Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Draaglom
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Draaglom » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:01 pm UTC

So, over the last few years I've witnessed a worrying trend. Back in the 'good old days' (5 years ago) I could pop into my local HMV and there was literally half a wall of PC games new and old. But over the years, a rack here and a rack there, the supply has shrunk. To one measly rack. And it's only got the latest and most famous titles, about ten of them, and nothing over 6 months old. (I miss Sold Out Software D:)
In Game there has been some shrinkage too, admittedly to a smaller degree.

It's all those damn consoles, I tell ye!

Is it the same where you live?

/geekpanic

User avatar
ArchangelShrike
Rodan's Title
Posts: 1533
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:39 am UTC
Location: Waikiki

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby ArchangelShrike » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

It's been happening for a while now, probably because console games are easier to use (pop in disc and play), making them easier to sell. Then again, I try to avoid those places, but from what I remember the wallspace of stores in my location is X360 one side, PS3 another, Wii/DS third, and PC a couple of floor racks next to the bargain bins.

User avatar
segmentation fault
Posts: 1770
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:10 pm UTC
Location: Nu Jersey
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby segmentation fault » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:22 pm UTC

i think its more related to game development taking years because of high end graphics. you dont even see that many console games anymore.
people are like LDL cholesterol for the internet

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Nyarlathotep » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

It is indeed the consoles and MMOs taking over, and possibly with good reason.

WAIT BEFORE YOU LYNCH ME.

The problem with PC games is this: You go out to purchase a PC. If you want to actually be able to play ANYTHING out on the market right now, you pretty much have to drop a couple thousand on a top of the line gaming PC.

Now this doesn't seem so bad at first: you get a snazzy PC which can handle a lot of things that are not games, like intensive graphics software and so on. However, within one year, your PC will no longer be able to run the top of the line games at their best quality. You'll be able to run them decently, maybe, if you try really hard, but it won't quite be as pretty or nice as they should be.

Another year passes, and you can MAYBE run the newest games IF you turn off all other programs on your PC and pray very, very hard. The game will look like shit, play like shit, and basically be not nearly as nice as it could be.

And in one more year, you can't play anything on it anymore at all.

This is a true story: When I bought my laptop freshman year of college, it was a decent computer designed for computer graphics work, a Gateway. It was NOT an Alienware, but it was made in such a way that it would run games well. GuildWars ran BEAUTIFULLY on it, as did Half Life 2 (that's the other thing - unless you're at the BLEEDING edge of tech, your computer will run PC games from LAST YEAR well, and this year only ok-ish). The above happened almost exactly as I describe it. Portal came out this year and my computer could not play it, even on the very lowest settings.

This is in addition to that computers are shit at running older games, too. Knights of the Old Republic, which had come out only two years before I got my computer, ran VERY badly - it glitched, parts of it ran too fast, others too slow, things looked strange, it was a mess. This was because the game was too old. And you can forget about older games - running anything more than three years old usually requires massive hoop-jumping to get ANYTHING to work. It took me almost two months of googling and messing around with my computer to get System Shock 2 to run, and even then it STILL doesn't run properly, crashing in 99% of all cases if it gets to a cutscene. The only way I got past cutscenes? A glitch which had a 1% chance of letting me through; and even then I couldn't choose my character class and specializations. Running Riven was the same way, and I'm still not sure how I did it. Might and Magic VI, one of my favourite games, runs too fast, to the point that the game is unplayable and headache-inducing. The only two older games I have EVER gotten to run properly on my PC are Planescape: Torment and Zork. Yes, Zork. As in the ORIGINAL Zork. Yay, Dos!

Now, let us compare to the Playstation 2. The PS2 came out in 2000, and the PlayStation 3 in 2007. This means that it had a shelf life of about 7 years - almost twice as long as the game-related shelf life of my computer. Furthermore, every single game released for the PS2 between 2000 and 2008 still runs perfectly fine on the PS2. There's no banging your head into a wall as a game you bought two years ago crashes during a cutscene or displays in the wrong aspect ratio - it just runs, with no hassle.
Furthermore, the PS2 at least is fully backwards compatible, so games from as far back as 1994 still run just fine, again with no hassle whatsoever beyond using an older memory card. Compare this to Riven, a game from 1997, which in its original form I could NOT run on my PC without significant legwork to deal with Quicktime incompatibility and my computer's own dislike of disk-switching.

Finally, the PS2 cost about $300 when it first came out, while a PC capable of running the newest games costs over $1,000 (unless you build it yourself). Even with the PS3 (a system I loathe), you're still talking significantly less than the cost of a PC.

