It can be difficult to establish yourself in online communities that already exist, and if you've always dreamed of being part of one from the very beginning, here's your chance. We just received an email from the PC Gaming Alliance letting us know that the non-profit organization has flipped the switch on its new forums. In addition to being one of the first members of what's surely to be a growing community, you might also want to pop in from time to time to share your thoughts on PC gaming and what the PCGA is up to.
We bet you're wondering “hey, what's the PC Gaming Alliance been up to lately?” No? Because it does stuff sometimes, you know. Just, uh, not all that often. For instance, it recently swore in a new president. Oh, and it also, er, sort of lost the support of two of its biggest players: Microsoft and Nvidia. Whoops.
Arxan Technologies, Corsair, and Logitech have all joined on as new members with the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), the non-profit consortium whose goal is to promote PC gaming and to give the industry a public voice.
"These members bring a wealth of experience and a rich diversity of products and services to the PCGA that will significantly enhance our existing membership base", said Randy Stude, PCGA president. "By joining our rapidly growing organization, they are demonstrating their support for expanding the PC Gaming industry and their commitment to improving the PC gaming experience."
It was a busy day all around for the PCGA, which also named Min-Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer, as the organization's Board director.
"We’re honored to be elected to the PC Gaming Alliance Board of Directors," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO, Razer. "There is so much synergy between Razer’s core DNA - an essence of pure commitment to improving the PC gaming experience with state-of-the-art peripherals - and this organization’s drive to establish high standards and quality guidelines for the evolving industry at large. Both Razer and the PC Gaming Alliance are dedicated to addressing the needs of a maturing category and its largely sophisticated audience."
Perhaps the most interesting addition out of the above companies is Arxan, which is in the business of DRM. That might seem like an odd coupling, but according to company CTO Kevin Morgan, as part of the PCGA, Arxan looks to "ensure that due consideration is given to the protection of intellectual property, preservation of game integrity, and unobtrusive DRM models." Here's hoping they make good on the "unobtrusive" part.
The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a non-profit consortium created to promote the awesomeness of gaming on a PC, stands eight members stronger today. These new members include BFG Technologies, Bigfoot Networks, Flextronics, GameStop, GameTap, Gas Powered Games, Howie's Game Shack, and InstantAction.
"We welcome these new members to the PCGA, a rapidly growing organization where companies of all types can come together to expand and improve the PC gaming ecosystem," said Randy Stude, PCGA president and Intel director, Gaming Program Office.
The new additions will help fill a void created when Activision-Blizzard and "a few others" left the consortium last April because "they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time," the PCGA told Kotaku.
Other members include AMD, Intel, Capcom, Dell, Epic Games, Microsoft, Sony DADC, SMU, Digital River, EMG, Gas Powered Games, Razer, and WildTangent.
Yesterday, we reported that, along with losing Activision Blizzard, the PC Gaming Alliance accepted a shifty-eyed new figure into its ranks: Sony DADC. Fortunately, however, the SecuROM parent company doesn’t plan on working any shady deals behind the curtain, according to PCGA president Randy Stude. In fact, like Arnold in Terminator 2, Sony DADC is switching sides to help PC gamers topple a much bigger baddy -- in this case, piracy.
Speaking with BigDownload, Stude explained that Sony DADC decided to join the PCGA in order to assist the organization’s piracy-perforating subcommittee. According to Stude, keeping its alleged enemy roughly as close as its friends will provide the PCGA with ideas for its PC game piracy report, which is coming sometime before the year’s out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the revolving door, Stude confirmed that PC manufacturer Acer left the building along with Activision Blizzard, for essentially the same monetarily minded reasons. Apparently, when it comes down to saving a few bucks or performing a philanthropic act – contrary to what Fable II and BioShock had us believing – the yellow brick road is the path of least resistance.
But hey, at least GameStop… exists. It recently joined the PCGA as a penny-pinching “Contributor,” which means that the notoriously PC-unfriendly game store is a member, but for less cash. Better than nothing, we guess.
Expect more PCGA-related announcements before this June’s E3 gaming expo.
If the PCGA’s having an in-office Opposite Day celebration, well, someone took it a little too seriously.
Over the weekend, eagle-eyed, bloodhound-nosed chimera readers of the PCGA website noticed that Activision’s name disappeared from the organization’s member list. As it turns out, Activision – as well as “a few others” – could no longer afford the decadent lifestyle a PCGA membership entails, so they quit.
"A few members have decided they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time," the PCGA told Kotaku.
Activision’s departure, of course, means that recent spouse Blizzard is also packing its bags. For those not in the know, Blizzard may very well be the biggest PC game developer in existence, and filling its cavernous cleats will likely prove impossible.
But here’s where things just get weird. The same list that lost Activision to miserly thrift recently gained a new member known as Sony DADC. Long story short, Sony DADC is the parent company of SecuROM, creator of the restrictive DRM that appeared in titles like Spore and Far Cry 2.
Yes, that’s right. An organization that claims to defend PC gamers’ interests has apparently taken a shine to public enemy number one. Um, what?
We’re hoping to learn the why’s and how’s of this strange turn of events from the PCGA soon. In the meantime, though, we’re off to coax the pigs down from the rooftop. Ever since they grew wings, they’ve been completely inconsolable.
