Game Theory: A Good Year or the Best Year?

Game Theory: A Good Year or the Best Year?

Now that we’ve closed the book on 2007, we can finally say what some of us have been thinking for a while now: Best. Year. Ever.

Across all gaming platforms, we have seen not only a marked increase in sales but an undeniable renaissance in content. There have been single years with more groundbreaking, successful, or “classic” individual titles, but we’ve never really seen a year when so many of the artists who create our entertainment were firing on all cylinders. These were not radical new designs or bold new advances, but an absolute refinement of the art of game design. Witness: BioShock, Portal, Call of Duty 4, Unreal Tournament 3, Team Fortress 2, Gears of War (PC), Quake Wars, Crysis, World in Conflict, Supreme Commander, Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, Halo 3, and more.

That’s right, I’m including those last three non-PC titles, and for a good reason. They were at the pinnacle of gaming for the year, and they were made by companies with deep PC roots: BioWare, Ubi Montreal, and Bungie.

That’s what makes 2007 a bittersweet year for computer gamers. PC stalwarts like BioWare, Infinity Ward, Irrational, Epic, Big Huge Games, and others turned their sights toward the console for the mere promise of riches, fame, and glory—and were amply rewarded for their treachery.

Paradoxically, this is a good thing for PC gamers. We will benefit because while the non-MMO PC market remains vastly smaller than the console market, it’s still profitable, and growing. PC game sales are keeping pace with the rest of the industry, which grew more than 25 percent in 2007. (Granted, it’s humbling to see the best and boldest, hardware-crunching PC titles of the year, Crysis and UT3, post sales of, 87,000 and 34,000, respectively, in their opening weeks, while COD4 for the Xbox 360 blows through 1.5 million copies in November alone. On the other hand, UbiSoft still sells more games for the PC than for the Wii or PSP.)

PC gamers will feel a kind of trickle-down effect from these shifts, as console games created by developers who have traditionally worked on the PC migrate back to that platform with enhanced content, as Gears of War already has. Let the console sales foot the bill for increasingly expensive game development. PC gamers will still reap the rewards in the end.

 

Thomas L. McDonald has been covering games for 17 years. He is Editor-at-Large of Games Magazine.

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fnordfnord

What about Forged Alliance, the awesome sequel to Supreme Commander?

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