Yes, a PC can do more, but we're JUST talking about games here, not Other Stuff.

MY POINT, is that PC games are a pain in the ass. Yes, the unique interface of the PC can make them more fun. you can get deeper plots, more immersive gameplay, and an overall better experience with a lot of PC games. You're also unlikely to be able to run the damn thing at all unless you are a hardk0r gamer with a monstrous rig. A console has, on average, better shelf life than any PC; and therefore more people turn to consoles. More people turn to consoles, more companies turn away from PC games which don't sell becuase nobody wants to keep buying more and more PCs to play the latest stuff, more people make better console games.

Tadaaa.
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

User avatar
Gunfingers
Posts: 2401
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:29 pm UTC

Also, assuming you're not overly attached to brick-and-mortar stores, you can just go to amazon.com or eBay and get any old game.

Xaddak
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Xaddak » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

Also, laptops suck at gaming. My... how old is it now? Four years? My four year old desktop computer is running Fallout 3, a brand new game, on medium to low settings, and the only upgrade I've ever given the poor thing is a hand me down 7800 my friend didn't need when he got an 8800 (I used to have a x700 Pro. That was awful). Sure, it isn't at pretty as my roommate playing it on his 360 connected to his 30" 50,000p TV, but, hey. It runs.
Are you on this forum? Do you play EVE? Then join the xkcd channel! In your chat window, click on the speech bubble in the upper right corner. In the window that opens, type in xkcd and hit join.

-X

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26508
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Since PC games are easier to hack/get for free, the demand for physical games is lower than it would be otherwise, especially as more consumers become increasingly frustrated with DRM attempts.
That's not really the argument you think it is. Because PC games are easier to illegally acquire, the return on a company's investment is going to be lower. Because they're not going to make as much money, it's more profitable for them to make games on the console. Hence, there aren't as many PC games on the market.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Ixtellor
There are like 4 posters on XKCD that no more about ...
Posts: 3113
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:56 pm UTC

The biggest obstacle to me switching from PC to platforms is the controls.

I think that mouse/keyboard is infinitely better than game controller. I also don't like the multi-player limitations of the current platforms.

I like playing in a 48 man CoD4 Domination game. I think the Xbox is limited to 12 or 14 players.


Ixtellor
The Revolution will not be Twitterized.

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Nyarlathotep » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:25 pm UTC

Mouse/keyboard can be better in some situations; in others, however, it's not nearly as good. It really depends on precision, and getting used to the controls.

For instance, Kingdom Hearts (my favourite game) is an Action RPG that would be hideously difficult to play on a keyboard. On the other hand, I hate playing Bioshock on a console and can't even IMAGINE playing Portal. It's a matter of design, really.
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

User avatar
SoapyHobo
Soap. It's, uhh, not actually that good
Posts: 990
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:07 am UTC
Location: Liverpool, England
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby SoapyHobo » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:15 pm UTC

There's also digital download services such as steam, EA's download thingamabob, GOG, etc. to take into account. This type of service is becoming more common and more developers are getting onboard, why should companies spend money on boxes, etc for retail when they can have the game up on their site to download once bought at a lower cost? Sure, they may miss out on some customers but as more companies go over to this way of delivery (as they are) and shelf space for PC games decreases further it's less likely that any store sold PC games will gain attention unless they're well known mainstream games such as The Sims.

So yes, while I would agree there is a decline in games being sold on the high street there is no actual decline in the number of games available. I would go as far to say that commonplace digital download has actually increased the number of games available, taking into account the number of games being made by smaller 'indie' groups which would never have seen the light of day at retail due to the high costs involved.
Jack Saladin wrote:Goddamn that's an awesome ****, Soapy. Once they get around to making artificial **** and I replace my crappy original ones, I'm gonna make mine look like that.

Mzyxptlk
Posts: 513
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:41 am UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:24 pm UTC

I am going to fundamentally disagree with you Nyarlathotep.

I have never spent more than 1000 euro on a computer. I bought my first one 4 years ago and I bought my second one last week; both were around the 950 euro mark.

I have not had any problems running old games. HOMM3, Settlers 3, CS, Starcraft, Diablo 2 all run flawlessly on my computer. Even older games run fine with the help of DOSBox. During the first 3 years I was able to play all the new games out there. Admittedly not at the highest video settings, especially later on, but then that can hardly be expected, and consoles suffer the same problem (the only difference is that they [afaik] don't have video settings, so people don't notice). As for upgrades, during these 3 years I added 512 MB RAM (for a total of 1024 MB) and bought a 60 euro videocard (the first one broke).

