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Op Ed

Follow-ups to to this. Thanks Joao.

Ars Technica - Sorry to say it, but keyboard and mouse are losing the FPS market.
Let's start with the current best-selling franchise in all of gaming: Call of Duty. The best console-specific data I could find for the series of late was first-month sales statistics for Black Ops released by NPD back in 2010. Apparently the game sold 8 million copies on the PS3 and Xbox 360 combined and less than 400,000 on the PC. Even if the unreported digital sales on the PC were ten times as strong as those at retail, and assuming that PC piracy added another 50 percent on top of legitimate downloads, that would still mean there were roughly four console players using a controller for every three playing the PC version in the game's first month. That adds up to a deficit of millions of people for the mouse-and-keyboard crowd, and one that's likely compounded by other Call of Duty games.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Mouse & Keyboard Still A Major Player In FPS Market.
Obviously Orlandís maths here is entirely fictional. But letís play long with it. Itís critical to understand that the stated 400,000 really is just those sold at retail, into a PC market in the US and UK thatís strongly dominated by online sales (either by design or necessity, since finding a PC copy of a game in a shop is quite the trial). Itís reasonable to imagine it represents just a fraction of the real sales, so letís go along with the guesses. Without piracy, weíve got the PC representing, er, half the sales of the consoles combined. So that would be a roughly even split, a third each. (Iím sure thatís not realistic, but hey, these are the numbers being used to prove the PC is irrelevant to shooters!) Tack on our piracy and weíve now got a huge majority of FPS players choosing the PC over either the 360 or the PS3. Even allow the two consoles to be added together, to truly get a representation of the methods of controls, and the estimate here is that 3 out of every 7 players is on mouse/keyboard. 43%. Almost half. And thatís despite everything mentioned above regarding the mainstream explosion of the console. Good grief, the PC is a massive force in FPS, and the Bungie comments couldnít be more wrong! Iíd say with this information, itís pretty damned hard not to argue with Jones.

Gamasutra - What are video game previews for?
Preview culture is of dubious merit to the games industry, too. These events are expensive. Publishers pay for venues, travel, accommodation, food, fancy USB keys full of assets, pens, messenger bags, swag. I don't believe the common complaint that this stuff sways writers -- we often get so much of it that we don't care to have any more, have been doing this long enough that a branded squeak toy isn't going to make us feel unduly positive.

But is all that cost worthwhile to the publisher as budgets skyrocket and staff cuts are everywhere? Is the lost time worthwhile, for devs who are tasked with frantically cobbling together stable pockets of preview build, pre-rendered trailers, media rehearsal, when they might rather be making their game?

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61 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 2.
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41. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 16:20 Jivaro
 
Hyatus wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 16:12:
Why does everyone keep saying you can't game on a couch with a mouse and keyboard? That's what I do. Optical Wireless Mouse + Wireless Keyboard.

Because there are a lot of people that just refuse to think "outside the box". Literally. They see the box that the console comes in, it has a couple of controllers on the outside, and they use them. I am going to go ahead and hazard a guess that this is the reason that most people use the remotes that come with their TV unless their cable or satellite provider does the programming for them at install. They think its too complicated or they just don't think of it at all. yet...give just about anybody a Logitech Harmony or something similar and it gets hard to go back to a standard remote.

Most users here base their preferences on experimentation. Even if someone does use a controller when they could use a mouse/kb...it is because they have tried it both ways and like it better that way. That isn't true for the mainstream at large, at least I don't think it is. I listen to many friends, family members, and co-workers talk about their electronics and very rarely do they think outside of whatever that box is that the device came in. Touch screens are popular for casual gaming despite their obvious limitations for this very reason....you have even LESS to think about or plug in.
 
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40. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 16:12 Verno
 
Hyatus wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 16:12:
Why does everyone keep saying you can't game on a couch with a mouse and keyboard? That's what I do. Optical Wireless Mouse + Wireless Keyboard.

I do it once in awhile too, a $15 lapboard is quite comfy and the Steam Big Picture mode is handy.
 
