PC Gaming Alliance Reforms With Mobile As Open Gaming

By Alice O'Connor on July 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Poor dodo :(

“To advance the PC as a worldwide gaming platform” was the mission statement of the PC Gaming Alliance upon formation in 2008. Microsoft, Intel, Epic, AMD, Nvidia, Activision, and other big names were dedicated to the exciting but vague cause. It’s now even vaguer, as the PC Gaming Alliance has embraced mobile gaming and branded itself as the Open Gaming Alliance.

All we’ve really seen from the nonprofit over the years is reports telling us people spend money on PC games. One big goal it stated was assuaging system requirement confusion through certifying gaming PCs, but it’s never come together. That particular plan’s seemed futile since Microsoft and Nvidia left in 2011. Many others have left over the years too.

The change comes, in the Open Gaming Alliance’s own words, “as the market for digital games grows on a variety of mobile platforms and as the PC is no longer the most dominant gaming form factor.” They still welcome PCs, but now it seems they’re broadly in favour of any video game not on a console. They’re awfully keen on multiplatform gaming and all that. Good for them. It’s probably sensible for the Alliance to not focus on something which never needed it in the first place.

It was puzzling. The name Alliance implied PC gaming was under attack, needing defenders and advocates. The lineup of big names was bold and intimidating, suggesting action. They spoke of providing a unified voice for PC gaming. Meanwhile, PC gaming was somehow managing to enter its most exciting period yet, without them.

They were trying to speak for things they didn’t understand. One PCGA report even seemed surprised that PC gaming was doing so well. The PCGA was born of old ways–retail releases and the rat race of endless PC upgrades–and membership skews heavily towards hardware rather than games. They could only observe the indie bloom afterwards from afar, and a body trying to speak for PC gaming without Valve (and Steam) was always daft.

A big fancy report stating there was money in that there PC gaming might conceivably have helped nudge a few investors into supporting a hypothetical game, I guess I can imagine, but the visible effects of the PC Gaming Alliance are few and far between.

While the Open Gaming Alliance may still express interest in PC gaming, it never needed them.

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34 Comments »

  1. ran93r says:

    I’m still not sure I fathom why they need to exist and if I didn’t in the first place, I certainly don’t now.
    It’s not like mobile gaming is a platform which needs championing, it’s doing very well one would imagine.

  2. karthink says:

    I derive a small measure of perverse pleasure from watching large, lumbering entities with outmoded or overly rigid thinking being rendered utterly irrelevant. No insult quite like having your existence be ignored. I suppose the PCGA qualifies.

    Have they done anything as a collective to help PC gaming since its conception?

  3. Premium User Badge lurkalisk says:

    That “alliance” was useless from the get-go. The thing I find strange is… “It’s probably sensible for the Alliance to not focus on something which never needed it in the first place.” …That.

    Mobile gaming needs nothing. It’s a monumental and largely nonsensical and undeserved success built on lack of effort, greed and sadness. It will be fine without several companies doing nothing but occasionally reminding people they exist. Furthermore, who DOES need it? I can’t think of a corner of interactive visual tomfoolery that requires advocacy anymore (when it comes to platforms, mind).

  4. Metalhead9806 says:

    PC gaming didn’t need them… So now they say PC gaming isnt the most dominant gaming platform? Sure it is.
    Most hardware sales (parts), most revenue in software sales… Both Steam and GoG are booming, Greenman just partnered will Valve, EA and Ubi so they could have a more robust gaming catalog.

    These guys see that no one cares that they are backing PC so they are shifting gears to mobile trying to down play the platform.

    The PC rose up because of Valve and Blizzard. Its continues to grow due to all the great digital stores we have and that more and more developers around the world consider the PC platform as a invaluable community of gamers to cater to.

    The “Alliance” had nothing to do with that.

  5. MeestaNob says:

    Different name, same irrelevance.

  6. pilouuuu says:

    “PC is no longer the most dominant gaming form factor”. Nice way to defend something, you a-holes!

