What will cause the death of PC gaming

I’m sorry if this topic has been done to death. If you feel it has, just ignore it and it will go away.

If, however, you have something to add, then by all means - do so!

I have noticed a disturbing trend in the gaming communities I frequent which I believe will lead to the death of PC gaming if this trend catches on at a larger level.

This trend is a growing refusal to purchase new games. Many of my fellow gamers now insist on waiting at least six months to purchase any new release under the assumption that:

  1. The price will drop
    and
  2. A patch will be released

Some recent games that have driven this decision include: Medieval Total War, Hearts of Iron, and Master of Orion 3. Two of these three games, in my opinion, deserve to succeed financially because they are pretty cool designs. Unfortunately, HoI won’t ever be a hit because of all the freakin’ bugs. MTW was enough of a hit to merit an expansion and a sequel, but CA has alienated many die-hards by refusing to fully patch the game. I think the denizens of this board know what a pile of steaming crap MoO3 is.

Of course, if more gamers adopt this attitude, it will be more difficult for game companies to turn a profit, won’t it?

Well here’s my guess:

Ms. Scarlet, in the library, with a candlestick.

Just one POW and PC gaming is out for the count.

There will be no death. It may shrink somewhat as there are three consoles right now that may be competeing for some of the same PC dollars, but that is it. As long as there are Stardocks and Octopus Motors out there, I am not to worried about PC gaming.

I was not aware that there was any hostility on this board towards MoO3.

Now I have heard that the version of GalCiv that is being released is actually a barely functioning Alpha that actually killed one of the playtesters. K-Mart is forcing the early release. In place of many of the graphics, there are only black and white artist renderings in pencil.

You say that like its a bad thing. If we stop making games that barely work out of the box, gamers will rush out to buy them. If they want to wait - regardless - thats their right. Its about voting with your dollars and I for one, as a gamer first and a developer second, welcome that.

Most of us devs get paid royalties every quarter (when I’m with a publisher that is) and some (unlike indies like me who self-fund to a degree) never get to see any more money past their advances anyway. So, its not like they [devs] are hurting by the gamers waiting for a game they bought to actually work as expected. :roll:

PC gaming is not dying. Its just some companies responsible for making games that are dying. And thats not necessarily a bad thing. The fewer game devs/pubs, the better. I think. To wit: Those bastards responsible for Postal 2 are back and they’re poster boys for why PC gaming continues to get a bad rap. And MOO3 is another example.

There are a LOT of games that make money, regardless of whether the gamers buy on release or later. And at the end of the day, its all down to faith and trust in the devs. Too many pubs release a game and turn their backs on it. When I released BCM back in 2001, the bug list was empty and we took a vote with the 100+ testers on whether it was good to go. It was, so we shipped it. No less than a month later, the public started finding all manner of bugs that were obscure enough to have been missed - even by the reviewers. And as always, I was there to fix them - regularly. To the extent that it went beyond bug fixing because, like I always do, I ended up tweaking this and that, adding in freebie features etc etc. Why? Because thats how I built my customer loyalty - to the extent that, when it was all said and done, BCM turned a profit that was way beyond my projections.

And after reconciling my profit/loss, I took that profit and went to work on BCG. Thats what I did with the previous title. You can’t keep developing games if nobody is buying them. And when you have huge overheads, its makes it that much harder. And thats why most companies have huge losses, no matter how many units of a game they sell. Once you’ve built customer loyalty - and you stick to what got them there in the first place - its not very hard to have projections for what is to come - even if some do end up waiting to buy a game.

And no, gamers hardly wait six months to buy a game they want. Maybe a few weeks, but I can’t see anyone waiting for six months to buy MOO3. Its all about the genre. If fans like a genre, they will buy the game either immediately or a few weeks down the road. If they’re just buying a game for the hell of it - or trying it out - they’d most likely wait longer.

