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"The Future of Gaming is on the PC"

Post Date: 2014-04-16

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Oxon View Drop Down
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  Quote Oxon Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: "The Future of Gaming is on the PC"
    Posted: 16 Apr 2014 at 7:21pm
That is the title of the editorial in the April, 2014 issue of "Maximum PC", and I tend to agree with it.

But there are a lot of people telling me the end of the PC as a gaming platform is near, and the desktop PC is more or less already dead.  Of course they cite the usual evidence:  consoles dominate because of lower entry price and ease of use, Steam Machine / Box is on the way, people are gaming on portable devices and tablets.  And as for the desktop PC, they'll mention the trends toward tablets, cloud computing,  the all-in-one form factor, Windows 8 is an "unmitigated disaster", and general decline in demand for computer hardware.

I of course don't agree with their conclusions, even though they may have some valid points in the above "evidence."

But what do you all think the future will bring in terms of video gaming, and what will the PC's role be?  It probably makes sense to only discuss the next 3-5 years, since anything more than 5 years out is completely unpredictable in the tech industry.  But all opinions and speculation welcome.

Thanks for your thoughts!


Edited by Oxon - 16 Apr 2014 at 7:26pm
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  Quote ArkansasWoman777 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 16 Apr 2014 at 7:36pm
I honestly don't think the PC as a gaming platform is near the end, i think its just the beginning since i know more and more people are gaming on pcs than consoles.
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  Quote Theokritos Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 16 Apr 2014 at 8:05pm
As long a people buy PCs and PC games someone will make more of both. Will the market change? Sure. Even if Steam OS one day supplants Windows as the primary gaming platform for newer games, there will still be plenty of old favorites that will not be ported and will only be available on some flavor of Windows.

Don't worry. Be happy.

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  Quote Oxon Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 4:57pm
Thanks for the replies!

I agree, and I'm not too worried about the PC as a gaming platform.  But sometimes I cannot convince other people that the PC is here to stay ;-)

So the following are some of my reasons for believing in the future of gaming on the PC.

1)  By accounts I've seen Steam claims 75 million active users and about 75% of PC gaming.  Steam is of course primarily PC and primarily Windows based, and that is a big market.  It is only relatively recently that the Steam client is available outside Windows, and it remains to be seen how much demand there is for it in other OSs and systems.

2)  I don't really see Steam Machines and SteamOS as a challenge to the PC, but more of a challenge to consoles.  From what I understand, Steam Machines really are PCs, and SteamOS is just a stripped down Linux distro designed for gaming...  Personally, I like my gaming PC because it does so many other things besides just games well.  Steam Machines and consoles do not fill my other uses for a PC, so for me at least, I may as well stick with a powerful PC, which games well and does everything else well too.

3)  I understand the upcomming game "Star Citizen" is being developed for Windows, Linux, and OS X only.  It is also the most successful crowd-funded project to date at $42 million.  That is a lot of money to raise via donations, and as such PC gamers are a large market for Microsoft and others to abandon, or to try to "convert" them to console gamers.

3)  It seems 4K resolution [4,096 x 2,160] will be one of the major gaming developments going forward.  It is already possible on PC with something along the lines of Titan SLI.  And while the PS4 and XBox 1 are advertised as not being limited in resolution, I don't think anyone believes they will actually be able to game at 4K.  Whereas 4K gaming will probably be very feasible on the PC within 2 years.

4)  nVidia continues to release higher end desktop graphics cards.  Prior to the Titan line, high-end cards were around $500, now they are around $1,000.  And yet, when I check online, they are usually sold out!  Yes, that's partly because supplies are limited, but its also because demand is high.  The demand for general desktop hardware may be on the decline, but I don't think that's true of gaming hardware.

5)  I don't think calling Windows 8 an "unmitigated disaster" is really fair.  I know some people who like it, and I know that the kernel is more optimized than in Windows 7.  So some gamers actually prefer 8 given the performance increase in some games.

To summarize:  I don't see any reason to think the PC or PC gaming is dead or on their way out.

But go ahead and tell me why I'm right or wrong  :-)

Thanks!


Edited by Oxon - 17 Apr 2014 at 9:54pm
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  Quote Wigriff Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 5:34pm
I've been gaming since the mid-80s. PC gaming has always been here, and will always be here. Really it's consoles that have a dubious future, and I don't say that because I'm some PC fanboy -- I actually game just as much if not more on consoles than on PC. The lines are blurring between PCs and consoles though. Even now you can buy a gaming PC, or you can buy a console which is basically a gaming PC with proprietary hardware running a closed OS without as big of a library. Honestly, convenience and exclusives are probably the only thing keeping the console market alive.
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  Quote Counsel Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 6:15pm
Originally posted by Wigriff

I've been gaming since the mid-80s. PC gaming has always been here, and will always be here. Really it's consoles that have a dubious future, and I don't say that because I'm some PC fanboy -- I actually game just as much if not more on consoles than on PC. The lines are blurring between PCs and consoles though. Even now you can buy a gaming PC, or you can buy a console which is basically a gaming PC with proprietary hardware running a closed OS without as big of a library. Honestly, convenience and exclusives are probably the only thing keeping the console market alive.

My personal prediction is that consoles will end up merging with media boxes (Apple TV, Roku, FireTV, etc), perhaps in a NUC-like form factor. They're already beginning to absorb some of that functionality. I also suspect that they'll fall further behind gaming PCs in terms of relative power, even if the next generation does step up to 4K support. There's a hard push for smaller form factors across consumer products, and with heat a major limiting factor on gaming power, smaller compromises that. That said, should they merge, I expect they'll become more ubiquitous.

I don't see the Gaming PC going away for a very long time, though the gaming experience may be increasingly held back by cross-platform titles impacted by the console's limited power. I suspect that we'll see 4K gaming emerge as a standard PC experience, as the relative power of consoles slowly falls, and the extra relative power of PCs becomes "more available" for increased resolution.

But hey, that's just one man's view. I'll have to revisit this post in 5 year's time and see how it holds up.

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  Quote Oxon Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 10:08pm
Thanks for the replies.  Good points!

I agree about the cross-platform title problem.  One of my main frustrations is that many games are ported from console version to PC, not the other way around.  And then instead of adding features and functionality, etc. to the PC version, it is just a straight translation...  I wish more developers would start with a PC version that focuses on using the advanced features and technology available, and then port to console, cutting out aspects not supported on those platforms.

But that is mostly down to developers who are really committed to the PC, as there probably isn't much financial incentive to do things that way.
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  Quote fstcvc Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Apr 2014 at 8:36am
I've gotten back into PC gaming - I still enjoy playing certain titles on consoles, but 1 made a dedicated racing sim setup and love it - something that I couldn't do with a console...
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