Where is PC gaming headed?

#1 Edited by Jimmy_Russell (973 posts) -

Let me preface this post with a little history of my background in PC gaming, if you're not at all interested then skip to the next paragraph. I started PC gaming in the early 1980's, in fact I learned how to read on the computer using Reader Rabbit software. I grew up in and witnessed the golden age of gaming. Back then PC gaming was headed in the path of innovation and discovery. Quake brought us the first truly immersing 3-D game. StarCraft brought S.Korea a new national sport. Times were really good.

Fast forward to 2000 and there we see a major shift in gaming whereby developers desire more control over the software and hardware environments. In other words they wanted players to leave PC gaming and move to consoles. This is when Microsoft jumped into the industry with the Xbox, after Sony had managed to produce a near PC-like console for a fraction of the cost, the PlayStation.

During this time between 2000-2007 PC gaming suffered serious losses, both in quality of games and the loss of customizability. Many modern games denied the users the ability to mod them, and were generally designed to run on console hardware first and foremost, dumbing it down and deteriorating the gameplay. This trend has been progressively getting worse, today resulting in a full lock down via Draconic DRM schemes designed to gut the customers of any rights they have to the software.

So where is all of this heading? What's the next big step for PC gaming? Enter stage left, the Oculus Rift. This is going to change the shape of PC gaming forever, but not necessarily in a good way. Anyone who has been paying attention to this key piece of technology has seen that Facebook snatched them up and began developing a virtual reality mega-multiplayer online environment, that is ambitiously attempting to bring over 1 billion users into the new 'Metaverse.' This will probably require a decent PC, but not a GTX Titan or anything outrageous.

I believe that these 1 billion people will be the new PC gamers, entering immersing virtual worlds that they become very attached to. Microtransactions are the future of business. People are throwing real money away at pixels, literally 0's and 1's transported over fiber-optic computer networks. There's going to be massive developments in this area.

What are your thoughts on the future of PC gaming?

#2 Posted by Old_Gooseberry (3910 posts) -

I started gaming probably in the mid 80s with an Atari 130xe computer, then I got a real 386 PC in 1991.

I also really hate the way DRM has infested PC games. But other then that i've had fun with pc gaming throughout the decades and I think other then the hell DRM crap, things are going well and games are becoming greater all the time.

So far all consoles have been DRM free, and yet PC has every stinking DRM scam you can think of. I'm really liking sites like gog.com and other ones that offer drm free games... its too bad they don't also sell physical copies of DRM free games. And its also too bad they don't have every game to offer... i'm still waiting for a DRM free version of Civ 5.

When you look at todays costs of PC gaming, its not really bad. Sure a 400-500 dollar video card should be invested in... but look at old electronics stores like Radio Shack in the 1980s, it cost over 5000-10,000 dollars for some of their high end pcs back then.... and thats 1980s money. 64 kilobytes of ram for 400 dollars, what a deal! I came across an old Radio Shack ad from the late 80s a while ago and I couldn't believe how much things used to cost.

#3 Edited by KHAndAnime (14412 posts) -

Oculus Rift isn't changing much, you may as well forget about it. Just because Facebook purchases it doesn't mean it has any more weight than it had previously. If anything, it has less now. Aside from a handful of PC titles that will take advantage of the Rift, you'll more than likely see it be feature of the next Farmville game long before games require use of the Oculus. It's sort of like Eyefinity setups and multi-monitor setups. A handful people like to make use of them for gaming, but the majority of people don't. This standard will never change unless society as we know it makes a vast change itself.

I think the future of PC gaming is going to be slowly veering away from closed platforms and onto more open ones. Developers want it, consumers are slowly being pushed to want it, and steps are being taken to allow for PC gaming to flourish on something that isn't controlled by Microsoft. As Microsoft becomes more and more like Apple, consumers are really wisening up to Microsoft's crap and liking what they're doing less and less.

#4 Posted by Jimmy_Russell (973 posts) -

@Old_Gooseberry said:
So far all consoles have been DRM free, and yet PC has every stinking DRM scam you can think of.