Reasonably fast PCs should last for at least 3 years. I'm not talking top of the line here; the 1000 euro limit I posed is plenty to get around, and if you can recycle your monitor and peripherals, you can take about 200 euro off. While this is still more expensive than consoles, the added features and flexibility of PCs are worth the difference, in my opinion. I don't recognise your portrayal of PCs lasting less than 2 years at all.

It is also worth noting that consoles suffer a similar problem. The (hypothetical) PS2 I bought back in 2000 was just as crap in 2003 as the PC I bought at the same time. The major difference is that PS2 games were still being released at that time, while new games were starting to become too demanding for the PC. This is where the real strength of consoles lies.

I'll readily admit I'm prefer PCs. This partly has to do with the fact that I've never got used to consoles (never having owned one) and partly because I don't see why I should buy a PC and a console. That said, I don't consider myself irrationally biased against consoles. I'm sure they work great for many people; they're just not for me.
"Once upon a time, an infinite number of people lived perfect, blissful, eternal lives."

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5400
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Xanthir » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:54 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:I have never spent more than 1000 euro on a computer. I bought my first one 4 years ago and I bought my second one last week; both were around the 950 euro mark.

Note, though, that 1000euro is substantially more than $1000. At our dollar's worst, is was worth about $2000. Now it's worth about $1300.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

Mzyxptlk
Posts: 513
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:41 am UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:34 am UTC

Having briefly compared prices between a Dutch online computer store (alternate.nl) and a US one (newegg.com), I've found that prices in euros at the Dutch store are very similar to prices at the US store (just about a 1:1 exchange rate), demonstrating that the prices aren't dependant on exchange rates alone. I only compared GFX cards and CPUs, but I have no reason to believe the same is not true for other components.
"Once upon a time, an infinite number of people lived perfect, blissful, eternal lives."

Jarazon
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:54 am UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Jarazon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:39 am UTC

While I know there's a high rate of turnover in PC technology, I don't think it's really as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I dropped about $1500 on a PC a year ago which still runs most new games that come out on high if not maxed out settings. On top of that the hardware itself only realy cost $1000 and the other $500 was for water cooling, and saying that these things aren't backwards compatible hasn't been at all close to my experiance. Just last month I took (literally) one minute to install Warcraft Orcs and Humans and replay the campaign and everything ran perfectly.

User avatar
Mr. Beck
Commencing Countdown, Engines On
Posts: 1469
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:14 am UTC
Location: Albuquerque, NM.

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Mr. Beck » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:18 am UTC

I'm in the middle of a replay of Diablo II right now, and I recently played a 1997 LucasArts game with no problem- they didn't have any sort of support anymore! I don't think that consoles can offer 11 years worth of backward compatablility. The total price for my machine was $830, and that was for a full setup plus a new router. Over a year after first boot, it is showing no absolutely zero signs of effective obsolescence. Plus I have to use it literally every single day, and it's so much nicer having a computer that actually runs Windows decently fast.

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5400
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Xanthir » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:19 pm UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:I'm in the middle of a replay of Diablo II right now, and I recently played a 1997 LucasArts game with no problem- they didn't have any sort of support anymore! I don't think that consoles can offer 11 years worth of backward compatablility. The total price for my machine was $830, and that was for a full setup plus a new router. Over a year after first boot, it is showing no absolutely zero signs of effective obsolescence. Plus I have to use it literally every single day, and it's so much nicer having a computer that actually runs Windows decently fast.

Nyarlathotep wrote:Furthermore, the PS2 at least is fully backwards compatible, so games from as far back as 1994 still run just fine, again with no hassle whatsoever beyond using an older memory card. Compare this to Riven, a game from 1997, which in its original form I could NOT run on my PC without significant legwork to deal with Quicktime incompatibility and my computer's own dislike of disk-switching.

I know I bought my first PS1 game in '97, and I can still play it on my PS3.

Of course, this is ignoring Nintendo, which enjoys swapping formats incompatibly with every console release.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26508
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

They finally got on board with the Wii, as I've not had a problem throwing my Gamecube games in it. And the Gameboy series has always been spectacularly backwards compatible (until they decided to fuck with it with the as of now unreleased one) - I still pop my original release Tetris into my DS from time to time.


As far as computers go.. the bigger initial investment, the longer it lasts. A computer I purchased in .. 2001? 2002? Somewhere in there... if I wanted to, I could still run some games on it.. sure, at the lowest settings, and they wouldn't be swift, but they'd be fast enough to be playable and enjoyable. My other one's three years old and yes, it's showing it's age.. but it's more of a video card issue than a processor or RAM issue. Upgrade that, and I'd be fine.

