Ready For My Close-Up: PC Gaming Gets A Spotlight At E3

And lo’ the clouds parted and E3’s suited powers-that-be waved their bejeweled hand and now there’s going to be an entirely new conference of sorts dedicated to PC Gaming. Oh Sweet Mariah Carey, such things have been a long time coming. As a long-time attendee of E3, I can tell you first hand that that’s the place you go when you’re basically just looking for an in-the-trenches view of the most macho of console arms races. Amid such tense and enthusiastic pissing contests, PC gaming has often found itself ignored.

But hardware folks AMD and cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer have announced they’re hosting a new PC gaming pageant extravaganza during E3 week this year, the PC Gaming Show.

The event takes place on June 16th in downtown Los Angeles, where things will kick off in the Belasco Theater at 5 p.m. PT. If, like me, you prefer to attend conferences in your pants, with your dog, the entire event will be streamed via Twitch. According to its official website, speakers will include Cliff Bleszinski and Dean Hall, as well as developers such as Blizzard, Square Enix, Devolver Digital and Bohemia Interactive. But you can also expect a few game reveals.

“PC gaming is in a golden age, with more powerful and affordable hardware than ever before, thousands of games available through Steam, Origin and other platforms, and millions of viewers regularly watching eSports online,” the announcement reads. “Now, for the first time, the PC platform will have its own event during E3, where the community will be able to celebrate this era with some of the biggest names in PC gaming and see the innovations that lie ahead.”

48 Comments

  1. Tainted says:

    “Cheery RPS Fanzine PC Gamer” gets me every time!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      Yes, I would have described them as ‘Plucky’ rather than ‘Cheery’.

  2. Robin says:

    It’s not really though, is it? Just AMD realising that they can use the trademark-free “PC Gaming” moniker to get people interested in a press conference that would otherwise be treated as an afterthought.

    The only company that could credibly pull off a ‘platform level’ PC gaming conf would be Valve, who don’t seem to be involved in this at all.

    • Nevard says:

      They have Blizzard, Square Enix.,. and Devolver Digital. At the very least it will be a varied show and probably something interesting will come out of it.

    • subedii says:

      Anyone remember the “PC Gaming Alliance”? Another body that tried to do the same thing, also lead by hardware vendors, and basically didn’t do jack all?

      I mean at least they’ve got some actual PC developers on board this time, but Valve’s absence is a pretty major thing if you’re, you know, going to be talking about the PC games industry. Where’s Occulus and VR? CD Projekt and GOG? Heck, even Electronic Arts and Origin?

      Instead we’ve got… Cliff Blezinski? This guy?

      “I think people would rather make a game that sells 4.5 million copies than a million and “Gears” is at 4.5 million right now on the 360. I think the PC is just in disarray… what’s driving the PC right now is ‘Sims’-type games and ‘WoW’ and a lot of stuff that’s in a web-based interface. You just click on it and play it. That’s the direction PC is evolving into

      “Here’s the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know bit torrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software.

      “http://bit.ly/eTr0BR – BULLETSTORM DEMO COMING TO 360/PS3 JANUARY 25th. In other news, PC gamers are grumpy about this.”

      Although that seemed to be the general attitude at Epic in general. Mike Capps:

      “And guess what?” he says, “It’s because the money’s on console.”

      “We still do PC, we still love the PC, but we already saw the impact of piracy: it killed a lot of great independent developers and completely changed our business model.” Capps discusses the rise of free-to-play microtransaction based games, like Farmville, the “biggest game of all right now.”

      “So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming,” he concludes, “but it’s not going to look like Gears of War.”

      • DanMan says:

        Yeah, that guy’s a tool. But we all stopped listening a long time ago, didn’t we?

      • Horg says:

        I’m also slightly confused by the inclusion of Dean Hall, who made an ARMA 2 mod that while popular, was never finished, and started work on the standalone but quit before it was finished. That’s his entire contribution to PC gaming so far, putting zombies in a war game and leaving two projects incomplete.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          Maybe they got a discount rate on half a speech?

        • Premium User Badge

          Craig Pearson says:

          Yes, that’s all he did. FFS.

          • Horg says:

            I don’t know what the ‘FFS’ is for, that is literally all he’s done apart from being active on twitter. There are much more accomplished modders and developers out there who could have been invited to speak in his place. You know, people who actually have finished projects on their CV. The popularity of the zombie survival theme is the only reason he’s getting any attention at all, and that hardly qualifies him to be an ambassador for PC promotion.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        Just remember: the PCGA had such stalwart PC gaming defenders as fucking SecuROM in it. It was an utter farce, and AMD would have to fuck up royally to be worse than that.

