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As non-core gamers flee from video game consoles to smartphones and tablets, hardcore gamers not only continue to use consoles, but pay more attention to personal computers due to simplicity of getting titles via online distribution services. As a result, the PC will not only remain a popular gaming platform, but will actually gain importance, says the founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney.

“There is no question of whether gamers are going away; the question is, do they move to different platforms? There is some plausibility in that, but the console is a very immersive way to play games. They are more immersive than sitting in a chair in front of your computer with a mouse in a bright room. I have a hard time seeing that experience going away, but I think a lot of these games that are being developed now exclusively for console are going to become more important also on the PC,” said Tim Sweeney in an interview with Gamasutra web-site.

Screenshots from Unreal Engine 4 demo

Several years ago many game developers complained about piracy on the market of PC video games. The majority started to design titles primarily for consoles and then port them to PCs, which greatly slow downed the evolution of PC games, some even completely ceased to make PC releases. However, in the recent years numerous AAA-class free-to-play PC titles with in-game purchases options emerged and demonstrated viability of the business model. Moreover, thanks to convenient online game distribution services like Steam, Origin or Uplay, PCs finally gained usability edge over consoles.

“Most of the companies shipping games on console are also shipping them on the PC – and doing extraordinarily well, especially through services like Steam, where it is all online and there is no hassle of going into a retail store. So certainly the PC will be a growing part of the new ecosystem,” said the legendary game programmer.

Screenshots from Unreal Engine 4 demo

Due to rising popularity of ultra-portables, gaining importance of PCs and increasing cost of game development, it really becomes unclear what will happen to exclusive titles that are developed specifically for one platform. Considering all the factors, such titles are going to either become extremely rare, or will cease to exist.

Tags: Epic, Epic Games, Xbox, Playstation, Wii U, Wii, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Windows, Mac OS, Apple


Comments currently: 13
Discussion started: 12/29/12 12:14:45 AM
Latest comment: 01/01/13 05:23:59 AM
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Those are good words to repeat but PC gaming market is reducing not increasing. Many titles are now completely console exclusive.

PC/laptop sales are falling, not everyone is a gamer in the world. World wide sales matter to chipmakers not a small market of gamers. They can always build workstations and have a gaming system in the near future, but that means more cost than what it is today.

Bad but the reality.

Those are the trends. These sweet words are not going to change the reality.

As long as console gaming exists in a big way, PC gaming will be just overwhelmingly majority console ports.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/29/12 12:14:45 AM]
- collapse thread

Do you have any numbers to prove that decline?
Last time I checked, consoles did had a bit bigger market share in gaming but they where in decline while PC gaming was stagnate. But I can't find that now, I have seen it in an article somewhere on the web.

Also I believe that computer is an easier way to play games because almost any house have a computer which can be turned into a gaming computer by simple adding a GPU that cost around 100 and steam have made the whole experience way easier than it used to be, while consoles are getting all the problems that PCs used to have.
Like installations, patches etc.

At a time I was sure pc will fall to consoles because it was so easy to just insert a cd in my PSX and play a game, unlike what I had to do in my computer.
But as I said consoles became more complicated while PCs became less complicated.
0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 12/30/12 09:32:03 AM]
The numbers are all over the place with numbers only varying to a certain degree depending on which market researcher is putting it out but they all show the same trends. My company's business team showed us numbers of the market from what we learnt. Its the same.

You have answered your question in your last paragraph. If you feel PC will eventually fall to console it has already happened. Not much need to wait for it anymore. The vast majority PC games are console ports anyway, if PC gaming was so big the reverse should be true.

You have also got it the the other way around. Consoles provide a platform for consistent performance, where as PCs because of varying performance resources it doesn't force developers to conform to a unified performance envelope. PCs are more complicated for the average joe who has to think of upgrading something in it every two years to keep up with few of the best AAA titles with extremely demanding system specs. A Console will play any game written for it and it will have a longer shell life. Its also easy for developers to have very few specs to tune their game engines to. Where as on PCs you need to try and cater to a vast variety of system owners with various levels of settings like low medium high ultra level settings. On a console no one is discriminated its one spec.

Steam has many games that are not anywhere close to being considered as major titles or atleast largely played, many games they have on steam are like the stuff the app world of mobile phones have. Sure there are some users for everything out there in this world, but their numbers are small and some of those games are just awful game play wise and/or visually.

Its seems to me leading industry players are having a moment of guilt because they knowingly abandoned the PC platforms for more revenue markets and now they feel a need to talk PC up for the sake of it. A little too late for that pacification.

PS: Another factor now to consider, people are moving to tablets and smart gadgets which is taking a huge toll on PC/laptops sales. This will accelerate the decline of PC as a gaming platform.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/30/12 06:44:10 PM]
I don't agree, but I think this is just because of my point of view and the games I enjoy I guess.

Anyway I believe that consoles and pc will be side by side for a lot of years to come and none will lose to the other.

I personally believe that each platform have a lot +/- that are different so in the end they are just different products for different needs.

Computer gaming will still exist after a few years because of people like me who have a strong computer anyway (I will always have a strong one for my work) and want to enjoy a game and consoles will do as well for people who just want to play games.

In worst case scenario pc and consoles will change form and we will have pro tablets that we will connect to a keyboard, mouse and monitor to work and gaming tablets that we will connect to a TV and a joystick to play

0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 12/31/12 04:02:44 AM]
You are speaking of your own point of view and your preferences, not what the numbers show from the market. And because of that what I have already detailed above will become very obvious to even the non-gamer.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/31/12 05:17:44 AM]
It is true that tablets and smartphone sales are growing but it doesn't automatically mean that PC gaming is in a state of decline.

