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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011

How Video Games Killed Desktop PC Computing

After publishing more than a few editorial articles foretelling the decline of the enthusiast desktop computer platform, you might think I'm the pessimistic sort. In reality, I'm quite cautious with my decision making and try to keep every option in mind. There is a blinding bias that is suffered when someone completely believes or disbelieves their position and none other, so there's comfort in keeping towards the middle ground on any particular topic. By demanding proof before taking up a side, my position is based more on factual evidence and less on opinion. It's a relatively safe way of thinking, because it usually rules out many of the risks associated with general uncertainty. The point I make with this introduction is to alert readers that the editorial message this article delivers has been carefully weighted by facts, and should taken with serious consideration.

I'm not sharing this with you to create the element of drama for the sake of promoting a story, although if it helps spread the message I'm onboard. This isn't a book or movie I'm discussing; it's my business, and unfortunately the balance of this website rests with the future of a topic I'm struggling to accept as sustainable: enthusiast desktop computers. If you're not up to speed on this topic, I've already published several related pieces that should be required reading: Fears and Predictions and Statistical Obituary. If you haven't already read those two article, you should. Since we're talking about the desktop PC platform as it pertains to hardware enthusiasts, you might also consider Killed By Overclocking and Saved By Overclocking as well. Collectively, these articles all help to form the bigger picture of what I'll be explaining in this article.

What I'm discussing in this article isn't the sudden and untimely death of an entire platform, but rather a tipping point within the industry. I'm referring to PCs made just for gaming, overclocking, or any other recreational enjoyment. The desktop computer platform as a whole will be around for many years to come, but the landscape of enthusiast hardware will change. Just as there are professional installations of DOS-based computers still in service, there too will remain Windows-based desktop computers within the office space for quite some time. This topic focuses on the enthusiast desktop hardware market segment, and its inability to continue growth into the mobile age.

How Fear Became Reality

Some time shortly after attending the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past January, my exposure to "the next wave of technology" led me to have a true moment of clarity. I've been hard at work trying to find a positive direction within this industry, primarily because Benchmark Reviews is a desktop hardware-centric media outlet. Considering how notebook computers have been outselling desktop counterparts for over three years already, and that netbooks, tablets, and a myriad of mobile devices have piled onto this effect, it's not easy to remain faithful to a shrinking platform. But the writing is on the wall, and the future of this market segment is no longer a mystery. It seems clear to me that enthusiast hardware for the desktop computer platform has seen it's glory days, and is well into its golden years.

For many of our readers, that last statement might be passed off as opinion. Sadly, there will always be people who refuse to believe in something until after it has becomes undeniable to argue. I'm a little more calculated since I operate a corporation centered on sales and service of this platform, in addition to my experiences with this website. Nevertheless, I've already published statistical facts that backed my initial pessimistic feelings, but that wasn't enough for some of you. I knew that to really convince my readers, my message would needed to be solid. For those who still remain tethered to this industry, consider this editorial a friendly forewarning.

For more than two years now (2009-2011) our enthusiastic visitors have participated in a heated discussion on this topic, and it's taken just as long for the industry to finally make up its mind and choose a clear direction. Simply claiming that this new direction excludes desktop computers would be too easy, and not entirely accurate. To read the writing on the wall, you have to understand the language. This story begins with corporate profits, more specifically profit margins and sustainable product sales. It begins with the leaders of our beloved enthusiast desktop industry, then includes the leading top-tier system builders and resellers, and finally it ends with us.

Make Money or Make Change

This year Intel Corporation introduced its Sandy Bridge processor architecture. The new Core i3/i5/i7 desktop processors have revolutionized computing by delivering more performance in a smaller package, as a direct result of using less energy per transistor than ever before. It's a great processor, which Intel has made available to the mainstream consumer market. The catch: it was originally designed with the notebook platform in mind, proving that desktops come second in consideration. Next came the dual-GPU battle between AMD's Radeon HD 6990 and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590, which many gamers expected to be necessary hardware in order to play EA's Crysis 2 video game. This is where the enthusiast-fueled desktop hardware industry turns sour.

First, Intel suffered a major setback after the otherwise positive launch of their Sandy Bridge motherboard platform. As it turned out, a minor defect in the chip forced each of their motherboard partners to suffer untold production cost expenses after the entire first series manufactured on B2 stepping were recalled. For many companies this caused a significant impact on their profit margin for the quarter, and the impact had a trickle-down effect. Advertising budgets were slashed, which reduced the brands visibility. Added customer service expenses replacement product costs strained budgets, causing project delays and restricted their ability to finance future development. Without marketing efforts and advertising to promote new products, a brand name disappears from consumer radar and sales wane. As a direct result of decreased brand visibility, fewer consumers will be interested in new products which leads to a decline in sales. Once the consumer market shrinks and sales decline, that company must make changes to its product line just to stay in business. Products available to the remaining user base will utimately depend on what the manufacturer can afford to produce.

This has been happening for longer than you might think, with overwhelming evidence to be found everywhere you look. Xerox and IBM were the first major names in computing to jump ship and branch out many decades ago, quickly followed by Intel and others. When these companies discovered that their mainstay product segment could no longer sustain growth, they expanded into adjacent markets to help increase revenue. We're seeing this happen in today's computing climate, as well. Intel and AMD continue to drive desktop processors, but they've invested as much or more towards server and mobile computing market segments. NVIDIA recently announced their Tegra 2 mobile GPU, which offers the ability to play console-quality video games on a mobile phone. At some point in the not so distant future the desktop market segment will belong to professional workers and niche users, and companies that make enthusiast hardware will be forced to scale back their product offerings to include only the most profitable segments.

The next big setback came with Crysis 2, the video game that would change it all... or at least that's what we were fed to believe by Electronic Arts. For those of you who aren't in constant contact with the marketing arm of AMD and NVIDIA, you might not know that very few video game titles are made exclusively for the PC platform. Nearly all video games developed over the past four years have been designed for consoles first and foremost, and then later released for PC. Electronic Arts' Crysis game series had been one of the few holdouts; at least until Crysis 2 was launched as a DirectX 9 video game earlier this month on console gaming systems. Unfortunately, a DirectX 11 version is not expected for the PC platform, making the marketing efforts of NVIDIA and AMD moot.

All of these companies want you to believe that their ten-core processor or triple-GPU graphics card is what you really need to reach that next level. But what is that next level? For the past ten years I've used my computer for gaming, browsing the web, media playback, email messaging, documents, and editing images. With the exception of solid state drives, I'm confident my computer manages these tasks with the same speed it did many years ago. Sure, the processor and video card have grown to scale with applications and games, but that's really the point I'm making here: applications and gamers are no longer growing in their demand for resources. Without demand, supply cannot exist.

Enough Has Been Enough

Benchmark results aside, desktop processors have been providing overkill performance for the bulk of real-world applications since the Y2K scare. Sure, there are a few CPU-intensive applications that need the extra cycles such as 3D modeling or CAD/CAM programs, but for the longest time these applications were merely starved for graphics processing power that didn't exist like it does today. The same is true for PC video games, which used to make up for weak graphics power by using the CPU. Over the past few years nearly all modern GPUs have surpassed the computer power of CPUs with relative ease, giving consumer more than enough processing power to reach 'that next level' on a budget.

So, to recap the situation, consumers continue to replace their desktop PC platform with notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and mobile phones. These transitions have caused a decline in the number of desktop user, and thus fewer consumers in the segment. Desktop component manufacturers are finding it hard to profit in an economic climate that prohibits enthusiast spending, but they're also being squeezed by the resistance to constant hardware upgrades. Software developers are making their programs more accessible to low-power platforms, in addition to Cloud-computing solutions. PC video games are essentially the desktop platform's last stand, and now that battle is looking bleak.

All of these events will create a divide in the desktop user space. System builders will see less dramatic change within the 'professional' desktop segment, while manufacturers of enthusiast-grade desktop hardware will be hit hardest. I suspect that graphics card manufacturers will be among the first of these companies to streamline their product offerings to cope with a shrinking user base, and will eventually offer a fraction of the discrete video card models they now produce. They'll eventually concentrate their efforts towards mobile graphics, and what remains of the desktop segment will likely be integrated graphics or task-specific video cards for the graphics professional. The desktop platform may live on well past the age of enthusiast desktops, but only in professional environments.

When it comes to video games, people are primarily playing them on game consoles followed by personal computers and then mobile phones. Excusing the small yet growing number of mobile phone gamers, we can focus on the battle between console and PC. Microsoft, the makers of the Windows O/S, hedged their bets back in November 2005 when they launched the Xbox 360 video game console. One year later Sony began selling their PlayStation 3 gaming console, also based on DirectX 9 graphics API. For nearly six year now the PC industry has slowly lost gamers to console platforms, and it's about to get much worse.

Since the current (7th) generation of home gaming consoles currently use DirectX 9-compatible graphics processors, many people believe that when Sony unveils their PlayStation4 platform a year or more from now it will utilize modern DirectX 11 graphics. This is probably true, just as it could be accurate to predict that game developers will then begin to produce more DirectX 11 games as a direct result. But sadly, with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: those gamers who befriended the desktop PC platform to enjoy DirectX 11 games will no longer have a reason to continue using it. The end of an era is near, so enjoy it while you still can.

Only time will tell how accurate my predictions have been, but feel free to leave your comments below.


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Comments 

 
# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingAthlonite 2011-03-30 17:19
I'm a PC gamer who has to whole heartedly agree with you for to long have we languished in the realms of Crappy console ports. A state that really annoys the # out of me and angers me against game houses I really don't want to buy a console my PC is to much fun to play with
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# IIFOXIIMatt 2011-07-24 06:12
I agree with everything in this article, even though I don't want to.

Console gaming tries it's hardest NOT to progress. MS and Sony sell consoles at nearly cost price, they make their money on games and peripherals. So they have no incentive to push the barriers and bring out new, better consoles. They have both stated they want the current consoles to be "10 year life cycles".

10 years between hardware upgrades???

PCs use to be what forced consoles to compete. They held consoles accountable for their aging performance at the end of their life cycle and force a new generation of consoles to emerge to compete. Now that nearly all games are made for console and very, very few (if any) games push the hardware barriers, this positive competition in the market is dying rapidly. It is responsible for the current lack of a new generation of console, even though it is now over due on the usual 4-6 year life cycle of consoles.

I was saddened last time I went to my local game store (it's not small) to buy a new PC game, I didn't have one in mind, just wanted to look and buy something. The PC section was 1/10th the size of the Xbox and PS3 section. Every game was a console port.

