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Thursday, April 24, 2014

[News] PC Is The Dominant Gaming Platform, PAX East Announces

So, I know I’m biased toward PC platform gaming. I think a lot of people are. Once you go play a game on a PC, I believe it’s hard to stop. I’m not going to claim ‘LOL PC MASTER RACE’ here, I’m just reporting on what PAX East has mentioned. I have a PS3, WiiU, Wii, Xbox 360 and Xbox One myself and I do occasionally play on them myself, but most of my time is spent being enthralled by my custom built PC. And for good reason, cheap games that are triple A titles, and indie games galore. Should I also mention the numerous websites that can be visited, easily, on a PC? Not including playing flash games. I mean, there’s so many things to do on PC that you can’t really do on PS3. You can even map PS3 controllers to the PC along with Xbox 360 controllers which, when you plug one in, Windows instantly recognizes it. It’s ridiculous.
But enough about my biasedness, it’s time to report on the real thing here: What was said at PAX East.
The panel at PAX East (henceforth referred to as PAXE for typing reasons), was made up of hardware specialists and game designers, and they told the attendees at PAXE that PC was not a dying platform, and that it is alive and well in the market.
There was Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey[Wikilink], Planetside 2 creative director Matt Higby[Wikilink], Star Citizen creator (and creator of many other space-based games) Chris Roberts, and Nvidia director of technical marketing Tom Petersen.
Now when asked about certain things about the PC gaming platform, all of these people had a number of things to say about different aspects of PC gaming, and the PC gaming market.
In terms of PC hardware, Petersen said that there are lowered sales in the PC hardware market, but Nvidia’s hardware was seeing quite the boost in recent years, especially in their GTX market of video cards. Many non-PC gaming people are going away from desktops in favor of tablets and other things, however the market of people who are constantly on the roam for additional things to put into their rigs is growing.
Star Citizen creator Roberts mentioned that PC gaming will be far ahead of consoles in terms of 4k definition gaming. As we’ve all heard about the new 4k definition TVs, the next generation of PC hardware may very well be on the road to being capable of providing 4k definition games, leaving consoles in the dust. Consoles are much, much less powerful than a custom (or not, but if you’ve got 3,000 dollars to spend, then whatever) built PC and such things such as 4k resolution capability only a PC can provide in the coming months, leaving the PS4 and Xbox One behind in the dust. (We all love Nintendo and the WiiU, but let’s face it, they’re not really a competitor in the console race. All focus is between Microsoft and Sony, and Nintendo’s got good stuff going for them, so let’s just let them work on what they want to. Whispers GO NINTENDO!) Also, 4k equipment pricing is falling as you read this article. Every day it’s falling and it’ll be within the average consumer’s price range soon enough, and in that time I’m sure PC gaming will move into the 4k definition range, and I’m sure tablets will too eventually… that’s gonna be nuts.
Star Citizen is a new game on the Horizon for Roberts, and Roberts is concerned with cloud gaming, as latency issues abound in his mind. That makes cloud gaming mostly inconceivable for him, to be a viable product at any rate. He doesn’t think that problem is going to be fixed at any point whatsoever, unfortunately.
The biggest challenge for PC developers is diversity. But it’s also their biggest sales component in selling their game. As long as they develop an interesting game, they’re sure to make sales quite over their goals. Matt Higby, aforementioned developer of Planetside 2, talked about this at PAX East as he mentioned there’s an infinite amount of PC specs within the community; there’s not a ‘normal’ specification or a standard, everyone has different machines and is able to upgrade them as they see fit. The only limitation is the hardware you have. It’s something that is acknowledged by PC developers, but also again, it’s the biggest pitfall for developers as mentioned. It’s also worth of note that many people put together bizarre combinations of hardware and developers do have to keep this in mind, but in my opinion those are the high rollers that can actually afford to do that, not for the actual performance. You can spend less than 1,000 dollars and have a nice rig, so that’s not too big of an issue for developers, in my opinion.
Of course, with PC gaming there’s always the issue of piracy, and that was also brought up. However, everyone on the panel did agree that piracy was actually on the decline instead of on the rise like the majority of PC gamers believe. The rise of digital storefronts has eliminated the need for piracy and it’s easier instead of having to drive down to the nearest video game-selling store, you can now purchase and play in your own home. Install, download, the whole shebang. Roberts commented that piracy was an availability/distribution problem, but with practically unlimited distribution with digital copies and games being almost always available, it’s becoming a thing of the past. Also digital publishing better helps developers, Roberts noted, to get a better cut of the profits from selling their games, since you can always just toss your game on a website and throw a PayPal link on there to purchase the game.
The PC games industry is worth roughly 24 billion dollars, with sales, in-game microtransactions, out of game microtransactions, subs(subscriptions), and a lot of other factors too that influence sales. However the developers that earn the most money are the ones that release their game on simple terms: most likely not having DRM, and within 3 clicks of a button.
The new DX12 now has multithreading capabilities, taking much needed stress off of developers so they can work better. Roberts talked about this extensively at PAXE, but he did say Microsoft needs to stop focusing on the Xbox One(or the Xbox Franchise in general) as their main selling point and get back to what they were originally founded on: PCs. He said that Microsoft needs to get back together with the PC community, because they seem to have left them in the dust for PC support besides trying to push out Windows releases.
Luckey commented on their Oculus Rift, as it seems a lot of supporters want a sci-fi game to be able to be in VR(Virtual Reality) with, but they explained that sci-fi things tend to have a lot of FPS issues (Frame Per Second, or how fast the game is relayed to our hardware either on your PC or in a VR system like this case from the hard drive), and that seems to be the only thing barring the way for the Oculus Rift.
But Oculus has sold to Facebook, so no one cares about that crapheap now. Just disregard that last paragraph. Also it seems Luckey did not have much to say about anything else, so what does that tell you?
Have fun gaming, whatever console you’re on. It’s all about having fun.

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