Steam had 100% growth from 2010 to 2011 in games sales, 7th consecutive year of growth. It's not unreasonable to expect 2012 total sales growing again from their 2011 levels:

While I don't think PC will become the primary choice for developing games once PS4/Xbox next launch, PC gaming is actually growing, not declining. The sales of AIB graphics cards grew year over year last quarter:

"Year-to-year for the quarter the market increased 1.7%. Shipments increase to 17.5 million units, up 0.3 million units from this quarter last year. The desktop AIB segments decreased in the low end, which JPR thinks is to be expected as embedded graphics processors satisfy the requirements of a market with no new or interesting applications or games."

I didn't do any extra research but I think the $200+ GPU market segment is doing fairly well on the desktop. Also, if you look at the link above, QoQ sales also grew, as graphics card sales increased from 14.76 million in Q2 2012 to 17.54 million in Q3 2012.

I wouldn't correlate the declining state of desktops/laptops with declining state of PC gaming. At least a part of the erosion for laptops/desktop sales are casual PC users that appear to have substituted outdated / slow PCs/laptops with smartphones/tablets for basic usage, not gaming or "real work". The actual number of PC gamers seems to be growing and the market for high-end GPUs appears to be strong, even though the sub-$100 desktop dGPU market segment is basically dead.

I don't disagree with you that PC will continue to get console ports next generation. If PS4 uses an x86 AMD APU, then we should actually see even more console ports to the PC, but they might be made for the PC from the ground-up and then ported to PS4 due to ease of porting x86 code to PS4.
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/31/12 10:32:20 AM]
The problem with these numbers is that they don't tell you what went into customers like you and me. This includes everything from GPU farm customers, university research projects, Content creations firms etc.

Not all of of it is gaming, a good number of it goes into GPGPU workload running customers.

Plus like any market researcher their numbers vary, segmented as well as overall. Our numbers are not that different but we get to see where the various customers are as well and what type customers they were.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 12/31/12 10:52:42 AM]
So do you think as next generation consoles are released, even less people will be interested in PC gaming? I think in the last 2-3 years as consoles have become outdated, a lot of people decided to build gaming rigs and once PS4/Xbox 720 launch, those people will upgrade their GPUs for next generation games. We saw the sales of GTX680 exceeding that of GTX580 ( Ironically, the opposite should have happened since as most games are console ports, for most people there is little reason to upgrade to a 680 and yet they did.

Also, as APUs get more powerful, things like Steam's Big Picture, PC gaming becoming more accessible to the masses. I really feel like PC gaming will grow in the next 5 years. Desktops will probably continue to suffer in terms of sales but gaming PCs and gaming laptops might actually grow.
1 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 12/31/12 01:19:20 PM]
Its not the people's interest thats decreasing, especially those who like doing gaming PC builds.

Their choices are steered by the developers. If developers don't want to put much into PC gaming as a premier platform, there is nothing much the customers who want it can do.

Marketing on nVidia's part pays some dividends, AMD's budget for marketing is considerably much lesser.

We will see an improvement on visuals because of the console generational leaps. But after that we will be limited to what we already saw in this jump until the next jump happens. Consoles will dictate and limit the potential of PC gaming. Eventually those who like building gaming PCs will realize whats the point of upgrading to have the smooth FPS in crappy titles like Crysis 2 which were just artificial GPU load increases to sell a few more nVidia cards?

The APU will become a norm, it will not really be a thing to be impressed with compared to discrete cards even though its got great horse power now than ever before, this will make the PC be able to play most titles what are available to the PC. But there in lies the problem, developers will console port or totally ignore the platform like we have some game titles that are exclusively console only.

Truth be told developers will love the PC to be vastly APU dominated and the discrete cards going away completely. This way they can simply back port console games and everyone gets the same visual quality and no complaints of platforms biases. They can also avoid some random developer occasionally stealing the spotlight with good looking high system demanding games. Its just a halo effect for them, doesn't change the revenues massively. Still no one likes to be out done for the bragging rights.

Thats a crappy deal for hardcore gamers like us, but this is the true dark wish of many developers now. They want to sell and do less work in catering to many people with varying hardware potentials, pushing the limits of graphics takes a back seat to making money. It also serves their purpose because they see the PC market declining so if there are any customers left in this market they can be now served with console ports. Not much work needed to do this and they can get this smaller revenue as well.

Steam is different ball game. Apart from the major titles steam has many of these obscure games with visual quality thats hardly demanding, even a note book with Intel HD 2000/3000 level graphics can play them, strategy games, small over the head type simple looking games, games with graphics that look like they are from the year 2004/2005. Plenty of such games. We can see them as the countless games seen in the App world for smartphones. There is always a customer for something like that, you don't need graphics cards for those. These game are hardly showcase games for any platform, but they are fun like how farmville or cafeworld would be for people on a regular PC. An APU is already an overkill for these games.
0 0 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 01/01/13 12:23:00 AM]

I'm waiting to see what Valve's "PC console" will do to the market.
2 0 [Posted by: ET3D  | Date: 12/31/12 04:30:28 AM]
- collapse thread

A lot of things are depending on valve as it seems.

In Gabe we trust!
1 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 01/01/13 05:23:59 AM]


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