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39. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 16:12 Hyatus
 
Why does everyone keep saying you can't game on a couch with a mouse and keyboard? That's what I do. Optical Wireless Mouse + Wireless Keyboard.  
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38. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 16:09 Quboid
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 15:26:
Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 11:26:
and even just 1 person on a server using a mouse against everyone else using a pad will ruin the fun for everyone.
Wait, so because everyone is dumbed down to the point where they need the game to autoaim for them, no one should get their feelings hurt when PC master race comes along with a mouse and wtfpwns them using fine control. Gotcha.

This sounds like you're being sarcastic, but I agree. You can't make a game with massive differences in ability built in like that, that's just stupid design and not fun for anyone. I'd like to see a match between Kb/M and gamepad players but that would only be fun for a few minutes.
 
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37. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 16:04 Beamer
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 15:26:
Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 11:26:
and even just 1 person on a server using a mouse against everyone else using a pad will ruin the fun for everyone.
Wait, so because everyone is dumbed down to the point where they need the game to autoaim for them, no one should get their feelings hurt when PC master race comes along with a mouse and wtfpwns them using fine control. Gotcha.

Really? This is your argument?
And you say it so smarmily.

How is it so hard for you to figure out you are not their consumer.
You sit around whining about "dumbed down" and feeling superior. You are not their consumer.

They make games for their consumers! They make games that people who buy their games will enjoy. Making a change that makes you happy will make them unhappy. If you own a restaurant that doesn't allow smoking and one patron requests to smoke, do you let him? No, because then the patrons that don't like smoking will go to a different restaurant that doesn't allow smoking. In making 1 person happy you cost yourself dozens.
 
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36. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 16:00 KS
 
I would have bought a console to play if I could have hooked a keyboard and mouse to it to play. But it's not even an option.

I will buy a freaking bean lapboard to play it on the couch.

PCs used to play like consoles. With Quake, I and some clanmates consciously switched from key turning to being a "mouser", which turned much faster and also opened up up and down tilt of the weapon. You sucked again, then after a few weeks were better.

Splash damage shooting at the ground at the guy's feet, and then the miracle of rocket jumping.

Now it's all second nature. You won't make me go back. You won't!
 
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35. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 15:55 Raptor
 
All console primary games have taught me is that we've learned to cater for the weakest instead of letting them either kill themselves off or learn. (traffic analogy where the laws are aimed at keeping the idiots alive while overly punishing those who can follow the rules and behave)

Big yellow arrows, overprominent tutorials, recharging health, oversimplified controls & options, simplified gameplay, QTE's, ruining all my favourite game series, halting technical progress, heck maybe even the shift from longer to shorter games due to lack of attention span.
 
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34. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 15:26 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 11:26:
and even just 1 person on a server using a mouse against everyone else using a pad will ruin the fun for everyone.
Wait, so because everyone is dumbed down to the point where they need the game to autoaim for them, no one should get their feelings hurt when PC master race comes along with a mouse and wtfpwns them using fine control. Gotcha.
 
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there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
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33. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 15:17 Axis
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:51:
Bodolza wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:48:
Axis wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:26:
The "mouse" on past consoles have SEVERE limitations which is immediately apparent to any PC gamer who would prefer it.

The mouse on PS3 is very similar to a PC, but very few games allow it. Unreal Tournament did, with predictable hilarity. My very first time playing the game I went on-line with gamepad/mouse (gamepad for movement) and completely dominated, and I'm not a very good player. I stopped after a couple more rounds because it was just getting silly.

Yup, not sure where he's getting his information from. Yeah, you can bootstrap a mouse to an Xbox and it won't work properly (it's like a stick instead), but the PS3 has full mouse support.

Developers just don't use it because it would be like the softball episode of the Simpsons - no one wants to play little league when Martin's team has Wade Boggs on it. A tiny handful of players will prefer it, because they'll use the mouse, but that number would be dwarfed by the number that hate it.

Experience. Few PS3 players know how to get their mouse settings/hardware to a point where it's virtually 1:1, and its impossible to do well on any other console. And even then it feels suck compared to a PC. Like FC2's PC mouse movement.

It's also not worth it to your average console player, only a PC gamer would care -- hence it's poor reception.
 