The console itself is a form of DRM, being that it is closed ended and it contacts a main server to verify the integrity of installed files. As with all pirated software, the games are unable to be played online, such as with GTA Online. Steam made PC gaming lucrative again, so it's not all for the worst. It's just a trend that has surfaced from the ongoing 'War Against Piracy.'

@KHAndAnime said:

Oculus Rift isn't changing much, you may as well forget about it.

Well, that might be your opinion on the device but news outlets are painting a much more ambitious view of the Rift after Facebook has acquired them. In fact, it could be said that you are contradicting the general consensus. I don't hold it against you to feel this sort of resentment for Facebook and their subsidiaries, but I don't think you are respecting the actual power that they have over the population today. Kids are addicted to using Facebook on their smart phones, it's more than just a trend at this point, it's a paradigm shift.

@KHAndAnime said:
I think the future of PC gaming is going to be slowly veering away from closed platforms and onto more open ones. Developers want it, consumers are slowly being pushed to want it, and steps are being taken to allow for PC gaming to flourish on something that isn't controlled by Microsoft. As Microsoft becomes more and more like Apple, consumers are really wisening up to Microsoft's crap and liking what they're doing less and less.

Here you are outright contradicting what we are seeing happen to PC gaming. Valve is putting together their plan for the Steam Box which is not entirely closed ended, but much more so than a current PC. Microsoft has never had suitable competition for their OS, so it will continue to be the flagship. Generally if you don't have a tablet PC, you are using a PC at work, less and less families are buying PCs today over handhelds and consoles.

#5 Edited by Cloud_imperium (5357 posts) -

I think future of PC gaming is pretty good . In my opinion 2008 and 2009 were darkest years in PC gaming .
Right now PC is generating more profit than consoles . More and more console only devs (that never made a single PC version of their games before) are releasing their games on PC .

Then there are things like Dx12 , Mantle etc for low level access on PC . I am pretty sure that Steam OS is going to achieve Valve's long term goal . However there will always be companies that will support closed platforms but more and more devs are leaving big corporations and forming their own small studios to create innovative titles for open platforms (to be played by core gamers) . i think we are slowly going back to true PC gaming .

#6 Posted by BattleSpectre (6703 posts) -

I've only been PC master racin' it for 4 years, but from what I've heard and seen PC gaming has never looked better. Like some have mentioned already, it generates great profits and more companies now support the PC. I think it only gets better from here on in.

#7 Edited by GarGx1 (3030 posts) -

The 'noughties' were terrible for gaming in general but it wasn't developers who wanted to close down the games, it was publishers being influenced by MS and Sony (financially). Many developers left the industry all together because of publisher demands and being told that they had to pander to the majority, which in a publisher's mind is a console gamer. Niche became bad, different became bad, innovative became bad...hell an FPS set in the future or a lock to cover mechanic in a TPS was deemed a risky manoeuvre.

Fortunately today though the industry is moving past this console lock down, mostly because of PC gaming and the faithful who stuck to their guns and let the modder's play with the code, dared to be different or just wanted to use as much power as was available to them. With things like Kickstarter many developers are gaining more control over their games. Also in some ways I think the big 3 publishers are happy for studios to have a little more independence as long as they get their annual milking IP's out the door in time for Christmas

PC gaming today is in far better shape to face the future than this new weak console generation. Sure, developers will do good things and squeeze every ounce of power from them but in, what could be as short as, 2 years they'll be looking as dated as the 360 and PS3 look now.

Sony and MS have done PC gaming a massive favour going with low/mid range x86 hardware, dev's will fully produce their games on PC and all they need to do is down scale the settings and port over to the desired console. There will be tons of games coming out that will be PS4/PC or Xbox One/PC. Titanfall is just one example of this.

Also remember that the 'PC gaming is dead' came about because physical game copy sales plummeted as digital took over. The sales figures looked like they were collapsing when in actual fact the opposite was true, it came about because of DD companies like Steam not releasing sales figures.