The future of PC gaming is currently looking like it will be MMOs, RTS, and RPG. Even these will fall to console if the next gen allows for a mouse/keyboard and allows for the multi player to be it's own I.E. not forcing it to be on xbox live which, ofc could not host an MMO.

I prefer my games on console, I like my huge TV and my couch over a monitor and computer chair.

But without PC as the competition, the gaming market will stagnate. Console generations will become fewer and further between. Games will not push for better graphics because the consoles will not allow, and the consoles will not push for better graphics because they have no reason to.

This isn't the death of PC gaming, it's the stagnation of gaming in general. That is sad for all of us, not just the PC enthusiasts.
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# huh??!!!Ari 2011-03-30 17:22
I am still at a loss....how is a console going to compete with an upgradable, modular and expandable desktop computer? It's not even apples and oranges. It's more like saying that there is one packing box, that will fit every possible product. So therefore no company should worry, that with an expanding inventory (of various sizes) this one box will suite all needs.

I agree with a lot of points in this article, but I think the author has become jaded....and does not realize that the main reason for these outlandish desktop systems....was that the system building itself is/was a hobby. Desktop computers have been grossly overpowered for going on 5 years. Yet the builders demand more.

This is, and has never been, an issue of console vs. desktop vs. laptop etc...

It's a hobby for most people, and will remain that way. It's possible that the market will # toward modular mobile devices, but that is essentially the same thing. Ok so if your laptop becomes modular and upgradable, how does it nail any coffin shut?

There is a gross misrepresentation between desktops and mobile platforms. At the heart they are the same hardware and software. This article strikes a really sore sport for me. I don't know if I can take This website seriously anymore. I wish it was April 1st. (That's friday)

This isn't funny
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# RE: huh??!!!David Ramsey 2011-03-30 17:31
Duh. A console competes with an "upgradeable, modular, and expandable" desktop computer by being both much cheaper and much more reliable. You just stick the game disk in and play; it's guaranteed to work. This is in stark contrast to the desktop platform. Also, the fact that all consoles (of a given brand and type) use the same hardware makes it easier for developers to optimize their code. I played Halo: Reach for the first time on an Xbox 360 last week and was shocked at how good the graphics looked at how good the performance was. For most people, it's a no-brainer choice.
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# RE: huh??!!!Bonta 2011-03-30 17:41
I don't think the problem is the super charge PC hardware. You talk about PC being a hobby. Its no different than building super-charged cars, we don't build such cars just to look at them, we race the crap out of them. The problem with the PC gaming in recent years has little to do with the hardware, and has much to do with the game developers. PC gamers will keep buying new hardware because of the hype and artificial benchmarks, but none of that matters of the purpose of buying the hardware like GAMES are sub par in quality and QC. We been seeing more and more console-to-PC ports, and by going that route, PC gamers are the one getting screwed because we have the supercharge hardware, but the games don't take advantage of it. Look at COD, MOH, Crysis2, etc, when you look at them in terms of technology, they are pieces of crap. Only a few companies like DICE with their BFBC2 have been making use of current technology and I hope DICE follow through with BF3. I hope and expect BF3 to be so epic, it blows away the console versions.
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# Consoles FTW!Serious$am 2011-03-30 20:32
How can consoles compete? Gee. I dunno. Probably the same way they already do. Don't you read anything about how many unit the XBOX and Play Station have sold? The only reason I even use my PC anymore is to scan pictures and reply to articles I like. Good job BMR!
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# RE: huh??!!!Matt 2011-07-24 06:47
No one ever said console was a superior format. The reality is that it is rapidly becoming more popular the PCs. It's cheaper, more accessible, is perceived as more social and socially acceptable.

As console gaming becomes more popular less people make games specifically for PC, they make them for console and port them over to PC.

With games being made for console, there is nothing pushing the barriers in PC gaming, without games pushing the requirements there is no demand for faster PCs, thus intel AMD radeon and Nvidia don't push the barriers either. This whole process slows down the progress of games and stagnates the market. This is great news for companies, bad news for consumers.
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# Made in ChinaBonta 2011-03-30 17:30
This battle of the PC vs Console sort of reminds me of the old Made-in-China vs *name your Quality* (although, these days, Chinese goods are actually improving), or the Walmart vs *name your high-end*. More and more people these days are more than willing to setting for the "just good enough" and have been doing so for so long that they think the "good enough" is the high end or mainstream. I don't blame them when you consider the cost. When you compare console to PC, console is inexpensive compared to a decent gaming PC while still providing quality games. Using Crysis 2 as an example. When console players (most of whom never experienced mid-high end PC gamer think Crysis 2 is the greatest thing the the world that was once PC only and now they finally have a chance at it. While for PC gamers, our reaction was "WTF is this crap?!". But what can we the PC gamers do, lot of us have super hardware, but developers wont or cant take advantage of the full GPU potential, (imo) no thanks to one-size-fits-all API like Directx. Remember what it was like when 3Dfx first came out... like OMG!!! People have forgotten or never knew what quality felt like. Its ashame really. As for hardware nerds like ourselves, we should start thinking twice before we buy the next highend Nvida XX or AMD XX.
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# RE: Made in ChinaAri 2011-03-30 18:03
agree 100%....I was blown away when I saw a PS3 for the first time....I then went back to my old desktop system, and played some ancient games (by ancient I mean crysis)....

I was utterly amazed at how much better my old desktop system, playing an old game, looked and felt...in comparison to the PS3....

hell I'm not even a gamer, I just like to see where technology is at, and games a re great benchmark....

Let's not even mention professional uses for desktop systems...CAD/CAM, audio/video production etc....

really blown away by this article and some of the responses....
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# Gonna DisagreeComputer Ed 2011-03-30 18:21
In fact I am gonna call horse crap, that is how strongly I disagree. Every year or two this argument comes trotting out and every year it does not happen. While game consoles have made a lot of inroads they still lag behind in a lot of markets. One in particular, the MMO market, is big enough that it could keep PC gaming alive for some time.

This is a market that is growing every year and consoles just do not have the flexibility to play these games well.

I will agree that the hardware industry is starting to take hits because it has so outpaced gaming that the low end stuff is now bringing a GREAT gaming experience, matching in many cases the luxury components in real world play experience.

I also agree that the desktop has made major moves into the PC sales arena. However when I deal with a family that bought a PC and now the kids want to game they all regret the laptop purchase and end up buying a desktop system.

Consoles in truth are the ones dying on the vine if you really think about it. Every new generation the consoles come closer to being fully functioning PCs.

Will the PC as we know it eventually stop existing, sure it will, that is inevitable. However it will be from natural evolution not from gaming killing it.
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# ripWayne 2011-03-30 18:36
I'm a pc gamer and I like role playing games and fps shooters and building systems. For quite a while now I've had the feeling that the end for good gaming is disappearing. Games would last and the enjoyment level was high.Now the games are graphically beautiful but very,very short. More about putting it on the market for profit. I used to get the newest videocards but I find they are way overpriced and are for the select few. Consoles will take over but I don't think it will last. They will shoot themselves in the foot looking for profit. As for me I feel Sony is the biggest money grabber in the world. Sorry people Olin is right even though I wish he wasn't.
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# Shifting Market, but not PC DeathDan Ferguson 2011-03-30 19:07
Hey Olin, very interesting perspective. I find it amazing how the market can force companies to shift their direction. You can't deny the facts that huge segments of the computing market are moving away from the desktop platform. It's actually a really good thing, because that's what some people want. I still prefer the desktop, and I'm sure many (most?) of our readers are the same. The desktop won't be going anywhere soon. I think the fact that we are still getting new products despite a limping economy and release problems show the strength behind the platform.
I think the question to ask now is whether there will be enough desktop demand to continue driving growth at the current rate (which by the way is still amazing). But even if desktop/gaming demand drops, I'll bet semiconductor fabs will still be driven to shrink their technologies by the other platforms, especially mobile computing. And desktop hardware will still reap the benefits of new technology nodes even if they become a secondary consideration.
So I don't think hardware will suffer much if any. It's another thing to debate whether gaming will move more towards consoles. Personally I wish consoles could merge with PCs to increase the multiplayer pool. PS3 vs XBOX 360 vs My PC. Wouldn't take long for everyone to choose a favorite platform! Let the people decide and the developers will have to follow.
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# Desktops Alive and Well, and.. Replacing Servers?Ed Trice 2011-03-30 19:15
I'd like to know what subset of the ENTIRE computing market the gaming market represents?

I have seen something of the opposite effect from the intervention of overclocking onto the desktop scene. In what I would call "things are not as massively parallel as we were led to believe," some data centers with a need for hard core, fast CPUs have gone the route of replacing some of their smaller clusters with our Plutonium I computers (5.0 GHz i5-2500K chips that run much cooler than their i7-2600K brothers that also have hyperthreading). Granted, there will always be a need for video rendering farms to reduce the regional computations through the introduction of more cores (and as many as they can get) but performing complex scientific calculations on inherently serial computations (anyone hear of the FOR loop?) just need good old-fashioned, muscle car high horsepower.

What is the rate of change of the size of this market? Indeterminate at this point, though I agree with you, fewer desktop PCs are being sold to the consumer market.

I still think we are a long ways off of seeing iPads running the latest flavor of Oracle in LAn rooms and data centers, or netbooks being ether-through-the-air linked together in a wireless room, quietly processing the millions of emails going on around the internet.

If you need speed, as Tom Cruise said in Risky Business in 1983

"...there is no substitute."
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# removing comments shame on you!jim 2011-03-30 19:15
interesting how the moderator has gone in and removed the comments that point out the irresponsible behavior of this website...
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# RE: removing comments shame on you!Olin Coles 2011-03-30 19:31
Our moderators remove all comments that do not contribute to the discussion or make a personal attack on others. Any on-topic comments you've made are likely still published, but any off-topic rants have probably been removed. If you don't like the policy here, go somewhere else where they allow you to act disrespectful.
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# RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!lol 2011-03-30 19:35
so quoting what you have written in your article is "disrespectful"?

man you have gone off the deep end. get a hold of your self. you are basically dooming your own website with this rubbish you have been publishing.
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# RE: RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!Olin Coles 2011-03-30 19:40
Unless you're going to discuss something from within the article, we don't need you to simply repost what's already been published. Try taking up a position and saying something that adds to the conversation.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!Olin Coles 2011-03-30 19:53
It seems that you think we wouldn't notice multiple comments using different names under the same IP address and browser hash.
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# RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!aberkae 2011-03-30 20:11
That's your right but many feel its is wrong, because you control what is said to favor your article making it bias!
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# RE: RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!Olin Coles 2011-03-30 20:16
You'll notice that none of the actual discussion in being removed, only posts that are completely off topic or make a personal attack on others. There's plenty of opposition here, and none of it has been removed.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: removing comments shame on you!jim 2011-03-30 20:20
This article is your personal opinion. So the responses would be personal in nature.
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# i agreejoe 2011-03-30 19:55
its just business. developers follow the money to the consoles. less piracy too.
most people just use computers for music, video and social networks. they want simple. PCs are to compicated for most people. they dont know what PCs can do.
thats the reason they love iphone and its little apps.
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# Thats why we should support DICEaberkae 2011-03-30 20:08
Battlefield 3 will bring back that pride we have as a PC community, which Crytek is taking away by going 100% console and denying it.

