PC Gaming Decline, whats to blame?

What is to blame?

  • Quality of games

    Votes: 171 52.6%
  • Piracy

    Votes: 38 11.7%
  • Cost

    Votes: 45 13.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 71 21.8%

  • Total voters
    325

Killa_2327

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The ESA said:
US PC Game Software Sales
1998 - $1.8 billion
1999 - $1.9 billion
2000 - $1.78 billion (84.9 million units)
2001 - $1.75 billion (83.6 million units)
2002 - $1.4 billion (61.5 million units)
2003 - $1.2 billion (52.8 million units)
2004 - $1.1 billion (47 million units)
2005 - $953 million (38 million units)
2006 - $970 million

So I've read numerous places that the companies are blaming this on piracy, but my view as a consumer differs. I think it's because of the quality of games when you compare them from now to 1995, obviously some things have gotten better but you no longer have these amazing ground breaking titles.

Whats to blame for the decrease in sales?

Please post in the proper subforum - Slartibartfast
 

MetalX

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Consoles

PC games have been pirated from day one so I'd rule that one out right away.
 

smith94672

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So I've read numerous places that the companies are blaming this on piracy, but my view as a consumer differs. I think it's because of the quality of games when you compare them from now to 1995, obviously some things have gotten better but you no longer have these amazing ground breaking titles.

Whats to blame for the decrease in sales?


It has to be mostly from piracy. Notice how pc games sales peaked in '99 and then spiraled downward. If I recall correctly, '99-'00 was the time when Napster ( and subsequently other file-sharing programs ) first became mainstream.

It was also sometime around '00 or '01 when Microsoft entered the fray by marketing its own consoles, being an extra competitor against pc games sales.

Also, from on the onset of 2000, pc games generally started to skyrocket in terms of system requirements, while the mainstream computers typically sold to the public continued to decrease in price in the expense of performance relative to contemporary software.
 

twoeyes

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its no one thing. All i do know is that companies are kidding themselves if they think they're getting rid of pirates simply by moving to prebuilt hardware packages. The day PC gaming dies is the day modchip sales double.
 

Mediaman

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I think that PC gaming has declined because as hardware has advanced, the barrier to entry has becomes higher. Notice that PC gaming peaked back when many games were still 2D and able to be run on most consumer PC's. That's no longer the case, as most laptops and desktops sold to average Joe have horrible graphics solutions imlemented in them. In that sense, Intel deserves a large part of the blame, and I believe one developer called them out on it. Also, poor engines that make a mockery of the recommended system requirements just lead to frustration in many cases.
 

joemama

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No option for all of the above? Another factor is the fact that while pc games still have a graphical edge over consoles...the gap has narrowed to a point where it's almost a non-issue. Add also the fact that consoles now offer good online play, patches are applied seamlessly and there are no hardware compatability/driver issues then things look pretty grim for pc gaming in the future. I don't think it will ever completely die however..
 

B. W.

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I think that PC gaming has declined because as hardware has advanced, the barrier to entry has becomes higher. Notice that PC gaming peaked back when many games were still 2D and able to be run on most consumer PC's. That's no longer the case, as most laptops and desktops sold to average Joe have horrible graphics solutions imlemented in them. In that sense, Intel deserves a large part of the blame, and I believe one developer called them out on it. Also, poor engines that make a mockery of the recommended system requirements just lead to frustration in many cases.
Agreed.

It's probably only going to get worse from this point on. There's more of an incentive to develop games for consoles.

In retrospect, gaming is a niche market divided into different sects. If you're in the business to make money, that's what comes first, which is why we're seeing so many unoptimized games made for consoles and ported over.

Games like the Sims, World of Warcraft and company sell so much because nearly anyone can pick a copy up, install it, and expect it to work.
 

precog13

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I think the biggest hit to PC game sales is probably the advent of the MMO. Many people buy MMOs and play them for long periods of time, sometimes years, and have little to no interest in playing other games. This would significantly impact the sales of new software. Also, sales numbers like those above tend to not include things like monthly fees. I'd suspect that PC gaming is actually more profitable than ever before as a result of the MMO, even if actual software sales have decreased.
 

BlessedBullet

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Why should publishers make quality games when piracy is so easy to do? It's more profitable for them to take that same amount of effort and put it on a console.
 

