While site hopping (as part of my monitoring duties for the IRL work), my handy-dandy My Yahoo agregators found an… intriguing piece of news from industry titan id software. Actually, that’s the link to the full article as reported in Wired.com, but the original Wired article says it all: “Id Losing Faith In PC Gaming.”
In a very real sense, the PC’s losing to consoles with regards to games is a debate that has largely gone unreported but I’m sure every gamer has this in mind.
I recall a conversation I had with the kuya one time over electronic RPGs. It was that time I was fed up with MMORPGs and, hardcore, old-school RPer that I am, was looking for a return to some good, ol’ dungeon stomping and questing. I wanted to once again experience the feel of being part of a grand tale and seeing it to completion.
The kuya opined that, unless I re-install Neverwinter Nights, it’d be tough finding a decent PC-based RPG out there. PC game developers were jumping into the MMORPG bandwagon after all, and if I wanted a good, offline RPG then I’d better see to getting the PS2 repaired or coughing up the dough for a new model.
(I still think Sega’s Phantasy Star Universe would have been a wonderful “other option” for RF and WoW, if not for the damned company not having the Philippines in its country list! Yes, you can’t even play the offline version of PSU in the PC unless you can connect to the PSU servers. It’s like that horrible experience with Company of Heroes, neh?)
Id, of course, presents a “designer’s side” view of the issue when it gave its reasons for “losing faith” in the PC market of gamers. With the short evolution sequence of personal computers, your high end PC bought in January would be obsolete the 12 months later. I have a Core Duo PC with 2 gig in mem (I just checked. I was rather surprised, too), and a decent vidcard in an FX 5500, backed up by a 150 gig HD. Yes, it wasn’t top-of-the-line when it was bought late in 2006, but I can play Dark Crusade in it with all settings on max.
Even then, I saw games that it could barely handle unless the settings were set rather low. And the new flagship games for PCs, the MMORPGs, also required tremendous resources just to run in their full glory. And there’s always the worry that, given the length of time a hardcore gamer abuses his PC, its a toss up on which would melt first under the stress: the Intel chip, the memory cards, or the hard drive.
Contrast that with consoles. Our PS2 – may its digital soul rest in peace – lasted through several years of longhaul gaming, displaying gorgeous graphics all-throughout and lag-free gaming. We’ve seen the games for it go from “barely above PS1 quality” to the amazing stuff of the Final Fantasy XI and Soul Calibur 2 era.
And nothing – absolutely nothing – beats Koei’s Dynasty and Samurai Warriors line for sheer stress reduction value.
Still, like id also points out, there will remain “keyboard and mouse” gamers. I saw that last Saturday when several RF players took on Wii’s Rayman during our guild’s EB. In that sense, my brother was right: the MMORPGers will keep the PC alive as a gaming platform. Them and the RTSers.