Great article by the way.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingJohnnyBoyz 2011-03-30 21:38
Computer makers cut their own throats by making cheap computers with such poor graphics that games looked horrible on them. Computer Gamers cut their own throats by hacking games and not buying them. Crysis sales numbers were horrible. Crysis sold a few hundred thousand games. Console games sell millions. Black Ops looks much the same on a $300 console as a $3000 computer. Black Ops doesn't even run correctly on a PC, it lags. Black Ops sound is designed for TV speakers. If computer gamers want to get "computer games" they need to buy them so devolopers will want to make them.
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# falseaberkae 2011-03-30 22:00
Clearly you don't know what your talking about. Crysis 1 sold 3 million+, and warhead sold 1.5 million + so crysis did sell decent on only one platform.
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# RE: falseOlin Coles 2011-03-30 22:05
It's always best to quote a reliable source. Where are you getting these figures from?
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# really?aberkae 2011-03-30 22:15
##zuse.hessen.de/mm/Konrad_Zuse_Kongress _Yerli_Final.pdf
An official crytek powerpoit presentation showing crysis 2 goal and crysis 1, warhead, and even farcry sales.
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# I agree also..Klyster 2011-03-30 22:10
But I use my PC for so much more than gaming, it has much more scope than a console.

I still haven't seen a console game that looks better than what my mediocre PC is capable of achieving in looks and playability.
I have an Xbox also which gathers dust, and really only gets used for media streaming, and the occasional game of Forza 3.
Cheap PC's that are crud for gaming are there for totally different reasons and shouldn't be used as a reason for the demise of the gaming PC, they still have more scope than a console.

If or rather, when PC gaming does disappear, so be it but I don't think it will happen anytime soon but it will be inevitable, even the consoles days are numbered IMO, tablets and phones will eventually be able to stream to a TV and who will bother with clunky consoles and outdated optical media when this happens?

Anyway, a powerful console/tablet/phone that can multitask, browse the web, play games etc, is still a personal computer, so if you want to nitpick, I'd say PC gaming, in a sense, will still be prevalent in the future ;)

Nice article Olin.
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# On that Idea...BanzaiĄ 2011-03-31 05:32
Personally, netbooks have increased greatly within the past few years, which also happened for the laptop market. I have been thinking of buying a netbook in the replacement of my old laptop as netbooks can be found cheaper with better performance. My old laptop had a single core processor with 2gb of RAM, cost quite a bit originally. You can find netbooks with both mediocre gaming capabilities & decent HD video streaming. Personally the new APU netbooks was something I have been looking forward to, and it's a great choice in cost/performance/portability.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingRaj 2011-03-30 22:58
I totally disagree. I think the debate has been raging for some years on the demise of the pc game industry.

I personally do not think so. Firstly, video consoles are still pretty limited in the functionality that they offer - only play games. Being a pc gamer enthusiast myself, I prefer being able to play games, photoshop some pictures, getting some word docs done all on my pc.

True, there are some games which have not been ported to pc - like gran turismo etc but the games that have been ported were much better on pc - better resolutions and played the way it was meant - like assassins creed brotherhood. The latter is best played on pc. Can you hook up 3 monitors and play that game on console??

Talking about the demise of pc gaming is like trying to drown a fish - not going to happen
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingLol 2011-03-30 23:02
PC gaming didnt die.

It all just went to steam. Stop using Physical Copy statistics.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingAvro Arrow 2011-03-31 03:33
I agree with you Olin, I've also seen the writing on the wall but there is hope. With incredible power comes incredible versatility. As PC hardware advances, so too do emulators. Right now, the most advanced console emulator out there (that works) is for the Playstation 2. That's one generation behind. As with all things, technology advancement accelerates especially in the totally free market area of PC gaming. Consoles are a slow and methodical release of technology while PCs are cutting-edge (for the consumer market anyway) and I think that the technology difference will get bigger before PC's are killed completely. At some point, you'll be able to play any console game on the PC with an emulator that will possibly even be released by the company who made the console. The emulator will cost them nothing to distribute once it's been made and their profit margins will be through the roof. They'll be able to sell it for less than the cost of the console itself and I believe that many PC owners would buy it (I know I would) to take advantage of what they already have. That's an untapped market that will inevitably be exploited by console makers. There aren't enough high-end geeks like us to totally change the console market so the same people who bought consoles before will still buy them. That will just increase the console companies' customer base and that's a win-win situation for everyone. I could of course be wrong but for all our sakes, I hope I'm not. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to playing Ace Combat 4 at 1920x1080. Thanks for the great article! :-)
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingJason 2011-03-31 04:15
You can talk all day about PC gaming dying. I feel that almost a billion dollars in 2010 revenue for Steam and 14+ million WoW subscribers would tend to disagree. The PC gaming market is thriving in a down economy which should make any fan of PC's excited about the future. Sorry you're so gloom and doom but look on the bright side. A lot of people think you're wrong. :)
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# Physical UsablilityBill 2011-03-31 05:02
I agree that laptops have become more popular, a lot of people have laptops and I see them anytime I visit a another family members house or my wifes friends have a laptop. Yes I agree too that the desktop PC is becoming a "niche" market. However, like the stock market there is a pullback. Aside from performance there is a difference that will not change and that is the physical usability of the desktop computer. Many people simply prefer the desktop, and when they have to use a laptop they try to make it into a desktop by plugging in an regular mouse then a regular keyboard then adding that "normal" monitor. In the end they have a "desktop" PC. So, I think there is going to be some pull-back because desktop PC by their physical nature have benefits that laptops do not.
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# There are a few wild cards...Olle P 2011-03-31 05:25
I do agree with the general reasoning. Game developers generally find it cheaper and "good enough" to develop games for the least potent platforms than spending extra time and effort required to make them look exceptionally stunning on a high end gaming PC.
Metro 2033 seems to be the one game able to really utilise the limits of available current computer power, and that doesn't seem to generate as much hardware sales as former hits like Doom (486-based computers) and Doom III (pushing GeForce 3 sales).

Right now, AFAIK, the PC is the only part of the market with support for multiple monitors and gaming in full 3D. Not many games make full benefit from that.

Still there must be a delicate balance between creating something that's sufficiently hardware intensive to make an impact, but also accessible to a large enough crowd to reach the sales required to make a profit.

My guess is that it will take the work of some enthusiast programmers to make the near perfect game without looking too deep in their wallets, just like the birth of Command Decision.
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# RE: There are a few wild cards...Computer Ed 2011-03-31 08:33
The reason developers are not making use of 3D or multi monitor support is that to achieve these items with any degree of usefulness means the consumer must put out a lot more money. Even then full benefit is dubious.

3D vision is essentially a popup book and does not offer anything of real value to the gaming experience for a substantial cost increase in hardware to make it run well. The same can be said for multi monitor support that requires a great deal of physical space, something at a premium in many homes as well as makes you play the game while looking through two black bars. Now for people that have lived in prison for the last 20 years this might create immersion but for me it just ruins the looks of the game

These are not currently mainstream and until they become as such they will not get traction with programmers.