Freelancer is a classic example of this. It is a space sim (I don’t give a toss what others are calling it) with a twist. Its not perfect and its not a bad game, but gamers are buying it in much the same way they bought Starlancer (which incidentally flopped). But some are waiting for the inevitable price drop because its not a space sim in the true sense and as such, the I have to have it!! impulse is not strong enough. Freelancer will most likely be a commercial flop (for financial reasons only, not because of the game itself) as well, but it won’t be because gamers waited six months for a patch. It will be because of dashed high expectations which is also the cause of gamers either (a) waiting longer to buy a game or (b) not buying it at all. Only the fanbois race out, week one to grab it.

So, its not any one thing that causes gamers to wait longer or not buy at all. It is a littany of things.

This trend is a growing refusal to purchase new games. Many of my fellow gamers now insist on waiting at least six months to purchase any new release under the assumption that:

  1. The price will drop
    and
  2. A patch will be released

It’s a valid way to buy PC games. It sends the message that…

  1. PC Games devalue too quickly.
  2. Patches are always released and the games are perceived as unfinished when released by your friends, which in a lot of cases is often too apparently true when a game launches.

There are so few PC games that are worth anything to anyone today. Take a look at console games and how many of them command a high price on Ebay, some from even 20 years ago. PC games? People just go to the Underdogs or don’t bother. There is no history for PC games beyond the start point of your PC gaming experience for most folks. There’s nothing to hold onto. Once a game gets beyond say…three months after release, it’s already become a bargain title. There are a few exceptions, but it’s not the same as the console market…at all.

Heck, both CGW and CGM were running articles/blurbs about old games in their mags. Each of the games they’d show was like $5 to $10 and CGW would even compare five titles to the price of a single new game that sucked really bad. It sends the message (especially when some of the $5 to $10 games weren’t more than a year or two old) that there’s little reason to buy PC games day one outside of the fact that many games with multiplayer last about three or four months at most if they’re not enormous hits. Just try finding opponents at random for Kohan or Warlords Battlecry 2 today. That’s really the main reason for getting it early, the MP aspect. If PC games has a longer shelf-life, that probably wouldn’t be so much of a factor. It’s possible that the Internet exacerbates this since all PC games seem to need “community” to survive longer than a week anymore.

–Dave

Has anyone seen this months PC gamer? The preview section for 2003 looks very good. Games such as Republic, Soldner and Ctiy of Heroes look very promising! The 2003 preview section is Huge… so we should see some good games this year.

Also… I still believe that there are certain gaming genres that are better suited for PC and vice versa.

Who knows what will happen in 5 years though? Hell… I’m just trying to complete college.

:D

I thought the patching issue with MTW was a result of Activision’s assinine “one patch only” policy. Hopefully the expansion will fix some bugs, but I shouldn’t have to pay for a patch.

If a game like MoO3 can be released , or even MTW’s inability to do simple addition correctly (glorious achievement scoring is broken) then it is a very sad time to be a pc game fan.

And also to be honest If PC gaming dies then so be it! Hell… if console gaming dies then so be it. I still believe that todays children don’t get enough exercise due to gaming (whether PC or console).

Yes… gaming in my opinion is the main culprit. You only need to look at the stats and you will see that young Americans suffer from diabetes and chronic heart disease more so then ever before.

And most of it is due to over gaming, plus horrible eating and a lack of exercise. But if you were to take gaming out of the picture, I bet most would get enough exercise.

Sorry for thread crapping. :(

You bring up some great points here. I have not gone out to purchase nearly as many new games as I used to, and you’ve kind of pointed out why. I’m sick of running out on release week and bringing home something that doesn’t work. I absolutely loved Shogun:Total War. I was out of state visiting some friends when I saw that Medieval:Total War was out, so I picked it up. Once I got it home, I was absolutely dismayed because it wouldn’t work. I got roughly 0.5 frames per second, and wherever i would click on terrain with my mouse, the game translated into me clicking about 5 inches up and to the right. Due to no feasable way to return the game, I was stuck with a $50 coaster. I yearn to love this game, but no amount of technical support has been able to make it playable.

