

PC gaming is only making a come back because the consoles are now so old, the graphics look terrible compared to what you get with a PC. Just wait till the new consoles come out, then we will be reading stories again about the demise of PC gaming... round and round we will go...

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t.y.wan

I still think PC gaming stuck balls...
Every single large title for the FPS and RPG session (NOT THE STRATEGY) is fking console port... The developers have already given up.
I really hated consoles, all the stupid designs and sole function, non-upgradable, dies in couple of years and especially, the controller, why does it have to be so stupid...

The extra "visuals" and "audio" just cannot satisfy my need for a game like CS1.6, pure adrenaline, fun, balance, and most importantly, LAG FREE. BFBC2? Dedicated servers with latency of P2P connection... COD? P2P with unbalanced as fk and horrible mechanics. Skyrim? WTF glitches galore... Just like Fallout3 / NV... Even now, they still didn't bother to fix the 10mm pistol + laser sight error bulls....

PC Gaming has potentials, but the developers are bunch of ds and constrict every good thing about PC... DRM? Cannot sell your old games? Cannot change out hardware? HORRIBLE stupid coding? Stupid P2P connection?

Now-a-days, I just watch youtube gaming videos with a commentator that I like... Playing and not getting annoyed just takes too much effort. Additionally, the "exclusives"? Gears, uncharted, infamous and Halo? I hate the controller and I just watch someone else to play it for me.

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illusionslayer

Do you mean large title as in development cost, your opinion, or player count?

Because if you're going by player count, as you should, you would realize that League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Minecraft are all game that blow away anything consoles have to offer without being buggy, resources intensive, or a breeding ground for 12 year olds.

Also, you seem to forget that PC gaming now has Frostbite2, id Tech 5, and Unreal 4 with capabilities that consoles can't even begin to fathom.

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LakeErieWater

PC games sales are climbing mainly because it's so flipping cheap to buy nowadays. I save a ton of money on games and I can put that money towards upgrading my PC's graphics capability or spend on other things that involve actually going outside :). I bought way too many games from sales near the holidays. I have a good 6-12 month backlog.

My Xbox 360 had been dormant for a while until I finally picked up a Kinect to give it new life.

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szore

Give me the Glory Days of the PC flight sim ala Andy Hollis. What we need is a new proper Apache Longbow and F-15 flight sim. Alas, those days are gone... weep...

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GaryIKILLYOU

http://lockon.co.uk/flaming_cliffs_2/
You're welcome.
Oh, and it integrates with the DCS series.

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szore

Yeah I bought Blackshark and lock on when it came out. I said a PROPER flight sim, one that is actually fun to fly. But thanks anyway. I know that sounds snotty but it wasn't meant that way... I just can't take all that Russian shit. Its Apache all the way or nothing for me, but I was impressed with the way the A-10's took out tanks. Seemed pretty efficient.

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GaryIKILLYOU

http://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/series/warthog/
Personally, I love that Western aircraft aren't the focus. If you REALLY hate ruskie planes, then try FreeFalcon 5 or DCS:Warthog. It's free (obviously) and has a wonderful community.

I'm going to assume you played LO when it came out, hated it, and never picked it up. You'd be surprised by how much it has expanded with FC1/FC2 and there are a TON of mods available.

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szore

Hmmm... Maybe I'll take a look. That was it with LockOn, wasn't very impressed.

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kixofmyg0t

I don't think PC gaming is going anywhere. In fact I do agree that even better times are ahead for PC gamers.

However....I don't care about having "TEH BESTESTY DX45! GRAFICK5!!!". I play games that are fun for me. I don't like dealing with DRM of any sort unless it's something I REALLY want to play. So the only new(ish) game I care about for PC is Star Craft 2. Oh and Battlefield 3 for the sole purpose of team killing.

Otherwise I'm perfectly happy playing Deus Ex, Skyrim, MW3, MGS(I have EVERY Metal Gear title...and I'm working on beating MGS4 for the 50th time), God of War, Soul Calibur 5(soon), Tekken 6, Super Street Fighter 4:AE, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Crysis 1 and 2 as well as many others on PS3.

It's just a personal preference.

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iceman08

MGS4 can be slightly addicting

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kixofmyg0t

Metal Gear Solid(series) is by far my favorite game of all time, hands down. I have every single Metal Gear title ever released for any system. I even have the Xbox versions though I don't have an Xbox.

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iceman08

haha very nice. I have to say that Hideo Kojima knew how to make the most of the console's capabilities in all his games

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mattman059

Did you play the one on Gamecube?...it made me not buy MGS4 until recently :P

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GuitarNinja27

Gordon, I really appreciate your writing, and you make a solid case. However, while reading this article, I couldn't help but get the same feeling that I do when playing yet another World War II game.

"Haven't we stormed this beach already?"

We get it, the end of PC gaming isn't nigh. Thanks anyway, though.

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Baer

My nephew in college who is a huge SKYRIM fan was over with a few friends during the holidays. They have already played through SKYRIM a few times on their X-Box 360. I let them set up a game on my rig playing in surround at 5760 X 1200 across three 24" monitors with all settings (except AA) maxed. They were amazed and I could not get them off the computer all night.
Except for price there is no comparison.

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I Jedi

The Renaissance was largely funded by rich families, like the Medici family, and the Roman Church looking to make a name for themselves. So, in effect, what you're saying is that the PC comeback is going to be funded by people who can afford to have a gaming PC. Llol? I'll pun aside, I'm just joking, I get the message. I, too, hope that the PC will make a tremendous comeback, as I am planning to dump $3000 into a new gaming rig once Nvidia get's off its ass with its next gen. cards.

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szore

Pretty funny.

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Supall

I was in college between 2006 and 2010. When you're cash strapped and unable to buy a lot of the PC games, you tend not to care about the doomsayers. So in a way, I'm lucky I didn't have to argue with them too often. :-)

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Danny Boy23

I was in college at the same time. It was just too expensive to upgrade a pc for gaming. I am looking forward to building something awesome soon!

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carage

At least piracy on the PC is generally easy...
The same can't be said for certain consoles.

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kixofmyg0t

Especially the PS3. Piracy for it is virtually nonexistent.

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Scatter

So are customers.

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ApathyCurve

Every time a new generation of consoles is released it's "the death of PC gaming!!1" Yeahokaywhatever. After a couple years, PC tech whizzes past consoles so fast they can't even see it go by. Seen this enough times I'm pretty sure it's a pattern set in stone.

That won't convince the console kiddies, though; in 2100 there'll be a legion of fanbois raving about how the PlayStation 1440-XL-OMGWTFLOL-XTRME is going to "make personal computers obsolete 4EVAH!" They'll eat crow; they always do. A few even find they like the taste and go back for extra helpings.

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