...Except for my attitude of "While I'm in there.. might as well swap this out.. and that could use replacing... and I do need a new motherboard..."
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Jebobek
Posts: 2219
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:19 pm UTC
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Geohash graticule

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Jebobek » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:18 pm UTC

Microsoft seems to be working on making PC box games easier to install via their marketing campaign: Games for windows. I'm wondering if their Tray and Play idea will come into full fruition.
Tray and Play is a technology developed by Microsoft for Windows Vista. It allows users to put the game disc into an optical disc drive and start playing almost immediately, while the game installs itself in the background and streams off the disc with minimal or zero caching, just like on a game console. The first and currently only commercial game to use this technology is the Windows version of Halo 2.
Image

User avatar
Amnesiasoft
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 4:28 am UTC
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Amnesiasoft » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:30 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:Furthermore, the PS2 at least is fully backwards compatible, so games from as far back as 1994 still run just fine, again with no hassle whatsoever beyond using an older memory card. Compare this to Riven, a game from 1997, which in its original form I could NOT run on my PC without significant legwork to deal with Quicktime incompatibility and my computer's own dislike of disk-switching.

Actually, the PS2 is not 100% compatible with PS1 software. I've only experienced the issue with one piece of software, the PS1 gameshark. But yes, to be fair, that's pretty good compatibility. Then again, Maniac Mansion is 21 years old and can be played on a PC still. Sure you need ScummVM, but ScummVM actually improves the gameplay experience with enhanced graphics filtering :P

User avatar
Delbin
Posts: 472
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:50 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Delbin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:51 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:This is a true story: When I bought my laptop freshman year of college.
That's going to be the source of a lot of your problems. Laptops, due to the miniaturization required to make everything fit, are two years behind on the day you buy it. They are also poorly designed for playing games. They don’t have the heat dissipation to handle a high-powered processor running for a few hours. IIRC, Blizzard won’t directly support laptops even though the company is known for making games for a wide range of machines.

This all is not to say PC gaming is without its problems. Weird software conflicts and hardware malfunction can be such a pain in the ass. Still, a lot of the bad points are mitigated by buying a nice, spacious tower and upgrading a piece or two every couple of years. You’ll end up paying more for the hardware, but software will be cheaper (by 15% or more nowadays,) and the price drops much faster than console games. I bought Prey for $5 at my local game store while the console equivalent was still $30. The biggest advantage for me is the availability of user-created content. Mods, maps, and skin can add months to a game’s life.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I’m not too surprised that PC games aren’t being sold as readily as console games. PC games can have some strict DRM that make them impossible or even illegal to resell. Console games are also on top as far as graphics and playability for the moment. Maybe in a year or so when PC games have the best graphics they’ll start filling up the shelves again.

User avatar
Nyarlathotep
Not a god. Not even a titan.
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Nyarlathotep » Sat Nov 08, 2008 9:51 pm UTC

Alright, so the lappy is not the best example. Even so, my tower at home still can't run most modern games, and it's only about a year older than the laptop. And yes, we upgraded stuff on it.
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

Pinky's Brain
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:46 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Pinky's Brain » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:19 am UTC

It's never been so cheap to get a decent PC gaming rig as today ... a C2D with a 4850 will set you back what? 300 bucks?

User avatar
Rippy
Posts: 2101
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:27 pm UTC
Location: Ontario, Can o' Duh

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Rippy » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:33 am UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:WAIT BEFORE YOU LYNCH ME.

No. :)

First off, the computer I'm writing this on now cost me $520 Canadian when I bought it last year. Even back when I got it, it was only a moderately powered PC (1.8 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, and an ATI HD 3650 video card). And I just finished playing an hour of Fallout 3, a brand new game, and the game defaulted to "High" settings even despite using a large widescreen resolution. The framerate dips now and then, but it looks great.

I just can't stand the argument that "it takes at least a grand to build a good gaming PC". BULLCRAP. It'll end up being more expensive than a comparable console, that I can concede, but please don't put a figure on it because people will disprove it. It'd also be interesting to see how pricing compares when you account for all the money-grab things consoles do to make up for the hardware costs (expensive cables/controllers, about a $10 markup on games (compared to their PC equivalent), etc).


The other thing that bothers me is what I like to call the "high settings" fallacy: Even though a PC will go from "high" to "medium" to "low" graphics settings over time, the quality of the visuals is the same.