On a similar note, my fiance and I love to play RTS games together. We picked up C&C Generals on release week. I still think it’s pretty fun, flaws and all, but my fiance can’t run it at all, because neither of the cd-roms in her computer can read the second disk. One just spits it back out, the other just spins and spins but doesn’t read it. Hooray for copy protection! Three seperate copies of the game (thank you gamestop for good return policy!) have not yeilded any better results.

Then there’s MOO3… well, at least I beta tested that one, saw how fucked the design was, and knew that it wasn’t salvagable - so I knew not to waste my money.

Recent experiences have made me a more cautious buyer, and I find myself picking up a ton of bargain bin titles these days. I’m having a blast with Red Faction right now…and I only dropped $10 on it. Likewise we found Empire Earth for $15, Some Anne McCaffrey based game for $5, and Myth 2, an awesome game, for just $3. When I look at it from a risk/reward perspective, I can spend about $35 on 4 older games, and maybe we will like 1 or two of them, or spend $50 on a newer game and risk it not working until a patch is out.

I’m just getting sick of crap products that either don’t work, or were poorly thought out. Hell, the missus and I are looking at getting a PS2, and neither of us have really played console games since the PS1 was in it’s prime. There is this unwritten thought among most gamers that PC games have bugs and need patches, but console games have this godlike Q/A and are perfect out of the box. Obviously we know that this isn’t always the case, but if you look long and hard, you will admit that there is some foundation in truth for this belief.

Do I call it the death of PC gaming? No. Do I think some companies need to get their shit together? Absolutely.

shrug I think that games have never been better. There will be PC games as long as there are PCs, though the industry may shrink. Fine with me.

I usually buy months after the initial release or from the bargain bin, but for reasons of economy, not because I think that games aren’t worth fifty bucks. We got NWN for 40 and have spent well over 100 hours on it. Good deal at twice the price. But a mortgage, student loans and a car are higher priorities, so we wait for a sale.

If I could afford new games every month, I’d buy 'em.

Troy

Yeah, and Battlecruiser Generations got a generous spread :D

Yeah, but apparently someone at Codemasters decided that bringing a wad of cash to the GDC (I actually got that email invite as well, seeing that I was talking with them about BCM) is how it should be done. Retards. They never learn, do they?

Hah, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week Derek. Great link!

Best quote: “We have to avoid knee-jerk reactions”

The irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

I say no death ever also, at least not one that could be predicted in any sort of realistic time window. As long as there is an Intel/AMD making chips for M$ OSs, there are going to be PC games.

olaf

Er. . .

I’m failing to see how a publisher saying “We’re looking for 5 good games to publish in the US, please bring stuff to GDC for us to look at” is a BAD thing.

Just so we’re clear, no one actually died due to GalCiv. Maimed. Yes. Died no.

And the problem only occurs if you try to play the game with a keyboard or mouse and who uses those for a strategy game these days?? Sheesh!

What’s disturbing about it? If the price discimination ability of the market disappears (people won’t pay $60 on the release date), then the market will respond by eliminating the price discrimination. It’ll be $30 all the time or something, instead of $60 sliding down to $10.

"Yes… gaming in my opinion is the main culprit. You only need to look at the stats and you will see that young Americans suffer from diabetes and chronic heart disease more so then ever before.

And most of it is due to over gaming, plus horrible eating and a lack of exercise. But if you were to take gaming out of the picture, I bet most would get enough exercise. "

This is kidding right? Or are your perceptions that off from reality?

Kids are fat and sick because they are stupid fuckheads raised by stupid fuckheads.

I have a modest proposal: how about a) hiring competent programmers or b) not releasing the game until any and all obvious bugs are fixed? Yep, both suggestions cost more, but in the real world, you mostly have to spend money to make money. Unless you’re Microsoft, you just don’t have the branding to abuse your customers.

As for the companies that release hideously buggy games: kill 'em, kill 'em all. Or better yet, kill two turds with one stone: convince Greg Costikyan to invest in them.

PC Gaming will never die. Console pundits have been saying that PC gaming will die ever since the days of the original SNES. It might have its ups and down, but it’ll never die.