View Full Version : Cloudy future of pc-based games?

06-27-2005, 03:31 PM
The following article drives home the precarious nature of games for the pc:


IIRC, 1999 saw the release of several World War II themed air combat games, most notably Janes WWII Fighters and Microprose's European Air War which were reportedly financially successful. Gaming articles soon predicted the demise of pc-based gaming in favor of console-based. It seemed logical enough, no wild variations in hardware compatibility requiring tech support.

Fortunately, the end was slow in coming and, in the meantime, Microsoft released their Air Combat Simulator and the follow-on CFS2. Along about that time we started reading snippets about an upstart outfit from Russia that was working on a new sim centered on the IL-2 Sturmovik and the rest, as they say, is history.

We are caught on the horns of a dilemma fueled by advances in hardware, allowing and challenging programmers to showcase their creativity, while requiring more man-years than previous projects. As evidenced in the above article, the more resources (time and money) required to produce a game, the more units must be sold before declaring it a financial success. Without that success, future projects are in jeopardy. I was surprised at sales for games like Silent Hunter III numbered less than 30,000, but combat sims are admittedly a niche market unlike first person shooters that enjoy broader appeal. We wish sims like the IL-2 series sold on par with the Quake, Far Cry and Half-Life. So long as developers like Oleg are satisfied with their market share, we can count ourselves fortunate and support him while he helps us support our habit.

I stopped by a local EB recently and was appalled at how few pc games were on the shelf. In the last six months they have moved almost exclusively to console-based games, a trend I find disturbing. Obviously retailers are going to stock shelves with "what moves" and it appears pc games are not doing that, at least not at the EB close by.

Where do you think it is all headed?

06-27-2005, 03:57 PM
If you are asking for my opinion, I agree that the PC games' days are numbered. A quick walk around EBGames will tell you that.

Even if they remain, the only niche games like this that will survive are the ones developed and distributed by companies that are dedicated to support that niche market, and are willing to break even on them, because they are doing so well on other games in their product line.

A good example of this would be the metal miniatures industry. Most of the companies that sell them make enough money on fantasy/role playing figures, which are very popular, that they're willing to produce less profitable miniatures for the military wargamer.

06-27-2005, 05:27 PM
It may be a long term advantage that EB displays PC games behind the dumpster. We gamers often post that game developers should bypass the publishers by selling on the internet. Bad move and it won't work by itself.

What may work is the publishers bypassing the retail stores for realistic simulations, and sell on internet but more important sell through the mail (mail order simulation). The publisher only needs to advertise in the large number of simulation friendly magazines, aviation and military related magazines, among other possible methods.

The retail game stores seem to be sending the message of "go ahead bypass us we don't care." So, bypass them. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

But, with mail order, everybody can order and we could see the return of the old big printed manuals. This could increase the cost, but then the traditional retail method punishes games that are higher priced than normal. Mail order will allow (1) paying more for a much larger boxed product and (2) a serious "hardcore" simulation.

06-27-2005, 05:37 PM
Maybe thats where that Console sim that came out a few months ago and looked remarkably like IL2 came from.... I am hoping that Oleg & 1C will be making sims for decades.

06-27-2005, 06:48 PM
All good points. Seems like when I first heard of IL-2, there was a company here in the U.S. name Blue "Something" (can't recall exactly) that was going to handle sales of IL-2 direct order before the Ubi deal. It could work, more and more musicians are going the direct sales route via the internet to bypass traditional record companies. It lets them keep a greater share of the profits and appears to be gaining acceptance by their buying public. I think 1C would have to setup some sort of regional sales and distribution to avoid the stigma of possible hassles associated with international purchases. Maybe a PayPal type of thing. With increasing news of identity theft and credit card fraud, I believe people will need some sort of system they feel is secure before doing internet purchases with credit or debit card.

06-27-2005, 07:02 PM
My prediction.. Wont happen!

Because to date, a guy can walk up to his wife and say.. Honney, I need a new PC so the kids can do thier homework on it, we can do out taxes on it, we can email your mother instead of having her come to visit on it, etc. But if a guy was to walk up to his wife and say, Honey I need a new PC so I cap play games on it.. Well, not an easy sell!

I do belie the shelfs could be void of PC games though soon.. In that they dont sell very well, and the BOX games tend to have this all barter system set up where you can bring in an old game and trade it for a new one. But, as with LockOn and the soon to be Russian release of Olegs addon I think Flight Sims and PC games will become a nitch market that will only exist online.

