Capcom: PC retail is 'falling away'

Strategic-planning exec Christian Svensson says digital distribution is key part of publisher's strategy to improve desktop consumer experience.

At last year's Game Developers Conference 2008, a consortium of PC-centric companies including Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Nvidia, and others, said that they would be banding together to create the PC Gaming Alliance. A nonprofit organization, the group's expressed goals were centered on "advancing the PC as a worldwide gaming platform."

Christian Svensson

One of the newest members to join the PCGA is Capcom. In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Capcom's vice president of strategic planning Christian Svensson expanded on the publisher's decision to join the organization, saying that the PCGA is necessary because retailers aren't adequately supporting the PC gaming environment.

"One of the problems, to be candid, is that retail is falling away," said Svensson. "What are the reasons for that? Partly it's that return rates are very high. Returns of a PC title are usually double that of a console title--why? Because it's not a great consumer experience because there's variation in minimum spec, and it requires a lot of consumer knowledge to figure out exactly what is in their box, and what that will run... Our membership of the PCGA is about improving the market: We want to improve the experience for consumers."

The Capcom exec specifically called out the role of digital distribution in improving the PC market. "Digital distribution on PC ties directly into our strategy," he said. "Capcom is trying to lead in digital distribution, and I would go as far as to say that in the console space we are already the leading software publisher... We will probably do as much digital selling as retail in the current climate."

The publisher has recently made a strong push into the PC gaming market thanks to its MT Framework technology, which streamlines the process of porting PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 projects to the PC. Recent and upcoming games to make use of this technology include Devil May Cry 4, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies, Street Fighter IV, and Dead Rising 2.

Svensson went on to further explain Capcom's decision to develop the MT Framework in light of a seemingly flagging PC market, which saw retail revenues dip 23 percent in 2008 to $701.1 million. "We have brands that are very appealing, but the platform of choice in many countries is not a current-gen console," Svensson said. "The PC is global, and it's ubiquitous. And quite frankly, the more people who shy away from that platform, the bigger the opportunity."

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138 comments
calisvegeta
calisvegeta

I'm glad Capcom is now commited to PC Gaming as i personally am looking forward to Street Fighter. I must admit i do like to have the game cd and manual, but i have also bought a few games from steam normally through reseller's as the steam prices do not drop so quickly. But sometimes i wonder what it is constantly updating for each game.

Grimcicle
Grimcicle

@ GGCrew_basic: I've spent several years now working in various retail outlets. Most retailers will accept a return on an open box if the customer is unable to use the product for any reason. For instance, the Blockbuster I work at once gave a full-cash refund for Warhawk, because the customer alleged he didn't have an internet connection; and therefore couldn't play the online-only game. Another incident involved us taking a return on Metal Gear Solid 4, because the customer claimed he didn't have enough hard drive space to install and play the game. A Future Shop I once worked at took a return on an opened Xbox 360 Pro console because the customer said he couldn't afford to buy the system in the first place. Really, if you complain enough in retail, you can accomplish anything.

eBentl
eBentl

Personally, not a fan of digital distribution, if i'm going to buy a game I want my disc, my box and my manual.

itachi100
itachi100

@skywarp001 steam rocks?! what on earth is wrong with you?!!?!?!?! steam is one of the worst mistakes to EVER happen to PC gaming!

IncipitOmega
IncipitOmega

PC should be primary..consoles,secondary.

BloodMist
BloodMist

LMFAO, dude, why don't you show ME the proof that it's 14-20 percent of overall sales.You can't.The empirical evidence is that there are countless games that are on the PC that are also released on the consoles.Duh.Dimwit.

skywarp001
skywarp001

steam rocks. I live for gaming on my pc. I use a controler for grid and will for streetfighter on release for sure. nothing can compare to my rig, ive put my hard work into making it out perform anything in its path and love my FPS and RTS and hawx soon games so so much. online is the way. i never play ai single player games.

