DICE: PC Dying? Crazy!

By John Walker on April 2nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm.

They still love us.

While you can bathe in the delights of our very own (sort of) interview with DICE, regarding the forthcoming Battlefield Heroes, Gamasutra have one of their very own, and it reveals some interesting commentary about the PC from EA.

There’s a sensible position put across by senior producer Ben Cousins, referencing Raph Koster’s belief that “consoles are a niche market.”

“If you look at the amount of PCs that are out there, we’re talking hundreds and hundreds of millions; if you look at the amount of PS3s and 360s, we’re talking tens of millions, barely. So, absolutely, people think that the PC is dying, but that’s a crazy idea.”

But the facts are, cross-platform action games are selling far better on consoles than on PC. So Gamastura ask Cousins whether the role of the PC in the future is to be about online.

“I think we’re going to continue to see high-end packaged good games on the PC. But I think they’re going to, as you say, have an element of connectivity; they’re going to have an element of persistence which you need to be connected online to do; and they’re going to be, probably, more multiplayer focused.”

Read the rest of the very business-orientated interview here. And tell us what you see as the future of the PC’s role in gaming below.

__________________

« | »

, .

17 Comments »

  1. Bidermaier says:

    Who said that the PC was dying?… Epic and Molyneux. Both were lost souls saved by Microsoft and their crazy dream to ditch Windows as a entertainment platform.

  2. Cigol says:

    Chris Taylor as well. I believe he receives cheques from Microsoft also :D I’m guessing the future of PC gaming is a bit more indie. For the most part that’s what I’ve spent my money on this past year.

  3. Chris Evans says:

    With Cigol – this year the only games I have bought myself (that I can remember anyway) are AuioSurf and World of Goo.

    Indie is a large part of the future of the PC, but there will always be room for the bigger games.

  4. mjhoward says:

    If we’re going to count every PC out there, wether it’s capable of running your games or not, then maybe we should count all consoles too, no matter how old. ;)

    Of course the PC isn’t dying, but as a games platform it is definitely diminishing. I guess I’m contributing to this in some way – I haven’t bought a new retail PC game since Oblivion. Everything else since then has been either old classics, indie games, or small, cheap, digitally distributed games like Sam & Max

  5. Butler` says:

    Hm, am I just being a pedant? I’d like to differentiate between

    The PC dying

    and

    PC gaming dying

  6. DingleJohn says:

    If the PC is dying as a gaming platform, wish i do not believe it is, I would like to see a mouse, like our traditional PC-mouses, to the new gaming platform!!

    The annoying thing with a PC as a gaming playform is the Hardware upgrades. They arent really needed for a console.
    Maybe you should invent something that was as usefull for gaming as the console and at the sametime was great for everything els :-D

  7. Geoff says:

    I think we’re all fairly agreed that PC gaming isn’t “dying”, but to compare “PCs in the world” to “Xbox 360′s in the world” and call that a battle won is silly. “PC” does not equal “Gaming PC used for playing games”

    If you really want to play that game, let’s compare the number of PCs to the number of TVs (the device people need to run their consoles).

    The notion that “PCs are dying”, rather than “PC gaming is dying” is just a really obvious straw man.

  8. wcaypahwat says:

    Simple fact is, know perhaps four people who own a ‘gaming’ PC, and thats including myself. On the other hand, I can’t think of anyone offhand I know who doesn’t own at least one console of some description.

    Hell, I got my PC, a PS2, a NES, an N64, and a DS. Thats a lot of console love, even for a predominantly PC based gamer.

  9. marilena says:

    I think the main problem for many people is accepting that flash games and other web-based things are part of PC gaming. Once you accept that, there is no doubt that there are much more PCs capable of running games than consoles.

    The PC is falling behind as a platform for high budget games, yeah, I think that’s a hard to refute argument (even when you count the PC-specific high budget games, like World of Warcraft). But high budget games are not the only games that count, and PC gaming is not dying.

  10. Cigol says:

    That’s the problem for me. There isn’t anything that couldn’t also exist on the PC – but for exclusivity reasons arbitrarily won’t.

    PC gaming is being strangled for no good reason than to prop up the consoles. Nintendo, bless ‘em are doing their own thing, but Microsoft and now even to a lesser extent Sony are getting in on the act of packaging uninspiring PC titles into console boxes. I’m not saying there aren’t exceptions to the rule (as in the case of the PC gaming scene itself) but it’s a very saturated market that exists because a vacuum needs to be filled and people are far more easily contented in those circumstances.

    The reason people buy them is the same reason people buy games off steam I guess – convenience. You own the console, you have a friends list, it’s pure consumption. I’m glad that PC gaming isn’t solely defined by (so called) AAA titles like Halo (ect).

    Building a gaming PC is simpler than suggested, it doesn’t cost a lot of money (contrary to popular opinion) and it will last you a good two years (and more if you wish to suffer lower detail settings or upgrade one or two components). The problem is being savvy in what to buy and understanding it will serve more than one purpose (hence a greater outlay is justified).

