Why PC gaming has it’s days numbered

Could "off the shelf gaming" on the Windows platform soon be devoid of life?

Or/ Is Assassins Creed 2 – the hitman with a contract on Windows gaming?

Ive often said that the last bastion of salvation for the Windows platform was gaming.  Like it or not, for PC gamers who want to play off the shelf titles, Windows (and from what I see, XP) is the platform to go for.

I have had the pleasure of talking to people who claim to be in the gaming industry whilst writing Openbytes and the general consensus seems to be piracy, file sharing (or whatever name you want to put on it) is making the PC platform less and less desirable for new titles.  One only has to look at the market penetration of console gaming, the less common piracy issue there and the knowledge that your game only has one set of specs to cater for, means that consoles are becoming more desirable for the games developer.

Back on topic though and we see that Assassins Creed 2 has been launched on the PC with a rather unique copy protection mechanism.  For starters if you want to play Assassins Creed 2 (AC2) you will have to maintain a permanent internet connection.  Loose that, the game quits.  Having had issues with my service provider recently, if I was a Windows user and a player of AC2, the game would have been worthless for days on end.  Thinking of saving your game? No problem, but you won’t have the game save file, it will be stored on AC2’s servers.  Cloud gaming?  A convenient way to store your saves or a way for AC2 to keep tabs on the games usage?

We only have to cast our minds back a short while to the public outcry and disappointment with Spore’s DRM system – yet another reason as to why the console is more desirable, particularly in the case of the end user?

As you can imagine, AC2 DRM has been met with less than enthusiastic response, you can read one such opinion here.

Lets consider the plethora of rig configs that PC developers need to consider when releasing a Windows title.  Lets also consider the piracy issue.  On the other side of the fence lets consider the end-users experiences, the patches, the workarounds and the fiddling that is sometimes required to get titles working on their systems, also consider that many PC users won’t have the latest specs and have to play the titles with cut down fx.  Is it really far fetched to see the consoles taking the gaming industry away from Windows?

If this were to happen, in my opinion the reason to use Windows for many home users would diminish and maybe as Microsoft has dived into the realm of consoles with its red ringed 360, it should have considered that it might be helping to damage its cash cow Windows.

Heres some opinion that may substantiate what I have said:

If you were planning on playing Assassin’s Creed 2 on PC, but have an Xbox 360 or PS3, you might want to reconsider.

http://www.maxconsole.net/?mode=news&newsid=38669

Despite having a computer perfectly able to play Assassin’s Creed 2, I won’t be able to play it at all, or until a hack for it comes out anyways

http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6248138.html

Well I’m glad i got this for my 360 now. This is ridiculous. They do of course realise the only people who truly suffer from drm are the consumers and not the pirates right?

http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6248138.html

I personally cannot see the battle between piracy and PC software houses having a happy ending.  I’ll let you decide, but ask yourself what’s less bother, getting a new off the shelf Windows title or simply getting it for the PS3?  Also, what does your local store look like?  Is it not the case where Windows games only have a fraction of the space of the console titles?  In my local stores even the Nintendo DS has more shelves dedicated to it than the PC section.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

20 Comments Add yours

  1. naynotes says:

    Nice Nice Nice…Blog

    Thank You

  2. chew says:

    Then again there`s Valve looking for Linux+Mac engineers..

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-green/5/b1b/827

    I`m willing to bet their Steam distribution client is coming to Linux and OSX soon.

    1. openbytes says:

      It could well do and if so would be a sign of the popularity of Linux in the face of the MS Faithful 1% claim.

      I do think though that off the shelf gamings days are numbered on the PC platform. As console deployment grows year on year (including many users owning multiple consoles) I think the hassle of PC gaming from the end-user POV and the piracy issue from the developers POV will ring the bell on the PC being regarded as a gaming platform in the main.

  3. chew says:

    I agree, another factor to consider is the constant hardware upgrade cycle that PC gamers are always caught in, I know a couple that just got sick of constantly rebuilding their rigs just to stay current, they all bought consoles.

  4. Yeah, Canada! Olympic Gold in men’s hockey!

    OK, OK. I promise I’ll get back to work now.

    As to PC gaming – it’s more complicated than what you are saying. For starters, a large proportion of PC gamers have always been casual gamers. Solitaire, Minesweeper, Mahjong, etc. hold a huge proportion of the gamer market.

