Is PC Gaming Dying?

Is PC Gaming Dying?

I was reading an old computer games magazine that was published about ten years ago. There was an article in it about the state of computer gaming, and whether consoles would kill gaming on computers. Fast forward to today, and I can perform a search online and still see the same discussion going on on various sites.

The fact that it has been over ten years and PC games are still being produced and enjoyed speaks volumes as to whether PC gaming is dying. I have been a PC gamer for over twenty years, and I have also enjoyed console gaming as well, and I can say that both types of gaming have their place in the world of gaming.

A Pointless Debate?

Gaming PC

With every debate there are always two sides that are constantly locked in a “war or words” with each other (think Windows versus Mac users). In terms of gaming, there are console users and PC users. Each continuously brings up the advantages of their platform.

For me, I enjoy PC gaming, always have been and always will enjoy the platform. I am a PC guy, and have been involved with the building of my own systems for years now. I pick everything that goes in them, maintain them, and upgrade them when necessary.

With that being said, I have also enjoyed using consoles as well. They aren’t expensive (a few hundred dollars), and you can easily hook one up to a TV and get a few people playing together. The games are coded to a specific set of hardware, so they run without many problems (usually).

A PC, on the other hand, can be more expensive, requires a bit more connecting and setup, and the applications are coded to be compatible with an infinite number of configurations. Sometimes when things don’t go exactly right, you need to have technical skills to solve the problem. I haven’t seen too many with non-technical skills debug blue screens.

Is PC Gaming Really Dying?

In one word: no. In fact this discussion can still be valid ten years from now as it was ten years ago. A PC has one advantage over a console that will keep the gaming industry alive: technology.

Console systems are usually released every 5 years or so. When released, consoles usually incorporate the latest technology that produces the best graphics and enjoyment for games. Over the course of those five years until the next generation is released, the console may go through some small changes, such as additional hard drive space, but the core of the console remains relatively unchanged.

In the computer world five years is a long time. Graphics manufacturers release a new series of chipsets every year, while processor chipsets are upgraded on a similar schedule. With each upgrade the chipsets for both graphics cards and CPU get more powerful, with new features, and at times less power-consuming.

Much like console games, PC games can also be played in high-definition. Computer games, in fact, can be played at several resolutions, from 1024×768 to 2560 x 1600. With new technology, such as Eyefinity from ATI, you can now run a game across three monitors on a single graphics card.

Computers Too Advanced for Games?

Last year, I bought a new PC – i7 920, 6 GB RAM, 2 500 GB (RAID 0) hard drives and 2 ATI 5850 (Crossfire). I wanted to be sure that I can enjoy some of the latest games, and quickly realized that the games have yet to catch up to the latest technology available for computers.

Many games are developed to be played on several systems, including PC, XBox 360, and PS3. From comments on both forums and blogs, I have noticed that many PC gamers complain about the fact that PC games aren’t reaching their full potential because of the fact that the games are developed for several platforms. With the XBox 360 and PlayStation being released a few years ago, games need to be developed to work on systems that are 5 years old.

Case in point, with the new graphics cards supporting DirectX 11, which introduced Tessellation, most games that are released today support DirectX 9c because of the graphics capability of the consoles. A few PC games support DirectX 10 and 11, and a few also support DirectX 9x, 10, and 11. I don’t know of any on the market that support DirectX 11 only with all the features the technology is capable of supporting.

Many graphics cards released in the last year can easily play many of the games on the market for today, and possibly a few years into the future. With such technology as SLI and Crossfire, by simply adding a second, or third graphics card into a computer, you can easily add more graphics-producing power to a system.

The games of today aren’t being pushed forward by the newest technology that you can find in a PC, but it seems they are being held back by the static nature of the console.

To Each Their Own

With that being said, consoles are made for one thing: playing games. They do that well, and at a significant price advantage over their PC counterparts. It is much easier to get four players to play on a console than it is to play on a computer, and I’m talking about being in the same room. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about setup and game performance as much as you do on a PC.

Everyone will have their favourite method of playing video games, and each will have their own reasons why.

