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Doom and gloom for PC gaming

Mike Doolittle's picture

I can't throw a rock at the internet these days without hitting someone proclaiming that PC gaming is a shrinking violet. Consoles have become near PC-like themselves, and seem to be drawing both developers and customers away from the PC.

NPD data would seem to reinforce the notion. According to a report by the NPD, PC gaming software sales are looking down compared to the rest of the industry. Last year, the NPD says, PC gaming did about $970 million, a rather small chunk of the roughly $13 billion games market.

And what about the old notion that the PC was a haven for the most innovative developers? Well, recently John Carmack announced that his next-generation game would find its way to the XBox 360, PS3, Macintosh, and the PC. Developers seem to be making more games with a multiplatform focus, with seminal PC series such as Bioshock (the spiritual successor to the System Shock games), Unreal Tournament III, and Call of Duty 4 making their way to consoles.

You can hear the cries of doom and gloom miles away: PC gaming is dying, dead, on the way out, yesterday's news, whatever. But is it really? Because when I look at PC gaming, I see not only a growing market, but a place that is still the premier platform for videogames.

Take games for instance. It's true that more and more games are multiplatform, but that trend has been developing for a while, and has spilled over to consoles as well; very few games are exclusive to the XBox 360 or PS3. This is simply a result of the fact that code can often be ported between platforms with relative ease, and doing so can increase the potential games audience by millions – a more prudent strategy than making separate games for each platform. But the PC still has more AAA, platform-exclusive content than any console. Just this year, we've seen Crysis, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, World In Conflict, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, The Witcher, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Team Fortress 2, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, Hellgate: London, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance and Tabula Rasa.

Meanwhile, the PS3's most notable exclusives were Lair and Heavenly Sword, both widely regarded as duds. The 360's only notable exclusives were Mass Effect and Halo 3, the former of which has already been confirmed for the PC. And PC gamers even got a graphically-updated, expanded-content version of the 360's last AAA title, Gears of War. Most of the other big games this year – Orange Box, Bioshock, Call of Duty 4, DiRT, Kane & Lynch, etc. – were all on the PC as well. This isn't to say there aren't some great console exclusives; Guitar Hero III and all things Nintendo certainly count – but no single platform has had as many top-notch games as the PC.

But what about the hardware market? It certainly is easier to purchase a plug-and-play console than a gaming PC where you have to think about drivers, hardware upgrades, monitor resolutions, memory compatibility, etc. etc. Right? Well, sure. PC gaming is, and always has been, somewhat of a niche market for precisely that reason; it's not as user-friendly as consoles. But gaming hardware is still going strong. Dell recently acquired Alienware, maker of high-end gaming PCs; subsequently, Dell has aggressively entered the gaming PC market with their XPS systems. Hewlett-Packard acquired Canadian boutique Voodoo PC, and has also entered the gaming market with their sleek-looking Blackbird 002 desktop systems. Meanwhile, for do-it-yourselfers like me, more and more hardware choices are out there than ever, many of them marketed toward enthusiasts, with motherboards boasting built-in liquid cooling and overclocking-friendly features. Would these companies be investing so much in PC gaming if the market was clearly in decline?

But what about those software sales? Well, just as the NPD doesn't take into account sales from Wal-Mart, there are two other rather large markets they ignore in PC gaming: subscriptions and digital distribution. With stores like Steam, the EA Store and Direct2Drive becoming ever more popular among PC gamers, more and more gamers are sparing themselves annoying CD checks, scratched or lost disks, lost activation codes and cumbersome DRM software by turning to digital distribution. Personally, I don't buy boxed copies of games unless I have to – I love the convenience of digital distribution. And most MMORPGs have subscription fees – World of Warcraft for example has a remarkable 9 million subscribers. But, their dutifully paid monthly fees are not included in the NPD's data. Finally, it's worth noting that while console games have crept up to $60 apiece, PC games are still never more than $50 new. So are the NPD's figures really a surprise?

Lastly, PC gaming is still unrivaled in its communities. Whether it's the thriving hardware enthusiast communities, massive online videogames or the ever-present modding communities, no platform can provide the unique community experience of the PC.

