PC is not dead

Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

PC gaming has been "dying" for the past two console generations, but there is a passion shared by both gamers and developers who love the platform which seems to keep it afloat. Unlike arcade gaming, PC gaming has been able to evolve itself away from extinction by exploiting its unique advantages over the console platforms.
 
Take distribution, for example. If you want to sell a product, it is absolutely crucial to be able to get that product into the hands of consumers. Traditional for video games of all kinds, that meant a box on the shelf at a retail store. For some time, the shelf space devoted to PC gaming has been shrinking at stores to its currently absurd presence bordering on non-existence. If you could take this information back to someone ten years ago, they could reasonably assume that PC gaming is on its way out. Instead of giving in, the PC scene has taken this attack against it and, jiu-jitsu-style, turned it around into something of an advantage. The problem with retail distribution is that it creates more overhead all around. PC gaming, however, in its attempt to survive in the face of the growing popularity of plug-and-play console gaming, has given birth to a number of alternate distribution systems utilizing the ever-increasing speeds of home Internet service. In doing so, they have drastically reduced overhead for game developers small and large and have allowed bigger margins to help combat the problem of smaller audiences.
 
Fortunately for gamers, the PC seems to have enough tricks up its sleeve that it isn't going anywhere unlike our beloved arcades of decades past. It is an incredible platform offering advantages which are within reach of the game consoles but bring about fears from big-wigs of diluting the simplicity of those platforms. Those fears are certainly justified. About a year after launch of a new console generation, any mid-level gaming PC can outperform the most advanced gaming console which is, by its nature, frozen in time. From that point forward (and often earlier) PC gamers can enjoy higher framerates, better resolution, more detailed textures, and a plethora of other technical benefits in addition to user created content for nearly every game, flexible control methods, and (often) more robust online connectivity. If not for their simplicity, I couldn't see a reason for owning a gaming console outside whatever exclusive releases those platforms provided.
 
Cost is often cited as a key barrier to entry in the argument of PC versus console gaming. By nature of the fact that PC hardware is constantly changing, the cost of a gaming PC that will compare to current consoles is always dropping. I'm in the process of retiring a PC that was put together for about $350--less than either my 360 or my PS3--which can run nearly any current PC game at a respectable framerate in 1080p. I'm running games which were released on both platforms (console and PC) at a resolution 50% better than the console counterpart.
 
This is not to say I don't love my console gaming. I often find myself retreating to my 360 and PS3 after frustrating bouts with drivers, hardware, and other configuration nightmares. However, there is much to be said for the underdog that is the PC. Simplicity and flexibility are at opposing sides of a continuum; PC gaming has boldly staked its claim in a region where gaming consoles will forever fear to tread.
 

My Inspiration


I rarely think of things to write out of the blue, and indeed this post was inspired by my recent gaming PC purchase which itself was inspired by the fantastic time I have been having with a few recent game purchases which are, too me, uniquely PC experiences. Two of them are, in fact, also available for game consoles. The first is Dragon Age: Origins which has been discussed at length with even much of the community acknowledging the fact that it is truly a PC game with a console port also available. The second is Left 4 Dead 2 which is available in much the same form on 360, but, from my perspective, you cannot properly control a shooter without a keyboard and mouse. The third game is currently confined to the PC platform although it will ultimately be avaliable on XBLA: Spelunky. (Note: If you have not tried Spelunky, I highly recommend you check it out. It is a free game for Windows.)
 
Getting back to my recent PC purchase, a couple of friends requested I post my build. It is a very modest system by some standards (and I'm sure quite decadent by others). Here it is for anyone interested:
For those of you who made it this far, I would love to play some L4D2, TF2, UT3, or even something else. Feel free to add me to your Steam friends!
#1 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

PC gaming has been "dying" for the past two console generations, but there is a passion shared by both gamers and developers who love the platform which seems to keep it afloat. Unlike arcade gaming, PC gaming has been able to evolve itself away from extinction by exploiting its unique advantages over the console platforms.
 
