Is PC gaming on the way out? Long live consoles?

By Mark O’Neill

During the very brief and infrequent periods that I have played games, they have nearly always been on the PC. I played the Sims very briefly (before my character burnt the house down by setting the Christmas tree on fire) and I played a game where you created your own golf course. But that was years ago and these days everyone and their dog seems to have a games console. Which begs the question : is PC gaming dying?

The only thing that seems to be keeping PC gaming afloat these days is World of Warcraft. Apart from that, everyone is flocking in droves to the Nintendo Wii, the X-Box and the Playstation. When you walk into the store to buy a PC game, you’ve got to fight your way past the huge console game section to find the ever-shrinking PC games section in the corner.

So now it’s over to you. Do you think PC gaming is a dying pastime? Are consoles set to take over the hearts and minds of gamers? Or will World of Warcraft prove to be the one thing that keeps PC gaming from dying off completely?


Creative Commons License photo credit: Tom Lawrence

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28 Responses to Is PC gaming on the way out? Long live consoles?

  1. PC gaming shall live on!

    Yes, like other PC gamers, I too, am disappointed that PC games are dwindling compared to consoles. But, if you look back in time, we have many great games that have kept us going for as long as we have.

    Of course, if penny-pinchers like Bill Gates were to keep DOS a workable platform with Vista, OC gaming would still have it's roots to continue living on, even if the next-gen and next-next-gen releases are getting too costly hard/soft-ware-wise.

    Unfortunately, a majority of us old-school gamers are being limited to emulators, and it seems PC Gaming is losing it's pizzazz amongst the younger gamers. Believe it or not, I still find myself playing XCOM, Warcraft (the originals), Starcraft, Fallout, Star Control 2, and other classics that were original PC games.

    I think we should have some form of social security for elder gamers that know what true gaming is, that is NOT on a console. Personally, I see console gaming as a lazier form of gaming, compared to PC gaming.

    PC gaming, also, is far more customizable than consoles that get costly to customize, not to forget, online purchasing and whatnot. PC Gaming is not dying, it's getting old, and disrespected like an elderly by it's younger kin (consoles). Next thing to come is a retirement clinic for PCs, and old PC gamers.

    How sad.

  2. PC gaming shall live on!

    Yes, like other PC gamers, I too, am disappointed that PC games are dwindling compared to consoles. But, if you look back in time, we have many great games that have kept us going for as long as we have.

    Of course, if penny-pinchers like Bill Gates were to keep DOS a workable platform with Vista, OC gaming would still have it’s roots to continue living on, even if the next-gen and next-next-gen releases are getting too costly hard/soft-ware-wise.

    Unfortunately, a majority of us old-school gamers are being limited to emulators, and it seems PC Gaming is losing it’s pizzazz amongst the younger gamers. Believe it or not, I still find myself playing XCOM, Warcraft (the originals), Starcraft, Fallout, Star Control 2, and other classics that were original PC games.

    I think we should have some form of social security for elder gamers that know what true gaming is, that is NOT on a console. Personally, I see console gaming as a lazier form of gaming, compared to PC gaming.

    PC gaming, also, is far more customizable than consoles that get costly to customize, not to forget, online purchasing and whatnot. PC Gaming is not dying, it’s getting old, and disrespected like an elderly by it’s younger kin (consoles). Next thing to come is a retirement clinic for PCs, and old PC gamers.

    How sad.

  3. I think its that today's PC games demand just too much from people's PCs nowadays. Sure, most PC's come with Dual Core processors, and decent video cards, but also, there are alot of gamers out there who may have PC's who just meet requirements, or minimum requirements. Which as things go, allow to play the game, but not necessarily at the best quality. Or it may play pretty nicely, it'll just be very taxing on your PC.

    Whereas, with a console, you don't need to care. You know what you're going to get. The game is going to work, you don't need to worry about much memory your console has, if it has Dual Cores, what Video card its using, whether is DirectX or OpenGL… You just stick in the game and play. Very simple. No need to worry about whose PC can run the game and whose can't… Its just easier to play a Console game :)

  4. I think its that today’s PC games demand just too much from people’s PCs nowadays. Sure, most PC’s come with Dual Core processors, and decent video cards, but also, there are alot of gamers out there who may have PC’s who just meet requirements, or minimum requirements. Which as things go, allow to play the game, but not necessarily at the best quality. Or it may play pretty nicely, it’ll just be very taxing on your PC.

