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Is Accessibility Killing PC Gaming?

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AOwpr 30th August 2008, 11:12 Quote
Quote:
So, go on, you go first. Why was last year so good? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I'd attribute it to three things: 1. Valve released a game(pack); 2. Games in general are slowly improving (both new releases and sequels); 3. Random luck. ;)

I think this year will be just as good as last. Better for RTS. :)
wuyanxu 30th August 2008, 11:12 Quote
ah, lack of games for summer.... im bored out of my skulls, been watching Scrubs, Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Reaper all summer.... indeed 2007 have spoiled us PC gamers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by article
A lot of PC gamers tend to worry needlessly about consolification of their favourite games and the way that the PC and console game styles are getting blended, but I honestly think that a lot of those people are missing the point. The point is that games are actually getting better by and large. More people are playing and more people are finishing their games. Why? Accessibility, simply.
more people playing = good for publishers != good for gamers
Halo3 on XboxLive with a lot of kid n0obs playing is not as fun as TF2 on PC with a few experienced players.

death to consolification! Oblivion would have been so much different (see a few IU mods) if lead platform were PC. so will UT3. and no doubt Fallout3.

but PC gaming isn't dying, it's just getting boring by the day.

i personally blame accessibility issue on PC manufacturers who put 8600GT graphics cards and say it's a gamers computer
Nature 30th August 2008, 11:58 Quote
Well since we are observers of this and citizens in this field we all have valuble input. I think it's interesting to even bring up this topic!

The last I heard of it was around the release of the X360 and PS3. I liked that you mentioned kids are getting conditioned to consoles, because I was 7 when the SNES came out and I grew up on 16 bit as most are growing up on the PS2.

But I willingly moved to PC when I saw the Adults playing doom... It blew my mind. PC games Blow peoples minds, that's why I respect the crysis staff for rejecting console ports early, and am dismayed by bethesda who's CEO I watched in an interview proved how far away he was from the ethos of "fallout".

Do i wanna play MGS4 or Halo 3? Not really, well yeah actually. But not even a decimal as much as I would want to play half life3! Games like the orange box are healthy for the masses. Especially here in China where kids would never be exposed to that warped, mushroom influenced game designer. That's why WOW is so popular... it's accessible and a fast food snow flake.
hodgy100 30th August 2008, 12:22 Quote
i respect console and PC gaming in different ways, i have always been a console guy having being bought up on the megadrive and ps1 to buyinying a PS3 in march last year (yes i payed the full £425 O_o) and from this i have been drawn to pc gaming, mainly because of crysis to begin with, but now because of user generated content, i find it amazing whay people can do whan they put their minds to it, because of this i am planning on building my self a gaming pc closer to christmas :D i also want to make the point that pc games are a bit cheaper than console games.

like said though the problem with pc gaming is accessability. you have to have decent knowlege about pc's if you want to know what games will work on your pc. microsoft have tried to combat this with their vista experience rating thingy.

halo3 failed tbh i remember reading a reveiw saying how bad the single player is and then they go and give it a 9/10
MGS4 while being an amazing game, just has too many cutscenes (mission breifing FTL) i do love it though.
portal and crysis blew me away and this is really what opened my eyes to pc gaming :D

so i dont think pc gaming is dying :)
Jordan Wise 30th August 2008, 12:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AOwpr
1. Valve released a game(pack)