Take distribution, for example. If you want to sell a product, it is absolutely crucial to be able to get that product into the hands of consumers. Traditional for video games of all kinds, that meant a box on the shelf at a retail store. For some time, the shelf space devoted to PC gaming has been shrinking at stores to its currently absurd presence bordering on non-existence. If you could take this information back to someone ten years ago, they could reasonably assume that PC gaming is on its way out. Instead of giving in, the PC scene has taken this attack against it and, jiu-jitsu-style, turned it around into something of an advantage. The problem with retail distribution is that it creates more overhead all around. PC gaming, however, in its attempt to survive in the face of the growing popularity of plug-and-play console gaming, has given birth to a number of alternate distribution systems utilizing the ever-increasing speeds of home Internet service. In doing so, they have drastically reduced overhead for game developers small and large and have allowed bigger margins to help combat the problem of smaller audiences.
 
Fortunately for gamers, the PC seems to have enough tricks up its sleeve that it isn't going anywhere unlike our beloved arcades of decades past. It is an incredible platform offering advantages which are within reach of the game consoles but bring about fears from big-wigs of diluting the simplicity of those platforms. Those fears are certainly justified. About a year after launch of a new console generation, any mid-level gaming PC can outperform the most advanced gaming console which is, by its nature, frozen in time. From that point forward (and often earlier) PC gamers can enjoy higher framerates, better resolution, more detailed textures, and a plethora of other technical benefits in addition to user created content for nearly every game, flexible control methods, and (often) more robust online connectivity. If not for their simplicity, I couldn't see a reason for owning a gaming console outside whatever exclusive releases those platforms provided.
 
Cost is often cited as a key barrier to entry in the argument of PC versus console gaming. By nature of the fact that PC hardware is constantly changing, the cost of a gaming PC that will compare to current consoles is always dropping. I'm in the process of retiring a PC that was put together for about $350--less than either my 360 or my PS3--which can run nearly any current PC game at a respectable framerate in 1080p. I'm running games which were released on both platforms (console and PC) at a resolution 50% better than the console counterpart.
 
This is not to say I don't love my console gaming. I often find myself retreating to my 360 and PS3 after frustrating bouts with drivers, hardware, and other configuration nightmares. However, there is much to be said for the underdog that is the PC. Simplicity and flexibility are at opposing sides of a continuum; PC gaming has boldly staked its claim in a region where gaming consoles will forever fear to tread.
 

My Inspiration


I rarely think of things to write out of the blue, and indeed this post was inspired by my recent gaming PC purchase which itself was inspired by the fantastic time I have been having with a few recent game purchases which are, too me, uniquely PC experiences. Two of them are, in fact, also available for game consoles. The first is Dragon Age: Origins which has been discussed at length with even much of the community acknowledging the fact that it is truly a PC game with a console port also available. The second is Left 4 Dead 2 which is available in much the same form on 360, but, from my perspective, you cannot properly control a shooter without a keyboard and mouse. The third game is currently confined to the PC platform although it will ultimately be avaliable on XBLA: Spelunky. (Note: If you have not tried Spelunky, I highly recommend you check it out. It is a free game for Windows.)
 
Getting back to my recent PC purchase, a couple of friends requested I post my build. It is a very modest system by some standards (and I'm sure quite decadent by others). Here it is for anyone interested:
For those of you who made it this far, I would love to play some L4D2, TF2, UT3, or even something else. Feel free to add me to your Steam friends!
#2 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
#3 Posted by Hamst3r (4523 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow: Word be that Spelunky! is Rick Dangerous + Nethack.
#4 Posted by ThatFrood (3377 posts) -

I agree with you and think this is a well thought out and intelligent post. High five.
Also, I'd like to point out that, while cost is often cited as a drawback to pcs, games on the pc are cheaper (especially in the enormous and very superb back-catalog).

#5 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -
I don't know what it is about some of these statements that irritate me, but probably because I've heard them so many times, to the point where people take them for gospel, even if they don't make any sense.  I don't disagree with most of your points but I will raise a few exceptions.
 
@raddevon said:
PC gaming has been "dying" for the past two console generations
I've been on the net for a long time, and before I was I read a LOT of gaming magazines, and honestly I never heard that statement once before 2005, although I'm aware it did come up from time to time before.  I think any reasonable person agrees that PC gaming has changed much in the last few years, and some people interpret that change in very different ways.  The problem is people claiming that this is some sort of age old claim always proven wrong.  Absolutely not.
 
