back to article High level Night Elf druid saves PC gaming

A level 60 druid seeking l33t blue drops in the Hellfire Ramparts may have saved PC gaming, according to The New York Times. The paper reports that US retailers sold $203m worth of PC games in the first two months of 2007 — a 48 per cent increase on floundering sales the past few years. Market analyst NPD Group attributes the …


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  1. Greg

    Unwashed nerds?

    /rant on

    Since you work in a technical capacity as a writer that also makes you a "nerd". I am going to make the assumption that you are washed unless you telecommute then you would be able to cultivate a fine stench.

    /rant off

    There are many reasons for the sag in PC games. Some of the publishers made the assumption they could keep producing more copies of the same junk they produced last time. This type of thought has led to the closure of many doors where companies once stood. PC games for the most part have always had a higher level of content than most console games. When greed is the sole reason to publish the publisher is doomed to perish.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Not acceptable

    I simply cannot let this slur stand. PC gaming dead ? Ridiculous. Why ? First of all, even if consoles represent a good portion of market interest, there are some things that they will simply not do.

    The traditional area of expertise for consoles has been arcade. Driving, racing and flying are pure joys on consoles, and consoles are made for it.

    Fight games are another segment that typically shine on consoles. Both categories have one thing in common : they don't need many buttons.

    Recently, after a history of dismal failures, consoles have adapted successfully to the FPS genre, albeit with a few caveats. Indeed, Battlefield 2 is playable on console, but it's not the same game as on PC. The console version does, however, have an interesting control functionality included for single-player, one that is lacking in the PC version. But the PC version has solid multiplayer and upgradeability which the console version lacks. And PC players regularly kick the stuffing out of console players in the rare FPS games that let both play together.

    And that is, in the end, where the console leaves the scene. PC gaming is the ultimate power ride - for those who have the means to stay current. Also, the more complexe games - mostly strategy titles, are their best on the PC, although the apparition of keyboards on consoles may change that.

    It is an undeniable fact that console are approaching PCs in functionality. When the console has the keyboard and mouse, it is justifiably difficult to boast that one has an advantage over the other in terms of gameplay.

    But there is one domain where the PC will remain the king : technical innovation. The PC is where it's happening, consoles can only follow the trends. It's on the PC that 3D graphics were explored. It's on the PC that physics processors are being explored. It's on the PC that multi-core processors were first implemented at the consumer level. Soon we will see real-time raytracing - on PCs

    As far as hardware is concerned, the PC will always be in the forefront, and consoles will always lag behind. The much-vaunted graphical excellence of any console falls to mainstream levels after the next iteration of PC graphics cards is released.

    And finally, consoles do not appeal to everyone. The console environment is in the living room, hitching a ride on the family TV. Some people prefer the privacy of the home office or bedroom, where the PC claims lordship. You can share a console without a second thought. You do not share a PC, you connect it to a LAN or on the Internet.

    Consoles and PCs represent different mindsets, and cater to different populations. The console is a great gaming platform and is here to stay, so much the better. But the PC is not gone, and will forever remain the bed of innovation and frantic activity that we have always known.

    Until, that is, graphics and performance reach such a state that the least expensive, throw-away configuration can manage Supreme Commander Tournament 3000 in 420,000 by 340,000 at 200fps. With Surround 24.8 EAX 7 effects. And raytraced.

    When we get there, I guess there'll be a lot less interest in hardware. Except that Vista 3000 will require 75% of that performance just to launch the logon screen, of course.

  3. regadpellagru

    Also, DRMs are to blame for the decline ...

    "Things have gotten worrisome for the PC game market as consoles start to act more like computers and increased online support makes it easier for developers to take the console plunge."

    True. However, I for one believe also DRMs are to blame.

    Numerous times have I seen a game not work on a given

    PC because Securom/Starforce or one of their stupid

    competitors, needed whatever mark/model of CD/DVD player.

    That is, of course, whem those SW don't screw the PC

    totally, sending players right into the console market !