As for the cheaper and good enough model, I would rephrase that as more about realistic audience model. The so called enthusiast, actually luxury, user market seems to forget they are a FRACTION of the general consumer public. Game makers must build games to play on everyones PC not just the latest hardware.
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# Not being held back by the physical worldBill 2011-03-31 05:37
I started thinking more about your artical and I think I know the reason for the move to laptops. There has been a trend that started with the Internet of "not wanting to be held back by the immovable physical world". People prefer to access their email "online" rather from a pre-configured email client on machine X, they want to have access wherever they happen to be - they want their computer in the palm of their hand. Its also happening in the server world with virtualization. No more movie watching on "discs" they rather have it streamed. Its a move from the immovable physical world. Thats why people prefer laptops.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingAndreas 2011-03-31 06:59
I am a devout PC gamer now for 30 years or so. But I will happily buy the first console that natively supports keyboard and mouse. I absolutely hate these crappy console controllers.
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# Agree and Disagree, stupid peopleChris 2011-03-31 07:02
The first place one can look at this trend of the pc dying off is the game market itself. Most games are made for console first, pc second, a trend about 3-4 years old as said in article. Also, if any of you play golf or football, real American football, you already know the longtime pc gaming giant EA has basically turned their backs on the pc sports fan since 08 and even before with the release of newer sports games that have little or nothing new in them graphic or option wise. As for hardware, any intelligent and honest pc gamer can admit they've been duped by the companies with the unnecessary powerful upgrades one must perform every few years to play the next great game. The typical gamers cpu and video card is so much more powerful and fast than anything they could really need, it's all want. I used a pre-built HP pc since 05, some minor upgrades like a 8600GTS card, more ram, ect. I could play almost everything up to early 2010. I went balls out on my new pc, AMD 6 core(buying intel is like buying guess jeans to go shovel manure)two HD6950's in crossfire, SSD for OS and main programs, about 4 TBs in backup storage, 16GB of DDR3 ram, liquid cooling, ect. I knew it was overkill, but I LOVE desktop pc gaming and I will be doing it for at least the next 5 years fro I figured I'd get the best of the best for my budget. Plus I do so many other things such as video editing, massive uploads and online selling. Unless they ban desktop pcs I doubt I'll ever quit using them.
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# continued...Chris 2011-03-31 07:04
They offer affordability over expensive mobile hardware, for what I spent on my new pc a friend nearly spend on a new extreme laptop that doesn't have a fraction of the power and speed mine does, mobility is like gold nowadays for some, not for me. I have a smartphone, android, I use it for talking, texting and watching videos when I'm stuck somewhere or in bed if I can't sleep, nothing more. I would certainly never game on anything less than 24 inches. Oh, the stupid part in my title is for laptops. I have friends who are basically pc illiterates, and co-workers, family. They all want laptops, but when asked why they really couldn't think of anything other than the fact they're mobile. So I ask them how often are you not a home after work and on weekends, all responses were "not often." So what's the point? You all have smartphones, why on earth would you want to waste your cash on a laptop. What I got from it is more of a need thing than a necessary thing, much like us gamers and our ridiculously overpowered hardware. What is the advantage of a laptop in the average persons life? None that I see. "Oh I'm at the beach and I'm watching Dancing With The Stars!" I don't get it. The majority of people have ZERO use for a laptop, and many of these people already have a smartphone of some kind. It's just consuming madness which is what America is about. As for console gaming, it's also for the stupid and lazy mostly, stick in a disc and play, most can finally connect to the internet now but the limitations are endless. People who console game don't want to learn pc basics, and those that do use a pc and a console I believe have an identity crisis or something.
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# Overall...banzaiĄ 2011-03-31 10:50
On that notice, laptops and netbooks have become extremely cheaper compared to what they were before. The main reason people buy a laptop is in what you stated, "Portability." As I'm heading off for college, I personally needed a laptop. I have one already but it's worn down though, so those new APU netbooks that are only 450$ look pretty interesting as they perform better then what my current laptop has(2gb of ram, 80gb HDD, single core processor 1.8GHZ). Normal laptops and netbooks to me are worth while, it's the 'gaming' laptops that are somewhat useless overall. When you can find a 400$ laptop with a tricore or quadcore cpu, 500gb HDD space, 6gb of RAM then that's a great deal, but you add something like a 4670 and the price is jacked up to 650-700$ when the card seperately is around 60-80$.
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# You said itChris 2011-03-31 14:56
Portability, the ONLY benefit of a laptop. And for college or even high school if they're allowed it's totally understandable. I'm in my 30s but I had to go back to school this and last year to finish nuclear medicine for my radiology degree and I needed a laptop at times, my school provided me with a used one. It was basic which was all I needed, when I was done with it I gave it back, they wiped the drive and gave it to the next poor soul that didn't want to own one, or couldn't afford to. If I was asked, "who is a laptop good for?" the ONLY answer would be a student. Everything pc related has come down in price, laptops are no exception, they're the rule because the companies see more demand for them, much like the smartphones we all buy now with the two year contracts. Laptops are pre-built, as are many desktops, which makes most incapable of being upgraded in any way. Agree, the basic laptops make sense, the extreme ones for gaming or graphic work are not only much more expensive but their purpose makes no sense. I know very few pc folks who own a high-performance laptop, one to be exact. The ridiculous prices of adding options to a laptop are sometimes identical to that of the pre-built desktop options. The base unit is say $379 on sale, but if you want a little more ram, a better video card, more hard drive space or even more ports you're charged 4-5 times the price of the actual hardware costs. That's why the freedom to build a desktop pc from case out is so important to people like myself, not only is the bill a fraction what it would be if I bought pre-built, but the experience, the learning process and sense of accomplishment is gratifying.
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# continued...finalChris 2011-03-31 07:06
Everything from music to fashion to autos to electronics have to do with trends, trends are taken up by the majority and unfortunately console gaming and laptops are a big hit currently and this madness will continue because for whatever reason everyone wants to be mobile, yet most have no idea why. The majority always rules, and they also dictate what companies invest in, we desktop pc gamers have put our lives and wallets into this for many years, we still are a large share of the market even in a horrible economy with millions who want a laptop but can't say why. We will survive, maybe when theft rises dramatically over the next few years as our economy continues to suffer and laptops become the new toyota camery of thieves, people will think again about that 2k laptop purse they're schlepping around. My entire home entertainment system centers around my pc, when I leave my home I have my smartphone, laptops to me are a monkey on the back, an unwanted child you have to watch over, no thanks. As for console gaming, the Dreamcast was the last piece of C I used, the new ones could cook me dinner and tuck me in at night and I still wouldn't want to be caught dead with one. "I'll give you my desktop pc when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!"
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# RE: continued...finalbanzaiĄ 2011-03-31 10:59
Sadly you also have the people who still think, "I don't want to be forced into upgrading my computer later, and I don't have the money to put into a gaming computer every 3 years!"
But as you said, most of these people want a laptop/mac whether capable of gaming or not that may be over 800$ along with their 300$ console, and more then likely their old prebuilt desktop they've had. Instead of spending 1400$+ on consoles and a mobile system, they could get an extremely good computer along with a monitor above 24".

No matter what, nearly everyone has a desktop at home (with a possible 2 or more). Whether it's a Mac or a PC, it's still going to stay in homes.
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# to banzaiChris 2011-03-31 15:36
My friend bought the Dell Studio XPS 1640 15.6-Inch Obsidian Black Laptop for 1299 on sale, it's basically a 1299 piece of C. I spent just a little more and have two HD6950's in crossfire, the best 6-core AMD chip, 16GB of G. Skill Jipjaw DDR3 ramm, BluRay drives and much much more all stuck in a HAF912 for a great mid-top line gaming pc. Granted, my three 25.5" asus monitors I got on sale for a total of 750 are not factored in the price but the comparison to me is still apples and oranges. I could use the tv via HDMI but I enjoy the 1920x1200 resolutions in eyefinity. We agree either way, the basic laptop is a great machine, every school should have one for every student, it should replace text books soon, but anything more than basic computing laptops are just not meant for it. Consoles I just hate, the graphics never looked good to me and the hardware only serves one purpose. I love gaming, but most of my pc time is video editing. Can't do that on a playstation that I know of.
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# Gosh damnit manTechman 2011-03-31 07:21
Gosh damnit man,we need more dx11 games.Fuc* these console ports,if we don't buy them they will have to make higher end games.I hope nvidia and amd work together with game designing companies to bring out some games that push this hardware,before it's too late.
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# Agreed!Chris 2011-03-31 15:46
I can't believe Crysis 2 is dx9. Hopefully B3 or something before it will be the game that makes developers realize it's dx11 or nothing. It's noticeable in games like Bad Company, Medal Of Honor, The last STALKER and Total War: Shogun 2 which I just installed for a friend. Hopefully the soon to be domination by AMD with the Bulldozer chips will convince Intel to team up to keep pc game developing ALIVE and focused more on pc's instead of the console units I now refer to as idiot boxes.
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# Not just yetBob 2011-03-31 09:57
We've come a long way from 4 bit processors and pixels the size of your fingernail. But I think we all knew that at some point, the desktop computer would have the ability to reproduce extremely lifelike graphical images, to the point where we might not be able to tell the difference.

The very minor nuances of the changes from DX9 to 10 and even 11, show that we are very quickly approaching the point where consoles and PCs will have exactly the same ability graphically, and shortly after, that technology will be in notebooks well. But to imply that a notebook will ever replace a desktop PC for an enthusiast is a big jump. And to futher imply that a real PC enthusiast will leave the platform for a console, well, I don't think that will happen unless they are forced to. But market forces, as you say, may ultimately play an important roll here. I just don't think we are as close to the point as you do. Despite the recent sales trends on notebooks, I dont believe there is a cause and effect relationship there.

Many of us have both console, PC, and notebook for various reasons, and will continue to. But the enthusuiast does not stay with the PC just for it's graphic superiority. As others have mentioned, the modular nature of the PC, the expandabiliy, the myriad of custom options, or simply the ability to build your own will continue to be the draw for the enthusiast crowd. That's never going away. And for the gamer portion of that group, which is probably most of it, I can't speak for everyone, but if I have to give up the mouse for a gamepad, arrrggghhhhh!
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# ValveFion 2011-03-31 10:00
Maybe someone should tell Valve that their hardware surveys are just figments of their imagination since all those desktops they're seeing clearly do not exist, according to this 'expert'.
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# Decent PointsJT 2011-03-31 12:25
Death of the PC as a gaming platform has been predicted since 1995. That was also when PS1 and Saturn came about. Its 2011 now and the platform is still doing well. Every 5-7 years there will be some big questions about how the platform can still survive with affordable, powerful consoles being introduced. Every 5-7 years the PC gaming platform reinvents itself.

But the gist I got from the article, was that Olin wasn't sure the current state of PC games and hardware will remain the same. I think we shouldn't expect it to. Gaming trends will shape the way games and hardware are developed. The developers, publishers and hardware manufacturers all have to answer to investors, they won't go down with a sinking ship. There could be a time where games have reached a state where there's really no need for better hardware to maximize the experience for the player....if that's the case, the writers here and at 3dguru, tom's hardware and so on probably may need to find a new job. But let's not worry too hard before that day comes.

Expect change, it will come inevitably. But the platform will probably never die because to some extent, its open and far cheaper to develop and publish for than on proprietary consoles.
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# RE: Decent PointsGImpycow 2011-03-31 13:27
Until consoles let you play a FPS with a mouse and keyboard, forget them. In addition, current gen consoles are old and Microsoft and Sony want to milk this gen longer than ever. Why...because now is when they are making a profit on them. Finally, when you add the prices for PC games versus console games, the overall price tag of a good gaming pc is not so bad. I can buy pc games on Amazon for 19.99 that are better than the console version while the console version costs 59.99. If you play a lot of games, that adds up fast. Not to mention paying whatever to play on Microsoft's console network.

The "REAL" gamers who enjoy "THE BEST" games with "THE BEST" controls will be PC Gamers and thus...we have demand and thus we have games. Most of my friends now have both PC's and consoles. The only thing that attracts me to a console is the motion control and golf games incorporating it.
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# Not cheaper, quite the contraryET 2011-03-31 14:05
The PC is not cheaper to develop and publish for. For development, consoles are cheaper because they have less hardware, which means cheaper graphical assets (where the majority of AAA money goes). They also have fixed hardware, which means a lot less time spent on providing alternate algorithmic and graphical options, a lot less testing, and no need for an extended patching cycle. On the publishing front, PC gamers expect to pay less and piracy is higher. So while consoles have some up front costs, they're probably a much better target financially.
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# RE: Not cheaper, quite the contrarygimpycow 2011-03-31 15:59
What about the royalty fees that a developer/publisher must pay on consoles? I would say that makes up for the cheaper development and testing due to fixed hardware and then some.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingGImpycow 2011-03-31 13:48
Do you really want to play AAA titles...
1) With a gamepad or touchpad instead of keyboard and mouse?
2) On the screen the size of a phone or tablet or laptop?
3) While fighting with your wife to use the big tv in the living room?
4) When you know they could look better on another platform?
5) On a machine that cannot get any faster...ever.