@raddevon said:
About a year after launch of a new console generation, any mid-level gaming PC can outperform the most advanced gaming console which is, by its nature, frozen in time. From that point forward (and often earlier) PC gamers can enjoy higher framerates, better resolution, more detailed textures, and a plethora of other technical benefits
This also is untrue.  It can depend on the specific console release, but people seem very confused about this sort of stuff.  Within a year of the Xbox 360's release for example, the highest end gaming PCs money could buy were just catching up to the Xbox 360 on most technical levels, let alone the mid-level PC.  Still, it doesn't take long for this period to expire, but this point is mistaken all too often, to the point where uninformed or technically unknowing people have gotten the wrong impression.
 
@raddevon said:
Cost is often cited as a key barrier to entry in the argument of PC versus console gaming. By nature of the fact that PC hardware is constantly changing, the cost of a gaming PC that will compare to current consoles is always dropping. I'm in the process of retiring a PC that was put together for about $350--less than either my 360 or my PS3--which can run nearly any current PC game at a respectable framerate in 1080p. I'm running games which were released on both platforms (console and PC) at a resolution 50% better than the console counterpart.
I'd very much like to know what components you used and when you built that PC.  While the claims of the $2000 PC are absurd, so too are the claims of a PC cheaper than consoles that can run games better.
 
@raddevon said:
Getting back to my recent PC purchase, a couple of friends requested I post my build. It is a very modest system by some standards (and I'm sure quite decadent by others). Here it is for anyone interested:
I want to end up by congratulating you and wishing you enjoy your purchase.  That build is extremely similar to my own which I've been using for a few months now (same exact case, CPU, OS - same model of GPU, same amount of RAM, same brand of HDD and mobo).
#6 Posted by KnifeySpoony (1165 posts) -

Good post, pretty much everything you said in general is why I built myself a new machine a little over a year ago, December 2008.

#7 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Diamond said:
" This also is untrue.  It can depend on the specific console release, but people seem very confused about this sort of stuff.  Within a year of the Xbox 360's release for example, the highest end gaming PCs money could buy were just catching up to the Xbox 360 on most technical levels, let alone the mid-level PC.  Still, it doesn't take long for this period to expire, but this point is mistaken all too often, to the point where uninformed or technically unknowing people have gotten the wrong impression.  "
Sorry mate but this patently untrue.  It doesn't depend on anything.  No console in the history of gaming has ever surpassed what a mid range PC can do a year into that console's life.  The fact that all console released AAA titles stay bound to 720p or lower resolutions is very telling, but more on that later.
 
Within less than a year of the 360's launch in Nov of 2005, ATI had already well surpassed the 360' s GPU with their own X1900 as their new flagship product.  By the time November 2006 rolled around that card was already discounted extremely heavily and was soundly beaten by Nvidia's 7900 range, leaving it in the midrange price bracket. The same holds true with Nvidia moving their 7900 flagship GPU to become the midrange priced 7900GT and high end dual 7900GX2, both far outspeccing the RSX in the PS3.  GPU technology is arguably the most important aspect in market driven by 3D graphics. 
 
The same holds true for CPUs, despite all the rumblings of the SPU/SPE design of the Cell, it just hasn't proved valuable in any market outside of the PS3.  It has been dropped as Blade Server offering by all IHVs and is only used in research projects in nested PS3 configuration due it's Sony subsidised cheapness vs 'proper' server grade implementations in rack mounted blades.  Meanwhile the uptake of AMD and Intel blade servers continues to be strong and so does their corporate grade CPU offerings in Opteron and Xeon form.
 
RAM is also another area where consoles never have been able to compete as they are typically limited in speed and volume in comparison to even low end PC offerings less than a year of their release.  DDR2 and 3 both outpace either 'next gen' console alone, even if we ignore their 1GB or less cost vs capability limitations.
 