    Second, even casual gamers like multi-player gaming. Now multi-player solitaire is an oxymoron, but Farmville isn’t. So you are seeing a migration of desktop PC gaming, to Facebook gaming, or other types of online gaming, where they can play with and against their friends. And of course you don’t have to worry about hardware/operating system issues.

    I don’t think that the consoles are as big an issue as most people think. Instead I think it’s wide spread broadband connections that are making the difference.

    14 Gold Medals! Hoooooray!

    1. openbytes says:

      Quote “For starters, a large proportion of PC gamers have always been casual gamers. Solitaire, Minesweeper, Mahjong, etc. hold a huge proportion of the gamer market.”

      I completely agree and my belief is that its the “off the shelf” titles such as GTA that will leave the PC platform in favor of consoles.

      I would not suggest that gaming disapear off the PC totally since we have many excellent FOSS titles, when I use “off the shelf” I am referring to big budget, fancy boxed titles that you see in your local game store.

      Quote “I don’t think that the consoles are as big an issue as most people think.”

      I think its more that people are turning to them for true “plug in and play” simplicity.

      Regards
      Goblin

      1. Ah, but that isn’t what you said🙂

        Canada! 14 Golds! Hooray!!

        Sid the Kid is the hero of the day!

  5. chew says:

    Hey Hatter, yeah great game eh!

    You got a point, as well so far the MMO doesn’t translate well to consoles, would be really frustrating playing WOW using traditional controllers.

    1. Fantastic game. We went out this morning, and bought a new TV set (hehe).

      Of course I’ve got a point. Everyone knows it’s on the top of my head.

      1. openbytes says:

        Sorry I had to reply here, but WordPress can’t have any more replies in your last comment..

        Quote “Ah, but that isn’t what you said”

        I thought it was. I tried to be clear through my original article that I was referring to off the shelf titles, eg:

        “I personally cannot see the battle between piracy and PC software houses having a happy ending. I’ll let you decide, but ask yourself what’s less bother, getting a new off the shelf Windows title or simply getting it for the PS3? Also, what does your local store look like? Is it not the case where Windows games only have a fraction of the space of the console titles? In my local stores even the Nintendo DS has more shelves dedicated to it than the PC section.”

        and highlighting the DRM scheme of AC2.

        Of course I totally agree with you about the casual gamer and I would not seek to suggest that software such as PokerTH et al would ever disapear.

        Im sorry if I hadn’t made the view clear from my original article.

        Kind regards
        Goblin.

      2. Sorry I had to reply here, but WordPress can’t have any more replies in your last comment..

        Quote “Ah, but that isn’t what you said”

        I thought it was. I tried to be clear through my original article that I was referring to off the shelf titles, eg:

        “I personally cannot see the battle between piracy and PC software houses having a happy ending. I’ll let you decide, but ask yourself what’s less bother, getting a new off the shelf Windows title or simply getting it for the PS3? Also, what does your local store look like? Is it not the case where Windows games only have a fraction of the space of the console titles? In my local stores even the Nintendo DS has more shelves dedicated to it than the PC section.”

        and highlighting the DRM scheme of AC2.

        Of course I totally agree with you about the casual gamer and I would not seek to suggest that software such as PokerTH et al would ever disapear.

        Im sorry if I hadn’t made the view clear from my original article.

        Kind regards
        Goblin

        Problem is that you like a wussy sport, and it’s rotting your mind. Now if they wrestled in a snowbank, it would be a sport worth watching🙂

  6. openbytes says:

    lol…

    You’ve got a handle on me there!!!😉

    Got to go, early start, although I would ask you to consider:

    as proof that its not so “wussy”!😉

    FYI, my mind rotted years ago. I blame Microsoft though, not wrestling.

    Regards
    Goblin.

    1. Damned right it’s wussy. Where’s the snow and ice?

  7. Chips B Malroy says:

    chew says:
    “I agree, another factor to consider is the constant hardware upgrade cycle that PC gamers are always caught in, I know a couple that just got sick of constantly rebuilding their rigs just to stay current, they all bought consoles.”
    ——————————————————-
    Chew has nailed it here, with the high cost of being a Windows gamer. Microsoft made XP the platform of choice for games by leaving it in the field for so long. Moving to Vista, and now Seven, mostly meant, that Gamers would need a high powered system that would be able to dual boot the newer systems as well as XP. Simple fact is, that Vista/Seven is not compatible with lots of software, that XP plays, as well as games.

