You Win Some, You Lose Some

You Win Some, You Lose Some

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Summer has finally arrived. I can tell because the birds are chirping and E3 is has come and gone once again. What can the new crop of games and announcements tell us about the state of PC gaming?

First, the obvious news: Strategy and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games remain the only two genres left wholly and completely to the PC. I never doubted this would be the case. On the strategy front, Supreme Commander, Company of Heroes, and Medieval 2 are all poised to be major games with gorgeous visuals and unique mechanics that no console could hope to properly capture.

On the MMO tip, World of Warcraft has an impressive expansion in the works. Guild Wars Factions launched strong, and a mass of new titles like Lord of the Rings, Fury, Age of Conan, Gods & Heroes, and Tabula Rasa are all in the pipeline. Even though Auto Assault is having trouble finding an audience, we can count massively multiplayer as the other sturdy pillar of PC gaming.

But where does this leave shooters and RPGs, the very heart and soul of PC gaming? The Magic 8-Ball is a little fuzzy on this one. Two very promising shooters are, for now, exclusive to the PC. Crysis, the new game from Far Cry creators Crytek, and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars are on track as PC-only titles. Battlefield 2142 is set to launch on PC, but JV versions of the Battlefield games are always ported to consoles. BioShock (from Irrational Games, creators of System Shock 2) is coming out for both PC and 360, while Unreal Tournament 2007 is slated for PC and PS3.

This is all good news for us PC folk, especially considering that two of the most exciting upcoming games, BioWare’s Mass Effect and Epic’s Gears of War, are 360-only (at least for now). And therein lies the problem. Back in the day, Gears of War and Mass Effect would have been core PC titles. Bioware and Epic each have long histories of quality PC gaming, and while neither is abandoning the PC altogether, it’s disheartening to see their best work going to consoles.

But that still leaves plenty of good news, and a PC gaming market that is weakened but far from dead.

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