It's happened to everyone at one point or another. You're playing your favorite FPS and minding your own business when your character finally succumbs to that pesky stream of bullets that's been bouncing off his face for the past two minutes. “Aw man,” you say aloud while a big, ominous Game Over screen stares you down. “Well, at least I can jump right back in and...” But you can't. Suddenly, you're 30 minutes away from where you kicked the bucket – your previous progress rotting at the bottom of some virtual wastebasket. “Well, at least I can vary up my tactics and see the game from a different angle this time.” Nope. So many invisible walls that you may as well be a mime. “Well, at least I can--” Nuh-uh. Can't do that either. So you pause to take a breather, but they immediately start suffocating you. Games For Windows logos. Everywhere. And then you wake up drenched in a cold sweat, safe in your own bed and free of the nightmare's cruel clutches. “It was just a dream, “ you mumble before dozing off again.
Or was it? PC gaming is far from dying, but not for a lack of effort on consoles' parts. Read on for our list our list of 12 ways that console gaming is hurting your favorite pastime.
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.