    • DanMan says:

      It’s a bit strange that the company that supplies both current consoles with CPU and GPU would host a PC even like that.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Yes because the only people with credibility in the PC market are those that run an online store. The company that has the world’s most recognised MMO, RTS and ARPG/Loot em ups and a well recognised MOBA has no credibility. Neither does the company who’s business model is based around selling hardware to PC gamers.

      • subedii says:

        Only people? No. Certainly a heck of a lot more credibility than AMD, who have very literally been here before:

        link to news.cnet.com

        It’s funny you mock the idea of Valve being there because they run an online store, and then praise the inclusion of Blizzard for “well recognised” games.

        Let’s leave aside that Blizzard has their own store (which is largely why the refuse to let their games be sold anywhere else). Not to knock Blizzard as being a significant company and welcome by any means, but you just juxtaposed them against Valve “. Who run some of most biggest competitive games on the planet outside of League of Legends. HotS certainly doesn’t seem to hold a candle to DOTA in player numbers (DEFINITELY not in terms of prize pools). And Starcraft’s been on a hefty slide where CS:GO’s still going up (around 500,000 simultaneous today alone. Compared with maybe 120,000 on Heart of the Swarm).

        Leaving that aside, yes, Steam is literally the biggest distributor of PC games on the market today, and is arguably one of the core reasons it’s survived and thrived to today when almost every other developer and publisher on the 360 generation was either espousing its uselessness, imminent failure, or actively even trying to force a shift to console. And certainly a key reason that CliffyB seems to have done a 180 so hard that anyone watching suffered a redout.

        That’s before as well you get into Valve’s VR tech, which (alongside Occulus), is pretty important to at least mention since the big systems are meant to be hitting this year. I mean after all, even AMD (the show sponsor) seem to be pushing for it quite hard.

        link to engadget.com

        I know that plenty of people are derisive of VR tech (possibly yourself included). Doesn’t change the fact that there’s a pretty hefty movement pushing for it right now from both software and hardware sides of the PC industry, and it is a huge part of the conversation for the future.

        Of course, maybe you’re talking about online stores in general. I still hold CD Projekt as important, not just because of the Witcher, but because GOG is the only completely DRM store on the platform, and it’s still growing when every naysayer at its launch and inception (particularly some of the more hardcore devs when it comes to DRM) was constantly deriding its model as an instant fail. And with the prospect that GOG Galaxy is the only initiative I’ve see that’s actually trying to unify the disparate systems into a cohesive whole.

        Blizzard is fine. But let me put it this way: If Valve, CD Project and Blizzard were running press conferences at the same time about “the future of PC Gaming”, Blizzards would be my lowest priority.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Dear Anyone:

          Insisting Valve need to be present to celebrate and focus on PC gaming is like saying Best Buy needs to have a presence to support consoles since that’s a place where you buy them.

          Valve sell PC games thru Steam. Sure they have made a couple of games, too. And they have helped to rescue PC gaming from the dregs. I get that. But they are a storefront. Their presence isnt necessary for anything.

          That said…Cliff B? Why would you invite that guy to talk about PC gaming?

          • subedii says:

            The biggest retailer on the market, the biggest indie publisher on the market, the company that instigates the biggest shifts in PC games sales, the biggest and most integrated community system on the market, the biggest multiplayer back-end on the market, some of the biggest e-sports games on the market, with associated organising and community management (alongside the biggest tournaments and prize pools), some of the the longest running and successful games community maintenance, probably the biggest backers of PC VR tech outside of Occulus/Facebook, the company that is developing it’s own standalone OS for PC games…

            Right, I mean I can’t imagine what they’d have to discuss really. Certainly when compared to AMD and…Heart Machine.

            Mandatory presence? I don’t think any one company is a mandatory presence. But they’re certainly a heck of a lot more relevant than every other company on that list when it comes to understanding and talking about PC Gaming.

  3. Rizlar says:

    Indeed, press release, thank Origin for this golden age of PC gaming! An online game repository that cannot actually download or update anything unless I reboot into safe mode.

    Great news anyway, there is so much fantastic stuff on PC it’s about time E3 started making room for it.

    • PearlChoco says:

      I lolled.

    • Fenix says:

      Yeah I too was surprised that sentence had Origin in it instead of GoG… at least it didn’t mention Uplay eh?

    • Cross says:

      Never had a problem with Origin, and unlike Steam it offers me decent download speeds and legal refunds. Don’t really see why people have a big beef with it any more.

      • Rizlar says:

        Well my beef is outlined above.

        • April March says:

          I think your Origin might be cursed.

          At least you didn’t complain that Origin uploads every time you load it up (which Steam also does if you only fire it up every blue moon).

