by Anton Shilov
02/20/2008 | 03:47 PM
Video game market has been growing really quickly in the past few years and it is likely that more people will join the game community going forward. However, there is a trend that many gamers migrate to video game consoles from personal computers (PCs) due to ease-of-use, wider availability of titles and the lack of technical issues. But developers of hardware and software want to make PC gaming more enjoyable and popular too.
On Wednesday Acer, Activision Publishing, Advanced Micro Devices/ATI, Dell/Alienware, Epic Games, Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Nvidia Corp. and Razer announced formation of the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a non-profit organization that unites hardware and software creators, game developers and publishers, and others committed to the PC gaming market with the common purpose of advancing the PC as a worldwide gaming platform.
While game consoles like Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 offer pleasurable gaming experience in addition to easiness of use and the lack of major technical issues, personal computers are constantly evolving and may offer something not available on consoles, as video systems transit to newer technologies once in about five years. However, since consumers buy more console games nowadays, the vast majority of game developers is focused on developing high-quality titles for consoles on the first place and only then port their games onto PC, which means that there are not a lot of differences between PC and console versions of a certain game.
The newly formed association sees its mission in the accelerating of innovation by ensuring that game developers utilize the latest technologies available on the PC, improving the gaming experience for consumers by making certain that games do not have issues when played on a PC; and acting as the industry’s authoritative source of expertise, information and analysis for PC gaming. Besides, the PC Gaming Alliance will also try to tackle software piracy, which is widespread on the PC.
Previously companies like ATI Technologies and Nvidia Corp. established their own programs – Get in the Game and The Way It’s Meant to Be Played, respectively – under which they planned to ensure that new games take advantage of the latest graphics technologies and do not have any technical issues with ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce hardware. After ATI became part of AMD, its program was shut down, whereas Nvidia’s The Way It’s Meant to Be Played (TWIMTBP) ensures that many video games are optimized to deliver the best experience on the GeForce graphics cards. Back in 2007 graphics product group of AMD indicated that it had no access to games developed under TWIMTBP program until their commercial release, which resulted in lower performance and higher probability of technical issues when those games are run on systems with ATI Radeon graphics cards.
It is unclear whether PC Gaming Alliance will actually operate in a way which guarantees that video games from Activision, Epic or Microsoft are optimized for all types of microprocessors or graphics cards, though, this is declared as one of the goals of the new organization. Presently all hardware manufacturers have their own developer relations teams which make sure that software is optimized for a particular developer’s hardware. However, if the new PC Gaming Alliance generalizes the PC gaming platform, it will have to work hard to make games work rapidly and flawlessly on any PC with any hardware inside.