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PC Gaming Rebounds?

PC Games, Once Down, Show Signs of Rebound (registration required) is a New York Times article (thanks PHJF and Matthew & Pauline) suggesting that sales of PC games are resurging on the back of a strong MMORPG market:

Not so long ago, PC titles were the mainstay of video gaming, but they have slumped in recent years, overshadowed by a new generation of game consoles. Now they are showing signs of a comeback.

Most prominent has been the strength of one of the most popular video games ever for PCs, World of Warcraft, a role-playing online adventure game that now has more than eight million subscribers.

But retail sales of other titles are on the rebound as well. PC manufacturers and chipmakers are promoting the game-playing prowess of ever more powerful computers. And Microsoft has inaugurated a program aimed at making PC gaming more attractive, incorporating console-like features and easier online play.

There is also considerable buzz about Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, a long-awaited game due in June from id Software, the creator of the blockbuster hits Doom and Quake in the 1990s.

Anita Frazier, an industry analyst for the NPD Group, a market research firm, noted that in the first two months of 2007, domestic retail sales of PC games reached $203 million, a 48 percent increase over the $136.8 million in the period a year earlier. She noted that these figures do not include revenue generated by PC game sales online, or online subscriptions to play PC games.

“Yes, it does look like a fluke, doesn’t it?” Ms. Frazier said. “Rest assured it’s not.”

She said the bulk of this surge in sales is rooted in the role-playing video game genre that, itself, grew 43 percent over the same period last year. “The robust performance we’re seeing in PC game sales can be tied to several key titles across several genres,” she said, “but we’d be remiss not to address the continued success of World of Warcraft.”

The upsurge comes after some recent reversals. Over all, retail sales of PC-based games in the United States exceeded $970 million in 2006, an increase of about 1 percent of sales the previous year of $953 million, which represented about a 14 percent drop from $1.1 billion in 2004.

By contrast, according to the NPD Group, retail sales for console games in 2006 were $4.8 billion; another $1.7 billion was spent on games for hand-held devices like Sony’s PlayStation Portable.

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69 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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69. No subject Apr 30, 2007, 12:22 VoodooV
 
My problem with MMOs is that they have too much of a wish fufillment fetish that are too centered around becoming "uber"

I play games to escape, sure. But my ego is not so damned fragile that I have to play games where I'm always the most powerful or on the way to being the most powerful, but I think games cater to that mentality, that the player ALWAYS has to be the hero.

 
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68. Re: No subject Apr 27, 2007, 18:41 maplebob
 
Yeah, I never even try an MMO though I did play Diablo 2 first at a lan party where it was fun. I try online for a little while but not so much fun with strangers.

I always like single player except for Quake 3 and Quake 2 death match before they came out with the deathmatch maps (more fun to play Q2 on the game maps, IMO, didn't like getting lava and slime all over the place).

Sometimes I wonder if anyone still plays Q3 DM because I get a hankering for that game.

But anyway, DM is more of a single player type of multi player then questing and stuff is.

 
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67. Re: No subject Apr 26, 2007, 20:55 Halo
 
I play MMOs as a single player unless a real life friend of mine connects.
See I use games to get away from the morons of life. I don't want to connect to ANOTHER world filled with the same kinds of people.

Honestly PCs in a MMO are just the same annoying people in real life, they:
Get in the way, try talking to you about nothing, slow you down, do something to infuriate you, act like they need to be noticed or seem important, etc etc.

That's why I have a love for single player games

 
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66. No subject Apr 24, 2007, 22:44 Masa
 
Eh, the rebound of PC gaming is based largely on MMO's? That's kind of scary. The PC used to be the place to go for single player games (I know I know, it's anachronistic, but there's a few people out there who don't like community games), but since it's apparent the dominant game is now multiplayer, bleh, there you have your dirth of original content.

 
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65. That's it Apr 24, 2007, 16:30 Kxmode
 
I'm going to insulate myself from the impending doom by playing Minesweeper all day!


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http://www.gamemusicjukebox.com/
http://music.download.com/kxmode
This comment was edited on Apr 25, 15:39.
 