    • jalf says:

      Yeah, that stuck out to me too. Never mind the fact that PCGA was never relevant, and never really *did* anything.

      But they’re now basically saying that they only want to “defend” what they see as the strongest, most dominant platforms in gaming? I’m sure the mobile gaming industry is just *desperate* for the assistance of a powerhouse like the PCGA. Truly they’ve found a noble cause to fight for.

      *mind blown*

  7. Tei says:

    Some people only make money when profit grown. If profit is stable, don’t grown nor shrink is time to fire 18000 people or maybe more, and see if things change a bit. These are the people that control this world.

    These shitstains make more money ruining the life of millions of people, that a small african country. They have the moral of a serial killer, and the power of a God.

    Neo-Economist only tolerate one religion, his own.

  8. po says:

    Just sounds like an excuse for people to pay themselves an additional salary.

  9. Seafort says:

    The PCGA was about as relevant to PC gaming as Microsoft.

    Is this just an old boys club thinking they are all hip and trendy trying to support the next best thing then moving on when they are pretty much irrelevant to the cause.

    PCGA to me was next to worthless and never supported PC gaming. They just wanted people to think they were doing a good thing so they could rake in millions of dollars for doing nothing. I guess all the members are CEOs trying to get extra bonuses to top up their already absurd salaries.

  10. KevinLew says:

    Here’s how I interpreted this change:

    They form a PC Gaming Alliance with the intent of trying to simplify and standardize PC gaming. It sounds like a good idea, but the problem is that it takes both effort and money. The sales numbers show that PC gaming is the lowest revenue platform for games, and all the video game money is in consoles and the mobile market. In the end, nobody does anything because there’s no point in investing time and money in the smallest market segment. Plus, the PC sells games on its own and it’s continuing to grow despite claims that it’s dying.

    Now that mobile is viewed as the new gold rush by big companies and the PCGA never had any purpose, rather than disband and make it look like they are abandoning PC gaming, they just alter their goals to include mobile gaming. Now they can just work on putting standards on mobile games. Whether or not this is really needed is another issue, but these companies would rather work on mobile games anyway so maybe it could help them make more money.

    • SomeDuder says:

      But if they didn’t succeed with the relatively tight grouping of PC games, why do they think they could possibly succeed in the fantastically cluttered environment of mobile device games? There’s a disgusting amount of developers cranking out pure trite that tries to charge money for each action, abandonware, non-functional gunk and downright malware.

      Trying to put any form of regulation on that is a fight they can’t win. I’m very doubtful that Apple and the Google Play team are going to allow games that only adhere to the criteria of these guys.

      Actually, HOW does this club still exist? What generates their income?

  11. frightlever says:

    The only valid reason for something like this would be as a political lobby group, but they never got involved in that, as far as I know.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Seeing who they originally had on hand they could have done something useful by simplifying the process of porting games from consoles to PC and raising the lower bar of hardware and software so that even iGPUs could provide meaningful gaming at 720p.

      Heck its a pipedream but if nVidia, Intel, AMD and Microsoft worked out a cross licensing agreement at the lower end of the scale so that Microsoft could turn around and create a universal minimum spec for DirectX (ie all hardware manufactured after 20 something will support the following XYZ features with a resolution of 720p at 30fps).

      Of course you’d then have a certification process so that games can have this nice little logo that guarantees it will run in 720p at 30fps with XYZ features and buyers are looking for that logo instead of the specifications on the back.

  12. Meat Circus says:

    I love it. A mobile gaming alliance that includes none of the most important players in mobile gaming.

    Still, it’s better (marginally) than a PC gaming alliance that’s full of people who’ve been actively working to destroy PC gaming.

  13. yabonn says:

    All this is besides the point. The point is : he said “form factor”.

  14. Distec says:

    “So everybody has played Angry Birds on their phone, SO MOBILE IS DOMINANT FORM FACTOR”

    These are grown-ass adults in the gaming industry. One shouldn’t have to remind them of the gulf of differences between a console/PC game and a free time-waster on your iPhone.