The whole idea of consoles being more powerful than PCs is an artificial one dreamed up by MS and Sony marketing and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. 
#8 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow said:
Within less than a year of the 360's launch in Nov of 2005, ATI had already well surpassed the 360' s GPU with their own X1900 as their new flagship product.
The 360's GPU is more powerful and has more features than the X1x00 series GPUs in almost all ways.  It is the direct precursor to the Radeon HD X2x00 series.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:
The same holds true for CPUs, despite all the rumblings of the SPU/SPE design of the Cell, it just hasn't proved valuable in any market outside of the PS3.  It has been dropped as Blade Server offering by all IHVs and is only used in research projects in nested PS3 configuration due it's Sony subsidised cheapness vs 'proper' server grade implementations in rack mounted blades.
The Cell continues to work its way into more consumer products.  Toshiba (who obviously has a vested interest) is putting them into next generation TVs.  Obviously it has been a very useful processor as extensively as it was used in super computers, even if that has recently begun to decline.  If FLOPs is what you want out of a CPU, no doubt you'll pick a Cell over any Intel or AMD CPU on the market to this day.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:
RAM is also another area where consoles never have been able to compete as they are typically limited in speed and volume in comparison to even low end PC offerings less than a year of their release.  DDR2 and 3 both outpace either 'next gen' console alone, even if we ignore their 1GB or less cost vs capability limitations.
That I will give you.  Consoles always have small amounts of RAM, obviously they make up for it somewhat with much less overhead, but it has always been a limiting factor.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:
The whole idea of consoles being more powerful than PCs is an artificial one dreamed up by MS and Sony marketing and has nothing whatsoever to do with reality.
I think you've really confused some things when you were listening to the marketing for your PC videocards actually.  The 360, for one, absolutely had a large edge over high end gaming PCs for quite some time.
#9 Edited by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Diamond said:

"The 360's GPU is more powerful and has more features than the X1x00 series GPUs in almost all ways.  It is the direct precursor to the Radeon HD X2x00 series."
 

The Xenos is a nerfed R600 core with a direct pipeline to 10MB of fast VRAM (hence the free FSAA and Z collision detection/culled detail) on top of its baseline DDR3 256MB assigned UMA block.  It has a few more ALUs than an X1800  but can't make use of them in any useful fashion due to VRAM constraints.  There is not one 360 title that renders in proper 3-4 pass 3D space that uses 1080p and the majority are 640p/720p which is a definite reflection of the Xenos lack of fillrate and low VRAM ceiling.   It doesn't compete with even the baseline 2600, the x1900 and certainly not the nvidia G92.  Having powerful features is one thing but having the grunt to actually use them is another thing entirely.  The Xenos is pretty much all bark and no bite due a woefully nerfed fillrate and incredibly low VRAM ceiling.  The XBOX 360 ALU shaders are always forced into lower precision modes when compared with the same operations done on their PC equivalent ports.  Look at any recent ported 360 to PC title and you will see higher precision shader work happening on the PC version always.  I should know I have Force Unleashed, Saints Row 2 and GTA IV for both systems and in all of those cases the lighting models and shader precision are much less detailed on the 360. 

 
" The Cell continues to work its way into more consumer products.  Toshiba (who obviously has a vested interest) is putting them into next generation TVs.  Obviously it has been a very useful processor as extensively as it was used in super computers, even if that has recently begun to decline.  If FLOPs is what you want out of a CPU, no doubt you'll pick a Cell over any Intel or AMD CPU on the market to this day. "
 
Yeah man, the Cell is so awesome it's being used for shitty nettops, DNLA video to TVs and fridge internet access.  AWESOME TECH USED AWESOMELY.  AWESOME.  There are many cheaper OMAP and other cheaper SoC choices.  Toshiba are just trying to recoup some income from the R&D. 
 
FLOPS are pittance in comparison with Out of Order processing needs of general purpose CPUs.  Cell will be quickly oustripped in Floating Point Operations by the GT100 soon too and that card can even  do SCREEN RENDERING, x264 decoding and Dolby True HD audio.  Cell in the server space is dead.  

That I will give you.  Consoles always have small amounts of RAM, obviously they make up for it somewhat with much less overhead, but it has always been a limiting factor.
 
And that overhead just got blown out not too long ago on the 360 with the NXE.  That doesn't affect the games because they are always running in lowered detail compared to their PC versions.  
Consoles are built with profit solely in mind.  The offer buzzwords to attract nubs, simple as that.
 