The fact is, PC gaming is still the premier platform for videogames. No other platform has better technology, more AAA games, more sheer variety, more tightly-knit communities, or more flexibility for your budget. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against consoles, which often have some great exclusives and provide an excellent gaming experience for the money. In a perfect world, I'd own every console and a great gaming PC; unfortunately, I have to make a choice. But those who shout doom and gloom for the PC need to look again – PC gaming is not just alive and well, but better than ever.

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Team Fortress 2 is part of

Team Fortress 2 is part of The Orange Box and therefore available on 360 and PS3 as well as PC. And Guitar Hero III is coming to PC, so isn't a console exclusive.

Another segment of PC gaming which seems to be ignored is the huge area of casual games, the like of PopCap and Mumbo Jumbo are doing very well on the PC.

Thanks

Thanks for the correction. I should also correct that World In Conflict is slated to arrive on the 360 at some point.

Well I play PC games and I

Well I play PC games and I reckon as a gaming scene overall it's alive in some areas but dead in others, due to the advantages you mentioned of tightly-knit communities and better hardware.

For example, all the good games you listed are FPS or RTS, all hardcore gaming titles, most with online competition. This squeezes out casual titles like adventure or puzzle games. Now with the Wii around, there's even less of these kind of games.

So PC games are still being made but with a more narrow focus on competitive, graphics intensive play. Whether or not that is healthy, commercially or otherwise, is a matter of opinion.

"more sheer variety"

"more sheer variety"? That's not what I see when I look at the racks.

Where is the PC equivalent to Pikmin, Elite Beat Agents, Pokemon, Mario Party, Katamari Damacy, Kingdom Hearts, LocoRoco, Cookie & Cream, Amplitude, Boktai, Chibi Robo, Chulip, Cooking Mama, Deception/Trapt, Disaster Report, Donkey Konga, Rock Band, Drawn to Life, Drill Dozer, Elebits, Eternal Darkness, Fatal Frame, Ratchet & Clank, Feel the Magic, Pac-Man Vs, Pokemon Snap, Hey You Pikachu, Killer 7, Lost in Blue, Paper Mario, Mario Strikers, Metroid Prime, Mister Mosquito, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, Odama, Okami, PaRappa, Phoenix Wright, Trauma Center, or WarioWare?

Please, feel free to enjoy PC gaming all you like, but don't kid yourself that you're somehow privy to the entire world of video gaming styles and choices. PC gaming may have the few types of games you personally prefer (shooters, strategy and MMORPGs), but the larger world out there has far more games across more genres and types.

Not quite fair comparison

PC vs. consoles isn't an either/or; both have a lot of value. What I said my friend is that the PC has more variety than any single platform, and I stand by that. Sure, you listed a lot of games – PS2 games, DS games, GameCube games, Wii Games, etc. I'd be more impressed if all those were available on one platform. No platform has more games for more types of players than the PC. It's also the only platform where literally the entire back catalog is available, all the way from the 80s. And that doesn't even begin to tap console emulation. I'd challenge you to peruse IGN's PC catalog and look under all the different genres. I think you'll find answers to your question.

Well, you seemed to lump the

Well, you seemed to lump the entire world of consoles into one non-PC category, so my list across multiple systems seems valid. I'd also wager that I could buy all three current consoles for the price of supporting a gaming PC rig for five years.

But I still don't see this variety of PC games you speak of. I stand by my retort that almost NONE of the games I mentioned (and that was just from my personal console library) have parity on the PC side. You're the one making the claim; you find me a PC game that was as fresh and different and had as much buzz as Katamari Damacy in 2004. PC gaming has found its niche and it has worked to fully develop and explore that. It's not pushing new game types or genres, it's just specializing in a few.

A smaller number of people is spending more money on PC games (as you say, on subscription-based games, on micro-payments, on expansions to existing games, on hardware to stay current)... that's what keeps the PC business going.

Isn't it disingenuous to give the PC points for a 20 year history of games, where the vast majority of pre-Windows games are lost to most people? It's a lot easier for the average consumer to pick up one of those Sega Genesis TV Games units than it is to set up a DOS 3.3 environment to play Tass Times in Towntown. And anyway, you were talking about the state of PC gaming today... when it is, by your own list of "AAA" games, nothing but copycat shooters and MMORPG expansion sets.

