I hate to tell you PC gaming, but you might want to start making your “final arrangements.”
I like PC gaming. Now, I know this might be an unpopular opinion to some, as I’ve already touched on how the gaming community almost always breaks down into one of two camps: console or PC. Of course, there are those who dabble in both. (I should know because I am one.) Lately, I’ve been more a console guy just because I’ve not been able to keep up with the ever-rising need for high-end hardware (an issue that I know many PC gaming enthusiasts can relate to). However, there looms a bigger problem on the horizon for the future of PC gaming. One that transcends expensive video cards and the need for 15 sticks of RAM.
Developers no longer feeling the need to support the PC platform.
There was a time when many console titles you’d see in the Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo section of GameStop would also have a PC counterpart available somewhere in the store. At the very least, if the PC version of a game wasn’t immediately available at launch, it would come out within a year or so of the original. Frankly, I just don’t see that trend continuing. Why? Take the recent comments made by Destiny developer (and former Halo creator) Bungie. In reference to a PC port of the upcoming game, Community Manager Eric Osborne said that the company would not develop a version of their game for one platform at the expense of another.
Now, I can tell you there are those who would almost throw their money at Bungie if they’d simply bring a PC port to market (a sentiment shared by Osborne). However, it’s clear that the developer has no interest in making desktop gaming a priority any longer. If the past is an indication of future events, you can probably accept his comment as the final nail in the coffin of seeing a PC port of Destiny. Halo 2 received a PC release, but Halo 3 did not, despite an overwhelming outcry from PC gamers wanting it. We continue to see developers deprioritize desktop gaming as a necessity, as technology moves the consoles into a more competitive position. The gap between what the PC and the home consoles can do has steadily closed, and developers find every resource they need to create the game they want on the console. How much longer can we expect to see franchises such as Battlefield or Call of Duty throw their weight behind the desktop with PC releases of their titles?
Yet another sign of the times comes from one of the most well-known names in PC: Valve. With the next round of the console war about to begin in just a few short weeks (with the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4), Valve has stated its intent to plant its flag right in your living room. Its Steam Machines look to carve out a spot on your shelf next to the mainstay systems (by creating an “entertainment experience”). It’s been said (many times, by some at this very site) that it will take a killer app, most likely in the form of Half-Life 3, to make it a real success.
The exclusive nature of consoles is oftentimes what drives people to choose one over the other. Can you remember the last PC exclusive that made you think: “Man, I have to have that?” Yeah, me neither. Releasing Half-Life 3 as a PC exclusive would have certainly made the Steam Machines more of a must-have item. Apparently, no one at Valve got that memo, as the company recently announced that not only would Half-Life 3 not be PC exclusive, but there won’t be doing any exclusive content for the SteamOS. Now, I know on the surface this sounds like a great thing, and maybe it is. Denying gamers the chance to experience a game just because they don’t own the right piece of hardware is a real bummer, but it can’t be denied that removing exclusivity from gaming is taking away an edge that certain companies had in the past. Half-Life 3 as a SteamOS exclusive would have pointed all eyes back to the PC platform as the place to be.
So, let’s recap; we have major developers no longer considering PC support for games a necessity, and we have exclusive content that underscores the importance of a PC presence. If you’re a PC gamer, you may slowly find yourself sharing my concern. What hope does the PC have as a platform if consoles now sport the same level of tech with the added bonus of developers showering them with killer apps and all the exclusive goodies?
There’s a certain level of charm and immersion you find on the PC that’s hard to recreate on consoles. I truly hope we don’t lose that. I’m not saying it’s better…just different.
And hey…who doesn’t like a nice piece of strange (for you Deadwood fans)?