+1
I think there were too many AAA games last year tbh, they will all have suffered a loss because people can't afford to fork out for 5-6 games (about £30 each) within the space of 2 months like it was last oct/nov with Orange box, Bioshock, UT3, Crysis, Mass Effect and the others from that quarter, I remember that I had to buy most of last years games early this year.
Mentai 30th August 2008, 12:50 Quote
I was watching a Dead Space trailer this evening and thought that it looked cool but I wondered how far I'd get. Traditionally I never broached the learning curve that the older survival horror games had (original resident evil, limited saves, ug). Then I remembered it was being made primarily for 360 and realised it would be consolified in the most modern sense, only the mentally deficient wouldnt be able to make it through... This means I would be able to enjoy the experience as it was meant, although perhaps with my safety assured with slightly less tension.
I get that for many people this is a terrible thing, like the respawn pods in bioshock. However there will always be games that provide a challenge if you want them. Mostly multiplayer (playing against other hardcore gamers) since you have to unlock difficulties in single player games (I wish they wouldn't do this).
As for last year being such a brilliant year for gaming, I counted over 10 titles I am quite interested in over the next few months, so I might actually end up enjoying 2008 more :D
mrb_no1 30th August 2008, 13:27 Quote
nice article Joe, i don't often like what you write in games reviews but this article made a decent read and you make good points.

As for why this year might not be as good as last, luck. I don’t know much/anything about games development, but when games like starcraft 2 and duke nukem have been in the making for a decade(exaggeration for effect) how can you know or argue why one year is better than the last. but when it takes 2-3 years to make a game its more effective to decide which year in the future will be the best by knowing what games labs are starting work on now.

As for the hardware comment that someone made, saying a 8800gtx doesn’t make a gaming pc, its not that bad a place to start although with the 4000 series its becoming outdated, it would still allow people to play crysis and the like.

For me i was never sure if pc gaming was dying, media attention put alot of focus on the consoles and the fights between media formats on them and Sony winning, Microsoft buying exclusives from Sony who don’t tie developers in....so where am I going, part of me is thinking that the lack of media, or positive media attention on PC gaming is making people think that its dying, when realistically, in the last 2 years we've seen some of the best games of all time in certain genres, I’m an RTS and FPS man, so sup com and its expansion (forged alliance) and the likes of company of heroes and then TF2 and Crysis on PC only, so what are people complaining about? Maybe because whilst this is an international site, there are lots of brits on here and we like to bitch and moan about stiff, its only conjecture on my part and I may be wrong, but like Joe says, pc gaming isn’t dying, its changing (I think I remember you saying that in the last Para~!).

Furthermore, I don’t own a console but have played cod4 and bad company on my mates machines. Bad company was a let down for me and I’m a massive Battlefield fan boy as I still actively play competitively in a bf2142 clan and one of the things that make pc gaming in the bf and fps genre for me is squad play, cod4 has none and that for me is enough for me to not play the game as its not enjoyable, as for bad company i didn’t play it online, so I cant comment but the single player was a slight let down, but part of that might be to my conversion from console to pc 6 years ago and now I might as well use my feet on a controller in an fps as aiming is shocking but then thats down to preference and ties into Joe's big point of making games accessible to people! Anyways, I’ve rambled on here for ages, and I swear I drifted off topic a few times (heads a bit screwed from being punched in boxing :P) so laterz people,

once again Joe, nice article,

peace

fatman
lp1988 30th August 2008, 14:04 Quote
One of the advantages of the pc is definetly that it is way more personal, it is difficult to get much of a talk out of a platform, many people in here has a self build computer (myself inclusive) and are putting a great deal of pride, time, care and money into their machines.

whenever pc players starts talking it is not only about games but also about hardware, settings and how to get the most out of everything, (cloking, price etc) people who are using a console has a more limited range of subjekts for disussion.

while the gaming experience may bee as good and in some cases better on a console than a pc, the console lacks the ability to be costumized as mutch as a pc.
I believe that the ability to make a pc individual has been and allways will be one reason why people are using the pc, and as long there are people who want pc games, companies will continue making new and better games for the pc gamers.
the pc gamers may have gotten a competition we are not use to, but it is not a bad thing as it may raise the numbers of gamers and therefore the profit of the gaming industry, good for buisness and in the end good for all gamers on all platforms.
dr-strangelove 30th August 2008, 16:43 Quote
Great article Joe, it's nice to see someone look objectively at what's happening to the games industry.