    Whereas, with a console, you don’t need to care. You know what you’re going to get. The game is going to work, you don’t need to worry about much memory your console has, if it has Dual Cores, what Video card its using, whether is DirectX or OpenGL… You just stick in the game and play. Very simple. No need to worry about whose PC can run the game and whose can’t… Its just easier to play a Console game :)

    • Ha! Yes, it was. I loved that game for quite a while until it got so repetitive that I stopped playing it. These little golfers would walk around the golf course speaking their own sim language and hitting the wild animals in the next field with their golf balls.

    • Ha! Yes, it was. I loved that game for quite a while until it got so repetitive that I stopped playing it. These little golfers would walk around the golf course speaking their own sim language and hitting the wild animals in the next field with their golf balls.

  5. Hell no! PC gaming isn't and will never die as long as the PC exists imho. What's happening now is that gaming becomes more accessible to the mainstream than before, due to these ""next-gen"" consoles like the Wii.

    However that doesn't mean PC gaming is dying. The problem is that the popularity of PC gaming isn't reflected in it's sales. It's too easy to download or copy a PC game than a console game.

    That's probably also one of the reasons why online games like WoW SEEM so popular, because you have to pay 2 play. For non-"pay 2 play" games I think platforms like Steam provide a solution against illegal downloading and copying. It won't stop it completely, but it sure helps encouring PC gamers to buy their games.

  6. Hell no! PC gaming isn’t and will never die as long as the PC exists imho. What’s happening now is that gaming becomes more accessible to the mainstream than before, due to these “”next-gen”” consoles like the Wii.

    However that doesn’t mean PC gaming is dying. The problem is that the popularity of PC gaming isn’t reflected in it’s sales. It’s too easy to download or copy a PC game than a console game.
    That’s probably also one of the reasons why online games like WoW SEEM so popular, because you have to pay 2 play. For non-“pay 2 play” games I think platforms like Steam provide a solution against illegal downloading and copying. It won’t stop it completely, but it sure helps encouring PC gamers to buy their games.

  7. I think saying that PC gaming is dead, is simply plain stupid and biased.

    I can bet anything you want, that there are more people playing games on PC than on consoles. The obvious winner here seems to be WoW. Without counting the ammount of people that pays to play WoW, be aware that there's a lot of people that is playing that same game on private servers all over the world (that will add some hundred thousands gamers to that) and you have to add that of other games on the same category such as Ragnarok Online, EVE, Lineage II, etc. You want more? Count the people still playing Unreal Tournamet (yep, the very first one), all the flavors of Battlefield, the old CounterStrike, America's Army, etc. Don't forget there is a lot of people that still plays Starcraft and other RTS Games, and all the DotA players around the world. Those are quick examples i can remind, also, don't forget web based games.

    PC gaming dead? Nonsense. Just because the media focuses on Consoles, doesn't mean people don't play on PC. And you can count me as a PC Gamer.

  8. I think saying that PC gaming is dead, is simply plain stupid and biased.

    I can bet anything you want, that there are more people playing games on PC than on consoles. The obvious winner here seems to be WoW. Without counting the ammount of people that pays to play WoW, be aware that there’s a lot of people that is playing that same game on private servers all over the world (that will add some hundred thousands gamers to that) and you have to add that of other games on the same category such as Ragnarok Online, EVE, Lineage II, etc. You want more? Count the people still playing Unreal Tournamet (yep, the very first one), all the flavors of Battlefield, the old CounterStrike, America’s Army, etc. Don’t forget there is a lot of people that still plays Starcraft and other RTS Games, and all the DotA players around the world. Those are quick examples i can remind, also, don’t forget web based games.

    PC gaming dead? Nonsense. Just because the media focuses on Consoles, doesn’t mean people don’t play on PC. And you can count me as a PC Gamer.