NO...then I hope you are using the desktop PC for your main gaming system.

Now if the next gen consoles will allow a keyboard and mouse, free online, internet, and email....then I might just sign up. But then is that a console or a pc? I want to the best of both or I am sticking with my PC until no AAA games, console ports or not, are made. I would just LOVE to show console gamers how CRAPPY their gamepads are by playing a bit of FPS whatever while I use a keyboard and mouse.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingGImpycow 2011-03-31 13:53
Oh...by AAA titles I mean FPS, Tactical RPG, and RTS. Gamepads do have their use for driving games, sport games, platform games, etc....which I really lost interest in once I started playing the pc 20 years ago.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingGImpycow 2011-03-31 13:56
Henny Penny the sky is falling and PC's are dying! ROFLMAO!
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# Desktops FTWPinakio 2011-03-31 14:08
I know one thing that I'll be playing TES V:Skyrim in 4Q this year, with self-made mods just as I did with TES IV:Oblivion and Morrowind before that. And last I checked consoles won't let you do that. I'll be using CS5, 3ds max, Nifscope and what not, the thing is PC gaming is not just gaming. So while the author's concerns have merit, people like me don't have much choice, do we?
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# Right and wrongET 2011-03-31 14:22
I think you're right about desktops dying in general, but wrong about enthusiast desktops dying.

The concept of "good enough" works for the consumer. Laptops are good enough, and since they add portability and built-in protection of electrical problems they win over desktops. This will continue to apply, and extend to phones. In a few years phones will be more powerful than current consoles, so good enough to connect to a TV and a controller and play.

This will more likely kill consoles than it will kill enthusiast PC's. People buy consoles because they are cheap and good enough. This makes them easy to replace by other good enough technologies if they offer benefits (such as more portability). Enthusiast PC's, on the other hand, are bought by connoisseurs.

Enthusiasts don't buy desktops to play games. Sure, playing games is a major use of these PC's, but to play them you can make do with much less. What enthusiasts buy PC's for is to play games at impossible frame rates, over three screens, in 3D, with sharpness that will make your eyes bleed. They buy them to get millions of points a month folding. They buy them to be top of hwbot. They buy them to tweak every part of the hardware to get the highest overclock.

This market will die only if the number of enthusiasts willing to pay a lot of money for power they don't really need (but really want) is too small to sustain it. I think it's too early to say. The market for expensive cards isn't dead just because cheap cars are totally adequate for everyday use. The market for high end sound systems isn't dead just because most people are fully willing to listen to music on their cellphone. So there's a chance that the PC market will live like this, too.
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# RE: Right and wronggimpycow 2011-03-31 15:57
I agree and well said. That being said, I and most of my friends buy pc's with a best bang for buck mentality. For $800 you can build a pc that will blow an XBOX 360 or PS3 out of the water. To me, that sounds cheap but consoles are even cheaper. However, factor in that you must pay much more per game and pay for online access and the in a couple years it evens out.

In the end though, if you are an FPS gamer, how can you live with a control pad and look at yourself in the mirror?
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# RE: RE: Right and wronggimpycow 2011-03-31 16:02
Oh...desktops as a non-gaming or graphics machine are dying. When I suggest a machine for my mother or wife, it is a laptop. I don't think that is a big deal. There are enough pc gamers to warrant desktop survival and AAA titles in the genres I like.
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# Well, I have seen that tooJake 2011-03-31 17:00
What the writter of this article says have just founded more my fears of what would happen. Developers of Video Games not even fully use right now the full capabilities of todays systems and maybe they never will.

My guess?
Soon will be Servers and Mobile Devices. The middle gap its dissapearing...
We should actually push for having the servers be personal because right now everything its done in the Web and we know its gonna be soon a Internet War can actually come.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC Computingkwow 2011-03-31 17:06
Given the amount of product and SKU's in the market the past few years, especially with Video cards, I don't see this as a problem. At least as a consumer-- I see it as a problem if you make money of this, such as sites like this.

That said-- ASUS had 16 SKU's for Sandy Bridge (if I recall correctly). This is plain ridiculous-- much like GM having 3 of the same cars with trivial differences (see: Ford Explorer, Mazda Navajo, Mercury Mountaineer).
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# RE: RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingOlin Coles 2011-03-31 18:12
Gigabyte had 31 different Sandy Bridge SKU's, so consider the impact Intel's recall had on them. Also, Benchmark Reviews doesn't make money off of the products we review.
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# Wait till core 2 phases outgogo809 2011-03-31 17:30
I think that desktop sales have fallen in large part because of how successful Socket LGA775 has been. I mean hell, we have processors stretching back to 2004 that fit that socket. And it really just gets phased out early last year? Look at the current prices for core 2 quads that fit that socket. Most of the quads are STILL more than $150. How is that possible? I think we are feeling the effects of never before seen emphasis on updating older systems. That certainly doesn't account for all of what this article is discussing, but certainly some of it!

Mobile hardware is not very tough. Therefore it is more prone to breakage that requires replacement. That can drive more sales, and certainly makes manufacturers happier.

Added to that, most people, even people that would update a desktop, don't want to mess with a laptop, let alone a mobile phone. So that entire market segment is more "disposable" than your standard desktop. What use does anyone have for a 10 year old cell phone? A little updating on a old desktop, and it could make a decent linux server. :)

I see somewhat of a comeback for the gamer machines on the horizon. As people rediscover the power of home computing for powering their entertainment needs. (Netflix on PC, Hulu etc, with a GTX 590 powering a HUGE display). After that comeback it may drift back down once more, but that is many years in the making.

It is a very, very thought provoking article though. And as stated, only time will tell how accurate it turns out to be.
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# PS3 DX9koziolek matolek 2011-04-01 04:45
"One year later Sony began selling their PlayStation 3 gaming console, also based on DirectX 9 graphics API"

I think consoles don't use DirectX at all.
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# RE: PS3 DX9Olin Coles 2011-04-01 07:45
No, they would need to have Microsoft Windows installed to have the DirectX API. However, the graphics processors were designed to support DX9-level graphics in video games.
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# Where is our Goebbels!?Nerrawg 2011-04-01 06:33
All you need to do is watch the Tech reports in the mainstream media to see that the big companies are all betting on the mobile sector for growth just like you state in the excellent article above. And yet, as the comments would suggest, enthusiasts are having a hard time understanding this because they know the benefits of desktop computing. So why are we loosing what possibly is the platform that will give us the most powerful and flexible computing? Is it the fault of the big hardware companies, or are is the game industry to blame?

I would say neither, it is simply evolution in action. A common misunderstanding is that nature evolves by incorporating the best solutions available for the task at hand, this is wrong. Biologists know that nature evolves by choosing the easiest, first solution available and keeps on doing this. The same happens in society if people do not take active action to stop it. Consoles were introduced and became the main game platform due to the publics perception that they provided the best ease of availability, price and use. The same can be said of tablets (for use by general public), all-in-on systems and the use of laptops as desktop replacements. However we as enthusiasts, as can be seen in the comments above, are very aware of the shortcomings of these platforms and the true limitations of their use. Obviously then, the reason the desktop is going the way of the dinosaur is because the general public simply don't know why they should be buying it, not because it is inferior

TO SAVE THE DESKTOP we need to take action now!!! We need to post youtube videos informing people how they are being ripped off buying laptops and all-in-ones when you can better performance at home for cheaper building yourself. We need to show them the benefits of HTPCs and how you can run your entire house entertainment from on pc in any room of your house. We need to take the piss out of pathetic console graphics and demand better pc games. We need to get gaming mags and sites like gamespot, IGN and Machinima to churn out our pro PC propaganda. We need tech media like CNET,BBC CLICK and CNN to promote desktops by educating their tech reporters. We need to unite the few major hardware companies that still support desktops like gigabye, asus, MSI and others and have them comp journalists with free super pcs. If this doesn't happen then I agree the desktop is doomed.

Desktop Enthusiasts
We need our own Goebbels!
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# noticing a trendWerner 2011-04-01 08:51
After reading this article and thinking about the previous piece discussing the size of PC cases, there could be a relationship. People may not want a monstrosity of a PC and therefore opt for a console. If desktop PCs are to survive then maybe smaller, more appealing cases may help. Several manufacturers are now building SMALL PCs. Maybe this will slow or reverse the decline.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingRobert17 2011-04-02 09:50
Wow, got 'em going again, huh, Olin. Nicely done. You're following your editorials progressively, I see.

I tend to agree with most of what you say. Yesterday I noted that researchers had managed to control 14 quantum qubits. This lends to the notion that computers, anything that resembles a computational device, are on the verge of a major change of mojo. That consoles have changed the nature of the PC gaming industry is not in question. Killed it? Hmmm. Maybe, but I tend to think that just as true 64-bit computing is still on the horizon with few non-commerical software applications available to the public, the best is yet to be realized. That is to say, there is a market niche for PC gamers that is untapped and some brainiac will take advantage of it. Killed, no; on hold, probably.

My kids have every type of console: Xbox, PS2, Kinnect devices, guns, glasses, wands, and a dead battery collection to boot. Yet my son just upgraded his PC (his wife didn't understand) and my daughter and her hubby are kinda/sorta waiting till Bulldozer comes out to make up their minds on a purchase/build.

It seems there is room for lots of toys in the box. I'm kinda hoping for the gaming software crowd to look up, see great revenues from consoles, and look at what amounts of monies that enthusiasts spend on on their PC rigs, have a moment of clarity and figure out that if that kind of money can be spent on a rig, what kind of money would be spent on a REALLY well written and executed game. Face it: if $30-60 for a game seems normal, $100 for a killer title may not be out of the question on a $2000 rig.

My thoughts anyway.
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# RE: RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingOlin Coles 2011-04-02 10:10
Robert, I always enjoy getting feedback from you. Even if it doesn't agree with my position, you give me a lot of insightful information to consider. If I had to put a date to my prediction, it wouldn't be for another 5-8 years. But I maintain it will happen, and time has a way of sneaking up on us.
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# RE: RE: RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingRobert17 2011-04-02 18:14
Remorsefully, you are probably correct (remorse for the PC, not my opinion or gaming). Next opinion piece, maybe a look into the future? What do you think a "gaming rig" or futuristic "pinball machine" would look like?