To me the real issue is that games have become less and less involving over time because their stories have become less interesting, or simply have less depth to them. Take a game like Oblivion and compare it to it's predecessor Morrowind. Oblivion was a great game but the premise was simple: big evil god wants to destroy world. Compare that to Morrowind where the really big issue was the dissapearance of the dwarves. I can remeber spending days running around Morrowind trying to find out what happened to the Dwemer and when I finally found out I was immensely satisfied. At the end of the day Oblivion was less satisfying because there was less work to do wheras in Morrowind satisfaction came from knowing you had achieved something that not everyone who played this game would achieve.

So to end my rant I think that in becoming more accessible, games are also becoming less rewarding. At the end of the day everyone expects to beat Halo 3 or MGS4 without much difficulty. That's ok in the short term but when we look back at these games if we were always going to beat them then we don't really feel like we've achieved anything.
Dead Ghost 30th August 2008, 16:58 Quote
Nice article, you read my mind. :D
You're saying that console and pc games can live together, as long as they are both deep and accesible. In parts, this is true, but imo it doesn't work with all types of games (hardcore pc rpgs come to my mind). But ok, let's say that they can make all games (pc and consoles) accesible AND deep. But it's a VERY hard thing to do. And some recent multiplatform games showed just how hard it is: Oblivion, UT 3, just to name thge two most famous ones. Both suffered from going multiplatform.
Amon 30th August 2008, 17:33 Quote
Joe is now the first person I've ever known to have observed and agreed with my perspective of the accessibility threat to the PC. I tip my hat and raise my teacup to you, good sir. Jolly brill.
metarinka 30th August 2008, 18:21 Quote
honestly I don't understand how people will think pc games will die? never mind the fact that they have the largest installed base. The top selling game (the sims series) started on pc and the most profitable game (WoW) could not work on consoles. Basically put I don't think pc is going anywhere, I have no doubt that markets refine and change due to economics etc, for instance you'll probably never see a fighting game released on computer. Likewise it's hard to do RTS or MMO's well on consoles.

Really pc and console will coexist each with a market share appropriate to the audience.
I have console favourites and pc favourites I play them about equally, smash brothers melee would never work on pc, and counter-strike wouldn't be perhaps one of the best multiplayer fps ever if it was released on consoles.
alexandros1313 30th August 2008, 18:34 Quote
Well I disagree completely. Games are getting better? Are you serious? You may like your games simple or dumbed down or whatever, but don't try to tell us that Bioshock was as deep and involving as System Shock 2. And I'm not even going to touch your Thief vs Deadly shadows comparison. It is no less than sacrilege.
zoot2boot 30th August 2008, 19:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandros1313
Well I disagree completely. Games are getting better? Are you serious? You may like your games simple or dumbed down or whatever, but don't try to tell us that Bioshock was as deep and involving as System Shock 2. And I'm not even going to touch your Thief vs Deadly shadows comparison. It is no less than sacrilege.

+1
keith_j_snyder2 30th August 2008, 20:46 Quote
Then what will nvidia & ati do, stop making better graphics card because from now on there won't be any great game coming to PC & how long will one can count on console life?
Will i have to start playing MMO games?
I was psyched about Resident Evil 5 but it is only in 360 & PS3, i m just glad atleast GTA4 is making its way to PC but after a loooooooong time. BUt whats next?
pimlicosound 30th August 2008, 21:14 Quote
This is an interesting article that raises objective questions that I think some of the posters here haven't quite grasped.

There seems to be an assumed conflict here between the ideas of accessibility and quality: that if more people are able to play something, the worse it must naturally be. There seems to be a mentality that if a game is an equivalent of the film "Independence Day", it must be bad, because it's so easy for nearly everyone to enjoy, but that if a game is an equivalent of "Blade Runner", why, then it takes time and effort to fully appreciate and must therefore be better.