I think you've really confused some things when you were listening to the marketing for your PC videocards actually.  The 360, for one, absolutely had a large edge over high end gaming PCs for quite some time. "
Bullshit. You really don't know what you're talking about.  Either you're posting as a griefer or you're just ignorant of the reality.  The XBOX 360 GPU had the edge on the midrange for a whole SIX MONTHS.   Show me one XBOX 360 that had features graphically which even a high end PC couldn't do a year after the 360's release.  You can't because they don't exist.
#10 Edited by Diamond (8634 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow said:

Bullshit. You really don't know what you're talking about.  Either you're posting as a griefer or you're just ignorant of the reality.  The XBOX 360 GPU had the edge on the midrange for a whole SIX MONTHS.   Show me one XBOX 360 that had features graphically which even a high end PC couldn't do a year after the 360's release.  You can't because they don't exist.

I say the same for you, as I know I know what I'm talking about, and I'm not trying to grief anyone.  It depends on if you mean features or features versus performance.  A game like Kameo certainly couldn't have been done nearly as well on a PC within that time frame.  Even a game like Oblivion on 360 had HDR+AA which wasn't possible on PCs until the Nvidia 8800 series was released almost exactly a year later.  There's but one example.
 
In terms of pure hardware abilities the 360's tessellation wasn't possible on PC until the Radeon HD 2x00 series or the Geforce GTX 2x0 series!  The 360's Shader Model 4.0 features wouldn't have been possible on PC until the release of DirectX10 on Vista...
 
On the graphics side the only real advantage PC had early on was memory size (video memory and system memory) and arguably GPU bandwidth / fillrate.
#11 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Diamond: 
Umm sorry mate but Kameo was not a demanding game.  You're confusing good art design with shader processing limits.  
 
Oblivion ran just awesomely on 7600GT in 1366x768 and I had all details tuned to max; draw distance, water, shadows and so on.  It looked a lot better on my PC and was a lot smoother then the 360 version.  Oh and I also used a lot of mods for it too which raised the ground texture detail, dynamic weather systems and NPC animals spawns way beyond the baseline, which all the 360 version was.
#12 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow said:
" @Diamond:  Umm sorry mate but Kameo was not a demanding game.  You're confusing good art design with shader processing limits.
No I'm really not, the game has horrible artwork.  The amount of particles, parallax mapped surfaces, real time lighting, refraction post processing, enemies on screen.  The game is technically astounding.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:
Oblivion ran just awesomely on 7600GT in 1366x768 and I had all details tuned to max; draw distance, water, shadows and so on.  It looked a lot better on my PC and was a lot smoother then the 360 version.  Oh and I also used a lot of mods for it too which raised the ground texture detail, dynamic weather systems and NPC animals spawns way beyond the baseline, which all the 360 version was.
Well, obviously you weren't running both HDR+AA at the same time as the 360 did.  The 360 version has all maxed graphics settings except grass draw distance is about half of PC at max and no self shadowing (which might have been disabled for how bad it looked).  Really there weren't a ton of really impressive graphics mods out extremely close to the release of the game, I know because I was modding Oblivion at the time.
#13 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

This is "PC is dead" thing is an argument propagated by people who don't play PC games. Its like if a Republican says a Democrat is ruining the country. You don't need to validate these people with a response, they're obviously clueless and just trying to rationalize the fact that they can't afford PC gaming(or they think they cant)  so they tell themselves its "dead" so they don't miss the PC versions of games that look so much better than console games that they're playing. They wanna pretend the PC-360 relationship isn't just like the 360-Wii relationship. They wanna pretend the PC doesn't exist so they lie to themselves.

#14 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@Diamond:
Diamond, if you continue to come into every discussion regarding PC gaming to prove its death with words whilst ignoring or baselessly refuting arguments which don't reflect your opinion then you are the very definition of a troll.   I respect that you were an Amiga and C64 user and you know I'll talk with you in detail, but I will never accept you defining my factual opinion as wrong just so it makes you right.  "Well obviously you weren't running both HDR+AA at the same time as the 360 did" is negating what I just described to you.  That is twisting my words to suit your argument.  I've treated you with the respect to argue your points saliently and I expect the same from you.
 
@ryanwho: Get out of my nutshell :P
#15 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Now if I were to play devil's advocate and give Diamond an idea of something vaguely resembling a legitimate argument, I would point out some devs like Rockstar and Bungie tend to do fairly poor ports to the PC so its not like the PC version of any given game is the best by default. But anyone who would argue its not the best looking by default, every time, is just playing the fool. But console focused publishers like Capcom and Ubisoft do pretty great PC ports, and Bioware, ID, Bethesda, Epic games, etc. being PC devs initially, obviously are optimizing their games for the PC and the PC versions of their games are prettymuch always far and away are the best versions as anyone who could afford to play them side by side would attest.

