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Molyneux: PC Gaming "Huge Tragedy"

Molyneux despairs at tragic state of PC gaming on GamesIndustry.biz quotes the Lionhead designer on his complaints that a lack of innovation is to blame for declines in PC gaming:

"I think it's a huge tragedy. I mean, you might as well say PC gaming is World of Warcraft and The Sims... The weird thing is everyone's got a PC, they're just not buying software for it," commented Molyneux.

And while many developers are chasing the casual PC gaming market as the next big thing, Molyneux believes it's already suffering from repetition and a lack of imagination.

"There's an enormous amount of gaming happening with PopCap, Big Fish and Reflective.

"The fascinating thing is when they first started, all these games came out like Peggle and Mystery Files and Alice Greensleeves and Diner Dash, and it felt quite exciting. There was a lot of innovation going on. Okay, there weren't great graphics, but there was innovation.

"In my view, that has completely stopped. They're doing the same game over and over again with a different wrapper. It's like a mini-universe in itself which is emulating what's happening in our industry," he added.

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38. In other news Feb 21, 2008, 23:33 Creston
 
PC Gamers : Monelyuxsnensyuxasnn "Worthless Cunt".

I like how you're generically throwing everyone on the same fucking heap there, fuckface. We're just not buying software for it? I guess this fucking STACK of games I have lying here must be a fucking illusion or something.

Actually, I wish it was, because then that'd mean that I DIDN'T buy your piece of crap Black & White TWICE.

Where was the innovation in Black & White 2, dildo?

You're not just a bit of a prat, you're a fucking mountain of prat. Go join hands with cliffyB and fuck off to the 360. The last time you actually made a decent game, we all still had Amigas. It's all ancient glory long gone with you. Move along.

Creston

 
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37. No subject Feb 21, 2008, 20:05 Slink
 
Another case of a PC developer blaming their lack of sales for their shitty game on PC users.

First CliffyB, now Molyneux.

We're not consolers, devs - we look for a little depth to our game rather than just shiny objects. Make a better game and it will be bought.

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36. lack of what? Feb 21, 2008, 15:17 Kxmode
 
You know Molyneux when you point the finger you have three pointed back at yourself.

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35. Re: game design Feb 21, 2008, 15:04 Jerykk
 
How about a proper fucking Ninja game where you actually stealth about.

Tenchu?

How about an online combat mmo that's simplified into mouse clicks and buttons presses for a sort of action combat akin to street fighter or tekken... or even mortal kombat, who gives a fuck.

Fury..?

 
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34. No subject Feb 21, 2008, 08:51 Veinman
 
I think it's funny when people trot out 4 or 5 titles that sold well on PC to defend the PC gaming business.

That's got to be a tiny fraction of what's released on PC. Consoles might get 2 games a week released. PC gets games all the time! Sure, many are not high profile, but they are still out there, and with so many choices, you just can't have that many hits.

 
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33. Re: No subject Feb 21, 2008, 07:48 Karnisov
 
Fable wasn't bad, just wasn't as sandboxy as I would have liked. The NPC dialog was entertaining at times, kinda spoofing fantasy game stereotypes.  
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32. game design Feb 21, 2008, 02:26 Tanto Edge
 
There are only so many games you can make.
But then... anything could be a game.
There's lots of shit they haven't done yet...
How about online Nobunaga's Ambition with optional real-time or turn based actions.
How about a proper fucking Ninja game where you actually stealth about.
How about a fucked up Tetris game where I run around collecting pieces and putting them in place while a ceiling comes down and I'm completing lines to get down.
How about an online combat mmo that's simplified into mouse clicks and buttons presses for a sort of action combat akin to street fighter or tekken... or even mortal kombat, who gives a fuck.

There's lots of possibilities.
The big companies do what they're good at (Molyneaux is no exception).
The little indie guys will always bitch and whine because the big companies are doing generic but heavily polished versions of their indie artwork.

On one front, games are Art.
On another, they're a profit margin.