A friend of mine earned his PhD in CS, topic virtual reality, almost twenty years ago. I haven't seen much fruit from his labor (it was awsome at the time) over the years, at least nothing in the public domain. Maybe Kinnect comes closest. Holograms are appearing slowly, 3D sound and visual effects creeping up slowly. And the incremental hardware advances allow for much of it.

A fighter pilot-like helmet, loaded with audio/visual/sinosual hardware, tactile sleeves, all wireless? Fed into the Net, or local box? Lots of room for speculation.
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# $100 games equals less profitsChris 2011-04-02 12:06
The $100 game idea would most likely bring in even less profits for the game developers and distributors. Price increases like that for a single game would only lead to more pirating of games, much like $15-20 music cds lead to the music industry's 2-3 billion in losses annually from pirating. It would also lead to those in the middle, in between console and pc to switch to console. Not to mention pc folk who would just refuse to buy it. High-end gamers are not the majority of pc users, people who want to be high-end gamers are, meaning most cannot afford the $2,000 machine. I imagine the average pc is around the value of 500. These are the folks just keeping up, they have the cpu, ramm and video card that will just play the minimum requirements if that. Raise game prices, lose the majority of these folks. Pc parts have only come down in price, raising game prices would just be bad strategy. Most reasonable people will buy something they like, that is of course if it's priced reasonably. The fact is pc games will become extinct on the retail level, everything pc related will eventually be distributed digitally only. This can not only control cost more but it is more able to combat piracy, although digital releases can still easily be pirated and will be. The fight here is between the Simpletons vs the Thinkertons. We all know PC gaming outdoes the console on every level except affordability. And affordability isn't even the issue, it goes back to the vs. The Simpletons are the majority, they want simplicity, they want their big screen tv as their monitor, they want "what's in", they are mostly pc illiterate and the thought of playing a game on one is foreign or frightening. Most console gamers or people who are clueless of both will assume consoles have better graphics and control. I once heard one guy who had never even used a pc say "keyboards suck, I want to play with a controller.". Therefore they go console. It's a culture issue almost! It's the dumbing down of our society effect as well. Of course the price issue is there, but mostly it's about dumb and/or lazy and/or unintelligent people. My opinion.
Again, as to my original reply to you, raising games prices would not raise overall profits, it would hurt them.
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# because of moneyReSeRe 2011-04-02 14:21
Excellent article. Excellent comments.
I encourage everyone to re-read the ET and especially Nerrawg reply. but sadly in the end Nerrawg is proposing us an utopy. so, slowly, GAMING on PC will die.

big companies don't give s**t about entushiasts in the end. it's all about margins. and a simple way to get them.
people slowly will FORGET or NOT ever find out a PC can actually do.

i saw here expressions like "reasonable people" intelligent buyer", or "companies wise long term plan". wtf is wrong with you ppl? dreamin' on dope or s**t?
Wake up. the more crappy is a product and NOT controlable by users, the MORE MONEY will be invested in marketing: and nextGEN will bite AS ALLWAYS.
Is there anyone of u who don't believe that THe WORST NIGHTMARE of games companies AND some softare boyz WAS PC GAMING? ha? did the bell ring?

yes, the battle moves now on consoles/phoes but hey, HERE WE CAN HAVE EXCLUSIVITIES! AND ANYWAY less pain in the a** with speed/variety of tehnologies.

IM(H)O: PC will not die entirely. but will became like bugatti or duesenberg some.
so, fore most of us will be dead.

Have a beer and have phun. we still can.
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# a little bit slower...ReSeRe 2011-04-02 14:39
the PC gaming will die than Olin sugest.
but one question for anyone who have acces to statistics:
the new houses and the rooms in the present and in future residential buildings will be SMALLER or BIGGER?
You know the answer? good; cause is the same.
more people, less space, resources and money. more concerns. that's the answer.
AnD "good old" US and Europe pov (big, nice, elevat, expensive, powerfull) is overhelmed. more and more day by day.
I'm not whine about the "old republic", i'm just giving the facts. and more important, the trend.
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# Interesting but...Sempifi99 2011-04-04 15:43
This was an interesting read, but I do not think people will abandon their PC for consul just because a consul has DX11 capabilities. I know at least personally I prefer the feel of a mouse in my hand over a joystick for any FPS game. Also I don't think features like DX11 make a game any better than any other game, when all is said and done it all comes back to a games playability for how good or not good it is and no amount of features and eye candy can make a game with bad game play enjoyable.

I would think that the real death of PC gaming would come from future generations of gamers who grow up primarily playing consul games, since what you grow up with will tend to be what you prefer. And I blame corporations and parents for this.
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# Consoles are nothing newAvro Arrow 2011-04-04 18:02
I disagree with the idea that growing up playing console games will make someone not want to game on a PC. I grew up playing console games just like most of generation-X did. I went from the Atari 2600 to the ColecoVision and Intellivision to the NES, Genesis, Playstation and Playstation 2 before I finally said "screw it". I got tired of having to keep buying new consoles and spending ever skyrocketing prices to get them. I had always liked gaming on my PC so I went and bought a logitech USB controller (Playstation-style) and I have a ball.
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# RE: Consoles are nothing newSempifi99 2011-04-04 21:07
I guess I can see where you are coming from, since you are use to a joystick why not just get a joystick for the PC. But think about it from this perspective, if you grew up on gaming consoles and did not have a gaming PC, what would be the argument for getting one over just getting the next console? Computer prices are almost twice to three times that of a gaming console and computer components go obsolete almost twice as fast too. Plus with many games being made for console first and PC second I don't see the merit to getting a gaming PC.

I know at least for me, what made me want to get a gaming PC were games like Dune 2 and Red Alert.

I also think computer games were more advanced at the time than console games too, now a game console is basically a gaming computer, not much difference hardware wise at least. And they can be more advanced that computers at the time of release too.

All in all there are a lot of factors to take into account here, and I don't think there is any one right answer that could be called right now. But if I were say... a 15 year old gamer, and I had a console game system and no PC and my parents were not going to buy me a gaming computer, I do not think I would see myself going in that direction.
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# Gaming PCs - Farewell Old FriendMark 2011-04-05 12:01
The requirement to continually upgrade gaming PC components to play the latest PC games (at their fullest potential) will ultimately limit PC gaming to a fringe presence. The industry is moving in the other direction. Software developers want to leverage their PC games to run satisfactorily with acceptable results on multiple platforms whenever possible (including appliances, smart phones, gaming consoles, media players, laptops, desktops, etc.). Requiring expensive gaming components that won't allow the software to run the full gamut of products will doom it to exist outside of the mainstream.

The golden days of Enthusiast Gaming PCs are coming to a close. The expense of maintaining these PCs is no longer sustainable. The gaming consoles have moved the gaming PC into the "unnecessary expense" category. The gaming console can be built with (relatively) inexpensive components and even sold at a loss to focus on making profits on the software games.

Game developers only have to worry about being compatible with the console specification. There are minimal issues with hardware, drivers, and software. Compatibility problems and technical support issues are minimized.

I love building enthusiast PCs, but I seldom build gaming PCs. I recommend that people buy mid-grade business PCs (with only basic gaming support) and focus on multimedia support on those machines. Laptops also fit nicely in this category. The money that is saved by not building a gaming PC will buy a very nice gaming console with many games available. You won't have to spend a lot of money upgrade the console (and worry about compatibility and driver support).

This is more of an evolutionary than revolutionary outcome. The expense of gaming components and the lack of disciplined upgrade and migration paths as well as competing and incomplete gaming standards will take PC gaming out of the mainstream.

PC enthusiasts will still build exotic PCs. Gaming will still have a presence. Personally, I think a better investment for the PC gaming industry would be to build a "virtual gaming console environment" that would allow people to play their console games (XBOX, PlayStation, Wii, whatever) on a Gaming PC with killer audio and video capabilities.
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# PC gaming can only growFion 2011-04-06 09:48
The only people who think building a gaming PC requires thousands of dollars and upgrades every quarter are console gamers or people who haven't build a gaming PC in years. The price point of PC hardware, even the high end stuff, has dropped over the last decade considerably. It is now possible to build a gaming PC that is significantly more powerful than any console for around $600 that won't need an upgrade for at least a year.

Surely the golden days of PC gaming is behind us, we are told so often by so many people that it must be true. Major releases that have a PC iteration are afterthoughts developed by side companies with as little money as possible right? Gaming of today is a multi-billion dollar business run by massive corporations who's platforms are strictly controlled and the content released gone over with a fine tooth comb. The industries publishers are virtual gods, who can say what and what isn't made and who spend billions advertising for each new release and aren't afraid to kill a company if it's latest game doesn't sell at least ten million copies within the first year. If the consoles owner doesn't like a game, they don't allow it on their console, and if they see a small audience at best they slap a larger price tag on the game. Consoles are becoming cheaper and cheaper but games more and more expensive. Not only have these gigantic companies started charging more and more for the individual games but today you just don't have the complete experience if you aren't buying the $90 special edition product that has the best armor available, and your purchase from 'major distributor A' to get the good weapon. And don't forget to buy all that $30 DLC that gives you three new maps, a new pistol and a rifle that comes out every four months because you just won't have a complete game and won't be able to compete without them.

(continued below)
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingFion 2011-04-06 10:03
PC gaming has evolved into something completely different. It isn't nor does it attempt to mirror console gaming. The PC platform is an open one, it doesn't cater to the console audience or the corporations who want nothing more than make a buck. It cannot be confined by a single hand to turn a larger profit at the expensive of the enthusiasts themselves. The PC platform is still around and growing for that simple reason, it is open. Any developer can produce a game and throw it on the web and get sales by word of mouth. If their product is good and people like it they might make millions.

PC Gaming also drives gaming as a whole. Every single genre of gaming available today was developed and innovated on the PC and most often by companies that started with as few as five members working out of someones garage. Since then of course gaming has moved and changed and the largest segment has moved over the more confined but also easier to use consoles were small businesses selling small games is practically nonexistent. But the small company that is innovating gaming as it stands today is still around and still on the PC.