    But Vista/Seven with its insane hardware requirements also has driven up hardware and software costs for hard core gamers as well as game developers. The Game Developers, are mostly forced to support XP, as that is what most Windows users are holding on to. So Game Developers, mostly have to support 3 MS Windows systems in their games (XP,Vista,7) in order to sell over the broad range of Windows systems. This too drives up cost, lowers profits, and makes the MS Windows platform less appealing.

    The DRM is another problem in games. I for one, would not want a game where I have to put the original disk in every time to play it. As far as games moving to consoles, yes. But Xbox360, think its days are numbered. Too many hardware problems for that stinker to live on too long. People are starting to become aware of the ripoff that is M$ XBOX360.

    1. Chew has nailed it here, with the high cost of being a Windows gamer. Microsoft made XP the platform of choice for games by leaving it in the field for so long. Moving to Vista, and now Seven, mostly meant, that Gamers would need a high powered system that would be able to dual boot the newer systems as well as XP. Simple fact is, that Vista/Seven is not compatible with lots of software, that XP plays, as well as games.

      Note that I chopped a huge chunk out here.

      What you are talking about is the same issues that arose when Microsoft introduced Windows 95. Many of the DOS games didn’t work well with it, unless you had a fairly high powered computer with a lot of memory. There were screams at the time, however eventually everyone switched, and the DOS game market died. I still have a ton of DOS game cds here, and a lot of DOS game diskettes (and no computer with a floppy drive).

      Apple had similar issues when they introduced OSX, however Apple provided CARBON, which allowed older programs to run. Apple also went through the same sort of problem when they moved from Motorola 68xxx series processors to Power PC, and then from Power PC to Intel. Each move hurt the installed base.

      But in each case Apple worked to mitigate the damage, and did a fairly decent job. Microsoft failed in their attempt to mitigate the damage of the Win95 switch, of the WinXP switch, and of the Vista switch.

      And of course Apple has always delivered far better value for the money than Microsoft.

      GNU/Linux hasn’t had this issue. In many cases games for GNU/Linux are released under the GPL/LGPL licenses, which means source is available. As a result almost every game every made for GNU/Linux is still playable, and in many cases is playable on processors that GNU/Linux did not support at the time of the games release, for an example GNU/Linux was ported to the ARM processor, and then many games and/or applications were ported as well.

      The DRM is another problem in games. I for one, would not want a game where I have to put the original disk in every time to play it. As far as games moving to consoles, yes. But Xbox360, think its days are numbered. Too many hardware problems for that stinker to live on too long. People are starting to become aware of the ripoff that is M$ XBOX360.

      But this is what you have to do with any video game console. Scratch the disc, and you have to buy a new one. You can’t make a backup due to DRM.

      I made a submission to the Canadian copyright consultation, and in it I advocated making Digital Rights Management or Technical Protection Measures illegal. They are very anti-consumer, and I would suggest that everyone who feels like I do should write to their Member of Parliament (or equivalent) and the Prime Minister, Minister of Trade, etc. letting them know that you have a concern, and asking that they introduce legislation to ban DRM/TPM.

  8. openbytes says:

    Quote “What you are talking about is the same issues that arose when Microsoft introduced Windows 95.”

    I think though it was slightly different then. The console market did not have the home penetration is has today in that consoles were the “one stop shop” for entertainment i.e online gaming, movies, music etc.

    I think it comes down to the money and time involved in maintaining a gaming rig on one side with the piracy issues the software houses are facing on the other.

    I think the evidence of this is in any games shop where the PC has a fraction of the shelf space of consoles.

    Quote ” In many cases games for GNU/Linux are released under the GPL/LGPL licenses”

    and I think that in respect of PC gaming and the gpl, the tradition and great software will continue…but as the piracy problem only continues to eat away at proprietary gaming profits with no sign of let up, DRM measures will only get more instrusive and the end user will have more cause for complaint.

    1. Which is all the more reason to write your politicians advocating that DRM/TPM be made illegal.

  9. it solutions says:

    the web needs more sites like this. I will visit again

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