 
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31. Re: Cheap PC/notebook trend Feb 21, 2008, 01:42 Jerykk
 
For many gametypes, consoles are simply better (sports, racing, arcade, fighting, etc.) Plus consoles are way less buggy and the graphical/sound-quality delta between PC and console games is at an all-time low, especially with HD and 5.1 surround sound support now on consoles.

I don't see any reason why the PC couldn't be good with those genres. Unlike consoles, the PC has a lot of flexibility. I have multiple gamepads, a steering wheel and a joystick so I can play pretty much any game with the optimal control scheme.

Oh, as for racing, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people out there that would disagree with you. If you like pseudorealistic racers like GT and Forza, then sure, consoles are the place to be. If you like hardcore racing sims like GTR, you stick with the PC.

And graphics? I agree that the gap between PCs and consoles is relatively low when compared to previous generations. After all, the consoles are still pretty new. However, even now you can see them falling behind. When I see a console game, I can't help but notice the lack of anistropic filtering and the 30 fps caps. In addition, most (maybe even all?) 360 games run at 1280x720 with 2x AA max, which is pretty substandard when compared to PC gaming standards. The gap between the consoles and the PC will only grow in time, as it always has.

 
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30. Re: CoD4 and Syndicate Feb 20, 2008, 20:44 >U
 
Not trying to contradict you, but I thought CoD4 sold really well on the console, but hardly anything on the PC.
You think wrong. COD 4 was the number one selling PC game at retail this past holiday season and has still been number one throughout most of January. The last NPD figures I have seen showed it at number two behind WOW for the last week in January.

 
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29. Cheap PC/notebook trend Feb 20, 2008, 20:33 LemonJoose
 
There are two trends I think are playing a factor right now with PC gaming:

1). The trend towards ultra-cheap PCs and notebooks with relatively poor 3D graphics capabilities, and even worse, no ability to upgrade the graphics due to crappy integrated motherboard graphics with and no graphics expansion slot. 10 years ago it used to be that most office PCs could play the latest PC games fairly well, but that's not the case anymore. If you look at the examples that Molyneux provided (WoW and the Sims), these are games that are actually playable on modest hardware. Vista was an attempt to change that low-powered graphics hardware trend, but Vista has had its own problems (namely bugs, driver issues, and resistance to the higher hardware requirements).

2). Soaring and expensive hardware requirements for the "hard-core" end of the PC gaming market. See Crysis. See Supreme Commander.

3). The expansion of the console gaming market. For many gametypes, consoles are simply better (sports, racing, arcade, fighting, etc.) Plus consoles are way less buggy and the graphical/sound-quality delta between PC and console games is at an all-time low, especially with HD and 5.1 surround sound support now on consoles.

Personally, all that would be needed for the PS3 or the Xbox 360 to get me to abandon PC gaming forever would be for them to mandate keyboard and mouse support in gametypes that would benefit from it (FPS, MMORPG, strategy games, etc.).

 
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28. ... Feb 20, 2008, 19:46 theyarecomingforyou
 
The trouble is upgrading PCs... the average person doesn't have a clue and doesn't want to pay for someone else to do it (along with all the hassle). What is needed is a USB style format whereby you simply have an external box and plug it into the back of the system (into a nicely labelled, easily identified socket). Or simply have a cartidge system for graphics cards in the front of the case (people don't want to be rooting around the back). Simplify the upgrade experience, make games auto-configure themselves for optimal performance (with advanced options for people that want to up the graphics quality) and have a clear system that tells people what will and won't work (sort of like the Vista system rating except it would actually mean something)... that will significantly improve the appeal of PCs as a gaming platform.

Almost everybody currently has a PC. If manufacturers don't do something now then consoles will improve internet access and replace PCs altogether (short of design work like Photoshop, 3DSMax, Cubase, etc).

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27. Re: CoD4 and Syndicate Feb 20, 2008, 19:29 BatAttack
 
>>"He seems to have forgotten a few "little" games like
>>[snip] CoD4, [snip] that have sold quite nicely."