If you enjoy playing video games, which platform do you enjoy playing them on, and why?

25 Responses to “Is PC Gaming Dying?”

  1. TheBigOne says:

    The point is that Fry’s Electronics which used to be THE place for PC’s have shrunk in that department considerably. In the electronics section most of what they have is either laptops or tablets.

    All those in 2008 were desktops.

  2. TheBigOne says:

    I am inclined to react in a negative matter to the article about PC Games dying but me and Dad have been keeping up with the trends and it is really true that PC games are dying. If I want my computer serviced Dad either takes it to Fry’s on his way to work if it’s something he can’t fix *which means it is a very serious problem which erasing Windows and reinstalling it will not fix it* or order parts online like video drivers if I want to have higher end games.

    Dad and I go to Fry’s Electronics for our needs because unlike Best Buy which is much closer have ripped Dad *and other people* off by selling old PC’s as new and wouldn’t take it back and our neighbors have had a printer ruined never working from day 1.

    Anyways to make a long story short Fry’s Electronics used to have three long rows of PC software. Both games and work software. Starting in 2010 they shrunk it to half the size and now there isn’t even ONE ROW of PC games.

    Instead there is just half a row and the aisles are empty. 🙁 Dad who is our computer fixer keeps up on the trend and the reason why is because people want Tablets.

    We are actually the only one in our family that uses Desktop computers for anything *serious*. The rest of our family *which is another long story* all uses tablets or cell phones. Some tried to get into computers but didn’t get very far.

    The biggest item for christmas for most families will not be a new PC or even PC games but the next Ipad or X-Box system!

    While Fry’s may not have much in software what they have got going for thime is very honest people who actually pulled some strings to get my computer fixed because I bought it at another store preinstalled with Vista and when the store people tried to get Win 7 in Microsoft didn’t like it and after an hour of the store calling MS they finally got it going.

    My parents went up alone and we were there all day. The person was pulling out the stops in making sure I got my PC working and must have threatened Microsoft to sue them as once the worker got the manager to call MS magically allowed my Win 7 to install.

    I was literally facing having to spend 500 on a new PC but the store people worked their ass off to make sure I didn’t have to go thru that hell. Best Buy wouldn’t even try caring in my situation. They would’ve just said there was nothing they could do and Best Buy doesn’t even carry Desktop computers anymore.

    Not that I would buy one from them from what I stated above about them selling old PC’s as new in new boxing.

    Dad opened up a PC he bought new at Best Buy and found out all the parts were 2 years old including the mother board itself and had to replace all the parts one at a time.

  3. Julian Schoffel says:

    The installed user base of PCs is massive and digital sales are only just starting to be factored into sales analysis reports. Less large, boxed copies of PC games are being sold in stores sure but I think most new games are now predominantly downloaded via services like Steam.

    Add to this a growing stream of brilliant PC Indie games appearing on services like Steam (i.e. World of Goo, Torchlight I and II etc.) and in my view PC gaming is now healthier than it has been since the early 1990s.

    Sure the expense factor kicks in when you want to play the latest release and they help drive the PC hardware upgrade cycle – but there are thousands of games available for PC which only require a modest rig to run well.

    Oh and many of the classic games which were classified as “Abandonware” only a few years ago are now enjoying a resurgence via digital download services.

    So I would agree with you Paul – PC Gaming is certainly NOT dying, just the opposite in fact!

    • TheBigOne says:

      Go into ANY store and tell me how large the PC section is if there is any. NOT A SINGLE STORE in our area has a PC section at all. To get games I go to Game Wizard a hobby place which two years ago got into used PC games which you never know what you’ll find.

      I found old games from the late 80s that used to have the huge and I mean HUGE floppies. Not the 90s floppies which actually were small. I mean the HUGE ones.

  4. maulbeck1 says:

    I dont think pc gaming is dead but I do think there are too many developers going towards the MMORPG platform of gaming for PC. I own both a PC and an Xbox360 and enjoy gaming on both for different reasons. IMO PC Gaming will never die but neither will Console Gaming. Everyone has there preferences and everyone is entitled to them. Personally I prefer Console gaming because its easier on my hands but if I see a game thats only on the PC and I think it looks very good and playable I’ll most likely buy it likewise with my console.