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64. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 24, 2007, 12:30 TorTorden
 
Indeed, people will only bother with things that are easy.
The PC gamer of old (of wich the majority here are) that would think half the fun of playing a computer game was spending half a night finetuning config.sys and autoexec.bat files in order to get a game to run with "sufficient" 640KB of conventional ram, is well a dying if not dead breed.

As for vista and DX10 we may be screaming and kicking, but eventually we will be shoving the install dvd into our machines and swallow yet another hairy camel.

I also dont think the Linux community will ever get over their personal ego's for long enough to make a distro that is both stable and easy to use, the countless amount of several GPL's doesn't help matters.

On another note I miss the huge a4 sized Game boxes, they looked so cool on top of my bookshelf, granted that shelf got quite crowded with time


This comment was edited on Apr 24, 12:34.
 
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Yes, I abuse grammar by opening my mouth.
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63. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 24, 2007, 03:03 Matt
 
What I forsee happening is a huge unofficial mod community growing out of the DX10, Games for Windows Live, Vista crap, modding the shit out of these games and making them fully playable on XP

I forsee people fed up with hardware and hacks and workarounds needed to get the dx10 mods run, people fed up with colsoles (no kb+m, same patch issues as PC, etc.), people fed up with games (probably) not working well with linux . . .

seems like XP is a slowly sinking ship and there are no lifeboats.

[dream]Would be nice if devs embraced OGL and linux[/dream]

 
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62. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 24, 2007, 01:32 The Half Elf
 
Actually I do. Looks like Microsoft is trying to monopolize the PC Online Game scene. Considering we've had free multiplayer for over a decade, and now MS wants to charge people 50 bucks a year to get the full benefit out of select 'Games for Windows Live' games.... it just reeks of bullshit.

What I forsee happening is a huge unofficial mod community growing out of the DX10, Games for Windows Live, Vista crap, modding the shit out of these games and making them fully playable on XP. Followed by an Army of MS lawyers.

 
Avatar 12670
 
"I've never seen a feature like this before. It warms your ass. It's wonderful" -Walter Bishop
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61. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 24, 2007, 01:09 Matt
 
So do you guys think that things are going to get worse with (possible) fragmenting due to DX10/Vista/people moving to Linux?

I miss mechwarrior . . .

 
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60. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 23, 2007, 23:59 Shataan
 
I`d love to personally kick the M$ Suits in the nadz for their decision to kill off the Mechwarior PC sim franchise. These asswipes got a huge Mechwarrior community waiting literally twiddling their thumbs.... but wtf is the next gen Mechwarrior PC game???

If they are not interested in making the games, sell the franchise to peeps who ARE. And I still stick to my guns that PC gaming is all but dead. We need to be seeing the amount of games released per year 6+ years ago at LEAST. Not the 1 or 2 we are seeing now.

Exmple, I wanna see Unreal 3, Crysis, Quake Wars, a new freaking Tribes game, Project Offset, Flashpoint 2, all released within 3 months of each other.

THAT is when you know for sure PC gaming has rebounded and is back on track. We USED to see these kind of game releases. Can`t do it? Then STFU till they CAN.

This comment was edited on Apr 24, 00:02.
 
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59. Re: YES! Apr 23, 2007, 23:43 wtf_man
 
It was a combination of factors. Invisible War died the moment Ion decided to build their own engine (very loosely based off of unreal) for the game. The majority of the problems with engine didn't start to rear their heads until fairly late in development. It became clear that the tech needed to be scrapped, and a new engine developed. Eidos wouldn't go for it however, so Ion Storm was left with a broken engine and a rapidly approaching release date. The inevitable result was a lot of features and content getting the axe and a lot of cut corners. Toss in some well intentioned but poorly implemented design decisions and you've got the disaster that was Invisible War.

Not exactly sure how that pinpoints the blame on Warren (Not that I read that you intended to)... but as I see it...

Warren fucked up by becoming a Studio manager and having to deal with administrative crap (for more than one project) instead of focusing on the Deus Ex 2 project.