#8 Edited by KHAndAnime (14412 posts) -
@jimmy_russell said:

@Old_Gooseberry said:
So far all consoles have been DRM free, and yet PC has every stinking DRM scam you can think of.

The console itself is a form of DRM, being that it is closed ended and it contacts a main server to verify the integrity of installed files. As with all pirated software, the games are unable to be played online, such as with GTA Online. Steam made PC gaming lucrative again, so it's not all for the worst. It's just a trend that has surfaced from the ongoing 'War Against Piracy.'

@KHAndAnime said:

Oculus Rift isn't changing much, you may as well forget about it.

Well, that might be your opinion on the device but news outlets are painting a much more ambitious view of the Rift after Facebook has acquired them. In fact, it could be said that you are contradicting the general consensus. I don't hold it against you to feel this sort of resentment for Facebook and their subsidiaries, but I don't think you are respecting the actual power that they have over the population today. Kids are addicted to using Facebook on their smart phones, it's more than just a trend at this point, it's a paradigm shift.

@KHAndAnime said:
I think the future of PC gaming is going to be slowly veering away from closed platforms and onto more open ones. Developers want it, consumers are slowly being pushed to want it, and steps are being taken to allow for PC gaming to flourish on something that isn't controlled by Microsoft. As Microsoft becomes more and more like Apple, consumers are really wisening up to Microsoft's crap and liking what they're doing less and less.

Here you are outright contradicting what we are seeing happen to PC gaming. Valve is putting together their plan for the Steam Box which is not entirely closed ended, but much more so than a current PC.

And when Avatar was pushing 3D, news outlets were saying 3D was going to be the future of movies and every big movie would be release in 3d. Only a dingus buys into what the news outlets says, I'm sorry. A smart phone and an Oculus are two different things. Everyone owns a smart phone, and Facebook has nothing to do with that. It's simply an app on the smart phone. Barely anybody owns a VR device - comparing the Oculus to the smart phone is laughable. Most people at this point likely think only fat greasy nerds would wear this sort of stuff. The Facebook populace (the target audience) and the Oculus fan audience have completely different things that they'll desire from the device.

Steambox is pretty open ended. The only thing you can't do on your Steam box that you can do on your PC is probably changing the case.

#9 Edited by GameBandit8 (86 posts) -

its getting better now. line of defence is coming its like planetside 2. and many other great shooters. h1z1?

#10 Edited by Gogoplexiorayo2 (167 posts) -

@Cloud_imperium: I remember those times. I only bought one game in 2008 and that was fallout 3 and in 2009 i didnt buy any. Those days were... dark to say the least!

#11 Posted by osan0 (12917 posts) -

the only major change i see possibly coming (and its a major big IF at the moment) is that windows will no longer be the only show in town in terms of gaming OSs. in 10-15 years (thats the kind of timescale we are looking at if it ever does happen) we could see a much more diverse OS market. valve are going to push for STEAM OS which, in turn, is going to push linux and OSX development further.

its already started to happen. all the major new engines now have a linux build (and a mac build i think). thats a big win in itself, more and more games are being announced for linux. some very big games too like rome 2 total war.

but its still not a top priority. the linux version may come late and not be in as good a shape as the windows version at the moment. its a bit like the wiiu of the PC world at the moment :P

there is also a lot of work to be done on the linux side (and mac side) in terms of driver support. ease of use has improved dramatically but there are still some issues to be resolved.

so some interesting times ahead on that front.

other than that i dont see any major overhauls or big changes coming. i think other online retailer like GOG will get bigger and more successful but i dont see steam getting toppeled for a long long time. games will still be played on a laptop or desktop with a 360 type controller or keyboard and mouse.

#12 Posted by mjorh (1105 posts) -

As long as "Mouse & Keyboard" are there , man PC gaming ain't gonna die! , it's growing as it goes forward , from triple A games to indie games , F2P games , higher graphics and stuff , STEAM and lower prices and etc . The future is not dark for PC gaming.

