PC games on the margins


What you fail to mention is that this is more of a console game than a PC game. From what I’ve read this game is geared towards the console crowd and since the Xmen are so popular on the consoles why would they go PC anyway? That’s a console title, and even if this was 1998, I seriously doubt that we would see this game as a PC title.

And I bet Raven announces a PC title this year. And why not? SoF 2 did pretty well for them.

[Looks around and slooooowly raises hand only to quickly jerk it back down]

If E.B. is making the PC section smaller, it is only due to the fact that the PS2, X-Box, and GC are all putting out tons of games, IMO. As said above with the fractions. Also, the used market has exploded much moreso for consoles it seems and there are fairly large spaces set aside for those in my EB.

On a side note, they must be making a killing with the used titles. Selling those, excuse me, pre-owned titles for 5 dollars less than a new one. WHo the hell buys those? I never buy used or sell mine back. Even games I will never play again. I am too stubborn to help EB make more money. This must be left over angst from all of those college textbooks I bought for $75.00 that the bookstores bough back for $6.50 and then sold for $65.00. Bastards!

EDIT: Sorry if my comments duplicated anything above. Took forever to post as I am at work. :)

The point AIM was that those guys working on the X-Men game were making PC games. Raven’s doing Quake 4 so yeah, they’ve got a PC game in the pipeline (that will also probably end up on console), but the fact that they’ve devoted a team to a console game means those people are not making a PC game, hence console 1 - PC 0.


I might have said this before, but to me the growth in console gaming is just consoles starting to suck in the masses that were scared of their PC. Consoles have lots of pretty pictures now, are not much harder to use than a VCR (and you don’t have to program them!), and they are relatively cheap. Off the bat, I can think of three friends that wanted to play certain PC games but were too intimidated by their computer to give it a try, or didn’t want to spend money on upgrades to their old PC. All three of them now have PS2s or Xboxes and are happily gaming away. These kind of folks are adding to the console market, and not removing themselves from the PC game market.

If developers are switching focus to console games now, I just hope that the Milos and Olegs of the world continue to pursue their craft & alternate distribution methods like Battlefront survive. This is just like when I was one of the three kids in Junior High playing Squad Leader. Everyone else could buy regular games at Toys R Us, but I had to drive way across the valley to Flying Buffalo with the other geeks.

I hardly use my PC for gaming anymore. I just purchased a Radeon 8500 All-In-Wonder, but I use is mostly for desktop video. The uses for my PC are now:

  1. Web Development
  2. Information Gathering/Free Entertainment (Yahoo Games)
  3. Email
  4. Music/Video creation and authoring
  5. Games

This is from someone who has bought upwards of 2000 PC games since 1983.

The problem is, whenever I sit at my PC, I instantly get in “work” mode. There is that desk chair, and a mess, just like work. Web Dev, sofware dev, creating video, writing music, etc are what seem to be the priorities. To be honest, it is a pretty stressful place to be. Sometimes even the games seem like work. It’s a very lonely, solitary sort of environment.

However, when I’m on my couch, and I can see a line-up of the $20 Sony PS2 classics in my entertainment center, It’s like a wave of relaxation. My daughter and I can play together, and if the game is relatively tame (Crash Bandicoot, Jak And Daxter, etc. my wife will join-in too.

Still, I try with the PC. The last game I bought was Neverwinter Nights at Costco for $23.99, and it is fan-f*cking-tastic. Not all is lost, but after a hard day at work, the console and the family are still much more attractive than the PC.

Not me. The basic situation has changed almost not at all: consoles feature different types of games than does the PC, and at best they tend to be games that interest me only mildly. I have purchased every game that I have been interested in (save Splinter Cell) for both my Xbox and my GameCube in the past year, and it adds up to three games.

Most of the stuff that I want to play is still on the PC. And frankly, I’m not convinced that the console market can sustain the kind of growth that people seem to be expecting from it. It may be that PC developers migrating to the consoles now will be successful and never come back. Or it may be that the console gig will be a bust for all but the big players a year or two from now, and developers will flock back to the PC (which will, by that time, be capable of running games that look far nicer than the aging consoles). We’ll see.