Isn't it downright wrong to give the PC credit for console emulation, a largely illegal and often unequivalent practice?

Also, good job setting up your arguments by neglecting to mention the PS3 exclusives of 2007 that DID receive good reviews (Ratchet & Clank, Warhawk... even Eye of Judgment), and brushing off Nintendo in a throwaway line. I sense a lot of personal justification in your piece.

I say it again: enjoy the games you enjoy. But if you're not playing Rock Band or Katamari or Ico or Animal Crossing or Kingdom Hearts or Okami or Fatal Frame or Pokemon Snap or Elite Beat Agents because you think you have some kind of equivalent game on the PC (or "can't afford it"?! Come on!), you are sadly mistaken.

Joe wrote:

Joe wrote:

I'd also wager that I could buy all three current consoles for the price of supporting a gaming PC rig for five years.

Not only is that patently wrong, but last I checked, your consoles don't do much besides play games.

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But I still don't see this variety of PC games you speak of. I stand by my retort that almost NONE of the games I mentioned (and that was just from my personal console library) have parity on the PC side. You're the one making the claim; you find me a PC game that was as fresh and different and had as much buzz as Katamari Damacy in 2004. PC gaming has found its niche and it has worked to fully develop and explore that. It's not pushing new game types or genres, it's just specializing in a few.

PC is home to innovative games that don't conform to established genre classifications like American McGee's Alice, Black & White, the Thief series, Deus Ex, Indigo Prophecy, and EVE. Many of the so-called PC-centric genres have no console equivalent. Where are console equivalents to games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Company of Heroes, STALKER, or The Witcher? You seem pretty uninformed on the subject here.

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Isn't it disingenuous to give the PC points for a 20 year history of games, where the vast majority of pre-Windows games are lost to most people?

Most of the notable PC games over the past 20 years are still available. Most DOS games can be found in FLASH. But even if, for the sake of argument, you wanted to count only Windows-era games, you're still talking about a longer history and far larger and more diverse back catalog than any console.

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And anyway, you were talking about the state of PC gaming today... when it is, by your own list of "AAA" games, nothing but copycat shooters and MMORPG expansion sets.

Well, if you visit aggregate sites like Metacritic, you can see that clearly the people who have actually played these games disagree with you. Your opinion on this is sadly uninformed, and your ignorant dismission of the platform is your loss.

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Isn't it downright wrong to give the PC credit for console emulation, a largely illegal and often unequivalent practice?

I don't necessarily condone it. But the option is there for those who choose it.

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Also, good job setting up your arguments by neglecting to mention the PS3 exclusives of 2007 that DID receive good reviews (Ratchet & Clank, Warhawk... even Eye of Judgment), and brushing off Nintendo in a throwaway line. I sense a lot of personal justification in your piece.

I didn't intentionally omit Ratchet & Clank any more than I intentionally omitted that World In Conflict will be coming to consoles and Guitar Hero III is on the PC. Warhawk wasn't an A-list title and neither was Eye of Judgement.

Also, I didn't "brush off" Nintendo. I said, "This isn't to say there aren't some great console exclusives; Guitar Hero III and all things Nintendo certainly count." How the hell is that dismissive? I'm giving Nintendo credit for their accomplishments. (Although, I was wrong about Guitar Hero III – it's on the PC too.)

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I say it again: enjoy the games you enjoy. But if you're not playing Rock Band or Katamari or Ico or Animal Crossing or Kingdom Hearts or Okami or Fatal Frame or Pokemon Snap or Elite Beat Agents because you think you have some kind of equivalent game on the PC (or "can't afford it"?! Come on!), you are sadly mistaken.

I never said that the PC covers all genres and innovative games, that people should only get PCs, or anything like that. I'm not sure what I have to do to persuade you on this since I wrote it in the blog. I specifically said that consoles have a lot of excellent exclusives, so I'm not sure what you're objecting to. But your dismissive attitude toward the PC is only your loss. As I said in the last paragraph of the blog, in a perfect world I'd own every console. But I can't do that – I have PC games that I've barely had time to touch and many that I want to play but time and/or finances dictate I cannot; how could I possibly keep up with the PC AND three consoles AND handhelds? I have to make a choice.