    Hopefully, the DRM tower is collapsing, and the PC

    games market will see this as a story of the past.

    PS: what about an article on this, eh ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only a nutjob would spend $3-5K on a gaming PC

    ... When you can build a ridiculously fast PC for under $1K. Even in the UK £600 would buy you a machine capable of playing todays titles in high def (including 1080p).

    Greg is correct in saying that good PC games have more content. Even user created content. (I'd like to see someone create new maps for their favourite shooter on an XBox).

    My main problem with PC gaming is shitty rush jobs being pumped out before they are ready. Too many new releases with bugs that make them unplayable because of publishers forcing games out too early. The Release then Patch is not how to do it. Console users have got that to look forward to with their increased use of the internet.

    Also the crappy Console to PC ports (where all they did was crank up the resolution but forget the textures and the fact that Console style Controllers are not common on PCs and crap compared to Keyboard and Mouse).

    That being said their are some cracking games on the PC and only the PC that just wouldnt work well on a console (mostly Strategy Games, shooters, and simulators)

  5. Graham


    "Some of the publishers made the assumption they could keep producing more copies of the same junk they produced last time. This type of thought has led to the closure of many doors where companies once stood."

    Thats just not true. In fact the opposite applies: companies that have churned out the same crap over and over (providing that crap [i]sells[/i]) have flourished. The current market does NOT encourage high level of content and/or diverse and varied games. It encourages more of the same.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC developers need to bypass publishers

    For maturity and depth of game experience, PC is still where its at. I spend far too much time in eve-online (the 'elite' of today) personally. The problem is combatting illegal copying I think. Games such as MMO's which have guaranteed revenue stream are doing well. It serves the niche market very well too (see 'DefCon'). PC developers need to move into online distribution, bypassing the publisher if possible. Valve's 'steam' is a good start but it's still below the radar imo. If e.g. Amazon offered a games distribution point (downloadable) and the games were only playable via internet authentication, maybe we'd see this area's health improve.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    zomg L2P Reg nubs! :)

    70 fire mage LF shadow labs run for Karazhan key frag, /w plix!

    My advice to anyone sensible enough to not have started playing WoW yet - don't start, it's a life-sucking activity. In fact they all are and with MMO's like Stargate Online and Star Trek Online in the works it's only goona get harder for us poor but suitably washed nerds :)

    Aldor ftw! :P

  8. Joe

    Why PC gaming has suffered

    There's a more obvious reason why there's not been much innovation of late in the PC gaming market which you accidentally stumbled upon in your article.

    All the designers are addicted to WoW.

    Still, some of them have managed to shake the shackles off and come up with some other good stuff, Supreme Commander and Tiberium Wars should bring people back in to the RTS fold for instance.

  9. Robert Ramsay

    Glass House in Stone Shock

    The fact that you got the WoW terminology right shows that you already know enough to be tarred with the same brush.

    Although everyone knows it's Blood Elf Paladins, not Night Elf Druids :p

  10. TLA

    "copious coin-purse"

    Been playing Oblivion much?

  11. Rob

    Unfortunately Nerds sell the market...

    Without them going out in fever'd panic to get the latest console so they can show off to their mates and be all geeky about it, the consoles wouldn't sell at that price and the average joe wouldn't then take the lead from the foul-smelling geeks and buy the console also.

    I'm guessing if the Nerds suddenly shifted their focus back to PC's then the great washed joe public would take that lead and follow also. I'd be interested to know how much of the PC market is actually made up of Joe Public sales and not geek sales.

    We've yet to see the long term effects of having your hands cramped round a console controller for hours at a time on the younger generation. If bad posture can help a PC user get RSI or carpel tunnel, will the future of the NHS be wrist operations and fat suction on 2 for 1 offer?

  12. DjArcas

    Oh dear

    Given that about 95% of the PC gamers I know play WoW, are you seriously trying to call them all 'nerds' ? Geeks perhaps, nerds, unlikely. Hell, one of our priests is a 25 year old beauty therapist with her own salon - 'unwashed nerd' indeed.