BIGJ

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I don't think it has anything to do with piracy, or any of that other stuff, I think it has a lot to do with consule gaming. Lets face it, with the price of even a decent gaming system being upwards of a grand, people look at the 360, and realize that they can get as much, if not more for only about $400. Lets see a $1,000 gaming PC that will need new parts in a few years just to play the most recent games, or a $400 system that has tons of games, and a way of chating with your friends, and will have a life-span of at least 4yrs. if not more...it is an easy decision for me!
 

unhappy_mage

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In my case, lack of time. I am spending too much time on school stuff (tonight notwithstanding, heh) to dedicate any reasonable amount of time to games, and when I do have time to play, I'm looking for some social interaction as well. And I'd rather not do that with PretendingToBeAChick1989, thank you very much ;) I play games as a social endeavor. With PC games it's hard to get that social interaction because of the controller setup and the type of games that end up on PC.
 

Tolyngee

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I think the biggest hit to PC game sales is probably the advent of the MMO. Many people buy MMOs and play them for long periods of time, sometimes years, and have little to no interest in playing other games. This would significantly impact the sales of new software. Also, sales numbers like those above tend to not include things like monthly fees. I'd suspect that PC gaming is actually more profitable than ever before as a result of the MMO, even if actual software sales have decreased.

Dunno, someone recently on here was pissed because in the past two years they had spent >$900 on WoW, and now their account had been revoked...

Assuming the $900 goes into the sales figures of WoW (and is then counted in the total sales that year for games), well, I can say I doubt I have spent $900 on games since 1998, the beginning of your sales chart...

So, if that $900 isn't somehow in that number, then maybe MMOs are responsible for skewing that number, as it costs more to play one for a year or two than some gamers spend on games in a decade?

(oops, I'm tired, I apologize... I think I just repeated what you just said...)
 

Hulk

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I blame BIG RIGS.

It was all downhill from there.
 

Slartibartfast

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Costs (as compared to consoles)

Lack of genre representation (PC games are pretty much only sims, rts, or fps)
 

damonposey

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Consoles

PC games have been pirated from day one so I'd rule that one out right away.

Your ruling is nullified. You're ignoring the fact that its much easier for the general PC gaming populace to pirate games now than it was a few years ago.

Today all someone has to do is go to a public website, make 2 clicks, and they have a torrent of pretty much anything they want coming to them. For most, barring newsgroup access, it was a lot of work to pirate games through irc or ftp sites a few years ago. So people bought more games.

Piracy, MMOs, and consoles that are more PC-like than ever before are all reasons why PC gaming has suffered.
 

Technoob

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Add in all the subscription fees to MMO's, and I'd say its not as much of a decline as it would appear from looking at raw game sales that don't take such calculations into account.
 

Shlomo

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Costs (as compared to consoles)

Lack of genre representation (PC games are pretty much only sims, rts, or fps)

I don't think cost is a big deal from PC to console. I spent EASILY 700+ dollars for my xbox 360, extra controllers, 2 games, rechargable batteries, play and charge, mics, microsoft live, monitor HD cable, ect ect.

I spent about 930 total for my PC and that includes the watercooling.
 

Mr. Wolf

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I say cost is #1 reason. Why spend $1500 - $2000 or more for a top gaming PC when you can game just about as well with a $500 console? When consoles offer keyboard + mouse controls, my PC gaming days are over.
 

Slartibartfast

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I don't think cost is a big deal from PC to console. I spent EASILY 700+ dollars for my xbox 360, extra controllers, 2 games, rechargable batteries, play and charge, mics, microsoft live, monitor HD cable, ect ect.

I spent about 930 total for my PC and that includes the watercooling.

But the PC market has this effect of making things obsolete and making people feel like they need to upgrade, even if they don't. With your 360 set up you have everything you need to fully enjoy every xbox 360 game that will ever be made. But maybe even now you have to turn down your graphics settings on your PC games and are missing out on the "full" experience.
 

Mr. Wolf

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Ya beat me to it, Slarti! ;) A $930 PC will choke on the top games coming out.

I long for the day when my only computer will be a top-flight laptop that docks next to an XBox or PlayStation that can game with a keyboard and mouse.
 

Viperman5000

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It's very simple: cost.

Nowadays, if you want to play a game that looks about as good as a console game, you need a computer that can perform well enough to achieve that. It costs way too much to keep up with games when they are available on a console for a fraction of the price. Let's break it down:

You buy a $1200 computer, which is pretty much middle-of-the-line today to get the same performance you would from a console. You see an Xbox 360 for $400 and the games that come out for it are guaranteed for the same graphics and such as everyone else who has a 360.

