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Columns The sky is falling

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 2 Feb 2008.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    http://www.bit-tech.net/columns/2008/02/02/the_sky_is_falling/1

    PC game sales only account for 14 percent of total sales, according to the latest half cracked study that ignores most PC games sales. Is it the beginning of a bad joke, or are the first pieces of the computer game sky falling? Brett Thomas discusses the hype, marketing, and utter idiocy.

    :wallbash:
     
  2. Woodstock

    Woodstock So Say We All

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    that was very well written article, that "might" hold bit more weight then the forum discussion
     
  3. Veles

    Veles DUR HUR

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    Good article (although I wouldn't really count the Xbox in there as it's lost it's support from MS and I can't think of any new games being released on it).

    I think this applies to more than just gaming markets as you hinted at though. You mentioned the IGN umbrella. The movie and TV industry also, often spewing out crappy remakes or sequels in favour of something original.

    Small time developers are the shining light though, there are several companies that produce games that will work on lower end systems and are very original.
     
  4. Woodstock

    Woodstock So Say We All

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    doesnt mean that people dont still have and use them thou, i still have my original xbox and pretty much for that reason you just stated dont see me owning another console any time soon
     
  5. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    The old Xbox games are still sold here in the shops :)
     
  6. Sebbo

    Sebbo New Member

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    wow brett, just wow. amazing article. no wonder i always look forward to your next column/article
     
  7. Nictron

    Nictron Member

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    Good article and one that should be appreciated by more than just this sites audience .

    I believe PC gaming is still strong and as you said they are not accounting for all sales and the comparisons are not fair.
     
  8. Lepermessiah

    Lepermessiah New Member

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    Bookmarked. A great article, it amazes me how one-sided and poor a lot of media reports are now, someone should send this to IGN, Gamespot, and gamepro, and Mark Rein (Who is an idiot BTW). Terrible inaccurate reporting, why does it seem these sites seem to delight in twisting PC sales as being worse then they are.
     
  9. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  10. SimoomiZ

    SimoomiZ Member

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    To be honest, the people who should be picking up the phone to Mark Rein & co are the leading PC HW manufacturers. If I was Nvidia's CEO, I 'd see his(MR's) misinformation as threatening, dangerous even, because as stated in the piece , due to the complexity in developing modern AAA PC games, power is becoming more and more concentrated in fewer, bigger studios. One of these even insinuating that it is actively considering ceasing retail pc game development could cause a domino effect ,especially when it is a major engine licensor company like Epic .
     
  11. airchie

    airchie New Member

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    Great article. :)

    So true about the conglomorates getting bigger and bigger in every market in the world.
    Small companies and start-ups these days will never get the chance to grow into giants as they'll be cut off at the knees if they ever threaten to make a dent in the current giant's profits. :(
     
  12. completemadness

    completemadness New Member

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    If the Xbox is included, why not the gamecube?

    Anyway, very good article :)
     
  13. Veles

    Veles DUR HUR

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    Nvidia and co. isn't bothered that much I imagine, low/mid end card sales make up the bulk of their revenue. High end sales are very low in comparison.

    So are N64 and SNES games though. The amount of brand new games sold for the Xbox/GC is minuet. PS2 however is still one of the biggest selling consoles and often trumps it's successor's sales figures for both hardware and games.
     
    Last edited: 2 Feb 2008
  14. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Supurb article, it doesn't paint the rosey-future we'd all like PC gaming to have, I think it paints it as it actually is :(
     
  15. Lepermessiah

    Lepermessiah New Member

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    They make millions off of the high end segemnt, ther eis a LOT OF MONEY that is generated at the high end PC market, MS, Nvidia, Intel, AMD all benefit. Mark Rein as an ass.
     
  16. sagittary

    sagittary New Member

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    I agree, partially. While I don't think it's completely evil executives and higher ups being... well, evil (and not all of them are too), manipulative, and merge happy, I do agree that much it may very well be the industry's own fault with very little that of the consumer (though the consumer does play a role too, both good ant bad - an article over at Gamasutra made the argument that early piracy may have been both a blessing and a boon to such platforms as the Apple II).

    As mentioned, there's been quite a bit of merging going on - however, I don't think this has necessarily stifled the indie developer and the small developer outside of big companies attempting to force them to then confirm to one way or another of design which may not always be the case or the game being altered due to market conditions. In part, I think this is merely a response to something else which is rising development costs. Use many smaller titles with smaller development costs and more assured return on investment to help pay off the big titles which may or may not be a flop... but get you the media and attention required to stay active and in the spotlight.

    Of course, the rising development costs aren't just vague costs as also mentioned in the column - they're eaten up all over the place by the emergance of multiple platforms and middlemen. Silicon Knights and Epic are in a legal battle over the Unreal 3 engine - of note for the discussion is that Epic isn't willing to release any details on what they charge. Much like the example with Steam and such, these numbers are kept close to the chest and probably for good reason - it may not be standardize so they may be milking any given developer for what they're worth, probably charging close to a million plus multiple royalties and guarentees of additional games using the engine. Other pre-packaged and middleware solutions are probably the same way. The BigWorld MMO engine (which hasn't seen a commerical release) costs half a million for -just- the front end engine; back end support and such are more.