Say you have a console, and you build a PC with equivalent hardware. They have the same graphical capabilities. If you play the console, the graphics look good throughout its lifetime. But if you play the PC, you start to despair as your graphics begin to get branded "Medium", and then the dreaded "Low". The PC's graphics are just as good as they were before, but because you can see the incremental improvements made to the PC games over time, your graphics feel somehow inadequate. With the console, you don't have the allure of those unobtainable improvements, so you continue to be happy with the graphics.

Just because gaming PCs CAN be upgraded once a year to keep up with the best graphics, doesn't mean they NEED TO. If you buy a decent gaming PC and run it into the ground (i.e. down to Low settings), it's the same idea as buying a console. You just have to be able to deal with the fact that by the end of it, your games can produce far better graphics than your computer can handle, and that's okay.

If that came out a little harsh, I apologize. I got kind of worked up.

User avatar
b.i.o
Green is the loneliest number
Posts: 2519
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:38 pm UTC
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby b.i.o » Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:10 am UTC

Rippy wrote:stuff


You just said *exactly* what I was going to say. I do believe you actually read my mind.

MadPoet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:02 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby MadPoet » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:51 am UTC

Most of the video game stores get the lions share of their profits from used games. They will only order an initial batch of games and then try to make sure that the only copy of older games is the used one they took as a trade in for a couple bucks store credit. Can't do that with PC games, so they just don't give them any more shelf space than they have to.

User avatar
SJ Zero
Posts: 740
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:10 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby SJ Zero » Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:06 pm UTC

I haven't bought a video game from a store in years. 18 wheels of steel and all that crap simply doesn't appeal to me, so I use on-line stores. I can buy a game and be playing it in less time than it takes to drive to the local wal-mart and back.

User avatar
tryptanymph
More metal than thou
Posts: 2471
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:42 pm UTC
Location: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby tryptanymph » Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:19 pm UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:Furthermore, the PS2 at least is fully backwards compatible, so games from as far back as 1994 still run just fine, again with no hassle whatsoever beyond using an older memory card. Compare this to Riven, a game from 1997, which in its original form I could NOT run on my PC without significant legwork to deal with Quicktime incompatibility and my computer's own dislike of disk-switching.
Actually, the PS2 is not 100% compatible with PS1 software. I've only experienced the issue with one piece of software, the PS1 gameshark. But yes, to be fair, that's pretty good compatibility. Then again, Maniac Mansion is 21 years old and can be played on a PC still. Sure you need ScummVM, but ScummVM actually improves the gameplay experience with enhanced graphics filtering :P
Also: Metal Gear Solid VR Missions.

From what I heard, it never worked with the PS2.
phlip wrote:sleepy, the only thing you're worse at is being not awesome.*
*All links to be treated as NFSW.

User avatar
el_loco_avs
Posts: 1294
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:14 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby el_loco_avs » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:30 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:The problem with PC games is this: You go out to purchase a PC. If you want to actually be able to play ANYTHING out on the market right now, you pretty much have to drop a couple thousand on a top of the line gaming PC.

Now this doesn't seem so bad at first: you get a snazzy PC which can handle a lot of things that are not games, like intensive graphics software and so on. However, within one year, your PC will no longer be able to run the top of the line games at their best quality. You'll be able to run them decently, maybe, if you try really hard, but it won't quite be as pretty or nice as they should be.

Another year passes, and you can MAYBE run the newest games IF you turn off all other programs on your PC and pray very, very hard. The game will look like shit, play like shit, and basically be not nearly as nice as it could be.

And in one more year, you can't play anything on it anymore at all.

This is a true story: When I bought my laptop freshman year of college, it was a decent computer designed for computer graphics work, a Gateway. It was NOT an Alienware, but it was made in such a way that it would run games well. GuildWars ran BEAUTIFULLY on it, as did Half Life 2 (that's the other thing - unless you're at the BLEEDING edge of tech, your computer will run PC games from LAST YEAR well, and this year only ok-ish). The above happened almost exactly as I describe it. Portal came out this year and my computer could not play it, even on the very lowest settings.

This is in addition to that computers are shit at running older games, too. Knights of the Old Republic, which had come out only two years before I got my computer, ran VERY badly - it glitched, parts of it ran too fast, others too slow, things looked strange, it was a mess. This was because the game was too old. And you can forget about older games - running anything more than three years old usually requires massive hoop-jumping to get ANYTHING to work. It took me almost two months of googling and messing around with my computer to get System Shock 2 to run, and even then it STILL doesn't run properly, crashing in 99% of all cases if it gets to a cutscene. The only way I got past cutscenes? A glitch which had a 1% chance of letting me through; and even then I couldn't choose my character class and specializations. Running Riven was the same way, and I'm still not sure how I did it. Might and Magic VI, one of my favourite games, runs too fast, to the point that the game is unplayable and headache-inducing. The only two older games I have EVER gotten to run properly on my PC are Planescape: Torment and Zork. Yes, Zork. As in the ORIGINAL Zork. Yay, Dos!