  5. A further issue is that video games usually are serious naturally with the key focus on understanding rather than leisure. Although, there’s an entertainment factor to keep your children engaged, every game will likely be designed to work towards a specific set of skills or programs, such as math or science. Thanks for your posting.

    • glades20 says:

      Gaming is not just for children. Most of todays titles are for 17yo’s and up. Gamers have grown up, and so has the industry. Parents who are concerned about the games their kids play should pay close attention to the ESRB rating on the box of the games their kids want.

  6. Thomas says:

    My point is, with the rapid advances in computer mobility, and the more technologically envolved life, people are looking towards laptop computers and tablets these days rather than desktop PC’s, because they are able to carry them everywhere and can be quite nifty machines. A laptop computer all they are needing, why would they then purchase a gaming desktop when they can spend a few hundred dollars on a console that still provides an enjoyable gaming experience (especially these days) as opposed to spending several hundred to a few thousand or more for a gaming PC. That said, space is also a factor to consider; console being able to move around at will, and plugged into a tv or monitor. On top of that, when purchasing a game, you are fully aware that the game is compatable with your machine and will run with seldom errors, as opposed to buying games for PC only to discover that it doesn’t not run on your machine, or you must go through several to hundreds of file downloads to patch the game (when you have purchased a product, you expect it to run first time with no problem, but if to your misfortune you buy a game a few months after its release date, you have to search for files on websites not associated with the authoring company and installing them, when sometimes you may encounter difficulties getting these things to work, like why the hell would you want to do that? The pretentious PC gamers always provide arguements such as “dumbass’s don’t even know…so on” or “its not big deal” and things in common with these responses). Taking into consideration that other people may provide games for you and if they persue a PC game may have difficulty finding out your system specs, as opposed to gaming consoles. Console-no mucking around searching for servers, ignorant admins banning for their desired reasons and non of this stuff where by people somehow gain authority through sites such as CyberGamer. Furthermore, as expressed earlier, people are moving away from a stationary PC’s and into the more desirable mobile computer technology, thus creating the need for a cheaper alternative and also reducing the number of gadgets one owns.
    Although PC gaming is not “dying” so to speak, console gaming is rapidly evolving and the future may hold a similar identity for consoles as with PC; only opinions but these could include optional models-possibly different versions of the same console, such as more powerful video cards in one, or the more benefical-progressional optimising and enhancing:basically upgrading and replacing components when newer versions become available.
    As for the future of gaming, who knows what it may hold. Maybe we will see PC gaming dominate all other platforms, or vice versa. Possibly we may see the integration of PC and console online gaming into one service and allow them to all compete together. OR, the most unlikely but who knows? Apple with all its excess revenue may enter the business and market their own gaming experience and/or buy out the rest and possibly come out on the top.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      You have made some valid points Thomas. While there are gaming laptops available, they are fairly expensive – at least compared to a desktop. As for spending thousands of dollars on a gaming desktop, that is an old argument that doesn’t hold much water anymore. A few hundred dollar desktop can easily play a game that was ported over from a console system, mainly because the desktops are more powerful and advanced than the current crop of consoles. In a few years, when new consoles emerge, that may change.

      To tell you the truth, most desktops with a decent, dedicated graphics card can play most games on the market. As for patches, console games also receive patches much like desktops do, so the patch argument is a moot point. Desktop games have one massive advantage over their console counterpart – mods. Games such as the Elder Scrolls series have proven how powerful mods can be as people still play such games as Morrowind which is 10 years – just because of the mods that have been released to enhance the game.

      Most games that have been created for both the console and PC look much better on PC. It is not a small difference either. Many of those games that have been created for both platforms don’t event take full advantage of the capability of the PC (DirectX 9 instead of DirectX 11).