#13 Posted by Behardy24 (5324 posts) -

@mjorh said:

As long as "Mouse & Keyboard" are there , man PC gaming ain't gonna die! , it's growing as it goes forward , from triple A games to indie games , F2P games , higher graphics and stuff , STEAM and lower prices and etc . The future is not dark for PC gaming.

I agree.

#14 Edited by JigglyWiggly_ (23771 posts) -

Well for mp fps it's going to hell.

CS GO is an awful game and it represents the fps scene now.

#15 Posted by napo_sp (306 posts) -

for me personally I'll probably build my last gaming platform with intel X99 motherboard and I'll play all those pc centric '90s retro' titles and some AAA and indies for a few years then I'll just quit gaming altogether, I'm not into rift and I think there will be no star citizen 2, elite 4, limit theory 2, wasteland 3, torment 3, syndicate 4, mandate 2, reset 2, naval action 2, kingdom come 2 etc... just a hypothetical example, I trust you get it, after this generation of 'retro' resurgence I doubt there will be another, those old legendary developers will be gone and all those IP will shift hand... when that's happening you know the 'golden age' will finally pass and it will be a fitting end for those who grew up in 80s 90s pc gaming.

that is my thought.

#16 Edited by vfibsux (4232 posts) -

@KHAndAnime said:

Oculus Rift isn't changing much, you may as well forget about it.

Seriously dude just stop with the "bold predictions" about this. Have you tried the new dev kit? I doubt you even know anything about it since you are dismissing it so quickly.

On topic...Personally I hate where PC gaming has been heading lately and will continue to head. Seems every game nowadays wreaks of consolization. As long as PC games are cross platforming we will continue to get shit. I never thought I would see the day when you all but need a gamepad to play rpg's.

#17 Edited by TheFadeForever (2120 posts) -

PC gaming is better than it ever was note when the last gen console came out they were as powerful as a high end pc and cost less. The xbox360 was very cheap and could produce good graphics for its time. Instead of buying a really expensive pc people could have bought a console that would be significantly cheaper and very accessible.

Like what someone said earlier 2008 and 2009 might not have been the best years for pc gaming when you started seeing games become more console centric. Now pc gaming is better than ever but the only issue I'm concern is that a few publisher/developers who still ride on the console bandwagon like Bungie and especially Rockstar who refused to acknowledge anything about the PC and its fanbase.

This gen will be very different compared to the last where I believe PC will play a lot more significant in this gen. Publisher can't ignore the large install base on steam. Japanese developers will slowly but surely begin to see the PC as suitable platform to release their games. We seen a lot more Japanese support than five to six years ago.

#19 Posted by illmatic87 (15422 posts) -

Into another Golden Age

#20 Edited by nutcrackr (12806 posts) -

indie is exploding

Unfinished games (early access) are how you get funding for your idea

free to play is the default model for online games

probably see lots of reboots too as consoles get them next gen

#21 Edited by xxninja666xx (659 posts) -

I think it's gone down the gutter. Less and less PC exclusives are made and the games we get, often land on consoles first, then are ported to PC, with mixed results. Many developers transferred to making games for consoles only, as they treat PC users as potential pirates (piracy is much easier to do on PC than it is on consoles) and they don't see any profit in making a PC version, only a loss. It goes to the point where PC gamers have to humiliate themselves and actually beg the developers to make a PC version of their titles, so they don't have to buy a console. Not to mention all the idiotic security systems we have to agree to, to even play the game. Always online (even for single player), one-time registration, digital distribution platforms (Steam, Origin etc.) that you can't even launch the game without, meaning you basically don't even own the game you paid for because you can't play it without Valve's/EA's/Microsoft's blessing. Bad times these are, I tell you what.

#22 Edited by groowagon (2869 posts) -

@jimmy_russell said:

Microtransactions are the future of business. People are throwing real money away at pixels, literally 0's and 1's transported over fiber-optic computer networks. There's going to be massive developments in this area.