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Axis
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32. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 14:52 Quboid
 
That Ars article is shocking. I know sales figures are hard to get but if you can't get them, don't write an article based on them, filling the gaps with guess work - and then ignoring the way even your guesswork undermines your point! GoW had 3x the players of CS:S on its launch day? That's bad for his argument. That shows that CS:S is massively more popular, no?!

I knew I wasn't likely to agree but I thought he'd at least offer a coherent argument. Not guesswork and self-defeating figures. Way to make a complete Arse (see what I did there) of yourself and your site.
 
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31. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 14:49 Tumbler
 
I picked up Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed III on the pc and I'm playing those with a controller. (happily) I play CoD on the PS3 (with a controller obviously) and I played CoD on the PC during a free weekend using the K/B mouse and hated it.

The way the mouse allows you to spin at blinding speed and be ultra accurate kind of ruins the gameplay for me. I like the pacing of the Console experience where if someone is shooting at you and they aren't already close to your aiming point you're kind of fucked.

I'd be fine with Mouse/Keyboard folks simply having their own little area while others with controllers have their own area.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 14:10 Verno
 
I tried those analog remappers but it's just not the same IMHO. It's functional enough to destroy some gamepad players though to be sure.  
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29. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 14:07 SimplyMonk
 
You peripherals mean nothing to me. Anything that receives signals from a device can be configured to accept them from another device. Been playing console shooters with my XIM Edge (Keyboard/Mouse Adapter for the 360/PS3) for a few months now and loving it.

http://store.xim3.com/XIM-EDGE_p_12.html

Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:51:
Yup, not sure where he's getting his information from. Yeah, you can bootstrap a mouse to an Xbox and it won't work properly (it's like a stick instead), but the PS3 has full mouse support.

Not to sound too much like a salesman for the XIM, but it works exactly as you would expect a mouse and keyboard to work for any PC shooter. You have to do some configuration and some of the more esoteric Keyboards/Mouses don't work with it, but when you get it configured right it works like a dream. My wife isn't a programmer, although fairly tech savy, and she was able to configure it and set it up to play COD: Zombies with her Dad in about 10 minutes. Went from dying constantly to topping the leaderboard now and again.

This comment was edited on Feb 19, 2013, 14:13.
 
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28. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 13:32 Agent.X7
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 09:21:
Yeah and MS tried integrating gamepad and M/KB FPS gameplay for the 360 and PC and the console people got utterly destroyed repeatedly so they shitcanned the idea. I'd love to play that asshole bungie dev with him on his gamepad and no auto-aim versus me on the M/KB. I would fucking crush him like the shitheel he is.

Yup. It got to the point where everyone would leave the server if they found out you were a PC player. I used to dominate in Shadowrun because so many people were playing it on Xbox and I was on the PC.

If we're to be forced into more controller shooting in the future, I think they should look at motion control over traditional controllers. The only FPS games I did well in on a console were Killzone 3 using the Move gun (which was OK, but hard to get used to and move with, and tiring after only a half hour) and Uncharted: Golden Abyss which uses a combination of an analog stick for gross aim and the gyroscope for fine aim. I love Uncharted as a series, but I have a hard time being accurate even in single player. I feel like I'm just popping off rounds hoping they hit, rather than aiming with precision like I do in PC games. The Vita version using the gyroscope makes me feel like I have so much more control. If they could translate that to the non-portable versions I would love it.
 
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27. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 12:51 Beamer
 
Bodolza wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:48:
Axis wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:26:
The "mouse" on past consoles have SEVERE limitations which is immediately apparent to any PC gamer who would prefer it.

The mouse on PS3 is very similar to a PC, but very few games allow it. Unreal Tournament did, with predictable hilarity. My very first time playing the game I went on-line with gamepad/mouse (gamepad for movement) and completely dominated, and I'm not a very good player. I stopped after a couple more rounds because it was just getting silly.

Yup, not sure where he's getting his information from. Yeah, you can bootstrap a mouse to an Xbox and it won't work properly (it's like a stick instead), but the PS3 has full mouse support.

Developers just don't use it because it would be like the softball episode of the Simpsons - no one wants to play little league when Martin's team has Wade Boggs on it. A tiny handful of players will prefer it, because they'll use the mouse, but that number would be dwarfed by the number that hate it.
 
