You know, over the last couple years I've tried to ignore the argument that PC Gaming is dead, or dying. I don't really buy it. People look at NTP numbers and think, "1-2% fluctuation in sales? PC gaming is over!". Over the last couple of weeks, however, there have been a couple claims
, that really piss me off to the point that I must break my silence on the subject.
Now, I can understand why Michael Russell may say what he said. I mean, his game did not do anywhere near the kind of sales they were hoping, and considering it wasn't all that great to begin with, I'm betting he wanted to come up with a decent excuse for its failure. So sure, blame piracy, it works for the music business (see: sarcasm). But ID? What possible reason could ID have for making this argument? Doom 3 was one of the highest grossing games in 2004. What good are you doing to the PC community when you and your fellow developers are telling us that our platform is dying...because of us?
I think it's time we looked at a few facts
. First of all, PC gaming is not the only place in the industry where piracy exists. I could go to China Town right now with $30CND in hand, and mod my PS2. Then I can go, rent a game--oh, lets say Okami
, since it looks awesome--for about $5, burn it on a DVD, and be on my mary way of owning playing as many PS2 games as I like for about 10% of the retail price. Not to mention, since there are more consoles per house than gaming PC's these days, how many of those do you figure have been modded? You think maybe, just maybe, console gamers are just as bad for piracy as PC gamers are?
Secondly, PC game sales over the years have always been stable, if not marginally increasing. In terms of growth, online sales and microtransactions have completely transformed the way the PC market works. For one, MMO's are a huge cash cow. With 6 million players, I really doubt Blizzard is having a hard time racking in the dough. Direct to Drive formats like Steam, and EA's "Download", have also been able to generate plenty of sales without hurting the retail market. And if you want to talk about the games themselves, you don't really need to look further than Spore
to see the ingenuity of PC games--though, if you want to look further, there's always Oblivion
, Gothic 3
, Dawn of War
, World of Warcraft
, Half-Life 2
, Galactic Civilizations
, Civ IV
....you get the picture?
That's not to say that PC gaming is in perfect stability. There's are a few reasons that PC gaming hasn't been able to garner the kind of sales that the console market does. Sure, piracy is a factor. I never said it wasn't. But there are other, much bigger factors at work here. Lets consider the fact that there are fewer developers willing to work on PC games than console games--at least ones that aren't doing multiplatform. If you look at the sales stats over the last two years, you'd see that there were way more console games released than PC games--though the PC games, like Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, were the more anticipated games. Or how bout the fact that retailers don't give a shit about pc games--I should know, I work for one. Have you been to an EB Games lately? The pc section is tiny, and usually in a dark corner with small movement space. So tell me, how can a platform defend itself when both retailers and developers are completely ignoring the market?
It really makes me shake my head when a company like ID, whose roots are deep in PC gaming, tries to make a case for
the toe-tagging of the PC market. Way to help the cause.