Cabal23
Cabal23

@bloodmist, how is it lazy to not produce a scalable engine? It cost time and money to produce such a thing. With development cycles being cut and made smaller and smaller, there has to be a huge payout for the company. What world do you live in that people just do things because they should? As I stated it's all about the moolah. You make it sound as if they made a conscious decision to not make money. Complain and create all the theory's you want, the fact remains pc games are getting more and more scare on store shelves. When only 14% of all video games sold are pc, I don't think there is much of an argument here. Pc gaming will never disappear, just evolve. But the fact remains console owners are soaring, so the console market will grow. The pc market will never grow beyond it 14-20% of the overall gaming market. It never has and never will when consoles are making gaming easier and more accessible. I am not taking sides ONCE again(I own both). Just stating the obvious. Show me one piece of empirical evidence that there is a huge number of pc games that were/are multiplatform games and I will shut up. But you have no evidence of that. That is an opinion.

rising_hatred
rising_hatred

PC gaming is the best, if i could make love to my computer. you better believe i would ;) ya im a nerd and love computers so what. as far as the controls for pc games, have u guys ever heard of using ur 360 controllers for ur pc? pretty much what made me switch completly over to pc over the last year, and because my 360 has broken for the twice. plus i can brag about how much better my pc is than urs!! :D

tadkop
tadkop

i luv gamespot haha

tadkop
tadkop

all you people are nerds grrr

tadkop
tadkop

omfg thats so gay like the controls 4 pc games are fu#ked wait a minute why am i on this nerd website pha

GANGSTASAN
GANGSTASAN

Hope that PC gaming continues. Really do

bennae66
bennae66

im not bagging the pc in any way though, after all everyone on these forums i am assuming are websurfing on pc. so we all use one, we all love them (i think) but for gaming, spec requirements can also be a mood killer

bennae66
bennae66

i just cant use my pc at the couch with a controller in my hand with 1080p 50'' tv like i can with my 360 and ps3. its quite simple really. poeple dont need to invest in a new graphics card every 1 1/2 years anymore for a good gaming experience. current and next gen consoles are a breakthrough in that regard. the permanent trouble free connection to xbox live is brilliant. its unlike any pc servers i have had experience with. yes, even worth paying for.

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

[quote=" JackHoleFace00"]GameStop doesn't even carry PC games anymore? That's crazy when you think about it...[/quote] True. Recently went into one, didn't see ANY PC games. When I asked, the rep said "We don't carry them at this store anymore. The store at [other mall in my area] may still sell them." GameStop - Are they still the "world's largest video game retailer"?

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

[quote="Christian Svensson"]Returns of a PC title are usually double that of a console title[/quote] Wait - you mean there are retailers that accept returns (of implied open games)?!? The main quote from Svensson in this article implies that many PC game returns are due to insufficient hardware, and that the returnees discover this issue after they've tried to play the game. The last time I was able to return opened software at a major retailer was over 15 years ago at a Software ETC... (who was bought-out by Babbages (who was bought-out by Electronics Boutique (who was bought-out by GameStop))). I've been a fan of Capcom's PC efforts. While their early PC ports were a bit rough on the optimized-for-PC side of things (looking at you, MegaMan Legends), their recent ports have been fantastic (RE4, DMC4, Lost Planet). And their digital-only line is shaping up nicely (Bionic Commando Rearmed, Age of Booty, Flock!) While Capcom isn't the only console developer bringing games to PC, they appear to be treating the PC platform as an equal instead of an afterthought.

beardrewz
beardrewz

Pc market..is to expensive..you need good specs for a game such as crysis etc to play and for it to look good. Consoles are just so much better now, res 5, gears 2, Kz2..the games are bigger and better all for a low price . Most of all...games run on a console such as the xbox 360 that looks very good, visual wise all for $300..unlike a pc. But i use pc for all other stuff but games....despite my 4gig ram and 650mb graphics card.