  15. Premium User Badge The Sombrero Kid says:

    The Venture Capitalists for the Ruination of Gaming Alliance.

  16. Blackseraph says:

    Yes well who cares, people probably care more about that dodo and they have been extinct for centuries already. I certainly do.

  17. Spacewalk says:

    An alliance of traitors?

  18. Premium User Badge Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Smingleigh Super-Heavy Industries & Bakery is a founding member of the PCGA, and I will be having WORDS with them about this move.

  19. FireStorm1010 says:

    The baffling thing for me is : who pays these clowns? I mean this organization must earn someehow to pay those jolly gnetlemen who do… nobody knows what.

    Unless its like this safe place to drop all the absolutely worse employees of big corpororations, which pay it to exists just to have a place to send people they cant outright fire but must get rid off to minimize harm :).

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I’ve heard of stories that dump or “re-locate” people into sections that work with things which are mind-numbingly boring and meaningless, because they want to get rid of them but can’t justify firing them. Those were all in-house, though, and having an external company like PCGA fulfill that purpose sounds both like unnecessary work and as a less discreet way of doing that.

  20. Chuckleluck says:

    This sounds a lot like the United Nations, in that it seems vague and useless.

    • teije says:

      But at least we know that the UN is all about nations being united. An outstandingly clear mission.

      This org is hilarious in its irrelevancy, obtuseness and ultimate meaninglessness. So identical to most industry associations really. Mutual wank-festing at annual conferences.

  21. Bart Stewart says:

    Matt Ployhar of the (former) PCGA had some explanations for this name change. He responded to E Zachary Knight’s criticism in the comments about this change for the Gamasutra story on it.

    Here’s the part of his comment I found most interesting:

    I for one really don’t care what OS (Windows, SteamOS, MacOSX, Android x86, etc) is powering my game, or what the hardware looks like (Laptop, Desktop, AiO, Tablet/Phablet, Phone, SmartTV, etc). What I DO care about is that PC gamers are not being force fed, manipulated, and given limited options for games, upgrades, business models, peripherals, etc.

    If I’m reading this correctly, it implies the PCGA never understood that the platform affects the kind of games you can make. I play PC games because they’re generally deeper and more varied than console-approved or gefingerpoken games.

    As I said over there, I think I’m actually pleased that the former PCGA have finally acknowledged that they don’t actually care about the platform that enables deeper/different games. This opens up room for an organization that understands the value to gaming of the general-purpose computer, and that will actively seek to support it as such.

    • Dave L. says:

      Ployhar seems super defensive, and more than a little hubristic in that comment, too.

      This quote, particularly, is kind of nuts:

      No.. the #1 problem has, and likely always will be, getting everyone on the same page. That’s simply the reality of being in an open ecosystem. Several companies continue to believe they can do it ‘on their own’ – ‘don’t see the value’ of joining etc. It’s always been a reap what you sow condition. Most of the bigger ISVs simply don’t have time, feel they already have what’s necessary for success & so forth. Ironically… they always come back; but I often see pride get in the way.

      Nobody has re-joined the PCGA after leaving. And none of the major ISVs have ever joined in the first place.

  22. jennifer1 says:

    Robot Unicorn Attack

    http://robotunicornattack.us

    Upon loading up the game and probably startling Google Chrome itself with the absurdness of what I was playing, the word disappointment temporarily fell out of my vocabulary because after even 30 seconds of playing my head was filled with rainbows, amazement, and awe at how simultaneously simple and entertaining the experience was. Aside from the frightening array of colours that would distress even the hardiest of retinas, everything about this game is unbelievably simple and easy to grasp. Taking the fact that you are a mechanical unicorn as given, you are thrown into a bubblegum world of fantasy and sparkle which, upon witnessing it with your own eyes, will make you understand what those Skittles talk about when they bang on about “tasting the rainbow”. As a robot unicorn, your job is to simply run endlessly across terrain, jumping intermittently when the ground beneath you ends and landing on the next platform. The jumps become increasingly difficult as you progress, with terrain and giant star-shaped obstacles getting in your way.

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