So yes in the end being a PC Gamer is harder and requires more money up front. But the PC is also the platform of innovation. All genres sprouted from the open PC gaming market and today it is where innovation of the genre is driven. In a world where gaming is becoming expressly mass market were the desires of the individual are never considered, the PC is becoming the platform of the intelligent gamer who desires a specific experience. And that is why PC gaming is not dying but actually growing. As costs come down and capability, opportunity and the expressiveness of PC gaming continues to grow, PC gaming will become a separate entity where companies will put out games made for the individual, that push forward gaming and entertainment as a whole. Where gamers can sit down and play games that weren't designed for their demographic but designed by someone with a bright idea that makes the games they want to play and you choose for yourself.
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# The pointFion 2011-04-06 10:24
I just wanted to note in my above comments I am not in any way suggesting that PC Gaming will ever become the most popular platform of gaming, or that it will grow to outshine consoles in terms of sales. But rather that PC gaming is and will be the platform where new forms of gaming are developed and genres are expanded. The Indie gaming industry is an example of just that.

In the end the idea that PC gaming will 'die out' is ludicrous to me. It will never likely be in the place that consoles are in today but it won't die either but simple will become a more focused platform. This is much the same way that other forms of entertainment have evolved themselves. For example in music, pop is huge. The mass produced but low-innovation music that sells tens of millions of songs that all sound generally the same but still, the vast majority of people in the demographic they are designed for, buy and listen to that music. But it doesn't mean in any way that other music made for people of that generation isn't made or has died out in the least. That music doesn't hit as large an audience as the mainstream electronically driven pop music but it still finds an audience and if the music of a particular band is good enough they can go on to become massively popular.

Gaming is much the same, in fact nearly exactly the same. You have the mass-market focus-tested electronically driven pop music that is largely all the same today that sells tens of millions of songs each year that is the console gaming market. Then you have the smaller bands and new forms of music that come out each year that aren't controlled by a corporation but rather make their own music and sell it themselves or via smaller and less controlling distributors. That music (and that kind of gaming) will never be as popular or make as much money as the main stream demographically driven pop and rap that dominates the industry today, but that doesn't mean it is not existent or that it won't exist in the future and gaming is exactly the same.

The PC will always be there for those who want a more defined experience driven by people who make games that they want to play and not games that will sell as many copies as humanly possible. In that sense it can only grow.
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# titleSempifi99 2011-04-06 13:30
Perhaps what you are saying is true, about most independent games being made for the PC, but I can think of at least one example of one type/types of game/s that is being produced today that is independent to a game console. Thay type of game is the user interactive type game. I am not exactly sure if that is the right word for the genra but what I am refering to is the game where it requiers real world interaction and not just key pushing.

Probably first pioneered with the nintendo power glove and then some arcade type virtual games, now there is the nintendo wii and xbox kinekt both of which have a number of such games. So I think it would be fair to say that game development is not just limited to PC first here.

Though I think only time will tell if the wii and kinekt are keepers of if there just another power glove.
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# dumbshant 2011-04-06 13:24
this is just stupid,the first year consoles may be better than graphics but after a year pc's will have new technology, new graphics and new software that will own the console once again, upgradable consoles still are pretty lame, i dont want to play cod on a joystick nor do i want diablo 3/4 on a console!
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# I'm HollywoodChiz 2011-04-06 13:32
I love my PC more than my lappie because it allows me for smooth multi-tasking never a lag. But why do the laptop exceeds PC usage? Because of mobility. The same with consoles where mobility is there. If mobility will finally arrive on the PC then people will go back to using it. Nothing beats an A-Z,0-9,Shift,Ctrl,Alt,F1-F10. So gamers be smart! They just change the background but the rest are the same left,right,up,down,r 1,r2,l1,l2. It's all Hollywood.
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# UnpredictableJin 2011-04-06 15:57
Im an enthusiast gamer and i love playing games on my desktop rather than on a console eventhough a console is portable, ready to play and cheaper. All the upcoming games, future games, will moderately outrun the graphics capability of console platforms but i will not say there wont be games with optimized graphics for the consoles either.

Somewhat, the use of DirectX will always be on PC first than consoles later which have always be the way and must be as it should be. If consoles are at advanced step than PCs then its not PCs thats facing extinction, looks like it is another way around. Consoles are getting closer to PCs than a console a generation ago, if they were upgradable then, shouldnt it be the same as PCs? So why is people saying the era of PCs is at end? while consoles is not a long term device, not upgradable (if future consoles are upgradable than whats the point in having a console rather than having an upgradable pc), consoles have less tweaking options (clocking, etc) and is catching up to high end PC price tag...

As far as i know a PC is always at a better pace, tweakable, user friendly, and have a lot of options. Consoles? they even void warranty when the casing is removed. If Playstation4 is upgradable, DirectX 11, cheap, powerful and whole lot of other bull#, then shouldnt it be expensive too?

The pityful console wars are at an end and now theyre trying to shift away their vision on PCs vs Consoles. Seems someone is getting greedy and stupid.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingMACK 2011-04-08 09:28
or the title of the article could have been "How PC game pirating killed PC gaming, and caused a shift to console games"
The thing is, now, console game pirating is rampant.
I agree with the total trend prediction tho. And like many commented already, I think it will take MANY MANY (like 10 to 20) more years before Desktops go the way of the mainframe. BTW, the Mainframe model is making a comeback except now they call it "cloud"
Soon, we will all be running around with VT100 emulators (oops) I mean PC2000 emulators... on our I-pad, E-widgets
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# Beige Box PCsBrian 2011-04-24 17:21
Beige box PCs will continue to dominate business, and decent mobile devices and tablets and laptops will continue to cost between 500-1000 while beige box PCs with OEM parts will continue to cost under 500. Meanwhile people do not compartmentalize their lives into "professional" and "gaming" or "work" and "gaming" they will demand a machine at home that can do it all and there is why the Desktop PC will reign supreme for a very long time.

You say you understand sales and the business side. Well if you did, you would understand that miniaturization costs money and there are severe diminishing returns. There's diminishing returns to non-standard parts, and consumer electronics are far different than mass produced business parts. Eventually the requirements of new software will get too severe and people will grow tired of the mobile fad and return to PCs.

The proprietary nature of mobile and console will destroy it as a gaming platform in the future. Yes it is going to get much worse, but for the console side; People forget it wasn't so long ago that the PS3 was a flop and the Wii targeting a totally different demographic (I doubt the average PC video gamer is switching to Wii Fit!) As future generations become more and more educated about computers they will demand to "build it" and won't be afraid to open up the innards.

Wii Fit, Pokemon and Giant Enemy Crab PS3 will never destroy PC gaming. Most of what's happening in consoles and mobile are fads. Meanwhile PC gaming is slumbering for the next revival, cloud computing, where PC will utterly decimate consoles. When virtual worlds and distance education becomes normal, the PC will smash consoles.
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# RE: Beige Box PCsOlin Coles 2011-04-24 17:30
@Brian: Perhaps you should re-read my article, because I repeatedly refer to the topic of this series as the "enthusiast desktop computer platform" (first sentence), and pile on this emphasis with more direct wording such as "Since we're talking about the desktop PC platform as it pertains to hardware enthusiasts". Nobody is claiming that OEM systems won't still be a part of the landscape, in fact, I said exactly the opposite: "The desktop computer platform as a whole will be around for many years to come, but the landscape of enthusiast hardware will change." Exactly how much of this article did you read before writing out that comment?

Oh- and that remark about how Cloud computing "will utterly decimate consoles"... perhaps you should do a bit of research into what Cloud computing actually is. Once you do, you'll realize it's nothing new, and that host-based gaming servers already exist for both PC and console games.
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# i'm late to the partySam 2011-05-04 19:28
but felt I still need to drop my 2 cents.

1. Being a super anal PC/console gamer (no longer enjoy console gaming due to becoming to PC like) I have followed many gaming sites/forums daily. The PC took a massive upper cut after the release of the current consoles. Around 2009/10 I saw a change. Actual positive articles concerning PC gaming and also forum posts from many ex PC gamers who went console and now returning to PC. So IMHO the corps go where the money is. I think enthusiastic PC desktops will return. All my sons friends have been getting/building gaming PCs over the past 2 years. They all prefer the PC over their consoles.

2. I would tend to believe the EA presidents opinion over random gamers.
##pcworld.com/article/221681/ea_the_pc_is_extreme ly_healthy_and_might _become_biggest_plat form.html

3. and best of all why to own an enthusiast pc machine.
##pcgamingfan.com/

Instead of just looking at the negative side of PC gaming. Those of us who enjoy PC hardware and/or the games we play on it need to spread the word of why its better. How do you think PC gaming became popular to begin with. Us enthusiasts and some devs who took a chance on us back then it was ID and EPIC. It only takes one dev with a great game to make people stop and take notice. I start PC gaming because of one game, Warcraft 2. I bought a $1300 PC just to play it. That was in 95/96. Today it would have cost me about $600. Much cheaper to be a PC gamer today than the 90s.

Red Ochestra 2
Battlefield 3
Star Craft 2
Diablo 3
Minecraft
any FPS or RTS

The list goes on and on. 2010/11 is going to be a big year for PC gaming. Whether you believe it or not. I've followed it enough to know its 100% back on the upswing.

getting off my soapbox. :)
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# VHS vs BETAMAX anyonePaul 2011-05-06 10:31
This brings me back to the days of the big video format war in the 80's.. the VHS (inferior standard) won over betamax *far superior) because of the money of the companies involved. Did you hear users compaining all of those years of using vcr's that vhs sucked? no people were just happy to have vcrs and did not care about technical details. The same is true now. Yes the PC is one of the most useful electronic devices ever created, but the general perception is that they are hard to use and (for example) not fun for gaming because you cant play games with a controller.. (yes I know there have always been game controllers for Pc's, but try explaining that to most console gamers that have never touched a PC for gaming). There is a lot of techno voodoo attached to PCs for someone that isn't familiar with them, and most common people would rather go get a tooth pulled than learn the platform. Its a shame, but then its reality.. The days of exclusive AAA game titles for PC's has been over for some time, and only a matter of time before the PC industry slows down and stops, and the console catches up and goes forward.. I expect this to happen no later than next year.. Sadly I say "goodbye PC gaming, its been nice knowing you"
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# nice to see you "run away" Paulsam 2011-05-06 22:04
With people like you Paul the PC doesn't need enemies. ;) I think your vhs/beta battle is like comparing apples to oranges. I recall those video wars and the difference in quality wasn't as significant. However It is significant between a PC and console. On three fronts Visuals, configurations and controls.

Unless you had your eyes closed the past 2 or 3 years you'd notice PC gaming is on the upswing again. I know I follow many gaming/hardware sites daily. My son and all his friends have left their consoles and now game on pcs or laptops.

