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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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