Consoles: A Better Market For PC Devs

Consoles: A Better Market For PC Devs

PC gaming, at one point in time, pioneered the industry in just about every genre known to the world of gaming. Its threshold was once untouched as its graphical dominance trampled the very grounds that was once entrenched by its graphically inferior console competitors from corporate conglomerates like Nintendo. Games matured graphically almost every year in both visuals and game play as the console market stagnantly etched behind. Once broadband came along, the PC industry, once again, leaped ahead of the console market when it was introduced to Massively Multiplayer Online gaming (MMO).

For years, PC has dominated the gaming platform as the most appealing choice for gamers searching for the best visual experience. Games like Crysis, which awed gamers everywhere when its graphical capabilities proved to be ecstasy for the eyes. Aside from the appealing façade that games like Crysis were able to conjure, the one thing that separated PCs from consoles as years passed was how PCs were able to interconnect thousands of users simultaneously in the same world through games such as EverQuest and World of Warcraft. However, it has now come to a point where consoles themselves have harnessed the ability to connect players around the world just as the PC has been doing for years. As the install base for consoles grows, developers are looking for newer ways to enhance the experiences that players can fathom. And what better way than to immerse them in a virtual world where thousands of players can openly communicate and share quests and battles as they save the world from “insert name of bad guy here.”

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Consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 have broken any barriers that PC gamers thought were invincible. Now, PC gamers will undoubtedly deny to their fullest extent what I’m about to write. And it is understandable as the majority of them will feel threatened by my reasons as to why gaming will, without a doubt, be superior on the console platform than on PCs, and why developers will soon steer in that direction. Take a deep breath, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to get nasty.

Everyone knows that PC gamers take the cake when it comes to being the largest online community in the world. Word of Warcraft alone has over 12 million subscribers, and we’re not even counting the folks that jump on oldies like Counter Strike and the Asian favorite StarCraft. PC has, for years, held the crown in that plateau. It dwarfs the online community that consoles currently have. However, this reason is more because of how young console online gaming is.

When we really think about it, online gaming on consoles didn’t really flourish until this generation. There were other consoles, such as the Dreamcast, that did offer online play with games like Phantasy Star Online and Marvel vs. Capcom 2; or the PlayStation 2 which spawned a community of SOCOM: US Navy Seals fans that, till this day, remain loyal to the franchise; or Halo 2 on the original Xbox – which was probably one of the most popular online FPS games of that generation. But when we really take into consideration when console online gaming appealed to the masses, it was really in this generation. Microsoft launched Xbox Live with the Xbox 360 – a feature which unified the Xbox community and expanded on the idea of “online play”. Almost two years later, Sony launched their PlayStation 3 with the PlayStation Network and, just as Microsoft did, created a system in which gamers on the specific console could interact with one another – or in groups – either through chat, texting, or through gaming. What about Nintendo, you ask? Hm. Although Nintendo does offer some online playable titles like Smash Bros., I wouldn’t hold it in the same stature as I hold Sony and Microsoft. Simply because these two consoles really focus in bringing meaning to the term “online multiplayer,” whereas Nintendo focuses more on you looking like a frakking idiot with the peripherals they have. If you think you look cool doing Wii Fit, a) You better be a scorching hot woman b) As the scorching hot woman, you need to do these workouts in two pieces of what I call “clothing” – a piece of string and knee pads, and c) talk dirty while performing these workouts. Anything besides this is unacceptable, in my standards.

With this generation of consoles supporting the online gaming community, developers and publishers quickly scattered to their feet in order to bring players the next best thing since powdered milk – online games. Games like Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War quickly topped the charts and became golden geese in the world of online gaming.

As years pass and prices drop, consumers are keen to purchasing these next-gen gems. And with the rapid growth of consumers purchasing these consoles, the install base increases, which, in turn, causes game developers to ogle a tad more on the potential consumers they can have if they bring their next online title to the console platform. Turbine, the developers of Lord of the Rings Online, are one of these developers already planning on bringing their next MMO onto consoles on this very belief.