Still, the PC has more going for it than any single platform. No, it doesn't cover every genre perfectly nor is it the home of every innovative game and it's not the ideal platform for everyone, but I have no idea why you assert these things when I made no such claims in the blog. No other platform has as many innovative titles or as much diversity as the PC, and no platform is pushing boundaries in established genres like the PC.

I can get a Wii, 360 and PS3

I can get a Wii, 360 and PS3 for around, what, $1350 total, and that's with not cheaping out on the gimped 360 or the low-end PS3. I can pretty much guarantee five years of working content out of a console generation, with games coming out in Year 5 still working on my Year 1 system. In your opinion, what's a top-end Windows PC cost, and how much do you have to pump into it over five years to keep it competitive? If I buy one of those $750 PCs today and spend nothing else on it, will I still be able to play the Great PC Games of 2012?

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PC is home to innovative games that don't conform to established genre classifications like American McGee's Alice, Black & White, the Thief series, Deus Ex, Indigo Prophecy, and EVE. Many of the so-called PC-centric genres have no console equivalent. Where are console equivalents to games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Company of Heroes, STALKER, or The Witcher? You seem pretty uninformed on the subject here.

Thief, Deus Ex, Indigo Prophecy, Diablo have appeared on consoles. And I did already say that PCs own shooters and MMORPGS and I agree that they have the best community and modding options. That's not even a dispute. I'll ignore your "uninformed" jibe. I was trying to point out that consoles have MORE "innovative games that don't conform to established genre classifications."

But the larger point is that you just listed a pile of (in some cases, great) games that are still largely dark, combat-based power fantasies. This is why I do not accept your "No other platform has as many innovative titles or as much diversity as the PC" assertion and that's really the point I'm trying to press. I don't see you offering up any "blue sky" games (you could have mentioned Puzzle Pirates or possibly Sam & Max... and it took a commenter to mention the Popcap-style casual gaming market... you didn't even bring up The Sims!). I don't see you listing anything as crazy as Katamari or LocoRoco or (the upcoming) de Blob. Your diverse list just isn't that diverse.

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I didn't intentionally omit Ratchet & Clank any more than I intentionally omitted that World In Conflict will be coming to consoles and Guitar Hero III is on the PC. Warhawk wasn't an A-list title and neither was Eye of Judgement.

Well, maybe not intentionally, but it sure reveals a lack of research on the topic, doesn't it? You specifically attacked the PS3 and 360 for not having enough AAA exclusives, and then sidestepped some pretty big names on that side of the fence. If we're going to trust Metacritic, that shows an 84 for Warhawk, an 89 for R&CF, and an admittedly low 74 for Eye of Judgment. (Although I say EoJ deserves some credit for figuring out a fair method of playing a card game online that retains the physicality of the experience and doesn't require you to re-buy digital versions of physical cards that you already own.) That places Warhawk and R&CF as just as good as STALKER (82), The Witcher (81), LOTR Online (86), Hellgate: London (70), Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (84), NeverWinter Nights 2 (82), Tabula Rasa (78), Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (81) and EVE Online (unranked but averaging in the high-80s across two releases). I just think it was bad show to overlook those two particular titles.

Yes, yes, that's only two PS3 games in the face of substantially more PC releases, but, as you point out later, who has time to play them all? (Never mind that the PS3 has only been out for a year.)

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Well, if you visit aggregate sites like Metacritic, you can see that clearly the people who have actually played these games disagree with you. Your opinion on this is sadly uninformed, and your ignorant dismission of the platform is your loss.

Obviously I wasn't that far out of line, given the numbers I just quoted. Sure, Crysis and WoW and others are all Metacriticking in the 90s (just as plenty of console games track in that range), but a good portion of the AAA exclusives you specifically named are right up there with Warhawk (which you say is not an A-list title.) And Heavenly Sword (a dud) shows a 79, by the way... that makes it better than Hellgate and Tabula Rasa, at least!

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how could I possibly keep up with the PC AND three consoles AND handhelds? I have to make a choice.