BloodMist
BloodMist

LOL Cabal, you have no idea what reality is.The number of multiplat games that don't actually come out on the PC is tiny, titles with actual quality, microscopic, make no mistake, so obviously 99.9 percent of devs/publishers know damn well they can make a profit off the platform.Just releasing the game without a scalable engine is lazy, plain and simple.There is NO excuse for that, just like there is NO excuse for not releasing a demo for it, either before or after release, with few exceptions.If you're going to release your game on the PC, treat the platform with the respect it rightly deserves and it will sell well.Just ask Valve. ;) The rest of your post was nonsense and invalid bias.

thesaxmaniac
thesaxmaniac

As soon as they start including digital distribution sales in their monthly/annual reports everyone is going to be like "WHOA SH*T PC SALES AREN'T AS BAD AS WE THOUGHT." Right now retail sales are dying and they want everyone to think it's because PC gamers are too stupid to buy games that work on their computers.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

GameStop doesn't even carry PC games anymore? That's crazy when you think about it...

cprt2
cprt2

I'm afraid the truth hurts,retailers(whom I work for)don't see an future for PC,just an few wasted dollars on the shelf to get things humming.They prefer the work user over the gamer.And that's the shame of it.Since PC would never had much of an home life without the games.I love PC games,but see the writing on the virtual shelf.Consoles rule and strict platforms specs,choke the developing teams.But this is Games and games are not going to get the same look at as consoles games.The online gamer,is the only reason it lives. I hope someone can turn it around and give PC an fair shake. Nothing hurts me more is to enter an store,an get lost looking for pc titles and find out,they dont carry them anymore.(gamestop,nc stores).

Precyse
Precyse

Good to see him pointing out the retailers negelect of pc titles, and the not so specific reqs on the box. "We have brands that are very appealing, but the platform of choice in many countries is not a current-gen console," Svensson said. "The PC is global, and it's ubiquitous. And quite frankly, the more people who shy away from that platform, the bigger the opportunity." Good to see that he can capitalize on the most used platform the pc. although it would be nice to bring some exclusives in mind to the table from Capcom.

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

I think what has been killing the PC market the last few years is the games that come with the DRM we buy... :P

Deathscyth-Hell
Deathscyth-Hell

forget about DRM, this is the way to combat pirates: make the retail experience work

nehtniglet
nehtniglet

Im really glad to see capcom is not letting this slip through their fingers, and want to keep pc gaming alive. All I know is every person I have talked to that works within the gaming industry prefers to play their games on a PC. But naturally they would already know how to operate a PC efficiently without feeling lost on what's a Gigabyte?and How do i get my DirectX level to 10?

cowmaster2k3
cowmaster2k3

The PC community is also full of a bunch of nice people who are always down to assist you in any problems you may run into while playing your games. It sort of feels like pc gamers are banded together by a sacred bond :D

DangerClown
DangerClown

I will probably be buying most of my games on Steam going forward. Quick and easy if you have a reasonably fast connection.

Cabal23
Cabal23

@ Bloodmist Why would devs "wakeup" and release scalable engines if it isn't making them a profit? The whole reason a PC game wouldn't get made is if they think they aren't going to make a profit. In some cases it just isn't profitable to produce a PC version because sales wouldn't justify the development. PC is not dying, just becoming more of niche product. The number of console players grows each year. I left behind high-end pc gaming because I haven't been all that overwhelmed by the difference between pc and console versions. The cost to keep a pc up to date doesn't match the slight graphic difference to me. But that is me. I have much more interesting things to waste money on. Now there are many pc niche games, I will never give my pc up because of games like Combat Mission Shock Force. It's all about the cashola folks. Nothing against pc gaming.

Cabal23
Cabal23

@partytimekeg, I would love to know what retailer is stupid enough to take back pc games that have been opened. I can't seem to find one.

Cabal23
Cabal23

The one on 360. It worked right out of the case.

cowmaster2k3
cowmaster2k3

pc gaming owns! go play l4d on a 360 and then on a PC... tell me which one is better

Sniper
Sniper

Self-fulfilling prophecy. If you put all your marketing efforts behind console titles, and treat PC "ports" (aren't all PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii games developed on PCs?) like an afterthought, then of course retail sales of PC games will decline.