Harvey fucked up by being the main "decision maker" FOR the Deus Ex 2 project. He's the one that decided to build their own engine, develop simultaneously for the xbox, scramble and cut corners when the shit hit the fan, etc.

So, yes, I agree that Warren is to blame as much for the Deus Ex 2 atrocity as anyone at Ion Storm... but it wasn't due to Warren's "designs"... since he had no part in designing the game.

Which means... I still think he could make good games if he got back to doing what he's good at doing... design. Ultima Underworld III FTW! (Ok... that's a pipe-dream, but I can still wish!)

 
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58. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 23, 2007, 22:59 maplebob
 
Whose idea was it to come up with the "Games for Windows" campaign then?

They only do that now after years of devestating the market. They weaken the market then they try to build it up and make it more MS-centric.

 
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57. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 23, 2007, 22:51 DogInARocket
 
"it was microsoft's idea to allow pc gaming to die a slow death and concentrate more on the xbox. dont blame the retailers."

Whose idea was it to come up with the "Games for Windows" campaign then?

 
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56. Re: No subject Apr 23, 2007, 22:42 maplebob
 
I agree with the Xbox and the decline of PC gaming theory.

Imagine if MS even gets non-OS zelot gamers so mad we all switch to linux and they have to make that OS easy to use? Pipe dream, I know but that would be great.

 
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55. No subject Apr 23, 2007, 22:23 Bone43
 

"And Microsoft has inaugurated a program aimed at making PC gaming more attractive, incorporating console-like features and easier online play."


Yea thats part of the Vista and 360 online hook-up or there let’s corner the gaming market strategy.

Seems to me that PC gaming has been declining since the release of the first X-box so hell lets all blame M$!!!

 
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54. Re: My thoughts Apr 23, 2007, 22:13 maplebob
 
i think the reality of it is that developers are counting on the faster processors and other improvements in technology. they want the minimum system requirement of their consumer base to be higher so that they can add more content to the games.

Until recent years, I don't think developers ever had the oppertunity or the need to tap and tweak out all the things they could from a PC system.

Just as soon as every has a P90, they come out with the P200 and as soon as everyone has a P250, they come out with a P500, etc. etc.

It wasn't really until the 3 Ghz chips came out three years ago that things slowed to a crawl and even so, Nvida and ATI crank out cards like there was no tomorrow.

 
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53. Re: My thoughts Apr 23, 2007, 22:04 zirik
 
Anyone else think that the decline of the PC gaming market started around the same time as the Ghz race flattened out and the graphics cards appeared to stagnate in their power?

you could be right. the man speaks the truth!

 
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52. Re: My thoughts Apr 23, 2007, 21:58 zirik
 
Actually, I would think the Ghz flattening would bring in more PC gamers because they wouldn't have to worry about upgrading to play a new game.

i think the reality of it is that developers are counting on the faster processors and other improvements in technology. they want the minimum system requirement of their consumer base to be higher so that they can add more content to the games.

 
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51. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 23, 2007, 21:51 zirik
 
Retail stores work on pretty thin margins...

thats a myth. retail stores can still turn a profit even with 40% discount on items.

 
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50. Re: Brick and Mortar Apr 23, 2007, 21:39 zirik
 
You can say that, but walk in to an EBGames or Gamestop and look at how much wall space is dedicated to PC Games, and then look at how much is dedicated to used console games.

It makes it a lot harder to argue that those retailers aren't pushing PC gaming out the door when their entire business models revolve around being able to resell trade-in console games; they can potentially make more money from a console sale than any PC sale because of this practice.


i dont think you understood what i just said. wall space/shelf space/floor position are all determined by co-op money. it doesnt matter if the item is a hot seller or not. if the small vendor of a slow moving item gives tons of money for co-op their product will be headlined on weekly flyers and be on the front of the store. microsoft simply shifted their co-op money to the xbox and left the pc games to become second rate items in store. you can even ask someone who works at marketing on any of those retailers you mentioned. they all work with co-op money. period.

This comment was edited on Apr 23, 21:53.
 
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