recaps a PAX East panel where Tom Petersen, Chris Roberts, and
Matt Higby discuss PC gaming, with Ars' takeaway being that the platform isn't
just surviving, but is in fact dominant. Here's a bit:
Robert expanded on
Higby's point: the PC has always been the biggest and best platform for
developers and for gamers—it just hasn't always grabbed the biggest headlines.
The "PC as a platform"—a phrase echoed by Petersen—is an absolutely massive
market, but it's not always realized as such because it's fragmented between
different OEMs and home-built rigs without a singular marketing effort.
Higby also spoke extremely candidly about game piracy, saying things I've heard
echoed on forums before but never out of the mouth of a developer. Piracy, he
said, is an availability and distribution problem. The more games are
crowdfunded and digitally delivered and the less a "store" figures into buying
games, the less of a problem piracy becomes. Roberts was quick to agree, and he
noted that the shift to digital distribution also helps the developers make more
money—they ostensibly don't have everyone along the way from retailers to
publishers to distributors taking their cut from the sale.
Oculus' Palmer Lucky agreed that piracy is a problem that can be solved not
through more restrictions, but through fewer—the way to kill piracy is to make
it more convenient to simply download a game legitimately than to go through the
rigamarole of pirating it. Higby chimed in to agree—it's more annoying to
download a pirated version of a game than to download via a trusted digital
Petersen said that the total yearly industry-wide revenue for PC games (not
video games in general, but PC games specifically) is $24 billion—a number that
includes initial sales, in-game transactions, free-to-play microtransactions,
digital downloads, and everything else. That's a huge amount of revenue to
chase, and the panel members all agreed that the money will go to the developers
and publishers and makers who produce what PC gamers want, as long as they let
players buy games however they want to buy them.