Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Death of Desktop Gaming

The Media has its crazes. When it sinks it's teeth into an idea or a story, it never lets go. The Death of PC Gaming is one of those ideas that it will not let alone. For the past two or three years, we've been continuously assaulted by the idea that PC Gaming is going to die. I really really doubt that. Too many people are devoted PC Gamers and it is too good of a platform to fall by the wayside. But one thing that I think we may see the death of is the desktop computer.

Now I am a PC Gamer. I was a late convert, but once I saw the light, I accepted the true way of PC Gaming. The platform is so much more flexible and powerful than consoles and most games are more fun to play with a mouse and keyboard, with the exception of racing games and Gears of War. But that's why they make Xbox 360 controllers connect with a USB port. I built my computer from scratch, buying most my parts from Newegg about a year ago. I won my case from a LAN party but this last friday I went and picked up a replacement case. This lead me to thinking: who really has a desktop computer nowadays? My mom just bought a new laptop, my dad uses a laptop and most my friends only have laptops. The only people who have desktops are my gamer friends. People don't want to spend the money on a monitor, keyboard, mouse and computer. They want it all set up for them with something that is easy to use. And laptops are that answer.

Laptops are easy to setup, take down and transport. My desktop certainly is large and I had to debate what to do with it when I went home from college over these holidays. It would have been thousands of times easier to just fold my laptop and put it in a case and take it on the train. But as it was, I bought a box and packed it all up. The box was heavy and large and would have been extremely inconvenient if I did not have a car.

I don't know if I will ever buy a gaming laptop. The keyboard in front of the screen kills the immersion for me and I don't think they make 22 inch laptops. I also like my desktop too much. It's large, noisy and bright. But that is part of the allure of it. I am expecting to get a new video card for Christmas and part of the fun of the gift is the fact that I am going to have to put it in. One thing that laptops can not do easily is upgrade. It is possible to do but the technical know-how required is not something that your average consumer has. This argument of upgradability is largely moot, however, for in all practicality, you do not need to upgrade to play any new games for at least 2 years. And that is enough time to save up to buy a new laptop.

This leads me to my final point. I think that PC Gaming will be around forever. There is a hard core fan base for it and I do not see that going away. What I do see is the death of desktop computers. The only people who will continue to buy and furnish desktops are hobbyists. I am a hobbyist and I fully expect to continue to build computers all my life. This minimization of the market might lead to a slow down in the development of the technology for desktop computers and I really hope that Western Digital, nVidia, ATI, Intel, AMD and all other companies really do see the potential profits in continuing to humor us and make us hardware.

  1. Left 4 Dead
  2. WoW
  3. Cod4


marchhare14 said...

As Jane Austin said: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a great FPS, must be played with a mouse and keyboard."

I agree that PC/Desktop gaming is not going away, and I'm not sure why we would want to do so. I haven't played PC games in ages, but I have fond memories of playing Quake, King's Quest, Police Quest, Tie-Fighter, X-Wing, and Dark Forces. What I don't understand is why magazines, blogs, and other social commentarians (made-up word alert) are so excited about the alleged demise of desktop gaming.

You are also absolutely right that this is a cycle, but that cycle also keeps PC gaming alive. PC gamers are the first to jump to the defense of the medium, and they will always be more dedicated to this medium as they've invested much more money in their "console" than even the most peripheral-happy
PS3 owner.

The bigger point that you are illustrating, however, regards the concept of decrying certain trends as "over" again and again. The internet was a fad, right? The Wii was only a fad and was in no way a threat to Microsoft and Sony's megasupergamingmachines.
The "talking motion picture" was once considered a fad. The same with TV. How about rap? Surely that was just a fad. But wait, rock and roll was supposed to be a fad before that.

That previous paragraph included an inordinate amount of CDs in relation to CMs.

Taint Montgomery said...

I want to play Team fortress 2 with a mouse and keyboard against someone playing on a xbox. They would be destroyed so painfully that it would make them question the wisdom of their consumerism.

If all the nifty stuff on PC's comes over to the consoles, then PC gaming is dead. But I dont see this happening yet. I think the console market demands a different sort of game( ie action oriented stuff for ppl with ADD). :-)

cwew said...

Wow, didn't know I had such a big following