    This combined with having to develop for multiple platforms makes costs rise for development. And there are multiple platforms because too many people are trying to do too many things - having two generations out on the market doesn't help development nor does haven't too many choices. If a handful of people have all 3 consoles, some have 2, and most have 1, the need for multiple platform releases or very niche products for a particular platform is absolutely essential in order to make up development costs. It's a vicious cycle that companies have gotten into I think.

    This kind of vicious cycle I think also appears elsewhere in the industry (though probably less apparent to the consumer) in many ways and means and has become so ingrained that it's become accepted as a necessary evil. These cycles in turn have also promoted (along with perhaps simply from where the industry grew from) a culture of antagonism and one-up manship; a culture where everything is carefully guarded so that you can grab a precious whatever before the other guy even if it means eating your own young. The obvious example is the use of crunch time and/or really funky hours (a 6 PM to 3 AM shift for the QA team because the developers and project manager absolutely need to get a title out ASAP); this kind of culture means that those that end up staying are either cynical, jaded, or bloodthirsty cutthroat and having forgotten why they got into the industry. And all that means a very protective, very conservative, very non-gaming culture where those in charge aren't actually on the same wavelength as the actual production team.

    Getting back on track... all that said, PCs aren't dying and I agree with the column that a lot of the continual 'death tolls' of PC gaming is, and always has been, obfuscation. But I do think that there is a point to be made in that while PC gaming isn't dead, the sort of games being made for the PC have mutated (though so has consoles to be fair). Light gaming (PopCap, etc) has taken the place of many types of gaming on the PC - when's the last time you played such a non-light PC game that wasn't an FPS (or similar) or RTS/TBS (or similar)? And of the light games, don't most seem like a variant of Match-3 or Click-A-Lot-Of-Stuff? You find more variety as far as mainstream titles on consoles and I think this is part of the problem with PCs; that PCs, ultimately, haven't evolved as consoles have. They've gotten new capabilities and kept pace with consoles (and then some)... but unlike consoles, there really hasn't been anything to help users access this. PC remains a domain of technophiles who devote themselves to it; they're stuff you work with and work on. Consoles have made sure that they aren't just masters of the recreation room but the living room and regular life - they're stuff you play with in a lot of ways and in a lot of very easy ways you don't need to have a decent knowledge to know how to do. Consoles have stuff like Live and Home and quick plug and play ability.

    Granted, Bit-Tech being the website it is, we're probably a little biased to that. But really, the average consumer isn't going to even be aware of much what their computer can do - it doesn't tell them. Is the average consumer really going to know that you can install and run Linus on their PS3 much less have an inclination to do so (relatively easy, comparatively speaking)? A study some time back (and we'll take the numbers with a grain of salt) on both current owners and potential buyers of game systems showed that many didn't even realize what most of use probably take for granted. Around 50 percent of respondents, for instance, weren't aware that the DS had two screens or a touch screen. Imagine the sort of answers for such a survey on PC capabilities.

    So er... short answer, PCs just need to be more friendly and communicate better. They need to take a look at what consoles are doing to draw people in, what games like WoW are doing to draw in new faces, and break out of old habits, vicious cycles, and self-congratulatory pats on the back.
     
  17. sagittary

    sagittary New Member

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    Indeed though this may be, in part, a side effect - the heavy duty gamer grabs titles ASAP while others are more than happy to wait until prices drop or they have finished games. And I wonder if such numbers count things GameFly (rentals rather than digital sales). That said though, games are being made for the old consoles because they sell, true - probably if nothing else to cover the costs elsewhere.

    On that note, random factoid, In October 07 1 copy of Mortal Kombat 3 was sold in the US, according to NPD for the PS1. Yes, a game made in 1996 was sold for a console that isn't being made. >_>
     
  18. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg New Member

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    I hate reading your columns, there so depressingly true...
     
  19. noobarino

    noobarino New Member

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    I myself am a computer man but i can understand why people(usually with a IQ under 50) go for consoles.

    consoles are easy, wack in the disc and away you go. no need to install the game or a buy a new computer that can handle the game for double the price of a console.
     
  20. mdavids

    mdavids New Member

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    Even though I love my pc gaming I'm starting to wonder if its worth upgrading for the limited amount of games I want to play. Approx. every 2 years I do a major upgrade with the most recent being E6750 and 8800gt on which I've played COD 4 (great) , crysis (2/3 great) and gears of war (a bit rubbish IMO). Now what?? That £180 gfx card just isnt getting used at the moment cos theres nothing I want to play and only a couple of games on the horizon that I'm really looking forward to. My system as a whole is very fast but under most circumstances its not a massive leap over the Athlon64 4000 I upgraded from. I may get to play and enjoy 5-10 games over the next couple of years for the £400 I've spent and then I'll be back to stuttering frame rates and messing on with settings to try and play the latest titles. Its not that I cant afford the cash - just that I need to feel I'm getting value for money. At least when you buy the latest console you know you'll get 4-5 years out of it with at least half a dozen AAA titles every year.
     
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