PC

The argument once was that with PC gaming, the graphical advantages you will experience over consoles were much richer. That was back in the days. Now, it’s a totally different ball game. With console architecture being less expensive than , let’s say, the top of the line graphics card like a GeForce GTX 295 (which can easily cost $400.00+), it still produces the same overall experience. There’s no doubt that PC games will look slightly better than some of the very games released on consoles; but the overall finish isn’t as dramatic as comparing Half-Life 2 to Super Mario World. In this mix, we’re not including the price of RAM that current games will, of course, crave; the price of a decent processor that can run the game at its potential; and we’re not including smaller peripherals and accessories that is needed to make a PC function properly.

Consoles can deliver great visuals, sound, online interactivity and gaming out of the box without the necessity to upgrade. The average console has a lifespan of ten years; PCs constantly have to be upgraded in smaller periods of time in order to keep up with the development of higher-end games. As consoles become more popular, the need to purchase a gaming PC will soon become unnecessary for a great gaming experience. The comparison in price – to which both consoles and PCs can offer the same experience – will be much more justifiable with the console platform in comparison to the PC. Who wants to pay $700.00+ for a PC when you can usually experience the same game at almost half the cost on a console?

I’m sure that the majority of you PC fanboys are out there spewing remarks at me like “Yaris, shut the hell up you useless twat. Your dick is so small you pee on your balls…”, or probably sacrificing a rooster somewhere over a bonfire to have your god run me over with an eighteen wheeler sometime tomorrow, but let’s be realistic: Yes, PC gaming is great. Yes, PC hardware can be godly. But, why the frak would I want to spend rent/mortgage money on a platform that will need upgraded parts in three or so years? That makes less sense than a blind person farming. Game developers are making multiplatform games for this very reason. Back in the day, we didn’t have developers even questioning the idea of porting games to consoles. Now that both platforms see eye to eye in key departments, game developers see the potential consoles now have. With next generation consoles offering just as much features as a PC at almost half the cost, gamers will see no reason besides the whole “keyboard and mouse” argument as their reason to abandon the pricey PC platform for their gaming needs.

Although a console performance will “seem” to drop as the years go by and PC hardware becomes far superior – which is the argument some will use – one has to consider that consoles are created with the expected life cycle of ten years. In those ten years, console games will continue pumping out games that will continue to entertain gamers without the consumer having to worry about hardware upgrades that will, indeed, be costly.

Consoles might, at times, receive inferior ports but, again, the lasting appeal and the overall experience that the game imprints in our minds is what really matters in the end. So, is the more expensive PC really that superior in entertaining gamers than its cheaper console competitor? I would have to say, hell no. A console is far cheaper and offers the same things, and some, that the PC does. I’d rather pay for a console that I know will bring me ten years plus of entertainment. That’s just me, though.

Although games do sell like hotcakes on the PC, it’s mostly due to the fact that those games aren’t really available on other platforms. That being said, it’s no wonder why games like The Witcher or Crysis sell insanely well. However, when we look at the sales regarding multiplatform games, things change quite a bit.

Games such as Mass Effect, Fable II, and Fallout 3 have all sold in excess of three million units, and at launch, Oblivion sold to over 50 percent of the Xbox 360 installed base. Although the PC market might have a higher install base at the moment than consoles, we have to remember that not all PC owners are gamers. Consoles, on the other hand, are bought for that very purpose – gaming. When we see multiplatform games like Batman: Arkham Asylum outperform PC sales, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Because of this hike in sales, PC developers are more than likely looking at the console market for a means to distribute their product for a bigger monetary gain.

MMOs began in the PC and the genre still continues to thrive on it. We can’t really conclude that because PCs hold a bigger share of the pie in this genre, that developers won’t migrate to consoles. Remember, sales is what’s really important in the long run. There are some loyalists that will stay true to the development of PC games. Seeing a market growth, however, in consoles such as the Xbox 360, developers will be more prone pursue the dormant console market which, of course, has plenty of potential.

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PC games that were once “exclusives” have already made appearances on consoles. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is one of them. And although sales weren’t as generous as they were on the PC (and this is more due to the control scheme), the fact that it can be done is enough for both gamers and developers to permeate the console market. Keyboards and mice peripherals are capable on today’s current consoles – which would be great for PC gamers looking to play their favorite games on the console; why developers haven’t included these options in their console ports is beyond me – especially knowing that the PlayStation 3 can, in fact, handles these peripherals out of the box; even though the majority of PC gamers should be well aware that, by design, keyboards were never designed with gaming in mind. Moving with the WASD scheme is at best like writing a novel with an oversized novelty pencil – of course, you can do it, but it’s sub-optimal and there are far better tools available for the job.