But either way, as I said, the type of games that each platform offers has not changed significantly. And that’s all I care about, personally.

Funny. Except for job-hunting (Damn economic slowdown), games are the primary use for my PC - if you include reviewing games as a game use.

But even when I was employed, I couldn’t do work at home on my computer. I worked on my PC at my job and could do most of my email from there too. I didn’t get a lot of e-mails after 5 pm, so I could focus my PC time on gaming.

Now that my wife has taken moonlighting as a NWN DM, a lot of our family time is spent talking about our mutual hobby. Not all of it - thankfully - but family time is certainly not gaming free and very PC focused.

We don’t have a console, so that’s probably a major factor in keeping our PCs as game central. We only use our TV for watching the news.


I’m the total opposite. I tend to fall asleep when I’m on a big comfortable couch gaming away. I need to sit on the edge of the couch or else I get so sleepy.

And my eyesight isn’t that great. I need to be 2 inches from the screen! That’s why I like games such as AoM. I can get right up on the monitor. Can’t do that with a television set.

I wonder if the basic scenarios – cramped at your desk with mouse & keyboard vs. lounging on sofa w/gamepad – automatically lend themselves to certain kinds of game design. Personally I have a preference for the cramped/mouse/keyboard approach. Call me weird. I can’t imagine Baldur’s Gate II being designed for a console, and I can’t imagine playing it on one. But, Morrowind was made on a console and I can’t really imagine playing that one one either. So what do I know? (I just hope the dialogue text fonts in Xbox Morrowind were nice and large…)

And my eyesight isn’t that great. I need to be 2 inches from the screen! That’s why I like games such as AoM. I can get right up on the monitor. Can’t do that with a television set.

Tell me about it. Time for me to get a new prescription…

I played Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and ATE IT UP on my PS2, and now I’m playing Nevrwinter nights on my PC. Both are very similar and provide the same type of thrills for me, but Neverwinter is a just a tad bit more complicated and suited to the PC.


I think it’s entirely fair to say that, since the whole thing revolves around the electronic game market, and each of the aforementioned platforms are all going after the same dollars.

I think an area where PCs have fallen down is in sociability. Yes, I am typing to all of you on a forum, and could play a MMORPG if I chose, but that’s all over a line connection. I’ve never met (I don’t think) anyone on this board. With a console, you can have friends over and just crash out and play. With memory modules you can save a game and truck it over to a friends house and play. PCs nowadays seem to always require 1 player per PC, which can be tough, and expensive, and really risky for LAN parties since all this desktop junk weighs a ton and is fragile.

So far as the this type of game goes on a console/this type on a PC arguemtn, I think that one’s headed for the dustbin at some point in the next few years. The only thing that stops a console from playing any sort of game is the controller and possibly the resolution of the TV it’s plugged into. New controller types can be introduced, so if it becomes worth it to make one, console makers can adapt controllers to any type of game. Video technology is in a very innovative state right now. Ten years from now we may have much higher-res TVs and flat panels.

Consoles are now going on-line. That means that they are infiltrating all the semi-social arena (except forums) where PCs have had a lock forever. in fact, the desire to communicate in forums may drive gamers to demand keyboard interfaces for their consoles.

I dunno, guys. I haven’t seen anything here that’s really persuasive. I don’t think in another quarter century it will be PC vs. console. I think the all-in-one computer will not only be a reality, but maybe even tiny, like a Dick Tracey wristwatch, and operate wirelessly with big-screen monitors and voice commands. We’ll plug them into display devices the way we do with PDAs today, maybe.

Sorry, those last 2 posts were Joe O’Malley.

Consoles are obviously going to win more players than PCs and if that drives dollar-eyed executives to making console games exclusively then all the more market for independant PC game publishers. Nobody that uses a PC is going to stop using it just because they also have a console. I’ve got a PC, a PS2 and a Dreamcast (totally buffed out with periferals and what not).

I see my Dreamcast collection as a cautionary tale, a hedge, against buffing out my PS2 with elective or compulsive purchases. After discovering consoles via Dreamcast (I had a Genesis too but never got excited beyond Shadowrun and RoTK III), and going berzerk buying stuff, I pretty quickly tired of the kinds of games I could play even as I appreciated the variety I’d just aquired. Now I’ve got three big chests worth of stuff which I swear I’ll get back into one day, can’t bear to part with, and never touch.

