Is the PC ‘extremely healthy’ or a dying platform?

By on March 9, 2011

We’ve been bombarded by analysts stating that PC is a dying platform. That developers need to abandon it and focus on the consoles. Then, when the timing is ready, a developer prompts to statements that their games were being pirated, that the PC platform is full of pirates and that they can’t make a profit. Well, fact is that you’ve been brainwashed. Because according to EA, PC platform is extremely healthy and may become their biggest platform.

“The user base is gigantic,” EA Games label president Frank Gibeau told Gamasutra. “PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome. … The margins are much better and we don’t have any rules in terms of first party approvals. From our perspective, it’s an extremely healthy platform. … It’s totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform,” he added. “If you look at the way people play in Asia, PC is the model. I think that free to play model is coming to the west in a big way.”

The truth however is somewhere in-between. Yes, PC platform is a great and healthy platform but there are things that can be done easier on consoles. For example the DLC mayhem won’t survive on the PC platform, as PC gamers are used to free content made by modders. That is why some PC games lack DLC’s that are available on the console versions. Moreover, developers are benefited financially from their exclusivities with either Microsoft, or Sony. So no, don’t expect the Samaritan to get released exclusively to the PC platform. Epic Games will most probably develop it for the next gen consoles and PC’s. Developers can make a lot of money on the PC platform but their games need to be great. On the other hand, with a good marketing campaign developers can make a lot of money on consoles… even when their games are average at best.

Now don’t get us wrong. There are some great console games. However, a lot of them are simplified to cater to more gamers. It’s a fact that consoles have more casual gamers than the PC, so it’s only natural for a developer to want to make a profit by making that crown interested in their game. Problems arise when each and every developer attempts to do this thing. We are aware that the gaming industry is a ‘business’. Maybe that’s why most developers avoid original ideas and concepts. Maybe that’s why we love the ‘old days’. And maybe that’s why the PC platform will attract more developers with the web-based casual games!

About David Scarpitta

I am a critical guy, and love to review and give my professional opinion on just about anything. Though have a love for tech/gaming and music alongside the cinema. You can catch me consulting and developing the net any day of the week.
  • Haritplal

    DLC. This is what you call them these days. It is not a new concept, Companies like VALVE released a lot of DLC on the PC, way before Consoles even had them. The PC-Crowd is used to it beeing free – but I say: So what?
    It is not like there is no possibily of DLC (see Valve, 2K Games (Bioshok, Borderlands), Activision), and in a lot of cases (Ubisoft for example) the DLC is already included in the retail of the PC – where you have to buy it on consoles.

    The only thing keeping companies from releasing free DLC to the XBOX for example, is Microsofts strict setup. You HAVE to take money for your DLC, because you have to pay huge amounts of money to Microsoft in order to deliver the DLC to the player. That is riddicoulus and that model should die, today if it was for me. But you soon will realize that the PC will survive it. The DLC-Model is MADE for the PC, it is far more capable of easy including content to your already installed game. Generally DLC are just updates/patches, and well…updates are soooooooooo old on the PC model.

    And your sentence “but the game needs to be good” doesn’t even make any sense. If you buy a console-game regardless of the quality of the game that is just plain stupid. Why would you do/want that?

  • hano

    I really agree with your analysis. Great article.

    Yeah, there are a lot of things you can push on consoles that you can’t on PC. For instance, MS Live subscriptions, costly DLC etc.

  • john2

    DLC is the cancer of gaming. It’s really sad watching developers cutting content from their games in order to release them via DLC form. PC gamers are also spoiled by previous developers like CD Projekt RED (that offered the high-res version of The Witcher free of charge to those that already had the game).

    And let’s face it, PC gamers have higher standards than console gamers (look for example the reactions of PC gamers to Crysis 2’s PC demo). That’s why a game needs to be good to sell in the PC. Which also explains why the blockbuster consoles games when they are ported to PC don’t sell as much as the devs were hoping to. We’ve seen a lot of average console games that sold great due to their marketing campaign. This does not mean that all console’s blockbusters are average games. However, there are a lot of them.

    Generally speaking, PC gaming != console gaming. This is what devs and publishers need to understand.