Ok, I can't really explain it, but I'm sure everyone understands where I'm coming from. It's late. Basically, it costs too much money to play PC games with the next-gen consoles out that can do the same.
 

DavidJB

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Online gaming.

Now that online gaming is prevalent and easy-to-use, games have extended life spans. Previous games would get old after the first or second play through, but with online gaming, you can get a somewhat new experience every time you play.

Look at Xfire.com and move to the 'Today's Top Games' column. World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty 2, Warcraft III, Guild Wars, Counterstrike 1.6 and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory constantly top the chart, and they are all over a year old. I doubt you'd have seen that back in the '80s and '90s.

Of course, you could also blame piracy, but I really do not think it effects sales as much as everyone thinks. Cost isn't that much of a problem - at least not more so than ten years ago - as PC gaming has always been more expensive.

Really, I do not see PC gaming dieing anytime soon. Microsoft is going to have to push PC gaming, as it drives the gaming industry in a way. Without PC gamers, we'd be nowhere near where we are today in terms of graphical capabilities, because ATI and NVIDIA require the support of PC gamers to drive out new and better cards each year. If PC gaming gets in serious trouble, Microsoft and other companies are going to have to start pushing it more so things can keep going forward.
 

sculelos

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Ya, I think it's a combination of pc gamers playing games alot longer and also buying more console games, plus the quantity of quality titles has gone down, so I think that definitely has an impact as well.

Plus Piracy has probably made a splash as well, probably pretty minimal compared to the things above though.
 

GJohn

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I think mainly its piracy...i know its been there since day one, but everyday more and more people get into it.

And of course also quality...for example, i went out and bought Half-Life, HL2, FarCry, BF2, 1942, all GTA series, Splinter cell, etc...why??? because i know they gonna be worth the money.

And one of the other major reason is the consoles...and now days with high end graphics, you need a good pc to be able to truly enjoy pc gaming, not everyone can afford that.
 

l3ender

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Consoles

PC games have been pirated from day one so I'd rule that one out right away.

Couldn't have said it better myself. With consoles on the rise, they're really the main thing taking business away from PCs.
 

you2

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Some of it is market dillution (console vs pc) and some of it is quality. In the 'old' days gamers were more sophisticated because of the restriction of who owned a pc. Now the market has become more 'mass market' and that market tends to be more console oriented. Btw it would be easier to address this question if you showed total game market along with pc market (ala console).
 

ne0-reloaded

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I don't think cost is a big deal from PC to console. I spent EASILY 700+ dollars for my xbox 360, extra controllers, 2 games, rechargable batteries, play and charge, mics, microsoft live, monitor HD cable, ect ect.

I spent about 930 total for my PC and that includes the watercooling.

but you dont need all that extra stuff to play a 360. a core costs 299 before tax and you can play every 360 game that ever comes out (if it doesnt die). a premium costs 399. pc gaming is a lot more expensive, pc guys just dont want to admit it. i bought my ps2 god knows how long ago, and theres still good games coming out for it. my pc that i built in 2003 could hardly play cod2 on anything but low when it came out. im building a new pc when crysis comes out, then im out the pc game for good. costs wayyyy more than going the console route
 

BIGJ

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It's very simple: cost.

Nowadays, if you want to play a game that looks about as good as a console game, you need a computer that can perform well enough to achieve that. It costs way too much to keep up with games when they are available on a console for a fraction of the price. Let's break it down:

You buy a $1200 computer, which is pretty much middle-of-the-line today to get the same performance you would from a console. You see an Xbox 360 for $400 and the games that come out for it are guaranteed for the same graphics and such as everyone else who has a 360.

Ok, I can't really explain it, but I'm sure everyone understands where I'm coming from. It's late. Basically, it costs too much money to play PC games with the next-gen consoles out that can do the same.

Thats exactly what I said! Its such a valid point. :)
 

Soberteq

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I voted "price" but I also blame the console. With console, everyone can just put their game power-up and play. With PC, when you are done with things like patch, drivers, installation (etc.) you have to play with game graphics's setting and determine your own standard of "playability" at the cost of graphic goodness.. even though you just invested 2k on a shiny new rigs. That you play your console at home or at buddy's, the game will be the same (with maybe the difference of the TV...)

So all in all, I think that the low price of console and their friendliness as stole thunder from the PC.
 

dark_reign

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PC gaming isn't expensive at all if you pirate or borrow the games from friends. But for most consolers, they're going to buy the games and it then becomes more expensive in the long run over a PC. Of course, it also depends on the life of a system. PCs can usually last 2-3 years with just a graphics card upgrade. Consoles are obsolete once the next one comes out on the market. At least with PCs, you can usually run a new game on it unless the graphics card isn't supported.
 