    "even at the PlayStation 3's whopping $599 price tag, it's chump change compared to the copious coin-purse required to meet the $3,000-5,000 necessary to get the latest and greatest out of a PC."

    Riiiiight. Been buying gold plated PCs, have we? My DualCore Vaio happily runs WoW, and most other things short of SupCom, and it cost me 500 quid.

    AND it's portable.

  13. Martin Owens


    I gave up a long time ago on PC/Windows games, even my Mac with it's petty copies of windows games has been muted.

    These games they are making are boring; I've been into Game and WHSmiths, looked around for anything interesting for the last few years; and there just isn't. I finally just gave up on the boxed game arena and will now stick to Linux puzzle games, downloadable subscriber games (such as atitd) and perhaps one or two physical card games if I can stand to get up from my computer.

    They killed the market with their incompetence.

  14. Steven Davison


    If PC Developers would realise that the thing that keeps people playing thier games is Re-playabilty and actual originality (take The Sims *shudder* for instance), and not fancy graphics, they'll easily outstrip consoles...

    Why must they insist on pushing out slight variations of other games, which are all along a close theme within their genre?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Might as well be called Bloody Rip Off. I can't understand why people would want to pay over the odds every single month to play online. I like my MMORPGs but don't want to be forced to pay to buy the cd and then have to pay just to play it. Blizzard should either give the software away free and charge monthly or seriously reduce the monthly charge as they so proudly boast over 8 million players. I play Guildwars which is has far superior graphics and in my opinion far more playable, I have no doubt others will disagree but I really like it. I paid less for the software than WoW and don't pay any monthly fees. All chapters are self contained, or can be combined with the others and no players get unfair advantages by purchasing add-ons that you can't get unless you buy the latest pack. Guildwars has over 1m players and can offer it on a no monthly fee basis, why can't Blizzard do the same?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd have you anytime

    Although the PC games market is less than a quarter the size of the console market, it is worth pointing out that the console market is split between four, five, six different platforms, and that many console games are exclusive to a particular platform.

    Historically, the PC started off as a business machine for adults, with a small range of role-playing games and flight simulators. Perhaps that is how it will end up. The PC was a distinctly second-rate games machine for much of its life. The mainstream PC games market of today might turn out to be a historical aberration, a distortion.

    "There is one domain where the PC will remain the king : technical innovation", says a commentator above. At least in the field of graphics and physics cards, this technical innovation is driven by gaming. When sales of PC games fall beneath a certain point, Nvidia (or whoever) will no longer be able to justify continued development of these cards. Perhaps other fields will demand them, in which case they will be a minority taste, and will have the same price mark-up as professional products such as Adobe Photoshop. I envisage the top graphics cards of ten years' hence selling in the tens of thousands, exclusively to professional graphics designers, costing fifteen thousand pounds per unit.

  17. Jesse Melton

    PC Gaming is Going to be Executed

    by keyboards for consoles. The only reason the keyboards and mice (arguably not the best input device) haven't been huge in consoles is that many manufacturers fear, rightly, that if consoles are too powerful and too PC like people will purchase them instead of PC's.

    Consoles work better, the visuals are better, they are smaller, don't require specialized viewing devices (monitors), and you can pick one up and carry it around without having to call an electrician to unhook it. As soon as someone gets an Office Suite to run on a console PC's are doomed. Doomed I say, doomed.

  18. Clay Garland

    You know, I never got addicted.

    I played WoW for a long time, but it never stopped me from getting my fair share of trim, nor did it overtake my life like some others. I just became bored with the timesink, and in amount of time required to do anything meaningful, and I closed both my accounts a week or so ago. People who get addicted to games likely need to experience the finer points in life.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horses For Courses

    Consoles and P.C.'s are getting so similar now that there won't be this argument soon. Even my humble (cheap) Wii has a browser and can stream audio and stuff.