“But, but, the mouse is far more accurate.” Of course it is. It also takes away from the run-and-gun realism which makes you rely more on instinct. What person in the world do you know that can snipe from 20,000 feet away accurately? This is what the mouse does. It takes away from “realism” that traditional game controllers provide to an extent. Personally, I’d rather play an FPS on a console and have a far more challenging experience in killing my enemies rather than having the unfair Clint Eastwood aim that the mouse imbues players with.

Realistically, developers just want a market in which they can make money. Forget the fact that most of them say they are in it because they love making games. At the end of the day, that fat bonus they get towards their Porsche is far better. With that in mind, as the console market continues to grow at the rapid pace its going and the install base becomes much larger, incentives to develop for potential prospects becomes the goal. At one point in time, the PC industry offered the tools and the consumers for capital growth. We all know that consoles have become just as powerful, if not more (look at what scientists are doing for lab work before you even consider arguing this) powerful, than PCs. The time in which PCs once ruled the gaming arena has since passed.

One big factor that will drive PC developers to consoles is piracy. Yes, piracy. Companies like Valve are moving to consoles because piracy – as any PC gamer would know – is disintegrating the PC world from the inside like a parasite. It sure is hell great to have a free game; but in doing this, developers lose tons of abeyant cash. World of Goo developer suggested that piracy was at a rate of about 90 percent. It’s just messed up. With this ease of being able to pirate games on PCs, developers will find closure in developing on consoles. Are consoles piracy proof? Hell no. But I can guarantee you that piracy is far more excessive in the PC market than in the console market.

Before any of you PC gamers even think about sitting there defending your precious platform with remarks like “high res” gaming, that your video card pwns my Xbox 360/PS3, that your framerates are better, or that you built an uber PC gaming rig for $500.00, listen to this: at the end of the day, I still paid less an am able to do exactly what my purchased console is meant to do for the next ten years on a high-definition TV – game. As much as I used to love PC gaming, there’s really nothing that it offers that my consoles cannot do these days. They play music, they play movies, I can surf the web, I can communicate more effectively with my friends, and I can play games. That’s all I need my rig to do. As consoles become more home-centric with the increase of entertainment in just about every area, consumers will be drawn to it. Developers are taking notice and they are making key decisions that will, undoubtedly, affect the PC gaming scene.

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Right now, the only genre that separates PC gamers from console gamers is MMOs. And even that is now being introduced to consoles. Let’s face it: there was a time when PCs once dominated without question. Two decades later, the technology and tools that were once limited to PCs are now practiced on consoles with far better results with regards to consumer reaction. But, before you try to justify your argument, here’s a question: I’ll be playing Uncharted 2 in a couple of days. What next-gen game will your expensive PC rig be running while I shoot minorities in the face with Nathan Drake?

PC game developers, whether or not you want to believe it, are closely eyeing the console market for potential growth. They see promise in consoles, and companies like Turbine, DC, Marvel, and Valve have already taken the steps to prove it.

11 responses to “Consoles: A Better Market For PC Devs”

  1. I totally agree with this article, but I won’t leave my PC so easy. I work with PC and I play on it. I see that consoles are cheaper in long term gaming. Anyway, I’m gonna pay 2000$ for my gaming notebook because I workwith this platform. I write articles, I edit my video, I edit my photos and I play games. Consoles are not capable of this. And when the time comes, when consoles will be cpble of what PC are, then they will not be consoles anymore. They will be PC’s.

  2. Dex says:

    Jesus, I don’t know why I even read the article. Obviously completely biased, not taking into account the advantages of a PC. I mean he actually says the Controller is better than the mouse: ”Personally, I’d rather play an FPS on a console and have a far more challenging experience in killing my enemies”

    What is this guy, a moron? He clearly does not even own a PC and therefore is not fit to write this article.

    His name even solidifies my argument that he is biased. ”Dualshocker”

  3. @ Dex

    Wow. Apparently common sense is not really your department is it? I don’t own a PC? hm… I must be typing this using my inferior modded typewriter with that soldered NIC card which I created for blogging.