Not trying to contradict you, but I thought CoD4 sold really well on the console, but hardly anything on the PC.

To be honest, when I go to LAN parties I hardly ever see bought PC games; it seems that everybody pirates these days.


Also, when Syndicate came out back in the day, it was awesome and there wasn't anything like it. Someone said it's an rts, so not really innovative - but there were not many RTSs around at the time, and it played quite differently from them.

It was also the first game I remember that let me walk into a busy public plaza and gun down hundreds of civilians with a minigun... that's innovative, right?

 
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26. Re: Sales vs Innovation Feb 20, 2008, 17:03 Nighthawk
 
I'm not sure I'm with you on this...
Fable is great because of it's openness, and, if not for the controls, I would have played through black and white.

 
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25. No subject Feb 20, 2008, 17:03 xXBatmanXx
 
Haven't played Fable yet but it keeps getting brought up.
Sounds like the route to go is the newer Lost Chapters edition.

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24. No subject Feb 20, 2008, 16:59 Ice Nine
 
"everyone's got a PC"

This isn't xbox territory; it's kind of apples and oranges. It's more accurate to assert everyone bought a 499 PC from a brick and mortar store. The PCs that most people own are totally incapable of running about 60% of what's on PC game shelves, so to be on the safe side they simply don't buy any. Either bring down the system requirements like PopCap and BigFish (who make excellent games btw, even if they're all variants on 10 and 20 year old concepts) or get system builders to start bundling good decent budget 3D acceleration into systems.

Edit: this is partly why WoW is so successful. The sysreqs are low enough that even Macs were running them before macintel got big.
This comment was edited on Feb 20, 17:05.
 
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23. Re: Sales vs Innovation Feb 20, 2008, 16:59 bigspender
 
all of peter m's games are innovative, BUT THEY ARE BORING AS ASS TO PLAY!

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22. Sales vs Innovation Feb 20, 2008, 16:50 Nighthawk
 
I don't know how you guys can bash all his game...a quick Wiki search and I found a number of games that were intelligent, maybe not popular, but popular doesn't equal intelligent...
Populous, a great idea, not sure if it was 100% original, but fairly smart
Syndicate, fun game, loved it, not really innovative, it's basicly an RTS.
Black and White, a learning AI, clunky controls, but innovative
Fable, which I just finished playing AGAIN on my laptop, gave you the freedom to do anything, good, bad, hell you could buy a house in town, seduce a woman, sleep with her, kill her husband, or seduce and sleep with him too.
Can't comment on "the movies" though...never tried it.
So, give the guy some credit, he deserves it.

/buying spore (different guy, but that's innovation)
//waiting for Fable 2
/// oh yeah, dungeon keeper was fun too

This comment was edited on Feb 20, 16:54.
 
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21. Re: bah Feb 20, 2008, 16:34 Hornet303
 
Agreed! Havent heard of Syndicate in years. That was one of the most difficult games of its time. Once they released the expansion maps/missions, I dont think I passed a single one. But very cool and satisfying game.


 
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20. No subject Feb 20, 2008, 16:00 Donkey_Punch
 
A big part of the problem is corporate mergers. Instead of smaller companies being creative and taking risks you have evil empires like UBI, EA, and Vivendi acquiring and squashing.

The same sort of kids that like to play CounterStrike care little about quality. For them it is all about action and graphics. As games spent more time on graphics the gameplay became less important and it takes a large corporation to be able to afford the large team of people dedicated to high resolution 3D graphics.

More money spent making a game = willing to take less risks.

 
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19. Re: haha! Feb 20, 2008, 15:21 Bet
 
Coming from the man that pooped out Black and White 2 ...this means nothing!

I need to get around to playing that one of these years. I keep thinking 'next month, I'll play it NEXT MONTH' and then it never happens. Never got more than 3 missions into Black & White 1, come to think of it.

Finally got around to playing Fable in December and it wasn't bad, but The Witcher was vastly superior. Fable felt like training for The Witcher, strangely enough.

 
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