Painkiller-jack
Painkiller-jack

yeah...can't wait to play Resident Evil 5 on my PC with Xbox 360 controllers. like Devil May Cry 4.

Stalker700
Stalker700

Capcom,you really do rock! But please,how about a taste of RE5 for us PC gamers?:)

BeatMith
BeatMith

Wouldn't it be a good idea to have simultaneous release across platforms then ? I'm a PC fan-boy but waiting months after the console release for the title to come to PC is almost enough to make me want a console ... nearly :D

bleach1st
bleach1st

lol I haven't brought a PC game in years... mainly cause years ago my PC was too crap to play games and then I brought a new shiney MacBook Pro and I never feel like playing games on it so yeah... it's probably been 3 years since I brought a PC game :o I guess having a crap PC got me used to the fact that I couldn't play anything aside from The Sims 1 and I never really found anything new to entice my need to play PC games again... Consoles all the way!

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

I'm all for any efforts to keep PC gaming alive - it's my first platform and the only platform for certain genres, such as RTS.

eternity21
eternity21

It doesn't matter if its digital or whatever. As long as they create GREAT GAMES, THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS!

partytimekegs
partytimekegs

Only reason I return PC games is if they are complete garbage. Like CoD:WAW and Far Cry 2. I mean, if its that bad.. its going back. I'd rather spend that 50$ dollars on some other.. stuff.. ;]

FearBoo
FearBoo

Cool , GIVE ME RESIDENT EVIL 5

Jose_Rizal
Jose_Rizal

I'm not computer savvy, and yes, I've returned/wasted lots of PC games due to driver problems and minimum specs jargon. Ease of use is the main reason I mostly play on consoles now. RTS is the only game that I would play on PC nowadays.

Cbot
Cbot

I want mega man 9 for PC. ^^

SillySkeleton
SillySkeleton

System requirements is the absolute worst thing about computer games. Consoles may not be able to match the quality of computers, but at least when you buy a console game (whether its released now, or in 2 years time), you KNOW you can run it and it will perform at 100%.

andrewlkt
andrewlkt

I'm primarily a PC gamer. Console games are just too dumbed down compared to PC games. You can't do a World of Warcraft or an Empire: Total War on a console. You can't do a real Civilization, either. Firaxis had to completely dumb it down for the console market. And PC games aren't really dying. There are all sorts of games out there. It's just that they get their revenues on non-retail sources, so it's harder to keep track of them. World of Warcraft's worldwide revenues, for example, are roughly over $1 billion a year, higher than total retail revenues for the entire market in the U.S.

Dr_Lucifer
Dr_Lucifer

good news, finally the humble pc gets some attention!

BloodMist
BloodMist

Lost Planet kicked ass on PC.Capcom knows what the'yre talkin about...mostly, except that last sentence which forgets to realize most PC games sales are digital downloads these days.Also nice of you Gamespot to neglect that little tidbit, again.Also not all of Capcom's ports have been..uhh..un-crappy,.but they do a great job when they really try. Anyone trying to say OMG consoles are so much better, with your absurd reasons, as usual;Grow.Up.You're just jealous you don't have a quality one that can play the best looking and controlling versions of every multiplatform game out there.Unless it's a crappy port, which i only know of two recent ones, GTAIV and Saint's Row 2.Entirely the developer's faults there.Burnout Paradise is a great recent example of how you do a quality port,with graphics that are quite a bit better than on the consoles when maxed, but also look nice on lower settings, and runs really smooth on many systems. That being said, a lotta developers need to to wake the HELL up and release their PC version with fully scalable engines instead of just throwing the console version out there almost unchanged, and expect it to sell nearly as well as it could've.Ubisoft, looking at you...

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

so when is capcom going to release all of their games on steam? they say they dd is improving the pc market so why are so few capcom games avaliable via dd? If games aren't avaliable via dd I wont buy it unless it is a bargain, especially when games can only be installed 5 times.