#16 Edited by Diamond (8634 posts) -
@SeriouslyNow: I'm not saying PC gaming is dead.
 
You're the one who has been baselessly refuting my arguments.  You're accusing me of trolling as an ad hominem attack and putting words into my mouth as opposed to actually counterpointing any of my factually based arguments.  I'm a stickler for facts, and I don't like it when people spout complete BS.  It's obvious you're a PC gaming fan, but you don't need to be so defensive.  I'm not saying a gaming PC today isn't far technically superior than a 360, but I will continue to state the 360 was more technically capable in most respects than a high end gaming PC until over a year from launch.  I say that because it's true, and unless you've got some convincing arguments otherwise, there's no reason for you to be debating the issue with me.
 
How is the fact that the 360 could run HDR+AA in Oblivion when a PC couldn't negating?  You asked what features the 360 was capable of that PCs weren't.  I answered precisely and factually.  Do you deny the 360's GPU supports SM4.0 compliant shader lengths?  Do you deny Vista was released a year after Xbox 360?  Both are those are plain facts, and prove the very point you asked and I have been stating.
 
I will never accept you defining the facts as I present them as false.
 
edit - I just noticed due to your quoting problems I didn't read some of one of your previous responses.  I'll reply to those points now.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:

The Xenos is a nerfed R600 core with a direct pipeline to 10MB of fast VRAM (hence the free FSAA and Z collision detection/culled detail) on top of its baseline DDR3 256MB assigned UMA block.  It has a few more ALUs than an X1800  but can't make use of them in any useful fashion due to VRAM constraints.  There is not one 360 title that renders in proper 3-4 pass 3D space that uses 1080p and the majority are 640p/720p which is a definite reflection of the Xenos lack of fillrate and low VRAM ceiling.   It doesn't compete with even the baseline 2600, the x1900 and certainly not the nvidia G92.  Having powerful features is one thing but having the grunt to actually use them is another thing entirely.  The Xenos is pretty much all bark and no bite due a woefully nerfed fillrate and incredibly low VRAM ceiling.  The XBOX 360 ALU shaders are always forced into lower precision modes when compared with the same operations done on their PC equivalent ports.  Look at any recent ported 360 to PC title and you will see higher precision shader work happening on the PC version always.  I should know I have Force Unleashed, Saints Row 2 and GTA IV for both systems and in all of those cases the lighting models and shader precision are much less detailed on the 360.

It's not a nerfed R600 as the R600 didn't even exist until much later.  Obviously the Xenos doesn't have geometry shader support, and I wouldn't argue the 10MB of ultra fast VRAM is a negative.  There are many ways ALUs can be utilized, if you have any argument going along these lines it's that the 360 scales far worse to resolutions above 600p or so, basically it becomes less efficient.  Otherwise you have a very high performing GPU.  It depends on what you value and fillrate is far far FARRR from the most important aspect of real time 3D today.  I don't precisely know the quality of the shaders in games like Force Unleashed (I've never played any version of the game) or SR2 (only played on 360) compared to the 360 version but I can state games that have far superior shaders on 360 than PC.  The most recent Tomb Raider game, the original King Kong on 360 (which is relevant to the point as it was a game of the time period in question).  For that matter few of the first year of 360 games were ever ported to PC due to these very shader limitations in question.  The question isn't if a modern PC has more power, that is obvious.  The point is the 360 had a large advantage in 3d rendering in the first year.  

@SeriouslyNow said:

 Yeah man, the Cell is so awesome it's being used for shitty nettops, DNLA video to TVs and fridge internet access.  AWESOME TECH USED AWESOMELY.  AWESOME.  There are many cheaper OMAP and other cheaper SoC choices.  Toshiba are just trying to recoup some income from the R&D. 
 
FLOPS are pittance in comparison with Out of Order processing needs of general purpose CPUs.  Cell will be quickly oustripped in Floating Point Operations by the GT100 soon too and that card can even  do SCREEN RENDERING, x264 decoding and Dolby True HD audio.  Cell in the server space is dead.    

