Is PC gaming dead then?

, posted: 16-Jul-2010 14:05

Alienware and its PR people have put together some video clips featuring messieurs Ampzz McDonald and Prawny Beaumont talking about the pros and cons of PCs versus gaming consoles, which may or may not interest you.
As it happens, I had an Xbox 360 Elite here for a while and can appreciate the slick user experience. The Xbox 360 just works, is quiet, doesn't look too ugly and anyone can use it. Plus, it works as a media extender and provides a platform for games publishing houses and Microsoft as well, with subscriptions. Lots of games come out on consoles first or even only. would like to check out Red Dead Redemption for instance, but without an Xbox or a Playstation, I don't think that'll happen. Then there's all the kinetics stuff too.
Gaming consoles are pretty damn cool, in other words, and they're cheap. The new Xbox 360 can be had for $449 in Auckland which is pretty good but you do need to add a screen - ideally an HD TV- to the price.
With that kind of pricing, you have to wonder why anyone would bother with a big PC. Get a console to play games on, and a cheap-ish laptop, maybe an inexpensive DLNA/Bonjour enabled NAS box for storage and backup, and that's probably all the IT gear most people need.
No wonder then that specialist PC vendors such as Dell's Alienware are getting worried. Alienware makes high-end "enthusiast" PCs aimed at gamers - they do that job rather well I'm told (no, I've never tried out an Alienware box so don't know if they're any good). They're not cheap though, especially if you want top of the range performance. Take the Alienware Area 51 ALX monster, with motorised vents and Intel's quad and hexacore processors:
It's an impressive enough machine, albeit with very low spousal acceptance factor design. Looking at the specs of the hardware available for it, has ample performance to do just about anything. But, the starting price is US$4,000 and once you start adding on a fast HD monitor and the usual drool-worthy features, the cost of the Area 51 ALX starts creeping up towards the US$10k mark. There may very well be people out there who can justify that kind of money to play games, but I can't imagine there being very many.
Myself, I wouldn't like PC gaming to die. It'd be a dull IT world without the regular competitive updates from the likes of Intel, NVIDIA and AMD fighting each other for the fastest and best value top spots, and coming out with new features that push the enveloper even further. The closed, controlled proprietary nature of consoles is what makes them work so well, but jeez. it's boring stuff for someone used to the relatively open nature of PCs and the ability to hack them into shape and break them spectacularly. Yeah, so I'm a dinosaur.
Now for something related: while it's still relevant for PC users, here's some random DX11 Tessellation goodness to feast your eyes on.

Update Harry McCracken over at Technologizer has a story that makes a very good point: accuracy. Mouse and keyboard controls are more accurate than the console controllers. PC gamers, even mediocre ones, were able to wipe the floor with Xbox 360 ones. If that's so, it might explain why some games don't cross platforms so to speak…

Other related posts:
Zune, a DRM nuisance
NZCS Newsline: Taxing software, Chromebooks, Future of ISPs and Copyright
NZCS Newsline 24

comments powered by Disqus


Google News search
IT News
PC World New Zealand
Computerworld NZ
PC World and Computerworld Australia
PC World US
Computerworld US
NZ Herald
Virus Bulletin

Content copyright © Juha Saarinen. If you wish to use the content of my blog on your site, please contact me for details. I'm usually happy to share my material as long as it's not for spamblogs and content farms. Please attribute with a link back to this blog. If you wish to advertise on my blog, please drop me an email to discuss the details.
Comments policy All comments posted on this blog are the copyright and responsibility of the submitters in question. Comments commercial and promotional in nature are not allowed. Please ensure that your comments are on topic and refrain from making personal remarks.