      While I am not against console gaming, and do enjoy it myself, I’d just rather spend several hundred dollars on something that was built within this decade and can also do more than just play games.

      • TheBigOne says:

        How much was it? 1,500$? Nope! 1,000$ Nope! Only 500 dollars! Apple would cost 2,000 dollars if you wanted all the features and it only did a few colors and three sounds. A boop. A beep and a strange fart kind of noise.

        The colors it did have were imitation colors pretending to be a *color* monitor. and anybody with an open mind could tell it was faking it.

        The games on the C64 that were crappy often were ports from the Apple as the coders didn’t know all the features the C64 kernal chip could do and often bypassed it!!!

        For some strange reason most of the Apple users were Liberal especially the Universities and would not even look at a Commodore to find out the amazing features it had.

    • TheBigOne says:

      The Commdore 64 used to do all that including being plugged into a TV with the RCA outlet. It has full 16 bit color support and did more then just games. You could program you’re own using the C64 Basic guide and it’s pretty neat what that little machine could do all within 64K. It could go online connecting to QLink which had a BBS and a place to download stuff.

      Dad did his *books* on the Commodore 64 using the C64 Printer which we still have up in the attic. Noisy thing it was too!!!

      We even still have the C64 modem and the necessary stuff to get it working! It’s just there is nothing to connect to.

  7. dave says:

    i think consoles are best,
    its simply cheaper to buy a console, looks really good on tv
    there are far more players on a console game…

    pc looks good but its to expensive….
    who really wants to upgrade their pc’s every 6 months?

    • Robert says:

      “There are far more players on a console game…” This is because a lot of younger people, or just “pros”, play consoles because they don’t know the advantages of the PC. In any game you play, if there someone on a microphone, there’s a good chance they sound like they’re under the age of 10. PC gamers are actually good at the games they play, and don’t just think they’re good because everyone else in the game is bad as well.

      “Who wants to upgrade their PC every 6 months?” A moron does. You can go on the one PC for 4-5 years for $1000-$1300 (AU) and maintain a graphical advantage over consoles. Plus, if you look at the prices of consoles games, new ones as high as $120 (AU), they are much more expensive than the PC ones, so in the long run it’s the same price, if not less, assuming you buy a decent amount of games, as any gamer will be.

  8. Predescu Remus-Alexandru says:

    Salut,fals jocurile pc nu vor disparea niciodata,cred ca o sa mai dureze multi ani sau poate peste cateva decenii,o sa inceapa sa fie maimulte jocuri pt console,si apropo prostilor/prostule cel care ai scris blogul,exista doar cateva sisteme de operare pt jocuri,si acelea sint:

    Jocuri Pc
    Jocuri Windows
    Jocuri Mac
    Jocuri Windows 99
    Jocuri Windows 2000
    Jocuri Windows 95
    Jocuri Vista Xp
    Si Mai sint acele windowsuri noi,cum ar fi:Windows 7
    Windows 8

    Vai de capul vostru nimic nu aveti habar,Xbos,Wii360,Si Play Station Inclusiv 3 sint cosole nu sisteme de operare,sinteti cei mai varza,si analfabeti

  9. Andy says:

    I totally agree with Paul Salmon,the 360 and PS3 are becoming old technology,and besides Epic Games is developing the new UE4 and they stated that it will be to powerful for current generation systems (360&PS3).
    Maybe it’s the reason Why so many are into Digital Distribution now and DRM.
    But to me as a nostalgic gamer i find it hard to say goodbye to my Hard Copy games ( Physical Media)

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I guess Epic Games has decided to produce games that will start to push the limits of technology, and won’t deviate from that plan. Many companies will start out with creating games that are DirectX 9 compatible for the consoles, and then release a DirectX 11 patch in the future for PCs.

  10. MIchelasso says:

    The argument that PC games don’t fully use the PC power due to console is wrong. I don’t believe the PS3 uses any DirectX at all. I know OSX for Mac doesn’t for example. The biggest limit of PC games are the PC themselves. Not everyone forks out thousand of dollars for a gaming PC and many people just own a laptop and in case they wanna play their games on that. It’s a matter of “compatibility”. The big pro about consoles is that any game developed for it will play as it should. With medium range WIndows machines one can’t never be sure. And no one wants to play only the old games.