My PS2 was an impulse buy triggered by a lust for GTA3 (which diverted me from an anticipated Xbox purchase - thankfully) but I managed to avoid buying wheels and fishing rods and the compulsion to buy several games of each genre I liked to have a ‘well rounded’ library. Instead I just picked and chose a few games I was pretty sure I’d like. I’ve ended up with about a dozen PS2 and PSX games most of which are not available on the PC and that I do return to from time to time. (Like, I hope, KOEI’s P.T.O. IV - latest purchase en route!).

Likely, after the market goes through the same initial adoption curve of heavy consumption you’ll probably see a drop off eventually as folks simply feel saturated. I don’t think we’re there yet with consoles as they’re cheaper, simpler to operate, and offer less demanding games so there’s a much larger potential market. Folks willing to discover and play PCs have been exploited pretty thoroughly I think and have already hit saturation. Most, IMHO, that become hardcore (or even specialized casual gamers) tend to find particular niches or titles they pay attention to rather than ‘computer gaming’ as a whole. As computer games are deeper and more extensible than console games this is going to be a phenomenon that lasts.

And, as a fan of extensible and user generated content as well as games featuring dynamic (hence replayable) engines, I can’t say I have a huge problem with that. We can say it costs lots of money to make a game but the reality is that anyone with skills can make a computer game. As more and more coders and designers, whether initially from the game industry or not, hit retirement there will be a base of creative folks out there who probably will get a kick out of designing the games they want to play or to create some legacy for themselves. The internet makes it quite possible for large numbers of these folks to seek each other out and pool efforts.

So, PC games vanishing from store shelves doesn’t bother me very much at all. As long as they don’t vanish all together and I suspect that’s simply never going to happen as long as computers, as we know them are in every home and office in the land.

With me, the difference has been that I play console games with existing friends, but PC gaming has introduced me to new friends. They start out as “virtual” friends, but often that leads to real-life meetings. My clan puts together plenty of barbeques and trips to Vegas, though I admit that is uncommon. I think the oddest one was meeting my next door neighbor in an apartment complex through Usenet (I thought I had heard the sounds of Doom over there a couple times).

I wonder if the rise of PC gaming rooms will affect this, too. I don’t bother going to LAN parties where we all haul our gear around. If someone has a home LAN we go there, or easier still is to find a local PC room and rent machines for $2 or $3 an hour. There are five of these places within a half-hour drive of my house, and I can be in the closest one in five minutes.

I agree there will be some sort of convergence of the devices. PCs need to become more appliance-like as consoles have, and consoles need to have better input devices and connectivity.

Not me. The basic situation has changed almost not at all: consoles feature different types of games than does the PC, and at best they tend to be games that interest me only mildly. I have purchased every game that I have been interested in (save Splinter Cell) for both my Xbox and my GameCube in the past year, and it adds up to three games.

Exactly so. It’s like trumpeting the success of romance novels; if I don’t want to read them, why should I care?

Gaming is probably the only entertainment field where everyone actually roots for the maintsteam big guys and not the underdogs. It’s kind of funny. It’s like saying, “I really wish Hollywood would do more movies like Pluto Nash and fewer of those dreary little indies.”

Actually I find most of those dreary little indies to be, er, dreary. Most Hollywood movies are lousy too, but they tend to have better lighting. I suppose Iranian cinema is where it’s at these days, but I just can’t drag myself to see “A Time For Drunken Horses.”

One interesting point to be made in the console vs. PC argument is that while consoles are constantly borrowing interface and design from PC titles, it isn’t very often that you see a console genre or control scheme having a large impact on PC titles.

Sometimes they’ll go ahead and transport the whole hog, warty control scheme and all, over to the PC, but I’m hard pressed to name a succesfull genre transition from console to PC. Oni was an impressive attempt, but…

To be honest, for me it’s fun to see how the designers will try to streamline a complex control system when it heads over to a console. Starlancer comes to mind as a valient attempt to do something that didn’t quite work out…