And that's why I mentioned that it sounded like you were justifying. Because, when you feel you can only commit to one standard, it makes a lot of psychological sense to ferret out all the awesome reasons why your choice was not a bad one (not that PC gaming is a bad choice!) and fixate on why nothing else can compare to your choice. This is why we all had Sega vs. Nintendo fights as kids; because our parents would not buy us both.

I've been on the PC side. I count Desperados, Dungeon Keeper 2, Starcraft and Unreal Tournament among some of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. But when I saw the kinds of stuff available on the console side (coupled with my increasing disinterest in upgrading and maintaining my Windows system), I bought into consoles and gradually stopped buying PC games. And, aside from the latest hardware-intensive FPS with drool-worthy graphics, I just don't see PC gaming upping that diversity ante with exclusives that meet my tastes.

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Still, the PC has more going for it than any single platform. No, it doesn't cover every genre perfectly nor is it the home of every innovative game and it's not the ideal platform for everyone, but I have no idea why you assert these things when I made no such claims in the blog. No other platform has as many innovative titles or as much diversity as the PC, and no platform is pushing boundaries in established genres like the PC.

In my book, there's not much wiggle room with sentences like "the PC has more going for it than any single platform" and "The fact is, PC gaming is still the premier platform for videogames." If both of those sentences are demonstrably true, then why is it NOT "the home of every innovative game and ... the ideal platform for everyone"? If it is the premier, then it ought to meet everyone's needs, correct? The truth is that this is an opinion piece and that the PC is YOUR personal "premier platform for videogames."

I get that you're trying to argue against the perennial PC "doom and gloom" reports... and I can well recall hearing them for years now (usually timed when new consoles appear or when Microsoft bones something in Windows), because those predictions have, to date, not really borne out. PC gaming may not be a "dying" industry, but it is certainly more focused than it used to be. But your one particular point on game diversity just does not hold water. You want to talk about modding or community or MMORPGs or shooters, then PCs win. But you still have not substantiated your diversity claim except by listing some very similar-in-tone-or-style games and then by questioning my personal taste in games.

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Personally i prefer consoles over computers for games for a series of reasons that i'll try to summarize...

COST - PC gaming is much, much, much more expensive than console gaming... as Joe already pointed out.

USABILITY - You can't just put in the CD and go. You have to install, configure, reconfigure, keep up with updates, fix incompatibilities, and so on.

PERFORMANCE - You'll never get full performance out of the hardware, because there's always the operating system taking up system resources and working while u play, and because as direct the DirectX can be, programmers on PC will never be able to "hit the hardware" and optimize the code as on consoles.

These three points are strictly related: u have to spend 2 or 3 times (i guess, maybe even more) the cost of a console to buy a PC that will run the same game with the same quality, and on the PC u'll have to watch out Windows to not go nuts and give u some error while u're in the heat of a last-level boss fight.

To give an example, i recently bought Geometry Wars from steam being a fan of it on the X360, i thought my average performance PC (Pentium D 3.2ghz, ATI X1250) would've been able to handle it flawlessly, and boy was i wrong. No way to get the correct aspect ratio for the graphics, jerky music playback, and impossible to correctly configure my joypad (a standard PS2 one connected thru an USB adaptator). Probably if I spent endless days&nights tuning the system and uninstalling any non-vital program, I could've got a decent performance, but what the hell? For a game as simple as Geometry Wars??? And should I spend hundreds of euros (Italy here) for a PC, and then forget about using it as an all-round machine, to tune it to work just for games???

A last note about genre variety: my personal opinion is that the control system plays a big part in it.

Genres popular in the PC market play flawlessly with the mouse+keyboard combo, while for genres popular in the console market that combo is just a nightmare... and the average PC user either hasn't a joypad, or if he has one it's covered in dust due to the lack of titles supporting it... as for myself if i wasn't an emulation fan, i would've never dreamt of hooking up my PS2 pad to the PC.

Now that the X360 controller is the "official" Vista controller, maybe things will change. But maybe things would change in the console market too if a viable alternative to the mouse+keyboard control system came out, or if PC-born titles ported to consoles begun to support USB mice and keyboards.

Personally, I always preferred console genres... beat'em ups, old school shooters, third person action adventures... but i wouldn't mind trying a MMORPG or a RTS, and if i could do it without spending tons of money on a gaming PC, i'd certanly do it.