Future? It has already been in effect for some time now. It's not a prophecy, it's an observation. People are also paying real money for 1's and 0's when they subscribe to Netflix. it's digital entertainment all the same.

in the end of the day, publishers sell you what you want to buy. many people seem to want all that microtransaction shit, since it sells so well. i don't like it, but what can i do... i also don't like the fact that Justin Bieber is on top of charts, but what can i do... people seem to want shit.

#23 Posted by R4gn4r0k (17449 posts) -

I think PC gaming now is better than ever. Sure, there are fewer exclusives, and waaaaay less RTS games. But I have more games to play than ever before.

Waiting for a sale isn't just easy because it saves you money, it's just impossible for me to play all games on release because of time restrictions.

@Old_Gooseberry said:

I also really hate the way DRM has infested PC games. But other then that i've had fun with pc gaming throughout the decades and I think other then the hell DRM crap, things are going well and games are becoming greater all the time.

I don't mind DRM that much. As long as it's not fucking awful like Ubisofts DRM was, Diablo IIIs DRM and Simcitys DRM. These kinds of DRM only stop legitimite buyers from playing and not the pirates. If the companies don't see this I don't think they deserve a single sale.

I also don't like to think of what the future holds for games that are heavy on the DRM. If I buy a game and I like it, I like to return to my games. We have no idea of what will happen to the games that still have GFWL DRM when the service goes away in 2 months...

Another new thing to gaming that I don't like is the loads of day-one DLC that some games have or games that launch with a full price model and are infested with microtransactions.

All the content that is worked on before the games release should be included to those that pay full price. Plain and simple. We do not have any right to get content for free if it was developed after release. But first of all, try making a good and complete game before offering pre-order exclusives, day one DLC and season passes, ok publishers?

#24 Posted by soolkiki (1776 posts) -

I feel like PC gaming is doing nothing but growing, or at least, the games are getting better. A lot of the indie games are a complete blast, as well as a few of the AAA games out there. I love every moment that I play on my computer and I feel like I'm not missing a thing.

#25 Edited by Jimmy_Russell (973 posts) -

@jeager_titan said:

I think Valve is gonna crash if they don't monitor what shitload of shovelware is being pushed into their store.

You could be right. Valve's Quality Assurance team seems to have fallen off the edge of the planet as of late.

@illmatic87 said:

Into another Golden Age

Blind optimism at its finest. ;)

@groowagon said:

@jimmy_russell said:

Microtransactions are the future of business. People are throwing real money away at pixels, literally 0's and 1's transported over fiber-optic computer networks. There's going to be massive developments in this area.

Future? It has already been in effect for some time now. It's not a prophecy, it's an observation. People are also paying real money for 1's and 0's when they subscribe to Netflix. it's digital entertainment all the same.

You're right. I didn't quite convey that message properly. What I'm saying is there will be even more ways to nickel and dime the customer, things we never even thought of yet. There will continue to be developments in that area of online business, it makes way more money than selling advertising in most cases.

@R4gn4r0k said:

I think PC gaming now is better than ever. Sure, there are fewer exclusives, and waaaaay less RTS games. But I have more games to play than ever before.

More doesn't necessarily mean better. Quality of quantity. However, I do agree with your thoughts on Day 1 DLC being the bane of gaming today.

#26 Posted by R4gn4r0k (17449 posts) -

@jimmy_russell said:

@R4gn4r0k said:

I think PC gaming now is better than ever. Sure, there are fewer exclusives, and waaaaay less RTS games. But I have more games to play than ever before.

More doesn't necessarily mean better. Quality of quantity. However, I do agree with your thoughts on Day 1 DLC being the bane of gaming today.

true that. I mean more as in more games I want to play, so more quality games :p

I always own PC + some console for the exclusives. But these times you could own just a PC and have so many games to play on that platform alone that you never need to buy a console (unless you really, really want to play the console exclusives)

#27 Posted by Old_Gooseberry (3910 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

@Old_Gooseberry said:

I also really hate the way DRM has infested PC games. But other then that i've had fun with pc gaming throughout the decades and I think other then the hell DRM crap, things are going well and games are becoming greater all the time.