Seriously. Not true.
MY compy (waiting for upgrade right now cause my mobo died) was completely obsolete over a year ago. And there are still new games coming out that I play fine. I mean, single core amd and a 6series geforce card. I managed to play Crysis demo and COD4 just fine! Some games just don't scale well to lower settings unfortunately.
All the KOTOR's run fine as well. (you sure you weren't having driver issues or anything?)
And the fact that you could play Half Life 2 but not Portal is REALLY strange. I ran both at the same settings perfectly. Both source engine games. *shrug*

You could build a solid game system for about 500 (not counting monitor and such.. just replacing the tower). A thousand gets you something that can play any game right now at relatively high settings.

If you can settle for lower settings (i sure could) a non-top-of-the-line PC should last you 4 years easy playing the newer games.



One thing you should remember is that games aren't necessarily designed to run on the hardware of "now". There is still no computer that can run Crysis with everything on at 16xAA I think.



edit:
btw, apologies if i'm stating things a bit strong. reading back i might've phrased some things badly
Last edited by el_loco_avs on Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:36 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
You go your way.
I'll go your way too.

User avatar
el_loco_avs
Posts: 1294
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:14 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby el_loco_avs » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:35 pm UTC

Pinky's Brain wrote:It's never been so cheap to get a decent PC gaming rig as today ... a C2D with a 4850 will set you back what? 300 bucks?


sure thing, if I recycle some parts I can make a new gaming pc with an e5200 and an 8800GT for around 320 (euro's or dollars... ugh europe is getting ripped off).

Which might also serve as your mediacenter type thing as well.
You go your way.
I'll go your way too.

User avatar
el_loco_avs
Posts: 1294
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:14 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby el_loco_avs » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

Rippy wrote:Say you have a console, and you build a PC with equivalent hardware. They have the same graphical capabilities. If you play the console, the graphics look good throughout its lifetime. But if you play the PC, you start to despair as your graphics begin to get branded "Medium", and then the dreaded "Low". The PC's graphics are just as good as they were before, but because you can see the incremental improvements made to the PC games over time, your graphics feel somehow inadequate. With the console, you don't have the allure of those unobtainable improvements, so you continue to be happy with the graphics.



Yeah. Consoles only feel outdated when the next generation comes out. Or ofcourse when compared to a new PC game 1-2 years later. The PS2 had a ridiculously long life though. I mean, you still get a good deal if you buy one now (although the 360 is only a little bit more expensive by now).

Can't wait till PS2 emulators get workable! :mrgreen:
You go your way.
I'll go your way too.

User avatar
mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5401
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby mosc » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:46 pm UTC

What a pile of bullshit.

There's one reason and one reason ONLY that there are fewer PC games coming out now than console games: CONSOLE GAMES SELL BETTER.

Now, we can speculate all you want on reasons, but that is the simple truth and the bottom line that is the ONLY thing that matters. Make it a PC game? Make $. Make it a console game? Make $$.

I think that the main reason is not piracy or PC costs or ease of console use. I think the main reason is parents. They buy PCs that don't have video cards and thus cannot buy PC games for their kids. There is a cultural phenomenon going on now that says giving a teenager a PC with an internet connection for their own use is like handing them over to sexual predators and worse.

I know full well the average age of a gamer is on the rise. I think that many older gamers PREFER pc to console. I just think that they're not the ones likely to line up out the door for a week to buy halo4. Consoles are easier for parents to understand. PCs in a kids room (at least ones with an internet connection) are becoming taboo. Combine with the ever growing social component of games and consoles begin to dominate.

When the kiddies go off to college, laptops are becoming more and more popular over desktops. This means, again, that kids are left without video cards. Avoiding software college privacy entirely, college kids are more likely to hang around playing splitscreen on a console than they are in their own rooms. I remember when colleges were firmly in the PC gaming domain filled with quake lans on every floor. That has gradually fallen away though as PC multiplayer games have changed. MMOs are still common at college I would point out, the social enviornment is still keen on multiplayer games. It's just that shooters have become associated with controllers for younger kids and that means they'd rather play halo than Team Fortress.

Diablo, Starcraft, Counterstrike, Everquest, World of Warcraft: All PC only.
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

User avatar
ArchangelShrike
Rodan's Title
Posts: 1533
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:39 am UTC
Location: Waikiki

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby ArchangelShrike » Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Diablo, Starcraft, Counterstrike, Everquest, World of Warcraft: All PC only.


