Does the industry really need another trade organization? Apparently so, judging by the splashy, almost 100-percent content-free launch of the PC Gaming Alliance. Its initial press release promised that the “PCGA and its member companies will work to accelerate innovation, improve the gaming experience for consumers, serve as a collective source of market information and expertise, and get those unsightly rings out of your bathtub.”
OK, so I added the last part, and, yes, I’m being grotesquely unfair. The PCGA is a new entity attempting to do good for the world of PC gaming and includes the participation of most of the major hardware and software developers. So far it’s produced only airy generalities, but that’s to be expected this early in the life of any group.
The question remains, however: What, specifically, does the PCGA hope to accomplish? The website boldly proclaims that the organization is “the Authoritative Voice of PC Gaming World Wide” and promises to “make data that highlights and promotes the PC platform to analysts, press, and the public.”
That makes it sound like its purpose is to issue press releases and keep someone on staff to write snippy letters to editors whenever someone suggests that the PC gaming market ain’t quite what it used to be. If I see that an organization’s goal is to “raise awareness” about a subject, my mind mentally translates the words into “wank off.” We’re a pretty info-intense society. We’re about as aware as we need (or choose) to be.
It’s always nice to have a single, one-stop shop for market and demographic info, but most of the PCGA’s other goals seem either dubious or redundant. It’s nice to talk about creating forums for developers, but don’t we already have both the GDC and the IGF? It sounds very concrete to say the organization can help “simplify hardware specifications and speed the introduction of new technologies,” but both of these goals are beyond the control of any trade group, not to mention its claims about tackling piracy, cheating, and security. If the PCGA has some supersecret solutions to these problems which have thus far eluded the industry, maybe it can share them.
Thomas L. McDonald has been covering games for 17 years. He is Editor-at-Large of Games Magazine .