The death of the PC?
Posted on Saturday, April 12 2008 @ 20:34:13 PST
Back in the early nineties, a revolution of videogames began on the Personal Computer. Wolfenstein3D and Doom shot out the First Person Shooters (FPS). Command and Conquer and Civilizations marched forth Real Time and Turn Based Strategy (RT/TBS). Ultima and Might Magic summoned Role Playing Games (RPGs) of epic proportions onto our little screens at home, be it on an Apple or early Windows machine, games like these threw the PC out onto the gaming market, competing with the consoles juggarnaughts of the day; Sega and Nintendo.
For fifteen years, the PC has weathered many storms, the release of the Sony Playstations, Nintendo consoles and Microsoft’s own Xbox were unable to compete with the quality and might of solid series on the PC. From Half-Life to Unreal Tournament, Starcraft to C&C: Red Alert 2 and Fallout to Neverwinter Nights, no console system or game has ever managed to put a dent into the solid steel tower of a PC.
Sadly, as the year 2008 strides forward, the once powerful machine has fallen to the wayside of the current generation of consoles; more games are simply ports from two year old games (Halo 2), while others are completely exclusive to the new systems. Game Publishers and Developers are beginning to abandon the platform, and with good reason too; pirating is making all their hard work worthless. According to Infinity Ward, the developers of the number one selling title for 2007, Call of Duty 4, pirating is what is slowly devouring PC gaming, “As the amount of people who pirate PC games is astounding. It blows me away at the amount of people willing to steal games.”
As it stands, consoles are the most readily available and compatible systems out on the market. Consumers can throw down less than a thousand bucks for a shiny new Playstation 3, a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV and go to town. Many new games are released for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, so what system you buy is not a problem. PC gaming is expensive; high powered cards and processors can cost hundreds of dollars apiece, and become obsolete before they’re placed in a fancy new tower (the boxy thing on the floor).
New game releases (like GTAIV) won’t be ported for another year, leaving PC gamers out of the loop for an entire season. Another big difference is that the consoles versions are ready to go out of the package and look great; for the PC, without the latest and greatest processor, graphics card, memory, monitor, etc. the game can end up looking so-so with many of the graphical effects turned off to increase performance or to just be able to work properly. For example, Cysis, the current best looking game on market, is doing horrible in sales worldwide, with less than 100,000 copies sold, it shows that consumers just can’t afford to play such amazing games.
While it is all pretty grim, there is still hope; because of upcoming releases such as Spore, Starcraft II, Guild Wars 2 and anything out of Valve (Half-Life series and Portal) can hopeful bolster support of the PC, along with (hopefully) more support from Microsoft, who seems to have abandon the system that made them rich in the first place for Xbox and Halo mania. The old tower is beginning to crumble; without support from developers, gamers, and software providers, it’ll turn to dust.
Written for my College Newspaper.