  11. Geoff says:

    marilena,

    I agree completely that “casual” games, like flash-based stuff, usually gets discounted. I know my mom even spends her money on Popcap stuff, but that she probably doesn’t show up in the statistics supporting PC gaming.

    But again, when you say stuff like “there are much more PCs capable of running games than consoles.” that’s just a useless straw man. The fact that the PC is “capable of” running games doesn’t at all support the notion that people with that PC will buy games. My car is “capable of” running people over. This doesn’t mean that, as a car owner, I am a statistic supporting the rise of violent crime.

    A gaming console is MADE FOR gaming, so buying one indicates an intention to buy and play games. Buying a low-power PC does not make any such indication.

  12. marilena says:

    I get your point, but I think that even if you only count the people that actually buy games for their PCs (or support the market strategy of a PC game in any other way, like playing a free, ad-driven game), you still end up with quite a lot of people, probably (but yeah, it’s impossible to tell) more than console gamers.

    Obviously, with no statistics to back up what we’re saying, all we can do is guess and probably each one of us will guess that he is right.

    But that’s certainly also true for the “PC gaming is dying” crowd. Their opinion is based on a limited understanding of the medium and isn’t backed up by any evidence that can stand questioning.

  13. Will Tomas says:

    Cigol, I take your point, but I think that upgrading is a little offputting. Obviously with a console you just buy the new one when it comes out, but with PCs there’s always the temptation to put off upgrading since the top range stuff will be cheaper in 6 months when the newer top range comes out, which will then get cheaper in 6 months…

    That said, I do think an RPS guide to buying a gaming PC on the cheap would be a good idea.

  14. devlocke says:

    The thing about upgrading is that you can do it piecemeal. I’d love to have an Xbox 360, but the price is a massive barrier to entry for me – I’m broke. Despite never having a few hundred bucks to blow on a single piece of hardware, I’ve managed to keep gaming with current-gen games on my PC with expenditures of 60 dollars here, a hundred bucks there, for… I guess seven years now. I probably have a total investment of seven or eight hundred bucks over that period of time, and I think I’ve finally hit a brick wall where I’m going to need a new motherboard and CPU at the same time the next time I upgrade, but to date I’ve never spent more a hundred bucks at once on keeping my machine current.

    For the record, the initial investment was around 200 bucks, which at the time was less than a PS2, I think.

    Even with console prices dropping – I think the cheapest version of the Xbox is hovering around the 200 dollar mark? – they’re a big chunk of change. And they’re not something you need already. As a white collar worker or a student, you pretty much have to have a PC of SOME sort in your home to do the things you have to do OUTSIDE of gaming. The amount of money it takes to turn a machine that can run the most recent copy of Office decently into a machine that can run Bioshock decently is pretty small.

    I don’t think PC gaming is anywhere near dying, but at this point, there’s such a backlog of brilliant stuff I haven’t spent enough time with (from Wasteland to Half Life 2) that I could spend the rest of my life playing PC games that have already been released and not be miserable.

  15. Gwyn says:

    On the one hand, DICE’s BF2 did more for PC upgrading than any other game in recent memory, and certainly this brought PCs to a more reliable standard.

    On the other hand, that was nearly 3 years ago, and came about entirely because DICE couldn’t code a scalable engine to save their lives, and demanded shader model 2.0 out of sheer laziness (not mentioning the massive general inefficiency of everything BF2 did).

    On balance, I’d really rather not listen to anything they have to say about the future of PC gaming until they prove they even know what should be expected from a mainstream PC.

  16. poullos says:

    PC gaming is not dying. But, users got tired upgrading their rigs for every big title that comes. If they have a console and the same title comes to consoles, why buy it for the pc when the console can run it at better ‘frames’?

    Then there is piracy which although I disagree with those saying it’s the cause of decline in pc gaming, I agree with the fact it’s affecting pc gaming more than consoles. However, that’s not the cause…

    And…uniformity helps to give identical experience over the same platform. Better for the players AND developers.

    I only own pc, two to be exact. Why should I buy a console? What if I need a pc after all? Isn’t it better to invest the extra money I would have spent for the console to buy a pc capable to play games, rather than buying a standard cheap pc and a console? I think I spent the same money. In two years time when I ‘should’ think upgrading/changing my pc, consoles will look a weak contestant to new pc. So, I either move to a new console or pc. Or, stay to the same pc or console.

    I don’t see THAT big gap in expenditure when choosing the pc path…

  17. Dean says:

    Just because the PCs aren’t used for gaming doesn’t mean they don’t count, obviously that direct comparison is flawed, but practically every PC out there could run Peggle, so the question becomes how to sell games to that market. It’s certainly has a far, far smaller barrier to entry to sell someone a £10 copy of Peggle for thier work PC than it is to convince them to spend (minimum) £150 on a console.