Unless the PC and XBOX merge in the future, which I doubt? Otherwise the senario I pointed out above will hold. You can justify a PC, but, hard to justify a GAME BOX that might do DVD's and email at best.

06-27-2005, 09:43 PM
Even FPS games on Consoles are bad. Try playing Doom3 on an X-box and then on a PC. I'm not clued up on consoles so I don't know if they support mice but without a mouse aiming is very difficult those thumbsticks just don't do the job.

I'm guessing mice aren't supported for FPS games as you would have an unfair advantage in online multiplayer games.

That's why I don't own a console (apart from the old Playstation in the attic, and my SNES emulator on my PC) my favourite games are FPS and simulations, both are better on a PC. Consoles are only good for Mario like games and racing games (if you have a wheel and pedals).

06-27-2005, 10:39 PM
PC-games will always push the envelope of computing hardware, this is both a good and bad thing. I promise the next, best new thing will be out on a PC not a console (after the hype of the 360, PS 3 and Revolution). The bad news is every few years we're gonna have to shell out bucks to buy the next new thing for the PC.
Granted PC games won't sell as well as Halo 2, but they will both look better and have better gameplay. The new Nvidia 7800 video card is just the first assault on the next generation consoles. Imagine a motherboard with two PCI Express slots both holding a 7800 running in tandem.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here but consoles will never be able to run good real time stragedy games or sims, they have neither the computing power or interface.
I'm not console bashing...really. I have an Xbox and a PS 2 and plan to buy a 360 and PS 3 over the next few years, I doubt I'll buy a Revolution because I've never liked the style of Nintendo games with the exception of Resident Evil 4.
Capcom, Bioware and several other companies have said that next generation games will cost as much as 70 or 80 bucks, can you imagine paying 80 bucks for Need For Speed Underground 3...I can't.

06-27-2005, 11:16 PM
i would love a HIGH END "console" platform for simulators. that would be great. technically a console, but with certain PC scalabilty to download new patches and stuff. works for me.

id like to see TRADITIONAL "desktop computer" gaming dead. a specific "game computer" not having to deal with a BILLY GEE's OS and his mountain of monopoly might work.

06-28-2005, 12:00 AM
Sorry Gau-8 but I don't think its gonnas happen, I'm not a big fan of BeeGee's OS either but it is a common gateway for game and hardware developers.The average life-span of a console is 4-6 years and PC developement changes about every ten minutes. By the time the PS 3 comes out and one or two games that are worth playing, PCs will be having dual processors running dual PCI Express supported video cards and the game developers that jump on the band-wagon will stun the next-gen console owners.
Because of the cost I doubt these systems will be geared to the Nintendo crowd, so I can't forsee a Mario Ware for these PCs but for sim-lovers it could be a gift from the gods. But like Oleg, they will have to know their audience and not expect to sell 1,000,000 units on release day. Flight sims, sub-sims, stragegy games, you can get rich making them but not over night... "Build it they will come!"

06-28-2005, 12:13 AM
In addition to what santini812 said, the pc shines in its modularity. I built my computer piece by piece never having to spend more than $100 a month. I was/is on a college salary so I had to scrounge. When I replace one component, for most parts all the others will still work together. On the other hand, a console your stuck with it better or worse. This is pretty much the same reason why apple went bankrupt during the 80/90s. The IBM/PC crowd had the foresight to allow an open architecture whereas Apple wanted a toaster. Since, there will always be some new amazing component that you can stick in a PC that will render faster, compute physics faster, etc ... The PC will always have an advantage over the console.

I think you will see a lot more hardware companies coming to rescue of the software ones. Like Track IR helped out with the distribution for Lockon: Flaming Cliffs. These companies have as much to loose as the game software companies.

06-28-2005, 12:39 AM
I "disagree" for the following reason......I believe eventually PC/Console/Television/Radio/Telephone/etc. will "merge"....Therefor what you see as less of a market, I see actually expanding dramatically.

Think about it...a console is a pc to a degree. Cable having gone digital the box now essentially as well a "mini-pc"...Tivo, on and on. Flashback time......Remember in the movie "Bladerunner" he slipped a photograph into a slot...zoomed around it, enhanced it, zoomed in closer then printed it......Everyone I heard went "wow, that would be kewl!" Scanner, photo editing software, photo printer, and mini-LCD screen.....$50.00....Not so wow now huh? Lets not forget James Bond's cell phone that was also a pda/controlled his car/etc. etc.....Went from "wow" to "I could do that" in a couple years....