Hooray for Blizzard! And to a somewhat lesser extent, Valve, and Three Rings Design, and a couple other companies - as long as we have our niche games, our RTS and FPS, and our free Flash games that are more addicting than crack, PC will survive. Somehow...

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6276
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Jorpho » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:04 pm UTC

Bah. People have been heralding the end of the PC era for years now. It's not going anywhere; there's money to be made. (If you want to see a few good rackfulls, go to EB Games. What would you expect at HMV, really?)

SecondTalon wrote:And the Gameboy series has always been spectacularly backwards compatible (until they decided to fuck with it with the as of now unreleased one) - I still pop my original release Tetris into my DS from time to time.
I think not! Unless I am grossly misinformed, the original black-and-white Gameboy Tetris, like all other classic GB and GBC games, will not work on your DS. The Game Boy Advance SP is a different matter. (In fact, I bought one recently in the hopes that I might finally get around to finishing Final Fantasy Legend II sometime.)

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26508
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:14 pm UTC

Hm.. I thought I was able to, but it's possible I just constructed a memory of doing it. Time to go home and test... for SCIENCE!
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5401
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby mosc » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

There's no slot for it. I guess it's possible they made some GB to GBA adapter piece you could conceivably use but I highly doubt it. The last nintendo portable with full backwards compatibility was the GBA SP. The GBA micro didn't have a GB slot and neither did the DS. The DSi or whatever it's called even lopped off the GBA slot.

I do attest that the first nail in the coffin of PC gaming was when games came out that required 3D accelerators. The second was when consoles came out that had online capability. It's not dead, but it's half and again less than it used to be.
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3712
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:58 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:It is indeed the consoles and MMOs taking over, and possibly with good reason.

WAIT BEFORE YOU LYNCH ME.

ok

The problem with PC games is this: You go out to purchase a PC. If you want to actually be able to play ANYTHING out on the market right now, you pretty much have to drop a couple thousand on a top of the line gaming PC.

My current PC cost me ~$900 and is probably ages better than a $2,000 alienware of the same vintage.

Now this doesn't seem so bad at first: you get a snazzy PC which can handle a lot of things that are not games, like intensive graphics software and so on. However, within one year, your PC will no longer be able to run the top of the line games at their best quality.You'll be able to run them decently, maybe, if you try really hard, but it won't quite be as pretty or nice as they should be.

Another year passes, and you can MAYBE run the newest games IF you turn off all other programs on your PC and pray very, very hard. The game will look like shit, play like shit, and basically be not nearly as nice as it could be.
And in one more year, you can't play anything on it anymore at all.


My old computer is going on four years old now and is able to run FO3, Mass Effect and Crysis just fine.

This is a true story: When I bought my laptop
in general, your problem is here, however, my old computer is also a laptop, and as I've already said, it doesn't have any of the problems you go on to complain about. no, your problem is:
freshman year of college, it was a decent computer designed for computer graphics work, a Gateway.


A decent gateway. Contradiction in terms if I ever heard one. And besides that, you really want a top end laptop if you consider longevity at all desireable, even a midrange laptop from a reputable manufacturer such as Dell or Thinkpad won't be any good for much longer than a year.

Not to mention that anecdotal evidence is quite useless, there's no end to the list of problems that could be specific to you that caused your issues, In general though, people experiencing issues similar to yours are in the minority ( I suspect it is the minority that bought a crappy laptop and somehow expected it to outlast the warranty)

It was NOT an Alienware,
Alienware is just a brand and a fancy case, you can get the same performance for much less if you're willing to go without a casebadge of +10 e-penis.

If yo put a modicum of forethought into purchasing a computer, you should have an appliance that will last years and be endlessly useful throughout it's life.

For older games, you will have a problem with dos games as windows has become increasingly distanced from the dos platform, but with a simple emulator or virtual machine, it shouldn't be a problem. For other games,t he problem is overwhelmingly likely to be driver related (some manufacturers stop writing support for older technologies into their drivers) the solution is either to do some research and by from manufacturers that continue support, or downloading one for the dozens of custom fixes or older drivers that will fix your problem.

And building on what Rippy said, console games are also starting to suffer a bit from 'graphics creep' as games are ported to and from the PC, and game developers seek endlessly to look better than the compeition, console games advance graphically faster than the hardware and because you can't stick some more ram or a higher performance hard-drive int your PS3, performance starts to suffer about halfway through a generation and loading times start to creep up as well. With a PC though, you have much more graphic and performance customization options and can always spend a few more dollars on component upgrades rather than buying a whole new console.