One last note: what the market misses today is home computers like those that existed back in the 80s... C64, Spectrum, Amiga and ST in the west, and MSX, FM Towns and X68000 in the east. They were really all-round machines, where u could use office software, play text adventures and then connect a joystick and begin to shoot, jump and run... and if u were adventurous enough u could even start programming ur own game from scratch. Now we have just the two extremes, and even if there's some contamination, the two markets stay substantially separated... for now.

Joe wrote:

Joe wrote:

I can get a Wii, 360 and PS3 for around, what, $1350 total, and that's with not cheaping out on the gimped 360 or the low-end PS3. I can pretty much guarantee five years of working content out of a console generation, with games coming out in Year 5 still working on my Year 1 system. In your opinion, what's a top-end Windows PC cost, and how much do you have to pump into it over five years to keep it competitive? If I buy one of those $750 PCs today and spend nothing else on it, will I still be able to play the Great PC Games of 2012?

I don't think you're giving PCs a fair shake. If I were to include the cost of a 1080p television and a Dobly Digital 5.1 system in the cost of a PS3, you'd argue that the console can still be played without those things, and that TVs and surround sound systems come in handy for TV and movies too, not just games. You might also agree that without those things, people are not getting the "full" PS3 fidelity experience.

By that same token, most people own a PC anyway, and PCs are multitasking machines used for a huge variety of purposes – including functions normally associated with home theater equipment. So when you're talking about the cost of a "gaming PC", you're really looking at two essential components – the graphics card and, to a lesser extent the RAM. Processor speed is a non-issue unless you have a very low-end PC not meant as a multimedia machine. As I've already pointed out, an 8800GT retails for around $200-$250, and provides performance that absolutely slaughters any console. 1GB of RAM is pretty standard on a modern PC, and an extra gig can be had for as little as $30-$50. And considering that a graphics card allows you to watch hi-definition movies and do video editing as well and added RAM will improve the overall performance of your PC, it's rather disingenuous to directly compare the costs of a gaming PC with buying a console.

As to whether you'll be able to "play the great PC games of 2012": First of all, it's quite generous to assume that there won't be new consoles released before 2012, since the 360 was released in 2005. You'll need new console hardware well before 2012 to play the "great console games" of the future. Can you play the latest PC games of the future? Of course you can. You will not be able to play them at maximum graphical settings and/or in high resolutions, but you'll certainly be able to play them.

PC gaming can be costly if you insist on being on the cutting edge at all times, but no one ever said that was a requirement to play and enjoy PC games. PC games are and have always been designed to scale across a broad variety of platforms to meet a broad array of budgets, and console-equivalent performance can be had for roughly the same or less of a monetary investment.

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Your diverse list just isn't that diverse.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion. But you still haven't done anything beyond listing a broad array of games available for numerous consoles, and you seem to miss the fact that in the blog, I was using this year as a frame of reference. It wasn't written as a retrospective.

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Well, maybe not intentionally, but it sure reveals a lack of research on the topic, doesn't it? You specifically attacked the PS3 and 360 for not having enough AAA exclusives, and then sidestepped some pretty big names on that side of the fence.

I appreciate you mentioning a game or two that I overlooked. But it doesn't change the fact that:

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Yes, yes, that's only two PS3 games in the face of substantially more PC releases, but, as you point out later, who has time to play them all? (Never mind that the PS3 has only been out for a year.)

It's not an issue of "playing them all". It's the availability of a ton of excellent software that eclipses that of consoles. Yeah, the PS3's been out a year. The PC has been around for decades. Nobody said it was "fair" – it's just the way it is.

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And that's why I mentioned that it sounded like you were justifying. Because, when you feel you can only commit to one standard, it makes a lot of psychological sense to ferret out all the awesome reasons why your choice was not a bad one (not that PC gaming is a bad choice!) and fixate on why nothing else can compare to your choice. This is why we all had Sega vs. Nintendo fights as kids; because our parents would not buy us both.