  9. People all look at the numbers for PC gaming vs consoles and draw some strange conclusions. PC gaming accounted for 14% of video game sales in 2007. That's still a bloody billion dollars in sales, I don't know about you, but I think that's still a lot of money. And when you compare the PC to any individual console, they're still doing quite well. I don't know why PC game sales are always only compared with consoles as a whole, instead of each individual console as well. And we've just had three major console releases, they look all new and shiny, but soon, as is inevitable, PCs will once again blow console hardware out of the water until the PS4s and the x-box whatevers come out.

  10. People all look at the numbers for PC gaming vs consoles and draw some strange conclusions. PC gaming accounted for 14% of video game sales in 2007. That’s still a bloody billion dollars in sales, I don’t know about you, but I think that’s still a lot of money. And when you compare the PC to any individual console, they’re still doing quite well. I don’t know why PC game sales are always only compared with consoles as a whole, instead of each individual console as well. And we’ve just had three major console releases, they look all new and shiny, but soon, as is inevitable, PCs will once again blow console hardware out of the water until the PS4s and the x-box whatevers come out.

  11. A hundred bucks says that the next XBOX release will be something lame like the XBOX720 or something.

    This time, double the already many dimensions. Good arguments spoken for I see, nonetheless.

    I still say that Vista, and any further release of Windows MUST come with DOS. I don't like downgrading just to play old games again. (Owns Vista unfortunately.) And shutup, I have DOSbox; it just works better on a Mac, ironically, than on Vista.

  12. A hundred bucks says that the next XBOX release will be something lame like the XBOX720 or something.

    This time, double the already many dimensions. Good arguments spoken for I see, nonetheless.

    I still say that Vista, and any further release of Windows MUST come with DOS. I don’t like downgrading just to play old games again. (Owns Vista unfortunately.) And shutup, I have DOSbox; it just works better on a Mac, ironically, than on Vista.

  13. People have been saying that PC gaming is dying for decades. I sincerely doubt that this time, it just happens to be true. Yes, consoles are a more stable development platform, but gamers have no trouble getting 99% of games to run. Even 16-bit or earlier games on Vista can be managed by them using DOS emulation software, which at its current point runs DOS games just as well as the actual OS itself. (It's not like that hasn't been an issue already anyway; has anyone here ever tried to get a game from the pre-Windows 3.0 days running on XP without emulating it? It's near impossible, compatibility mode aside.)

    PC gaming might be slipping now, but it's not going to die off any time soon.

  14. People have been saying that PC gaming is dying for decades. I sincerely doubt that this time, it just happens to be true. Yes, consoles are a more stable development platform, but gamers have no trouble getting 99% of games to run. Even 16-bit or earlier games on Vista can be managed by them using DOS emulation software, which at its current point runs DOS games just as well as the actual OS itself. (It’s not like that hasn’t been an issue already anyway; has anyone here ever tried to get a game from the pre-Windows 3.0 days running on XP without emulating it? It’s near impossible, compatibility mode aside.)

    PC gaming might be slipping now, but it’s not going to die off any time soon.

  15. People have been saying that PC gaming is dying for decades. I sincerely doubt that this time, it just happens to be true. Yes, consoles are a more stable development platform, but gamers have no trouble getting 99% of games to run. Even 16-bit or earlier games on Vista can be managed by them using DOS emulation software, which at its current point runs DOS games just as well as the actual OS itself. (It’s not like that hasn’t been an issue already anyway; has anyone here ever tried to get a game from the pre-Windows 3.0 days running on XP without emulating it? It’s near impossible, compatibility mode aside.)

    PC gaming might be slipping now, but it’s not going to die off any time soon.

  16. People have been saying that PC gaming is dying for decades. I sincerely doubt that this time, it just happens to be true. Yes, consoles are a more stable development platform, but gamers have no trouble getting 99% of games to run. Even 16-bit or earlier games on Vista can be managed by them using DOS emulation software, which at its current point runs DOS games just as well as the actual OS itself. (It’s not like that hasn’t been an issue already anyway; has anyone here ever tried to get a game from the pre-Windows 3.0 days running on XP without emulating it? It’s near impossible, compatibility mode aside.)