I grew up with both PC and console gaming, so I don't think I have an obvious bias either way, but I must confess that I now play my games exlusively on my X360, not my self-built PC. There are many reasons for this, including title exclusivity, earlier releases, and the comfort of playing from my sofa and enjoying the big-screen experience. And yes, I would say that today's games, as made for X360, are more accessible than a lot of the older PC-exclusive games.

However, I like this. I think it is A GOOD THING! I've realised that, in RPGs for example, I just don't care about cultivating abstract statistics, when what really matters is creating a powerful character that makes gameplay fun. But I've also come to realise that accessibility doesn't necessarily mean a sacrifice of depth.

SW:KOTOR was released first on XBox, but it had one of the most satisfying stories in gaming history. Mass Effect similarly. GTA started life on PC as a fairly simple top-down driving game with a smattering of comical schooting, but on consoles has become an expansive open-world title. GTA4 was one of the best games, start to finish, that I've ever played.

COD4 was a thrilling, cinematic experience in single-player, like playing through a Tom Clancy story (for some reason, much better than any of the Tom Clancy branded games).

I don't see accessibility as a sacrifice. I see it as an open door, an opportunity, for more people to enjoy something that has the potential to be brilliant. I think that the brilliance of a game has nothing to do with accessibility, but that if a game is brilliant, it really ought to be accessible so that as many people as possible find the inclination to play through it. Yes, this is difficult, as previous posters have said, but this is why we pay £30-40 for a game.
CowBlazed 30th August 2008, 23:26 Quote
Only game from last year I still play quite a bit: TF2. Thanks Valve. Where would PC gamers be without em :p
enzolt 31st August 2008, 00:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1


As for the hardware comment that someone made, saying a 8800gtx doesn’t make a gaming pc, its not that bad a place to start although with the 4000 series its becoming outdated, it would still allow people to play crysis and the like.

nobody said 8800gtx, it was a 8600 gt....
knuck 31st August 2008, 01:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon
Joe is now the first person I've ever known to have observed and agreed with my perspective of the accessibility threat to the PC. I tip my hat and raise my teacup to you, good sir. Jolly brill.

Lies ! My sig proves I also think that way, I am just too retarded to use all the fancy words Joe uses in his articles

:D


PS : death to consolification !
Scirocco 31st August 2008, 02:47 Quote
Woot, Sound of Music cheesecake! ;P
Nature 31st August 2008, 12:28 Quote
Isn't it about practicallity?

Consoles= user friendly new games for ya!

PC's= Bizzare contraptions that will explode if you look at them wrong.

Upgrading PC's costs so much! Do you wanna play those console games in the best way? Ah, the PC.

Do you wanna have a standard to play with peeps all over? Console...
wuyanxu 31st August 2008, 12:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature

Upgrading PC's costs so much! Do you wanna play those console games in the best way? Ah, the PC.

hold on RIGHT there!

PC: £400 main components including Windows (see bittech recent article) + £150 22inch monitor + £30 speaker + £300 on 10 newly released games + £80 on optional desk and comfy chair ==> 960
PS3/xbox360: £250 for xbox360 with HDMI or £300 for PS3 only 40GB + £300 for a 32inch TV + £400 on 10 newly released games + £100 on optional comfy sofa ==> 1050 for xbox360 and 1100 for PS3

the games costs more, the console doesn't cost less, and each upgrade of the console costs more than each upgrade of a graphics card. oh, and don't forget to mention a large enough room to put the TV and sofa, :) with a PC, just a desk and the comfy chair in any room will do.
spectre456 31st August 2008, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
hold on RIGHT there!

PC: £400 main components including Windows (see bittech recent article) + £150 22inch monitor + £30 speaker + £300 on 10 newly released games + £80 on optional desk and comfy chair ==> 960
PS3/xbox360: £250 for xbox360 with HDMI or £300 for PS3 only 40GB + £300 for a 32inch TV + £400 on 10 newly released games + £100 on optional comfy sofa ==> 1050 for xbox360 and 1100 for PS3

the games costs more, the console doesn't cost less, and each upgrade of the console costs more than each upgrade of a graphics card. oh, and don't forget to mention a large enough room to put the TV and sofa, :) with a PC, just a desk and the comfy chair in any room will do.

i gotta use that comparison on some console fanboys i know who are always like "0mg!!1 pcs costs $1000 more evry time u upgrade!!".

don't forget that components/peripherals and games on the pc drop in price faster than their console counterparts (especially with competition).
eek 31st August 2008, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nature

Upgrading PC's costs so much! Do you wanna play those console games in the best way? Ah, the PC.

hold on RIGHT there!