That's not to sayt here aren't other problems with PC gaming, but as far as I can tell, none of them are 'fatal' and PC gaming continues to more or less flourish.
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
Garm
Posts: 2241
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:29 pm UTC
Location: Usually at work. Otherwise, Longmont, CO.

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Garm » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:19 pm UTC

I don't think that PC games will ever die off. MMO's are too hard to play on a console, even with the advantage of a usb keyboard port or whatever. I think that Mosc is generally correct. Console games make more money than PC games. I think there are a variety of reasons for this, the first that comes to mind is that console games seem more casual (especially the Wii). PC games seem more oriented towards the hard core gaming crowd. That's pure opinion right there but it's mine so it's right. :D Another reason I often think of is ease of programming. A console has about a 5 year life cycle and it's hardware is fixed. There's no need for a programmer to try to figure out how much power a user's gpu will have, that spec is fixed when the console comes out.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- JFK

Xaddak
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Xaddak » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:05 am UTC

Champions Online is going to be a 360 and MMO shared server MMO. As in, 360 and PC players will be able to play together.

(Big Edit)

Honestly, it's the first step I've ever seen in the right direction. I had an debate with a friend of mine years and years ago about whether Xbox and PC games could be played together online. He disagreed with me, and we went back and forth for the better part of an hour about it - and I am just now being proved right. It is possible, it just doesn't seem to have occurred to anybody in the industry, or it was too expensive or time consuming or whatever. But honestly, why not? The only reason I can think of from the developer's perspective is if they make a game that doesn't have cross-platform multiplayer, then they can possibly sell two copies of the same game to one person - one so they can play with their friends on PC, and the other for their console friends. In a dumb way, it makes some level of sense, but it is still... well, dumb.

Yes, console games are more popular than PC games, for many reasons, many of which have been listed here. But at the end of the day, I don't think PC games are going to go away anytime soon, if ever. Some genres just don't fit on consoles - like RTS, which has been said. Personally, I hate FPS games on console, too. Analog sticks are to mice as starting a fire with two sticks is to a fusion reactor from the year 10,000 AD (in my opinion, at least). I know some people feel the opposite way, but I've played a decent number of shooters on both platforms, and even one or two of the same game on both, and mice are just better for me. Maybe because I've been using them longer.

RPGs and racing games do well on console, better than PC. FPSes and RTSes do better on PC than on console. That's the way I see it. But at the end of the day, why does one have to go away? Live works on PC and 360 now. Granted, they don't have that QUITE right - I am earning Fallout 3 achievements on PC, sure, but when I compare it to my roommate, it turns out the PC and 360 version are separate games for some reason. I don't think that would have been THAT hard to fix, really. If anything, I think it would have been more work to divide them like that. But, it's a start. Maybe Sony and Nintendo will jump on that bandwagon sometime soon, but I doubt it. But in any case, it seems Microsoft at least is making an attempt to keep PC gaming alive and well - and while I dislike a lot of what they do as much as the next geek, at least they're doing that right.
Are you on this forum? Do you play EVE? Then join the xkcd channel! In your chat window, click on the speech bubble in the upper right corner. In the window that opens, type in xkcd and hit join.

-X

User avatar
Amnesiasoft
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 4:28 am UTC
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Amnesiasoft » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:49 am UTC

The only major problem I've got with Live now is the lack of dedicated servers. Every multiplayer game must be hosted by a player. And that introduces enough problems for how playable a game is online for people. Windows Live was updated recently to have an interface that doesn't suck.

There are still a few minor problems I have with it though. MSN integration would be nice seeing that the Xbox version has it, and Gamerscore, but that's an topic for another thread.

User avatar
Axman
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:51 pm UTC
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Are (Highstreet) PC games a dying breed?

Postby Axman » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:28 pm UTC

The ONLY reason for the waning sales of PC games in brick-and-mortar game stores is this:

There's no other reason, by the way, that's all just conjecture, and completely negated by actual sales numbers.



These stores make their margins by selling used console games. It's hard to predict which PC games may be re-sold because of DRM schemes but the profits in used games is the greatest, so the stores go with the simplest solution: focus on console sales.


But if you pay attention to sales charts, PC games are at the top (followed by cell phone games) and PC hardware sales are at an all-time high. Console games don't sell better. But they re-sell, hence the illusion of popularity. Walk into a regular store, like Target, and you'll see that there is much more space devoted to PC gaming--and don't forget about online distribution.


Return to “Gaming”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests