Oh Noes! PC Gaming is Dead!
It seems that every year some writer declares the End of PC Gaming. I don't want to direct any traffic to the article I am responding to here, but in summary, this guy got a journalistic stiffy when he saw that big-name games like Crysis sold poorly on the PC, while similarly hyped games like Call of Duty 4 raked in millions on consoles. To this guy, a few poor sales figures means that PC gaming is dead. By that logic, shouldn't the movie and music industries have gone out of business by now?
The writer does raise a couple valid points. One, that digital download games from, for example, the Steam distribution platform, performed very well. And two, that the insane system requirements for games like Crysis have turned some gamers away. He also mentions that piracy has damaged PC gaming. And while that's true to an extent, piracy is a MUCH bigger problem for the music industry, but somehow the music industry is still doing well enough to crank out all kinds of new music.
The writer fails to mention a few interesting facts, probably in an attempt to make his Doom and Gloom story more shocking.
First, this is the holiday season. Console prices have been cut and publishers have released their best games in an attempt to boost their sales. Lo and behold - it works! Just like it does every year. Its not as if consoles have a constant parade of blockbuster games coming out - where are the record-breaking sales during the spring and summer?
Second, consoles have a distinct advantage when it comes to generating game sales. When someone buys a console, they will purchase their favorite shooters, sports games, and so on. Then, when an NEW console comes out, players will purchase their favorite games AGAIN (sequels) so they can have improved graphics and a few new features. The same thing happened when CD and DVD players came out (and now HD DVDs). On the other hand, PC gamers can keep their favorite games much longer. I already have a great shooter game, so I have no desire to buy a shooter-clone with absurd system requirements, like Crysis or Unreal 3. Console gamers are more likely to buy new games since they more often replace outdated games they had on previous consoles.
Third, unless a game is a PC exclusive, and few are, then the developer and publisher make money regardless of if the big sales are on consoles or the PC. Its all the same to them. Furthermore, the PC is a terrific entry point for small/niche game developers, much better than the console market, since there is very little cost involved in getting your product out to the masses over the internet.
PC gaming is not dead. Would PC gaming benefit from less focus on machine-crippling graphics, an influx of quality games, and more widespread digital distribution? Of course. But PC games being outsold this year doesn't mean a whole lot right now.
Edit: Corrected error.