Draax

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I believe PC gaming is in decline, due to a few factors. The first is the fact that most games for PC, when released, are so full of bugs its hard to call them anything but beta. The second factor is the price of hardware, coupled with a shorter and shorter lifespan for said hardware. The last, I believe, is the "pay to play" model which has now transcended the MMORPG genre and started to creep into games like Hellgate London, which are entirely instanced games.

Consoles are becomming more and more attractive as time passes, and the the reality is that the PC gaming market is doing it to itself.
 

ComputerBox34

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For me, there just haven't been any good games out there. Nothing has really caught my eye. I'm hoping that UT3 will jumpstart the community.
 

wtburnette

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but you dont need all that extra stuff to play a 360. a core costs 299 before tax and you can play every 360 game that ever comes out (if it doesnt die). a premium costs 399. pc gaming is a lot more expensive, pc guys just dont want to admit it. i bought my ps2 god knows how long ago, and theres still good games coming out for it. my pc that i built in 2003 could hardly play cod2 on anything but low when it came out. im building a new pc when crysis comes out, then im out the pc game for good. costs wayyyy more than going the console route

Everyone mentioning price is forgetting PC's can be used for a LOT more then just gaming. To me, that more then justifies the price premium. Ever tried creating a powerpoint presentation for work on your Xbox? How about a simple spreadsheet for your monthly budget? Just a couple examples of why the PC can justify having a price premium. Most aren't just gaming devices. Also, you don't HAVE to have a top end computer to enjoy gaming, just like you don't have to have the latest console.

Costs (as compared to consoles)

Lack of genre representation (PC games are pretty much only sims, rts, or fps)

You forgot RPG's, which is my favorite genre for the PC. I love PC RPG's but haven't found one yet for the console I enjoy.
 

acascianelli

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I think its a combination of the price of hardware to play the games as good as console, and the fact that you can buy a XBox360, PS3, or a Wii and it will play games for years while with a PC you'd need to continuously upgrade.
 

Mr. Wolf

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Everyone mentioning price is forgetting PC's can be used for a LOT more then just gaming. To me, that more then justifies the price premium. Ever tried creating a powerpoint presentation for work on your Xbox? How about a simple spreadsheet for your monthly budget? Just a couple examples of why the PC can justify having a price premium. Most aren't just gaming devices. Also, you don't HAVE to have a top end computer to enjoy gaming, just like you don't have to have the latest console.

It doesn't take a $2000 computer to develop a PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet. You can get a decent desktop or laptop for as little as $500 to do everyday computing tasks.
 

digitalman

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Consoles

Whether it is getting crappy PC ports of games that were developed for a console such as Oblivion. Or consoles totally changing the gameplay of games that were originally designed for the PC such as Rainbow 6/Ghost Recon.
 

dark_reign

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I think its a combination of the price of hardware to play the games as good as console, and the fact that you can buy a XBox360, PS3, or a Wii and it will play games for years while with a PC you'd need to continuously upgrade.
It depends how picky you are about the graphics and the games you play on the PC. Over the course of 5 years, you may only have to upgrade the graphics card once in a PC if you don't play anything too demanding. Most people here will have replaced their entire gaming rig by then, but it is possible to have a gaming PC last 5 years or more with a single $100-$200 video card upgrade.

What's the life expectancy of a console these days? 4 years? And look at the cost of console games. They're $10-$20 or more (brand new) over the PC. If you buy a lot of NEW games, consoles wind up being just as expensive.
 

acascianelli

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It's also the ease of use, you put in the game in a console and it just works. No need to mess with any drivers or anything else. People still are buying the PS2, and its over 7 years old. How many people are still gaming on a video card thats 5 years old much less 7. Is it possible to came on a card 5+ years old, sure, you can still game on Radeon 9700 or a Geforce 4 ti-4200. But I doubt that you'll get the same experience out of it.
 
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I don't think piracy is killing it. I can admit I've downloaded a game or 2 here and there, or gotten a NoCD crack for a friends copy of a game. But the games I've done that for are games I wasn't going to buy in the first place, so no one is losing any money over it, since it's money they wouldn't have gotten whether I pirated the game or not. However in a few cases, when the downloaded game ends up being a lot better than I expected, I have gone and bought a legal copy, so I can support the company that made it, and so I don't have to worry about a patch or something breaking the illegal copy.
 
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