    The interface is the key, keyboard and mouse for important stuff like WoW and Freecell (ever tried Freecell with a pack of real cards?) and for punching hell out of your mates or jumping fences on a cow you need a Wii.

    Processors, memory, drives and even graphics cards are getting smaller. Once cooling and power has been cracked we'll all be using the same small boxes.

    Just need the roll-up high-def colour screen and it's all sorted.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy PC

    PC gaming is by far the best, the keyboard and mouse are far better for most games, PC Halo vs. Xbox Halo, who's going to win there!? C&C3, well I know fine well it will be useless on a console with a console controller and that is without even seeing it!

    An electrician to unhook the PC, are you simple? If I do recall my PC has fewer wires than the Wii AND they are colour coded to make it really idiot proof. In addition, you can get some silly powerful laptops, for under £1K and PC games are a hell of a lot cheaper, plus we have some excellent classics available.

    With regard to needing a monitor for a PC, you can use a TV if you want without any problem (Media PC anyone?) Then there is HD on a console for which, if you don't already have an HD telly, you will have to buy one to benefit and they are a lot more than a very good TFT for your PC. So in effect you are buying a monitor for the console unless you have forked out for Sky HD or an HD DVD player and TV already, both Sky and HD DVD are a complete waste of money currently.

    Plus more in a PCs favour, it has access to a tonne of resources and a mountain of other software, graphics packages, video editing suites, superb level editors etc… etc… so it is a far more versatile device than a nasty little console.

    Finally, we have Crysis coming out on PC first, so quite frankly stuff owning a console if that is the case since this game will blow every console graphics away and UT is coming out too!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price? Consoles are more expensive!

    Somewhere along the article it says PC gaming is more expensive. Is it? Take Need for Speed Underground 2. In my country - on the same freaking store - the PC version would spin $49,90 off your wallet (local currency, not dollars) while the PS2 version would blow your gaskets for $298. Take a few games on that line and both "mindsets" will match cost pretty soon.

    It remembers me of printers for some reason. HP inkjet printers cost only $200 while a single 5ml refill ink will `up`set you for $75. Console games are a total rip-off around here, exactly like inkjet cartridges.

    PCs gets cheaper on the long run. While the next 'best and last' console will force you to shove the last one deep in some wardrobe, the 'best and last' hardware release for PC will most probably require you to do a simpler upgrade, plus you can sell your old part for your friends. Not to mention you can replay your ol' favorites, now in cranked up high-def socks-blown-off resolution. If you sell your old console, you lose all games on that platform, since they won't play on the new one, (except for Playstation owners, thankfully).

    As for controls, PCs have the upper hand, really. NO MATCH playing HALO on PC, far better than XBOX (quake-style strafing controls anyone?). Plus, you have PC pads and joysticks as well, with much more variety and quality than any console, not to mention you don't need to buy everything anew for each new game.

    The only upper hand for console that remains is compatiblity, as usual.

  23. Gooney

    PC gaming is in no danger

    PC gaming is in no danger of going under. Console games will like they always have be tied solidly to the hardware that they are designed and sold for. PC games by and large do not have this limitation, for instance if the game was designed and programmed for Direct X, it is in theory forwards compatable. A direct X 9 game will work on a direct X 10 machine. I still have a very large number of direct X 5, 6, 7,8, 9 games that I still play occasionally. Those that I have problems with are usually due to video drivers, but generally I can get them running. Then there are all of the emulators, mods, maps, etc that you only find on PCs.

    PC Gaming is different than Console gaming, comparing them is actually a bit unfair towards the consoles, as the PC is not only a piece of gaming hardware it is so much more.

    I would actually argue that the typical PC gamer is after and expecting a different experiance than that of the Console gamer. This is generally speaking of course, I personally own both a PC and Console, as do most PC gamers I know. It is not an Either OR choice, different machines for different experiances.