I don't know why you're always so dismissive of the Cell.  Again the point isn't about Cell rivaling GPUs that aren't even released today, it's about its place as a superior console hardware component at launch and for at least a year after.  BTW, Out of order execution is almost absolutely irrelevant for games today.
 
@SeriouslyNow said:

And that overhead just got blown out not too long ago on the 360 with the NXE.

Obviously not, if true they'd have trouble running existing 360 games.  The NXE takes no more memory footprint than the previous user interface.  It does take more data storage (on the HDD or newly added internal flash memory), but that's not the point.
#17 Posted by Wess (103 posts) -

I don't know a lot about the technical side of this kind of stuff, but I know that I personally like knowing that when I thrown down 300-400 dollars for a console purchase that console is guaranteed to run every game released for it, giving me 5 or so years of uninterrupted gaming, where I don't have to worry about upgrading hardware.  I feel like some companies that develop for the PC try to really push the limits, and for people like me who only want to get a new PC every 5 years (less often than that if I can) end up not being able to play some PC releases because my hardware just doesn't cut it.  I'm sure I could find ways to custom build more powerful machines for cheaper, but honestly, I prefer playing games, and consoles let me do that efficiently and for generally cheaper than any PC I've bought.
 
Also, I just have to say that console controllers have been around for a while.  They are pretty sophisticated and developers have learned how to use them well for pretty much every genre, so people who refuse to give up their mouse and keyboard should just give it an honest try.  I'll give you RTS though, if you want, that still is much better on a PC.

#18 Edited by Teirdome (262 posts) -

I love the PC.  It's a secret, dark love that I dare not let see the light of day.   Even with my passion, I have to admit that PC gaming has been on the decline over the past few years.  It's downfall is heralded from this recent story:
 
 4.1 million copies of Modern Warfare 2 pirated
 
Even if that's not a 1-to-1 pirate-to-sale ratio (which Activision surely will see it as), it's a huge amount of money lost for Activision to theft.  A loss you don't even get to count against your profits on your taxes (if legislation was passed that allowed this deduction, PC gaming would be back instantly).  Quite simply, as we've seen broadband penetration go up, we've seen the success of the PC platform decrease because of the easy of pirating games.
 
But your point on the importance of digital distribution should not be overlooked.  It's convenient for the consumer and incredibly cost-effective for the producer, a true win for both parties.  If not for pressure from retailers on publishers, prices would be closer to the steam holiday sale prices year-round.  The trade-in market is much smaller for digital distribution, with only a few hubs where people can trade games compared to retail chains that make their profits off of trade-ins.
 
The future is really bright for PC gaming (in terms of number of shaders in use).  The 360 and PS3 have embarrassingly little RAM available, the single biggest oversight of the HD console generation.  Now that we're finally off of fuzzy CRTs, texture quality, which has always been important for PC gaming (exemplified in the Max Payne "photo-realism" textures hype from 2001) has now become extremely important for consoles, and they cannot compete with the open amounts of RAM that can be used for textures on the PC.  As this console generation continues to be artificially extended by the recession and the motion controller rebirth of both consoles, the Moore's Law inspired lead will continue to grow.
 
One last good sign for the PC.  The 360 over the holidays just hit 2.2 million concurrent users (Sony still hasn't released.  Steam on the other hand has more than 2.5 million concurrent every day and steam only has an estimated 70% of digital distribution market share.

#19 Edited by James0890 (69 posts) -
@Teirdome: I think Activision dug their own grave with MW2, publishers respond to piracy by punishing their consumers with harsher DRM or in MW2s case respond by closing down the openness of the multiplayer, publishers need to find a different way to respond to piracy not keep increasing DRM - it only leads to more piracy.
 