Throughout this discussion and indeed from your very first comment, you have willingly ignored the fact that I quite clearly gave credit to consoles. At no point did I ever imply that the PC was the be-all, end-all solution for everyone's gaming needs. I stated that while some folks seem to think it's going the way of the Dodo, it currently has more exclusive content, more A-list titles and a far broader catalog than any one console. It may not have the games that suit *your* taste, and that's fine. That's what consoles are for. The point of the blog was not to bust on anyone, and while it's unfortunate that you still seem to accept it as such there's not much I can do if you're convinced of your infallibility in your interpretation of what I wrote.

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In my book, there's not much wiggle room with sentences like "the PC has more going for it than any single platform" and "The fact is, PC gaming is still the premier platform for videogames." If both of those sentences are demonstrably true, then why is it NOT "the home of every innovative game and ... the ideal platform for everyone"? If it is the premier, then it ought to meet everyone's needs, correct? The truth is that this is an opinion piece and that the PC is YOUR personal "premier platform for videogames."

No, actually, incorrect. It is quite apparent in the blog that by "premier", I meant that it has more A-list titles, more exclusive content and more diversity than any single platform. And that's true. But I have no idea where you get the notion that any one platform should meet everyone's needs, particularly when I acknowledged that consoles provide exclusive games not available on the PC. But again, you seem pretty convinced on the infallibility of your interpretation on this matter. But hey, what would I know, right? I'm just the guy who wrote the blog.

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But you still have not substantiated your diversity claim except by listing some very similar-in-tone-or-style games and then by questioning my personal taste in games.

Uh, what? At what point did I "question [your] personal taste in games"? You're imagining things, bub. But the very fact that amongst all the games listed between the blog and the comments (even by you), which still only cover a fraction of the notable games out there, you think that they are all "similar in tone or style" only shows your disconnect from modern PC gaming. I could go on listing game after notable game and describing why they're unique, but it's not my job to educate you.

It's also worth pointing out two things: one, that in the original blog I'm clearly using this year as a frame of reference rather than writing some kind of retrospective about the illustrious history of PC gaming. so it would have been off-topic to wander into some tangent trying to mention every notable PC game ever released. And two, that for all your chiding about how I have failed to substantiate my claim, you've still done nothing to counter it aside from list games that are available for at least four or five different platforms. That'd be a great counter if I had claimed that the PC has more innovation and diversity than all consoles ever made combined, but I didn't argue that.

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And considering that a graphics card allows you to watch hi-definition movies and do video editing as well and added RAM will improve the overall performance of your PC, it's rather disingenuous to directly compare the costs of a gaming PC with buying a console.

You're cutting this awfully thin here in support of your point. Yes, in my $1350, I assumed that one already owns a television. I don't think that's the same thing as assuming one already has a PC. Sticking in a new proc/RAM/graphics card is just not within most peoples' skillset. And what about an upgrade to Vista, all the necessary drivers and whatnot? Again, you only draw your experience from the perspective of a PC tinkerer. True story: an officemate and his wife went to some store and inquired about upgrading their Windows machine so their son could play the latest PC games, and the clerk wanted them to drop $1,000 for parts and labor. They don't know about Newegg or other online shops and wouldn't know what to do with the parts if they did find them on the cheap. This is how PC gaming is losing hearts and minds.

And you didn't answer the question... what's it cost, in your opinion, to purchase and maintain a great gaming system over a five year period? It looks like, after subtracting out the cost of the PC itself, you're trying to say $300. I would challenge you to live up to that. Now that could be a fun weblog entry in 2012 if you're correct.

Also, you're sidestepping my point about 2012. Yes, new consoles are going to come out before then... I'm working off of a historically proven average of five years from original release. PS3 and Wii came out in 06, so we can expect new offerings from Nintendo and Sony on or about 2011. Microsoft fast-tracked the 360 after four years of Xbox because they needed to start the fight early. The PS2 is on year seven and still getting games.

Since there is no "generation" to PC gaming, per se, my point was, if I buy a new great PC today and do nothing to it, will I be able to play the great PC games of 2012, five years later. I think the answer is pretty obvious that I won't. Does anybody have an untouched 2002 PC that can run Crysis? The Wii that I bought last year will still run brand new Wii games in 2011. The PC I bought last year will not - it will drop frames, it will crash, it will require updates/patches/drivers/hardware. The point is more that I don't have to do anything to a console except buy a new one in five years. And, comparing five years to five years and still expecting playable new games at year five without somehow crippling the experience, a console is less expensive.