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26. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 12:48 Bodolza
 
Axis wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 12:26:
The "mouse" on past consoles have SEVERE limitations which is immediately apparent to any PC gamer who would prefer it.

The mouse on PS3 is very similar to a PC, but very few games allow it. Unreal Tournament did, with predictable hilarity. My very first time playing the game I went on-line with gamepad/mouse (gamepad for movement) and completely dominated, and I'm not a very good player. I stopped after a couple more rounds because it was just getting silly.
 
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25. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 12:36 Jerykk
 
I love how the Ars guy compares the player counts of PC games that have been out for years (TF2 and CS) with console games on launch day. Check back in five years and see how many people are still playing Halo 4 and GoW 3.  
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24. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 12:30 PropheT
 
Yesterday's quote still strikes me as one of the most stupid comments to roll out of the game industry in a while, and I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a site chose to defend it. The problem with the Ars quote (as listed here) is that those sales of Call of Duty don't reinforce the point unless a good chunk of those 400,000 PC players are playing CoD on a controller.

If "Losing the FPS market" means not selling as many copies on PC, then PC is losing every genre's market except maybe RTS games and MMO's I'd imagine. KBM players aren't becoming less and less relevant, it's just a contrast between people playing on a given console; based on the same data used to argue the point, are we going to say that the PS3 controller is less relevant than the 360 controller because CoD sold way more copies on the 360? Or, more like the original quote, because the Xbox-exclusive Halo did? It's idiotic.

 
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23. Re: More Big Picture Details Feb 19, 2013, 12:26 Axis
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 11:26:
HorrorScope wrote on Feb 19, 2013, 10:19:
Take all players in all pc games that allow mouse-look. That is the comparative # vs those playing 3rd person/1rst person on consoles. And whatever the result, it would just show which is more popular. To me mouselook goes well beyond shooters.

But now this is starting to sound like a MS backed agenda here, instead of giving users (at least a good #) a choice of mouse on a console, they force you to a pad. Then instead of adding a mouse, they give you Kinect. On the pc, they are trying to make us go touch, even though we aren't complaining about the mouse. What in gods name is your issues with Mice MS? The damn things just work very intuitively.

The best devices are one's that feel natural and you don't need to feel handicapped using. The gamepad is general purpose but in many games for me it brings input frustration.

They can't add a mouse. Sony allowed it and no one did it.

Do you know why? Because few people will use the mouse (again, it's an impossibility on a couch without either ruining your wrist or buying additional furniture), and even just 1 person on a server using a mouse against everyone else using a pad will ruin the fun for everyone.

Why would you cater to the few? It drives me nuts when people say "you're dumb for not letting me use a mouse!" No. That's like organizing a bike race and then allowing someone to bring a motorcycle. Yeah, the guy that prefers his motorcycle is happy but all the bikers are angry and won't come back the next year.

The "mouse" on past consoles have SEVERE limitations which is immediately apparent to any PC gamer who would prefer it. The fixed max turn speed being the top of OMG WHY IN THE FK WOULD I USE THIS POS, a truly abysmal implementation of the mouse.

"Hardcore" gamers don't even consider playing FPS's on consoles unless they are just fkin around, has nothing to do with what you said Beamer.
 
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22. Re: Op Ed Feb 19, 2013, 12:21 Jivaro
 
Perhaps the FPS market with regards to people who use gamepads is growing...that doesn't mean the people who want to use mouse/kb is shrinking. Nor does it mean that given the option, some of the same gamepad players wouldn't prefer a mouse/kb.

When a shooter...any shooter that is relevant in terms of sales...allows the player bases from multiple platforms and control types to play against each other simultaneously and the majority of those players choose to play with gamepads I will be convinced of Jones or Ars's speculation/point. In the meantime the only thing I am convinced of is that consoles sell well to the mainstream, those consoles come with gamepads, and the games made for those consoles use the gamepads. I know of not a single person that plays CoD or Battlefield on a console and then when they play on a PC they use their gamepad. The only person I have ever heard claim that to be true also had a physical disability which happened to make the gamepad easier to use...and they have since moved on to a specially made keyboard to compensate for their disability.

Ars lost some credibility with me today. It is incredibly easy to argue with Jones, but I guess it was easier to write an editorial that says otherwise.
 
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