  4. edwardh says:

    Good for the industry, I suppose. But personally, I can’t even remember the last E3 I followed closely. Must have been like 5 years ago or so. I just got fed up with the unspectacular crap being hyped there. I get more excited on random days of the week reading what’s new on RPS.

    • Sgt_Big_Bubbaloola says:

      The last one I took interest in was a couple of years ago purely for the entertainment factor of watching Microsoft it itself alive in public during the XBone launch. Followed swiftly by Sony proceeding to roll out the biggest trolling of a corporate competitor ever. It was fun to watch.

  5. vartul says:

    I recovered my RPS account just to say that Emily, you’ve been doing a great job here. :)

  6. Clavus says:

    Interesting line-up of companies and speakers. It’ll never quite catch the wide variety of voices in PC gaming, but it’s a good start. Success depends on whether the organisers can give everyone that wants to be in there a voice, instead of playing favourites.

  7. SaintAn says:

    I don’t trust PC Gamer. Pretty sure they’re in Steam’s pocket from how they acted with the payed mods catastrophe. Seemed like their articles about it were PR trying to push the idea on its readers. Only used it a week before that and saw how they acted and noped the hell out. If I wanted PR telling me what to think I’d use Kotaku and hate men and love everything by Blizzard.

    “PC gaming is in a golden age, with more powerful and affordable hardware than ever before, thousands of games available through Steam, Origin and other platforms”

    That’s certainly a warning to stay away.

    • subedii says:

      I’ve read Kotaku.

      I’m a man.

      They don’t hate me as far as I can tell.

    • welverin says:

      Not everyone was opposed to paid mods, just so you know.

      • Emeraude says:

        Those people were obviously wrong, as demonstrated by their disagreeing with me.

    • Unclepauly says:

      I’ve been watching PCgamer for years myself and there is definitely something in the cool aid over there. Certain games get weird scores and they have no over riding philosophy on gaming. Their opinions on different issues in pc gaming flop around from extreme to extreme with the direction of wind gusts on any given day.

      They gave Dragon Age 2 a score of 94. :D

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        I was editor of (cheery RPS fanzine) PC Gamer before I worked here, btw. I was Dep Ed during the Dragon Age 2 review. They do have a philosophy though it hasn’t always been coherently expressed (better now than when I was there). They are not in Steam’s pocket.

        I think what you’re witnessing is people honestly disagreeing with you. And often, within the same company, honestly disagreeing with each other.

        RPS is better, obv.

  8. Emeraude says:

    Well, I guess we all have our definition of the golden age.

    • John O says:

      “PC gaming is in a golden age, with more powerful and affordable hardware than ever before”… as has been the case at any given point in time since like 1980

  9. SwiftRanger says:

    The more pressing question is why RPS, PC GamesN and PC Gamer (pretty much the only three PC gaming websites I am checking) aren’t joining forces on this one? You guys don’t speak with each other?

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah was wondering that too. Also needs Intel and Nvidia, not to mention all the other folks that appear during CES, etc.

      • Cross says:

        While i fear discrimination against Nvidia Gameworks games, i think that sticking to a few arrangeurs avoid a huge amount of bureaucracy, conroversy and clusterfuckery. If this goes well, there’ll always be next year.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Yeah, this is probably true. I hope it does do well though.

  10. welverin says:

    Would watching press conferences on Twitch be for people who don’t want to wear pants?

    • xsikal says:

      In the US, yes. In the UK, pants = underwear, and trousers = pants, as far as I know.

  11. Premium User Badge

    zigguratvertigo says:

    Emily alluded quite nicely to E3 not being the door that PC gaming needs to get its foot into. And yes, Cliff Bleszinski… and yes, Blizzard… Origin appearing immediately after Steam in golden age justification means that EA are involved somewhere. And the affordable hardware tag that AMD will have needlessly grafted into the PR… It’s a lineup of talking points instead of good people / things.

  12. SuicideKing says:

    At least I won’t have a friend’s 14-year old brother saying “who plays on the PC anymore?!”. :/

    • subedii says:

      I think that argument lost all ability to hold water when they announced that Street Fighter V was coming to PS4 and PC, but not XBox.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Yeah but I was 14 8 years ago. Wait – he’s 16. So 6 years ago I was his age, been through PC vs console wars…not arguing with a 16 year old.

  13. Cross says:

    I’m worried about the implications of AMDs involvement, somehow i can’t imagine very many Nvidia GameWorks games being on show. Still, it’s good that PC finally claims an organised spotlight at E3.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      Nvidia’s GameWorks program is pretty much anti-PC. It’s a walled garden on a platform that’s all about open standards and interoperability. So it surely wouldn’t be “discrimination” even to exclude them outright.