    You know what’s funny, Dex? What’s funny is that PC fanboys like yourself will never accept opinions or facts simply because your loyalty to your PC overlaps the part of your brain labeled “common sense.” Why ignoramus folk like yourself still inhabit the Earth is beyond me. But when you read things, you should maybe try to consider why it was written. 99.9% of what I wrote was voiced by developers. I guess they too are morons huh?

    By the way, here are the specs for my PCs:

    *Work PC*
    EVGA i810 Mobo
    8GB of RAM
    2X GeForce 8800GTX 640MB
    Dual Boot Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit and Debian Linux
    Intel Core 2 Quad Core Q6600 2.4Ghz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache
    1 TB SATA Storage

    *Gaming PC*
    Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Mobo
    12GB of RAM
    GeForce GTX 295
    Intel Core i7 Extreme @ 3.33Ghz
    Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit
    Lian Li Armorsuit P-50 Chassis
    3.5TB SATA HDDs

    I can guarantee that my work PC spanks your gaming rig. Please, good sir, don’t make yourself look dumber than you sound. Thanks.

  4. VP says:

    I started reading this and it hit me why it was so pish poor. because it was blaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……read my blog and no one bother arguing with me because im right in every way. ridiculous. yawn.

  5. @ Dale

    Thanks for the comment. 🙂

    In response to your comment regarding whether or not if I, or any other gamer at that, buy *new* PS2 games till this day, I will answer yes. The point of the life cycle isn’t when every single consumer stops paying attention to the console. Life cycle is defined as the time that a console is still active in the gaming market. That being said, since Sony is still supporting the PS2, as are the developers, and consumers are still purchasing it, it is very much so still active.

    If a PS2 game that’s released captures my attention, bet your ass that I’ll still buy it. Because, as I said, an experience is just as important as graphics – and the PS2, although dated in contrast to today’s graphics, can still pump out decent visuals. The life of the original Xbox was 4 years because Microsoft completely ceased any support for the console. Again, Sony continues to support the PS2; ergo, it is very much so as active as any other console on the market today.

    I will have to completely disagree with your remark stating that console games degrade halfway through their life (or when the next console is announced). Titles, till this day, are released on the PS2 that are concurrently released on next-gen systems; Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories, the 2K sports games, Gutiar Hero 5, Persona 4, etc. Whether or not you, personally, decide not to purchase these games or give the PS2 that attention is something else. But the PS2 is still very much so living beyond its expected life cycle – and consumers are still very much so interested in it. And if you can find me one RPG on the PC that tops Persona 4, I’ll beat my mother with a ken do stick. To say that PC “wins” when it has been getting ported versions of console games is pretty ignorant. The latest game which is exclusive on the PC to do fairly well is Aion. Order of War was mediocre at best.

    With regards to my statement about aiming, it clearly indicates you’re not familiar with sarcasm so I will try my best to clearly explain what I said. Unless you served in the military and have sniped some dirty terrorist before, you cannot even try to fathom what “realistic” sniping feels or looks like. My argument was that the mouse IS EXTREMELY easy to aim with. Denying this is simply idiotic in itself. I’ve been gaming on the PC for over 15 years and can comment on this from experience. Does it suck? No. But it is not as _challenging_ to play with a mouse as it is to do so on a controller. Poor aiming on the controller has more to do with precise adjustments with your thumb which is far more difficult than doing so with wrist/hand movements as done with a mouse. Even that with a trackball mouse if even far easier to aim with. Pinpointing a target from a distance with a mouse is far easier than doing so with a controller simply because the controller’s stick is far less sensitive than a laser mouse’s movements.

    If you want to experience the best graphics – as do the hardcore PC gamers like myself – a GTX 260 isn’t going to cut it. The lack in speeds it has with regards to memory bandwidth, texture fill rate, and the lack of HDMI input can be considered for mediocre gaming at best and won’t last you the 3+ years before an upgrade. Is it a bad card? No. Definitely not. Is it GREAT for gaming? No. It will do its job, though, as a “for now” GPU. I build PCs because it’s in my line of work – software engineering.

    I never indicated anywhere in my writing that PCs aren’t gaming friendly. I am indicating that because of the growth that consoles are experiencing financially, technologically, and the amount of consumers it’s pulling, it will eventually be a better market investment for PC developers. Do I think that PC gaming is dead? No. Does it have its faults? Yes, as does consoles. Do I think that gaming is better on consoles than it is on PCs and cheaper? In my opinion, yes. And that’s because consoles were engineered with the thought of “gaming” in mind. All that other extra stuff is a means of attracting possible consumers. And it’s working.