The PC Gaming Alliance has taken some heat over the years, both from the public, and the media as to what exactly they offer. Since their inception, PC Gaming hasn’t seen any demonstrable improvements in hardware standards, DRM, or really anything of note which could be traced back to the controversial group. They do however love studies, and they have prepared new state of the industry report to further beat the PC drum. According to Jon Peddie Research, sales of PC gaming hardware is the one bright spot in an otherwise dreary technology economy.
In Terms of year over year growth worldwide:
- Enthusiast PC’s sales have grown 9% - Performance PC’s sales have grown 19% - Mainstream PC’s sales have grown 21%
The result of this growth is a staggeringly large PC Gaming hardware market worth an estimated 20 billion dollars in 2008, and it is expected to grow to 34 billion by 2012. The report also suggests that PC Gaming is more recession proof then consoles because of the high cost barrier to entry. When you add up the cost of an HDTV as well as the console and accessories, it’s a big setback for a single purpose device. PC’s they argue, are more versatile and represent a better investment for cash strapped consumers. Also noted was the sharp rise in gaming notebook sales as compared to desktops.
“Don’t let the retail numbers fool you,” said Ted Pollak, co-author of the report. “Enthusiast PC gamers often latch onto one or two games that offer multiplayer and stick to these titles for years. Hardware is where they spend the big bucks. The retail numbers don’t capture the casual and digitally distributed games either. Retail figures are not an accurate barometer for the health of the PC gaming industry.”
So does this report have you convinced that all is well in the PC Gaming universe, or is everyone just playing Solitaire?
Like a family engaged in an annual game of holiday card one-upmanship, the PC Gaming Alliance’s numbers, figures, and, er, printed-on coffee stains – courtesy of its State of the PC Gaming Industry in 2008 report – are shining with that make-everyone-else-jealous-of-your-obvious-superiority sheen that’s so popular with these sorts of things.
Most notably, the report states that PC gaming still brings home pounds upon pounds of bacon – nearly enough to necessitate tossing away a few slabs before fording the river, in fact – making it the largest single gaming platform in existence. As of now, industry revenues sit at $11 billion, and are expected to continue making our fingers, toes, and abaci feel inadequate in spite of the current Harsh Economic Climate.
In addition, PCGA president Randy Stude emphasized the PC gaming market’s unique advantages, saying:
“The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail. PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing. Despite the advances of the likes of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust worldwide is the PC.”
Buried at the bottom of scenic Oh-God-Don’t-Look, State of the PC Gaming Industry U.S.A. were a few roadblocks the industry’s currently negotiating, mostly stemming from variations in hardware configurations, piracy, and – of course – the economy.
You can check out the full, 33-page PDF file on the PCGA’s website, if you really want. Be warned, though – it’s large enough to become the butt of many a “Yo momma’s so fat” joke. Peruse at your own peril.
The PC Gaming Alliance talks a big game, but can it own the court, get the girl, and save PC gaming? Well, no, but only because 2009’s ostensibly pivotal Game Developers Conference hasn’t gone down yet. Duh.
“At our launch we stated clearly that we were attempting to stabilize the consumer experience with PC gaming by advocating a starting point that is a playable experience. We are still hammering away at this and expect to provide an update at the Game Developers Conference this year,” PCGA president Randy Stude told Big Download.
In addition, the PCGA’s anti-piracy-movement-that-may-actually-on-occasion-buy-drinks-for-piracy will also do something at GDC. Maybe a dance number. We don’t even know.
“The anti piracy sub-committee has adopted a charter and will provide updates at a future date. I don't want to steal their thunder. The membership of the PCGA is growing based on this effort and we expect to announce the charter at the Game Developers Conference,” said Stude.
GDC’s taking place from March 23-27, if you wanted to know. It’ll probably alter the course of history forever, so don’t blink.
With pirates closing in on all sides, many publishers abandoned PC gaming's ship as though it were already a potential set for Little Mermaid 9: I Don't Want to Be A Mermaid; I Want to Be A Boat. PC Gaming Alliance president Randy Stude obviously wasn't one of those naysayers, but he does have a few choice words for them.
"If someone wants to leave the PC market [because of piracy], we’ll miss you," he told Gamepolitics. "We’ll watch with admiration as your titles ship in a diluted fashion without a whole lot of game play innovation, at least until you copy the innovation that occurs on the PC. We'll find the great games on PC and we’ll play those."
On top of that, Stude believes PCs and consoles aren't so different from each another, and thinks the two walks of life will end up meeting somewhere down the road.
"The guts of every console should tell you that the capability is there for the PC to act as the central point for all the consoles," he said. "If you bought a PC and as part of that equation you said, Okay, when you’re on the phone with Dell, 'Hey, Dell, on this PC, this new notebook I’m buying, can you make sure it has the PlayStation 4 option built into it?'"
"Well, why not? Why shouldn’t that be the case? [Sony is] certainly not making any money on the hardware. I mean, can’t they create a stable enough environment to specify that if Dell’s going to sell that notebook and say that it’s PlayStation 4 [compatible] that it must have certain ingredients and it must meet certain criteria? Absolutely they could do that."