It's not coming......It's here.

06-28-2005, 02:09 AM
I know consoles will always sell more games than PCs, as it stands now many of the console hits are less than perfect reproductions, DOOM 3, Half-Life 2, Far Cry, Ghost Recon, Rainbow 6...on and on. You will never see Rome: Total war on a console or Silent Hunter or ILS-2. These are just the limitations of the console. Sony is coming out with the PS 3 and they haven't even begun to explore what is capable with the PS 2. God of War is proof that the PS 2 still has some life left in it, game developers are just getting used to it and now its off to something new and different, of course the same could be said of the PC. In defense of the console I've never seen a good fighting game on the PC, but that was the limitation of the game port in the old sound cards. I've never tried to play Mortal Kombat on a USB gamepad. The good news is there will be great games to be played both on the PC and the consoles.
But if you want to fly its either Crimson Skies on a console or ILS-2 on a PC.

06-28-2005, 03:20 AM
i remember a time when IN the ARCADES "virua fighter" "air combat" tekken FIRST came out ..WAY AHEAD of cheesy computer games...you couldnt get graphics like that on the computer.it will get to be like that again at some point for a bit.

im not a console fan now. but the day i can hook up my track-IR,HOTAS,rudderpedals,multi-throttle assembly, and other cruft...

im talkin about a PC that is specifically made for gaming, on its own O.S. and has upgradeability for its own (licenced)RAM, hardrive,CPU,graphic card..what not, without compatibility issues from one person to the next.

kinda like the oleg maddox licenced version of P.C.s
of course what im thinkin of probably wont be worth the money, but hey. im sure it will be out in 20 years or less

06-28-2005, 03:46 AM
The largest seling electronic games of the past 12 months have all been primarily PC based; World of Warcraft, Half-Life and Doom 3.

I think that PC gaming will move more into niche markets primarily, with 'big' titles with widespread appeal cropping up now and again.

Consoles do dominate the market in terms of total sales, and they will continue to do so. Personal Computers have traditionally delivered a platform for games that do not fit the typical mould required for consoles, whether it is due to interface, requirements, audience or perceptions.

However, as genres continue to shrink or be bypassed in favour of 'big selling' markets (FPS, RTS, MMORPG, Sports games, genral arcade style games), PC may become the last refuge for older genres that appeal to different markets.

06-28-2005, 05:53 AM
While its true consoles have more titles than PC many if not most of those titles are trash. I would say out of 10 Console Games release every month only 2 or 3 have any merit. That's not to say PCs dont have garbage games too, but because its a smaller marketshare I think PC developers are encouraged to give it extra time to give their title every chance of being a financial success. Where as the console market is just a assambly line of titles.

06-28-2005, 08:18 AM
PC games drive the the high-end computer market. Period!

You do not need an X850xt and a Gig of ram to check your E-mail.

There are millions of dollars wrapped up in R&D, marketing and design at stake. Companys like Alienware, Falcon North West, and Voodoo rely solely on the gamer segment for thier business.

End of PC games anytime soon?

Not Likely


06-28-2005, 09:34 AM
What no one here has suggested is that computers are disappearing, right? Hard to imagine folks not wanting some form of entertainment on the PC, even if the lion's share of gaming eventually goes to the console market.

The upcoming XBOX 360 will have not only high-end hardware, but more ability to include things like mice and keyboards via its USB ports. In time we may see more and more titles exclusive to the consoles, but not yet.

Moreover, how does mods, map/mission building, and a host of other gaming elements get transfered to the console? While it is certainly possible, are people willing to keep paying the console owners for all this stuff? Maybe in the end we won't have the choice. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif


06-28-2005, 11:44 AM
What no one here has suggested is that computers are disappearing, right?

LEBillfish did:

.I believe eventually PC/Console/Television/Radio/Telephone/etc. will "merge"

And my guess is: she's right!

06-28-2005, 12:26 PM
I absolutely hate playing any sort of flying games on a console. FPS games are OK but until they can get a good joystick controller for console games I'll stick with the PC based flight sims.


06-28-2005, 07:10 PM
When the adult population becomes extinct then I would have to say the console will rule the gaming