  6. Mark says:

    He makes a fair arguement. Consoles are growing at a rapid pace. You “pc gamers” are really coming off desperate here.

  7. name says:

    1 thing that PC games will always have that consoles dont.
    full 1080P support, and 8 times AA.
    but consoles are a better market for PC developers, and thats the exact problem.
    because consoles are bringing in more cashola than the PC, developers have stopped pushing the PC to the limits.
    crysis warhead was the last game that really pushed PCs to the limit, how many new video cards and CPUs have been released since then?
    the PC use to have exclusives, companys who were dedicated to quality.
    like ID,valve,crytek,3D Realms,Epic,Blizzard,monolith.
    these companys have switched over to consoles because consoles make them more money, there fore they are refusing to push the PC to the limits.
    i have a intell I7 920 CPU, 1 Nvidia 9800GTX+ 6GB DDR3 ram and i can run anything and i mean anything on full settings.
    thats kinda sad since theres like what 5? cards above mine and 2 or so CPUs above mine.
    what is the point of the Nvidia 280GTX?
    why buy a 280GTX when a 9800GTX will do the same thing?
    seriously why spend hundreds more than what you need to.
    thats the problem with the PC industry, developers have gone greedy and games like crysis are a dying breed.
    that needs to change!
    remember 1 thing QUALITY>QUANTITY!!!
    i would much rather sell 1 game and it be the best of all time, than sell 100000000000000 and it be the worst of all time.
    developers need to remember, if your game is good IT WILL SELL
    i think there should be a scheme where game prices are governed by how good a game is.
    based on media reviews and more so public reviews.
    if a game gets a review of 10/10 it should cost 60 bucks and so on down to 1/10 should be 10 bucks.
    that way developers are encouraged to make quality titles.
    none of this expansion pack and charge 60 bucks for it ala halo 3 ODST
    developers make games for the consoles than port it over to the PC.
    developers use to worry about quality, they use to want to make the most advanced game possible.
    not any more, all they care about now is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    unfortunately PC gaming only has a minute amount of games set to push it to the limits.
    crysis 2, RAGE, doom 4 and half life 2 episode 3.
    both the ps3 and 360 have 10 times more games pushing each console to the limit.

  8. crozon says:

    Hey, ok lets start I am a PC fanboy. You do make some good points but there is a reason i prefer PC gaming well over consoles and i own a PS3 hooked to a led tv and surround sound speaker.
    I have noticed the frame rates on many games are really bad on consoles. tried the riddick demo, gta iv all of these are some horrid frame rates. On the pc you can tinker with settings to get the best performance to quality ratio.
    controls – need i say more on a fps and rts game. but it goes the same for racing games and flight sims. i have a g25 wheel and i can hook it up to the PS3 but most living rooms like mine arn’t suited to put a wheel anywhere. in comparison my PC is on a big desk and can hook up my wheel to it.
    Gaming on the go, well i work away from home all week and with a gaming laptop i can play it in a hotel. And check my emails, web surfacing etc.
    There is a reason why people prefer pc gaming and think its a lot better as shown above.

  9. dreamhunk says:

    here is your gems how is them console failure rates doing these days

    http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_Xbox360_PS3_Wii_Reliability_0809.p

  10. @ crozon

    In the end, it all pans out to personal preference. Personally, I use each platform for specific reasons. For sports games, driving games, and action adventure (and occasionally FPS), I would game on my consoles. For RTS games, flight simulators and so forth, I stick with PC.

    Each platform has its pros and cons. There’s nothing perfect about either. However, as stated above, my argument is to why PC developers are and will be migrating to the console platform – not that console gaming is better than PC gaming. To each is own, I say. But as consumers are concerned – and there is no denying it – consoles have a bigger portion of the gaming community than PC does; which is why it is viewed as a far better investment in the long run.

  11. I’m not a PC gamer for the most part, so I won’t even pretend to know what I’m talking about there, but anyone who thinks that just because the PS2 is “last gen” good games still aren’t coming out for the system is completely ignorant. Yaris mentioned a few but there are quite a few more, as well.