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I appreciate you mentioning a game or two that I overlooked.

And games that you maligned even though their Metacritic scores are in the same range as the "A-list" PC games you named.

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Throughout this discussion and indeed from your very first comment, you have willingly ignored the fact that I quite clearly gave credit to consoles. At no point did I ever imply that the PC was the be-all, end-all solution for everyone's gaming needs. I stated that while some folks seem to think it's going the way of the Dodo, it currently has more exclusive content, more A-list titles and a far broader catalog than any one console.

You damned consoles with faint praise ("often have some great exclusives"), got plenty of small details wrong, and then awarded PC gaming points that I felt were undeserved.

You called the PC the "premier gaming platform" multiple times... "The fact is, PC gaming is still the premier platform for videogames." The semantic issue here is that you reserved your hyperbole for your fave. If I declare that "the PC often has some great exclusives, but the premier platform for videogaming is the 360, with more game diversity and more AAA content, and that's a fact"... what are my readers supposed to glean from that statement in terms of bias? I should expect they would demand I back that up.

And now you've brought up the "far broader catalog" again. So is that in reference to just 2007, or not? Because your 2007 list was, again, same-y.

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It's not an issue of "playing them all". It's the availability of a ton of excellent softwarethat eclipses that of consoles. Yeah, the PS3's been out a year. The PC has been around for decades. Nobody said it was "fair" – it's just the way it is.

A ton of excellent software (some even tracking worse than that "dud" Heavenly Sword!) that no one is buying. See the disappointing numbers for Crysis and UT3. (http://www.joystiq.com/2007/12/14/crysis-sales-in-crisis-ut3-gets-fragged-too/) Meanwhile Mario Galaxy sells over a million. Nobody said that was fair either, that's just the way it is. And I'm confused again over whether you want to give the diversity credit to the PC in 2007 or the PC for decades.

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It is quite apparent in the blog that by "premier", I meant that it has more A-list titles, more exclusive content and more diversity than any single platform. And that's true.

So, when you say that the PC has more game diversity, that's a fact. When I say is does not, that's an opinion. Well, this is merely a weblog rant, I guess...

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At what point did I "question [your] personal taste in games"? You're imagining things, bub. But the very fact that amongst all the games listed between the blog and the comments (even by you), which still only cover a fraction of the notable games out there, you think that they are all "similar in tone or style" only shows your disconnect from modern PC gaming. I could go on listing game after notable game and describing why they're unique, but it's not my job to educate you.

I feel you questioned my taste when you referred to my "ignorant dismissal of the platform."

Here's the thing about about making a claim: he who makes the point needs to prove it. You says there's this intense variety in PC-exclusive games (even in the year 2007 alone), so let's see the list! It reads to me like you are steadfastly refusing to do so, on the grounds that it's so obvious. Well, it is not obvious, and other commenters have agreed with me. The first anonymous comment says "all the good games you listed are FPS or RTS, all hardcore gaming titles, most with online competition."

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that for all your chiding about how I have failed to substantiate my claim, you've still done nothing to counter it aside from list games that are available for at least four or five different platforms.

Yes, I'm still chiding. I want to see your list so that you can prove you are correct.

I initially lumped all the consoles together largely because of the price issue... buying one new PC and support for five years vs. buying all three consoles and support for five years. Also, despite your clauses and asides, your responses do feel like a PC vs. Console debate. Brain of the beholder, I guess.

I'll save you some work. Here's a Gamespot thread from early 2006 that lists expected 2007 PC games: http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=24525221 I'm sure plenty of those never saw release (like Katamari Online)... but I see a ton of sci-fi/WWII shooters, medieval RPGs, most with hyper-realistic graphics. Quickly scrolling down the list, many of the screenshots look like they could be from the same game. Only rarely do you get something that breaks visual pattern, like Sam & Max, Wiki (which isn't out yet), Full Pipe (a 2006 release), Fizzball (also 06), Insecticide (also not out yet, and coming to DS), Eduardo The Samurai Toaster (not out yet), and Everyday Shooter (also on PS3). Even that very generous list doesn't seem to top the last year in Wii games alone, in terms of diversity.

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