    PC gaming might be slipping now, but it’s not going to die off any time soon.

  17. PC gaming in short is not dying, but less attention is being paid to it than before for a couple of reasons.

    1) is the decline in intelligence of the average technology user. Any monkey can put in a disk on standardized hardware and pick up a fisher price styled controller

    2) Consoles target the masses and that means more dollars so console development comes first with PC development coming last.

    With the dumbing down of technology (Mac appliances, big pretty shiny candy colored buttons and GUIs that wow people visually but provide no real functionality, Vista, OSX simplifying the experience by hiding complexity or removing it) consoles as computer appliances have a larger market. Add to that the different consoles which require more money and more time to target each specifically and their capabilities by the time developers get to the PC version IT's capabiltiies are not harnessed or taken advantage of so the experience is not as overwhelmingly good as it good be. For example to target the Intel and AMD chips true capabiltities there would also have to be two different versions of the PC game, one for each chipset. Given that it's a smaller market than the consoles which developers have already spent time targeting specifically the PC has become the bastard step-child and merely gets a single port of the console version.

    All it will take it is more games that target the PC and take advantage of it's capabilities, for example MMOs, mods, or if anyone every gets around it distributed game assets and intelligence (think games that are mashups) and the PC games market will carve out it's own more advanced niche.

  18. PC gaming in short is not dying, but less attention is being paid to it than before for a couple of reasons.
    1) is the decline in intelligence of the average technology user. Any monkey can put in a disk on standardized hardware and pick up a fisher price styled controller
    2) Consoles target the masses and that means more dollars so console development comes first with PC development coming last.

    With the dumbing down of technology (Mac appliances, big pretty shiny candy colored buttons and GUIs that wow people visually but provide no real functionality, Vista, OSX simplifying the experience by hiding complexity or removing it) consoles as computer appliances have a larger market. Add to that the different consoles which require more money and more time to target each specifically and their capabilities by the time developers get to the PC version IT’s capabiltiies are not harnessed or taken advantage of so the experience is not as overwhelmingly good as it good be. For example to target the Intel and AMD chips true capabiltities there would also have to be two different versions of the PC game, one for each chipset. Given that it’s a smaller market than the consoles which developers have already spent time targeting specifically the PC has become the bastard step-child and merely gets a single port of the console version.

    All it will take it is more games that target the PC and take advantage of it’s capabilities, for example MMOs, mods, or if anyone every gets around it distributed game assets and intelligence (think games that are mashups) and the PC games market will carve out it’s own more advanced niche.

  19. The reason PC games are not selling in retail shops as much as console games is PC gamers tend to be more tech savvy and buy games vastly cheaper online from companies like Play.com (which is now the biggest UK seller of computer games) instead, it’s nothing to do with popularity of gaming as a whole. :)

  20. The reason PC games are not selling in retail shops as much as console games is PC gamers tend to be more tech savvy and buy games vastly cheaper online from companies like Play.com (which is now the biggest UK seller of computer games) instead, it’s nothing to do with popularity of gaming as a whole. :)

  21. The reason PC games are not selling in retail shops as much as console games is PC gamers tend to be more tech savvy and buy games vastly cheaper online from companies like Play.com (which is now the biggest UK seller of computer games) instead, it's nothing to do with popularity of gaming as a whole. :)

  22. I love this topic. Let's face it, the mainstream audience is turning its back on the desktop PC, and soon the laptop PC. The PS3 and 360 make it so easy to do all the PC home essentials (video, internet, photo, music, internet gaming) from the luxury of your couch for half the price of a well-built desktop PC. Now Google TV is here – combining the internet with the TV. The Ipod/Ipad have taken a lot of the audience also. The PS3 and 360 are basically cheap mini-computers for your TV with most the kinks worked out of them. Why wouldn't the mainstream audience want them?

    Desktops are going to become a specialized platform, mostly for mouse-controlled strategy games and FPS's. Even some newer MMOs are starting to walk away from traditional PC formats. Desktops will always be good for detailed business work, such as using Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and Video Editing. But for the mainstream audience… I think technology is going towards more of a living-room friendly environment.