I think the right way is something like what Zeno Clash guys did: Link
 
Wise words of Stephen Fry:
 
#20 Posted by Geno (6477 posts) -
@Diamond: A large contributing reason to why consoles seem to have bafflingly good performance for the price/timeframe has a lot to do with the fact that they are on a fixed platform. The amount of optimization that developers can do with a fixed platform (not to mention millions of dollars, several years, and support from the OEM themselves) is quite significant. Although the 360 (and PS3) hardware was very good for the time, the reason PC had to play catch up was due in large part to the differences between developing on a fixed platform and a variable platform. I would say that even today games like Uncharted 2 give the average gaming PC a run for its money, and with sheer hardware power out of the picture (since the current cards easily outperform the GPU's in consoles several fold) the effects of optimization are made even more dramatic. 
#21 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -
@Geno said:
@Diamond: A large contributing reason to why consoles seem to have bafflingly good performance for the price/timeframe has a lot to do with the fact that they are on a fixed platform. The amount of optimization that developers can do with a fixed platform (not to mention millions of dollars, several years, and support from the OEM themselves) is quite significant. Although the 360 (and PS3) hardware was very good for the time, the reason PC had to play catch up was due in large part to the differences between developing on a fixed platform and a variable platform. I would say that even today games like Uncharted 2 give the average gaming PC a run for its money, and with sheer hardware power out of the picture (since the current cards easily outperform the GPU's in consoles several fold) the effects of optimization are made even more dramatic.
Absolutely, however that's not the argument I'm making here.  Spec for spec the 360 was quite a bit ahead of its time.  PS3's Cell also to an extent.  It's not a particularly rare concept.  That's the whole reason Uncharted 2 can be debatably the best looking game on any platform - coding at very low-level on the Cell.  That's why in that Metro interview you posted in the other thread the developer considers the 360 today to be better than a middle range gaming PC.  However I was limiting the focus on my discussion in this thread to consoles' technical superiority within their launch window.
#22 Edited by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

PC gaming will always be the Master race, even in dark ages such as these. We just sit back and watch them fight amongst themselves. When the time is right we emerge from the shadows to stomp the console peasants back into the dirt where they belong!
#23 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

The single reason why consoles stay ahead for a short amount of time is that the PC both in terms of hardware and software releases gets ARTIFICIALLY held back.  End of story.  Any fool who wishes to argue this point is welcome to.

#24 Posted by Getz (3098 posts) -

Digital distribution has definitely bolstered the PC gaming market. Steam should be commended at least in part for innovating in this area, but also all the indie developers who make their games available for cheaper costs. I would much rather buy Zeno Clash for 20 dollars or World of Goo for 15 than, say, Army of Two 40th Day for 60 when they all provide roughly the same amount of content (insofar as "content" can be quantified). PC gaming is very much a culture, more so than the consoles inspire. Very specific types of games find their homes and flourish on the PC, where they would surely fail on the consoles (low budget strategy games and RPGs come to mind). Probably because the format has been around for ages and it's fans know what they like at this point.

#25 Posted by raddevon (437 posts) -

 I would have posted a reply earlier, but I have been sick.
 

@SeriouslyNow:

I've never played Rick Dangerous, but it does look quite similar.
 
@ThatFrood: You're correct about cheaper games. PC games tend to experience earlier and more dramatic price cuts than their console counterparts. I imagine you could make up the difference in hardware cost (if there even is one) quite quickly.
 
@ryanwho said:

" This is "PC is dead" thing is an argument propagated by people who don't play PC games. Its like if a Republican says a Democrat is ruining the country. You don't need to validate these people with a response, they're obviously clueless and just trying to rationalize the fact that they can't afford PC gaming(or they think they cant)  so they tell themselves its "dead" so they don't miss the PC versions of games that look so much better than console games that they're playing. They wanna pretend the PC-360 relationship isn't just like the 360-Wii relationship. They wanna pretend the PC doesn't exist so they lie to themselves. "


I'm not sure this is necessarily true. I love PC gaming, but I remember the first time I went to a game store and noticed PC games had been deprived of their generous wall space and relegated instead to a dinky free-standing shelf in the middle of the store. That sort of move makes everyone stop and think.
 
@Teirdome: Interesting comparison of Steam vs. Xbox Live.
 
@Getz: It seems PC indie development is also becoming something of a cradle for PSN and XBLA. There are several PC indie games being released over those services in the coming year (including Zeno Clash).
#26 Posted by monkeyroach (175 posts) -
@ahaisthisourchance said:
" PC gaming will always be the Master race, even in dark ages such as these. We just sit back and watch them fight amongst themselves. When the time is right we emerge from the shadows to stomp the console peasants back into the dirt where they belong! "
well said
 
pc will be as big as console gaming again when they figure out this piracy problem.4 million downloads of mw2 on the pc,if that was in sales it would of out sold the ps3 version.

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