You negative people need to get out of 2006/7. There are a number of games that are giving the PC life again. SC2, BF3, and lets not forget about WoW the biggest game on any platform and its on PC. Minecraft an indie game has already made $33 million and its just in beta.

Even if hell freezes over, Steam closes up shop and you turn out to be right then I still have enough games on my backlog to carry me to at least 2020. ;P
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC Computingalex 2011-05-07 19:38
The mmo and franchise games proved that there is money in pc gaming. These games are designed around the average person. While I?m smoothly killing, I?ve found many others are stuttering along at 10fps.

The average gamer upgrading concentrates on two goals. Get the best available to have good performance for as long as possible, or get the best bang for the buck taking those 10fps games to playable.

With the time it takes software to catch up with tech advances it makes less sense to have a vast amount of choices. Things like 550, 560ti, 570,6990, etc start to be glaring bottom line killers to revenue managers.

There are two price competitions and the consumer only focuses on one. There is the competition of lowest price and of competitive revenue. Charging $10 for a service that was free leads to, ?I?ll just go to blahblah.? Once businesses have made charging for those services standard there is no alternative.

Not manufacturing the 570 would cost nvidia business to amds offering but if neither company offered a product in that area then consumers have to choose between the 560 and the 580.

We stopped providing a service which was free, but cost us $10 a day. Removing that saved us only $3650 a year. However, we have 4,000 locations, which makes $10 a day 14.6million a year.

With the above points this easily can lead to the enthusiast market having a thinning product line-which isn?t necessarily a bad thing (more money where it counts).

Should things continue to get smaller, faster, and cooler, I don?t see any reason there isn?t merit to the points in this article. In my lifetime, the true competition for desktops has been the inability for a laptop to handle top end hardware at low temperatures and cost.

With software developers not being able to match the rate of technological increases the idea that a mobile graphics card could perform on par with current technology is not irrational. The benefit of desktop components is having more space for better technology but if mobile tech is easily handling the average persons uses there is no point in making many things bigger and better-much less 30 different enthusiast motherboards, 10 versions of 5 tiers of graphics lines, etc.
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# spacealex 2011-05-07 19:48
Thinned this from 4k words to 2k but one thing I would like to add is I don't mean to say that I think the high end offering will vanish. I mean more that if mobile mid range can cover a huge gap in performance the tiers of available enthusiast hardware will diminish. I still see products like the 580s being aimed at those that don't want 'average' performance but as I said I believe we will see more standards and less tiers of the same product. In the case of tech getting smaller there simply wont be a reason for people that don't enjoy swapping out hardware to have tower desktops.

The biggest factor I can see is the cost of manufacturing small compared to desktops but should things go the way of this article mass production will be pushed toward the smaller evening out the cost which is what would reduce the allure of providing enthusiasts with a vast amount of choices.

I however don't think the article is saying the home computer enthusiast market is going to crash out of the sky tomorrow. Its small subtle changes that effect the bottom line (the only line you can really consider in giant corp business) that cause companies product offerings to evolve over time.

As enthusiasts efficiency in this market is in our interest. The last thing I want to see is nvidia make too many versions of a graphics card and have to reduce their research budget. I don't think we will ever enter an apple age where tinkering with our super computers is a thing of the passed.
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# PC WILL EVOLVEUpfront 2011-05-08 01:59
Desktop are already getting smaller. I'm currently writing this on my home made ITX-PC Desktop. Tables are just portable PC. I can see Tables taking-on Consoles over the next few years. Connect to your monitor/TV play on the go. I rather buy a tablet by the manufacturer I choose and connect to my Monitor/TV and play, much more versatile than a console. Perhaps this Glut of power on Desktops and lack of good games pushing the limit will be temporarily setback for PC until it gains steam on Tablets. But soon enough Tablets will evolve ever faster and compete with Consoles. There are Quad ARM, Intel tri-Gate, etc. coming which will eventually transform that market. You choose, a gaming Tablet or a regular Vanilla Tablet. Sure not nearly as fun as making your own but better than a Console, at least in my book. Let's not forget the Desktop-PC is adjusting to different of medium. Instead of CD or DVD we have Steam. If places like Steam continue to prove successful and safer for game producing companies I can see them coming back. Either way PC gaming is here to stay..You choose, Tablet or Home made whatchamacallit! You just have to recognize that the PC is evolving, that's all.
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# Nvidia: The Future of Graphics Processingaberkae 2011-05-08 20:41
Check out this article on Nvidia's point of view on the future of Graphics Processing, by 2015 ray-tracing will be very smooth in terms of performance
"Nvidia predicts that a 2015 GPU will feature a texture performance of 579.7 GT/s, antialiasing performance of 133.8 GS/s, and a memory bandwidth of 584.1 GB/s. Geometry will be at a staggering 37.2 Gtri/s and the floating point will be up to 32039.8 Gflop/s"
##tomshardware.com/news/Tony-Tamasi-ECGC-2011-Tegra-ray-tracing-DirectX-11,12599.html
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingRichard Smith 2011-05-16 22:27
This article misses one VERY important note here, PC desktops will ever die because enthusiasts will never die. The only faucet of PC desktop'ing that has a chance of dieing is the entry level desktop, but even this will always be here because as hardware progresses for the enthusiasts, the old hardware must also be pushed on someone, and here lies the entry level PC desktop. Modularity in laptops and portable devises is simply too limited in the scale of this modularity and expandability, an unfortunate, unavoidable shortcoming, and the resistance of change from the enthusiasts, and there are a lot of us, will forever prevent a full blown shift to this platform.

As far as console vs PC, these two platforms are for two different target audiences. PC gaming is for people who like to play there games their way, at the speed they deserve for the work they put into it. Even if the major developers start focusing more heavily on consoles, that is fine, but there is always developers, even if they are independent, who also understand the enthusiasts, and will provide the fix our overpowered PC's need.

Some have regarded console gamers as the 'technologically retarded', and as i see this as harsh, I suppose the title could fit that role, and as a developer, I suppose it is tempting to create a game that can fill the need for that group of people, but I know the smart developers will understand there is still much profit to be made releasing on the PC.

One extra note here, how do you think console games get created? Games are not created on the console, but rather, created for the console, on a PC. The console is a portable 'player', like a dvd player, or a mp3 player. It reminds me of saying theaters are dead because of dvd players, or concerts are pointless because of the ipod.
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# RE: RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingOlin Coles 2011-05-16 22:34
Hey Richard: there were people who said "the pogo stick will never die, because pogo-stick enthusiasts will never die." Guess what? Both have died. You seem to miss one VERY important point (to use your own words), and that is if the companies aren't making profit then they won't make the products. Ponder that, since it's a point I mention in the article and we've discussed in these comments.
Also- you should research how video games are developed. They might use computers, but the software tools have nothing to do with our platform. Once you get that research out of the way, you should continue with your notion of how profitable PC game releases really are... with rampant piracy and whatnot.
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# RE: RE: RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingRichard Smith 2011-05-16 22:59
"Hey Richard: there were people who said "the pogo stick will never die, because pogo-stick enthusiasts will never die." Guess what? Both have died."
Comparing a PC to a pogostick seems a bit of a stretch, but i am sure PC desktops is just a fad, like the internet was ;)

"You seem to miss one VERY important point (to use your own words), and that is if the companies aren't making profit then they won't make the products." "...Once you get that research out of the way, you should continue with your notion of how profitable PC game releases really are... with rampant piracy and whatnot."

Well yeah, I do understand the inevitable PC gaming 'depression' that is for sure going to befall PC gaming's future, it's obviously already happening, but PC games will not become extinct, just become less of a plus for the major, cross console developers. The fewer game options PC gamers have, the more the demand of games grow, and the more rewarding releasing for PC becomes, thus keeping the market alive. Even if some will be pirated instead of bought, alot will still sell, and if there is money to be made, even if it might be less than the consoles, someone will make that money. On top of this, only specific types of games are even vulnerable, namely single player centered games.

"Also- you should research how video games are developed. They might use computers, but the software tools have nothing to do with our platform. "

Not targeted at you, but at the very basic understanding a few commenters, here and elsewhere, have taken on the view of PC's role in creating a console game.
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# RE: How Video Games Killed Desktop PC ComputingArgos 2011-06-03 03:42
I strongly believe PC gaming will only die if something can replace the unique creative, customizable and moddable aspect of it. Consoles are extremely limited compared to what PC games allow or even stimulate or intend you to do with games. Many Game developers understand that now.

Consoles are limiting gaming cages. PC?s are enabling gaming worlds. I believe the creative side of gaming will be extremely important into the far, far future, because it appeals to what we as humans are and want, it appeals to our human creative core.

Console games limit you, they imprison you in a prefab, fixed gaming cage, whereas the PC can offer freedom and virtually unlimited creativity. That is why games like Morrowind, Oblivion, X3, Dawn of War and others still have such a huge following after so many years. They are more than just gaming. They are about creating your own world. They are ultimate escapism. Console can?t offer any of that.
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# well, I guess I have to revise my positionPaul 2011-07-24 06:48
I now agree that PC gaming is on the upswing. I (like many others Im sure) bought into the negative hype surrounding sales reports that I later through a little research found out left out several important details (custom PCs and Steam). I think Crysis2 opened up a much needed debate on both the PC gamer side and the console side about where the industry is heading. The "PC FIRST" mantra seems to be more common amongst dev's and with indie titles like "Hawken" on the horizon, as well as a few exclusives like "Hard Reset" (looks pretty good by the way) it looks like a PC gaming Renaissance may actually be coming.
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# PC gaming is the only real choiceNick 2011-10-17 05:00
Many "ethusiest" GPUs that launched years ago (9800 GTX, 285 gtx) are still viable GPUs for low-resolution gaming. Core2 775 CPU (Duel/quad core) 4GB of ram, and a 9800 GTX or a 285 GTX will run every game out on 720p or lower resolution (Like consoles) at high frame rates. Which is a good thing because PC games don't REALLY require as much horse power as people think it does to play. But if you wanna push 1920 x 1080 or 2560 x 1600 resolutions, triple monitor gaming, 3D gaming, you really need the top of the line GPU set up with a good CPU (X58 / 1155) to run that kind of gaming experience.

I think the PC, for gaming, in that respect has an advantage, not a disadvantage, over consoles.

It lets anyone (even with a 3 or 4 year old PC) of practically any budget load up the latest games and have fun. (Not to mention PC only capabilities like BF3's 64 player games opposed to Xbox / PS3 32 player cap). PC gaming is the real choice for top of the line gaming experience.
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