    Dying is a big word, but for sure the PC gaming lost big part of the market share. Also one has to consider that the big console boom happened with the Playstation. For the first time a console could do real 3d environments. The PS2 improved the graphics, PS3 and X360 made it realistic. I believe the next consoles will hurt the PC gaming badly. It’s already happening now. Many new IPs are not ported to PC; some PC exclusives are ported to consoles.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that PC games don’t fully use the PC power is wrong, in fact a quick search in the forums will prove it is accurate. Many development companies have stated that they don’t support the latest version of DirectX (version 11) in many of their games because they code for console systems also, which don’t support many of the features of the new version. Graphics cards for PC started coming out with DirectX 11 capabilities in 2009 – almost 2 years ago. Some PC gamers are upset by this because they want the best quality graphics in their games.

      The XBox 360 and PS3, while they have good graphics, don’t look as realistic anymore when compared to a PC system – and not even close to a high-end system, which can play games higher than 1920×1080. Even a midrange PC with an ATI/nVidia graphics card produced in the last three years could be three years ahead of the consoles. New graphics cards for PCs are coming out every year, while the XBox and PS3 have technology that is about 6 years old.

      I don’t think that the next generation consoles will hurt PC game badly, mainly because within a year the PCs will once again be ahead of the consoles. I believe that there are games that specifically play better on certain systems. In order for developers to push the limit of graphics, they can’t stay with console only, or they will end up writing games on 5-6 year old hardware (a lifetime in PC games).

  11. It will probably die out eventually, because the publishers have to satisfy the masses- people unable to comprehend ‘installing a game’.

    And a PC will also run you less than a console if you take into account the TV/ monitor.

    For about $600 you can build a decent PC ($100 for mobo, $100 cpu, $100 ram, $100 case w PSU, $100 hard drive, $100 video card), and can easily replace the video card in 2 years with a new one for $100. Versus keeping up with consoles $300-$600 every 5 yrs, using outdated hardware, and have a device that only do one thing.

    They just need to release an OS for PCs that auto-installs games, and give 60% of a games profits to the hardware manufactures 😉

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I just started to use Steam recently, and I like how it automatically “installs” the game for you, so you don’t have to worry about the installation portion.

      Being a techie, I always like to manually install games because I like to choose the directory to install the game, and whether I want both the desktop and start menu shortcuts created (start menu only for me).

      I used to create application installations for Windows Installer years ago, and had to ensure that all the install were silent – meaning no user interaction. I did this for many applications, so it is possible to do the same thing with games.

      As for the cost, you can take the TV into account for the cost, but many people already have the TV before they purchase the console. Even if you include the cost of the TV, the cost will be getting lower as the price of TVs drop. Outside the cost, however, computer games definitely have the age in technology.

  12. I thought it was dying, because there were so many good console games that are not available on the PCs, especially in 2010

    Somehow in 2011, I see plenty of good upcoming games and some of them will even look better in the PCs. Go PC Gaming!

    • Paul Salmon says:

      With the gaming consoles being several years old, game developers look towards the PC for cutting-edge technology. The trend may change again once the new consoles arrive on the market.

  13. Behrad says:

    I don’t know but with PS3, Xbox360 it looks like it…
    Also Microsft & Nvidia have left the PC Gaming Alliance which is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to promote PC gaming worldwide… As far as I have followed no reasons were given why those 2 companies left PC Gaming Alliance…

  14. Tuan says:

    It is far to the day PC Gaming dying. Playing games on PC still has many advantages compared to games on XBox or mobile devices. Especially we always have better resolution and graphic quality on PC.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I agree. The one drawback to a PC is the price. The true PC gamers are willing to shell out $2000-$5000 for a PC. I usually go in the $2000-$3000 range for a gaming machine.

      It will be interesting to see the next version of consoles, and what they have to offer in terms of graphics capabilities.

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