    Look back at the video gaming history, you will find many pundits that decried prematurely the death of either the PC or Console markets, this has never happened, and as long as PCs, compilers, graphic and sound manipulation / creation software exists you will ALWAYS find PC games.

    The same cant be said for any single Console machine...

    By the way where IS your Atari 2600, NES 32, Colecovision, Playstation, or Genisis now? Chances are that they are either trashed, broken, or collecting dust somewhere.


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC and console market

    Why is it that the PC always is compared to "the" console market? The "console market", counted together, does have about 3/4 market share, but those 75% are divided between half a dozen platforms that are not compatible to each other.

    For years now gamers have been indoctrinated with this supposed vast dominance the consoles have, while in reality a PC always provided, and still does, the consumer a greater variety and longevity in titles than any console.

    You always have to remember that the publishers and developers did not flock to the consoles out of their goodhearted feelings for the consumer, but for the simple reason that the simplified structure of a console makes it cheaper to develop for it.

    Unfortunately the industry's stance has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as now many consumers themselves believe that they get the better deal with a console, while in realiy it is only the current generation console platforms that are getting close to catching up with what is possible on a PC - through mimicking PCs.

  25. aellath

    They forgot to count...

    ...those of us who used to subscribe to WoW but had to stop and don't dare re-up because we know it'll suck up our lives again!

    Since i never went for power-levelling, but for roleplaying and trying out different variations of characters and personalities, i never got bored. What helped was that i'm not an expert on fighting, so i often died. ;)

    As a rule i prefer logic and one-person games (i loved 7th Guest!), but someone gave me WoW for a gift and addicted me hard. The one complaint i had was that there were scenarios only available to groups/teams, and solos couldn't do those.

    i really doubt consoles will ever replace full computers for gaming. i like being able to pause, flip a window and check email, etc., and resume without having to get up and go to a different machine.

  26. Austin Modine (Written by Reg staff)

    One of us

    For those who took offense to the "unwashed nerds" comment; I'd just like the record to show that I am a huge nerd myself. I'm a console and PC gamer, and an avid WoW player.

    TLA: Five points for catching that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only a nutjob or someone who's filthy rich

    The other guy is absolutely right. Maybe in the past you had to have the latest and greatest to play modern PC games, but right now the average new PC people are buying from Dell or Best Buy for $500 is plenty good enough to play all the most popular games. So the *real* difference between PC gaming expense and console gaming expense is that most households already have a PC for other things like web-browsing, email, and word processing while a console is an entirely new purchase, solely for gaming. Oh, and console games typically cost more as well.

    The only reason anyone would spend $3000-$5000 on a gaming PC is if they absolutely HAVE to have that new 28" widescreen monitor, and at the same time have all possible graphics options enabled, as well as having an extra 750GB drive they won't use for at least 5 years (which is in addition to the main 750GB drive). Oh, and don't forget the Blu-Ray and HD drives that this includes, which are also not used for gaming.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pascal said:

    "The traditional area of expertise for consoles has been arcade. Driving, racing and flying are pure joys on consoles, and consoles are made for it.

    Fight games are another segment that typically shine on consoles. Both categories have one thing in common : they don't need many buttons."

    /rant on

    On a console maybe. But try Falcon 4.0 or any other real flying game with less than a fully programmed Top Gun Thrustmaster AND 20 some odd keyboard keys mapped and you'd be dead in seconds.

    /rant off

    Yeah, Ace Combat and Top Gun don't require many buttons :P

  29. Jack Simon

    lol $3000

    I speced up a PC the other day, (E4300,Gigabyte S3,AS5,Scythe Infinity,19"Lcd,320mb 8800gts,2gb C4 pc5300 ram, decent speced other parts + vista + S&H) and it came up under £1k. Assuming you can OC that e4300 to 3ghz... you sure as hell could play anything on the market at full or almost full 1280x1024.

    Please bare in mind its $2 to £1 atm. With £6k you could get the latest of almost everything... bad power:cost ratio at that.

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