PC: £400 main components including Windows (see bittech recent article) + £150 22inch monitor + £30 speaker + £300 on 10 newly released games + £80 on optional desk and comfy chair ==> 960
PS3/xbox360: £250 for xbox360 with HDMI or £300 for PS3 only 40GB + £300 for a 32inch TV + £400 on 10 newly released games + £100 on optional comfy sofa ==> 1050 for xbox360 and 1100 for PS3

the games costs more, the console doesn't cost less, and each upgrade of the console costs more than each upgrade of a graphics card. oh, and don't forget to mention a large enough room to put the TV and sofa, :) with a PC, just a desk and the comfy chair in any room will do.
Including the cost of the TV and sofa in that comparison doesn't really help to prove your point. Most people will already own these. In fact, I'd argue that if someone doesn't own/watch TV, they are not really going to be the target audience for a console!

I certainly don't go around claiming that the cost of my Wii was £2500 just because it requires a TV and sofa!!

The cost of owning a console is less than a PC, that's pretty much fact. Sure, £400 will net you a PC more than capable of playing any games today, but will it really stand the test of time and play all games released 5-6 years down the line without looking like a slide show? More than likely not (especially given the budget of £400 meant only getting average/budget components at the time of purchase!) meaning an upgrade is almost certainly going to be required.

Of course, if you buy ten's of games a year, then the extra cost of the games for a console may start to reverse this, but I'd be surprised if the average person had enough time to play and money to buy enough games to make a material difference.
Diosjenin 1st September 2008, 07:51 Quote
There's two things I'd like to bring up here. One is KOTOR, which I believe was largely responsible for - or at least one of the first indicators of - the trend of increased multi-platform accessibility that you build your article around. KOTOR, at its core, is an RPG in the truest sense of the term. The heads-up display was largely console-centric as well (as it was an xBox game more than a PC game).

And yet, despite the 'auto-level' option presented at level-up, it still offered you extraordinarily fine control over your character's statistics and configuration - control which could make the difference between an easy experience and a more frustrating experience. Though admittedly I could have missed one, I don't remember reading any review of the PC or xBox version that complained about the game being overly complicated.

I may be a PC-centric player, but KOTOR was the second real game I ever played (since I was an electronically deprived child), and I certainly don't think that KOTOR was necessarily an inaccessible experience. Of course, I don't think Warcraft III (my first real game) was an inaccessible experience either. Maybe this all speaks more about me than the games. I don't know.

This is the second thing.
Quote:
Games, like times, are changing though and I for one am ready to embrace the evolution of games from deep and over-complicated affairs to streamlined and more open experiences and as long as we don’t lose the fun-factor in the transition then I don’t really see what there is to complain about.

There's a huge assumption in that statement - that the 'fun-factor' is why we play games. I do believe that's true for the majority of games - but I'm both detail-oriented and a total sucker for a great story, and the fact that games (like KOTOR) have succeeded despite their not being as blatantly action-packed as a lot of their competition goes to show that there are a huge number of people out there who, if not exactly like myself, at least get a kick out of the same types of games.

Assuming the continued existence of similar gamers (who can and will play a game for more than its sheer ability to pump adrenaline), that leaves us with a much deeper, far-running question: What are games supposed to be?

As it would seem, even a full-length article on that subject would barely scratch the surface. Thus I highly recommend reading 'A Theory of Fun for Game Design' by Raph Koster and take my exit.

- Diosjenin -
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