I also don't like to think of what the future holds for games that are heavy on the DRM. If I buy a game and I like it, I like to return to my games. We have no idea of what will happen to the games that still have GFWL DRM when the service goes away in 2 months...

You're completely right here, i fear this also. I've got so many old games which I still go back to all the time. And if they had online drm activations i wouldn't be able to play them at all since most of the companies that made them are either gone, or were bought out.

Theres probably 1 or 2 games a year I really like a lot and will go back to in the future and play again... now will I be able to still install these in 5-10 years from now? Who knows, most likely I won't be able to for most, and would have to rebuy them all again at a site like gog.com and download them instead of using the original copies I had bought.

I even play games from early 1990s still, these companies aren't there anymore, Sir-tech, Origin, Bullfrog, Westwood studios, Sierra, New world computing, the list goes on and on. I'm glad at least these games were pure back then. Just wish they would rethink things and release pure clean DRM free games again.

#28 Posted by uninspiredcup (11940 posts) -

I use to like the concept of early access, now it's just cluttering up and outright fucking up steam, the main hub of pc gaming.

Getting really sick of armature, unfinished games attempting to overcharge people. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

I've been on steam for almost a decade, right from the start when all it had was peggle and a few casual games. Now it's just getting spammed with complete and utter bullshit.

#29 Edited by R4gn4r0k (17449 posts) -

@Old_Gooseberry said:

You're completely right here, i fear this also. I've got so many old games which I still go back to all the time. And if they had online drm activations i wouldn't be able to play them at all since most of the companies that made them are either gone, or were bought out.

Theres probably 1 or 2 games a year I really like a lot and will go back to in the future and play again... now will I be able to still install these in 5-10 years from now? Who knows, most likely I won't be able to for most, and would have to rebuy them all again at a site like gog.com and download them instead of using the original copies I had bought.

I even play games from early 1990s still, these companies aren't there anymore, Sir-tech, Origin, Bullfrog, Westwood studios, Sierra, New world computing, the list goes on and on. I'm glad at least these games were pure back then. Just wish they would rethink things and release pure clean DRM free games again.

I totally agree with how GOG/Cd Projekt sees DRM: it hasn't stopped piracy once and yet some gaming companies pay thousands of dollars to buy the DRM systems or to develop them.

All of that money goes towards screwing over your legitimate customers and not to make a better game. Valve also says that providing a better service is also way more important than trying to implement DRM.

And I think we can all agree that Steam, as a service worked better than any kind of DRM. Sure, steam is DRM too, but at least it doesn't bug paying customers.

Valve also said they would remove the DRM if their service goes down. At least that is something. I have yet to see EA make that pledge, Ubisoft or even MS with their service that is going down in 2 months...

Yes, I play a lot of other games too. I don't want to lose my access to games I like just because of companies stupid business decisions and their inability to look 5 years into the future.

@uninspiredcup said:

I use to like the concept of early access, now it's just cluttering up and outright fucking up steam, the main hub of pc gaming.

Getting really sick of armature, unfinished games attempting to overcharge people. I certainly hope this trend doesn't continue.

I've been on steam for almost a decade, right from the start when all it had was peggle and a few casual games. Now it's just getting spammed with complete and utter bullshit.

It's only just becoming a trend, I don't see it stopping any time soon.

Steam is being flooded with:

-Really old games that don't even work on modern PCs anymore

-Really old games that are really bad

-Unfinished games in early access

-Broken games in early access

-Games in early access that aren't even close to being called pre-alpha yet.

And Valve allows all of this because of course they get 1/3rd of the sales.

I've been with steam too since 2003... and all I see it did was improve. Until now, now it's going to the sharks.

Edit: lol, just read this on Gamespot front page: "More games have been released on Steam just 20 weeks into 2014 than have been during all of 2013."