It seems we’re all too familiar these days with people hailing these days those of a dying PC gaming platform. Interestingly however, industry analyst Michael Pachter has in more words said that it’s consoles that are going through their retirement. Meanwhile, with news of PC actually being the biggest market, and WoW on track to make 2bn by 2013, things are looking significantly better for the PC, that’s certain. That Empire: Total War managed to knock Killzone 2 off the top spot here in the UK says a great deal about the sort of demand there is for quintessentially PC titles.
But games consolses seeing their last generation? That seems a bit rash to me; and also seems a little reactionary to the OnLive announcement, much like Dave Perry’s announcement that he’s working on a shiny version of his own – though on that front I think Mr. Perry, as a developer of no small esteem might actually provide something a little more consumer friendly. Granted, the whole streaming game concept sounds excellent, but I think it needs to work before we can start claiming it as the messiah. It’s great to see that there is another one of these new fangled things being developed by Perry actually; I’m not sure I like the idea that all my money has to go through the OnLive filter before it reaches the hands of the deserving developer.
I can also see consoles going down to the bitter end. The console is a tried and tested format. It’s a good format in many respects, even despite my personal aversion towards them. The Wii has finally made a family friendly version and has sold bucketloads as a response. I can’t see parents wanting to subscribe to another service like their cable TV. It would make gaming another bill to pay. I also imagine development of the new systems is well underway, and developers are already anticipating that change - including the previously PC Blizzard. It seems a to me a knee jerk reaction as I say, to OnLive. Before now, the industry has been developing with a new generation of consoles in mind. Until the past couple of days, no viable alternative has been available. Industries take years to turn around.
What does this mean to the PC? Nothing really. The Steam powered industrial revolution seems set to continue (“Now with low, low prices!”) aided I think by competition in the increasingly good Impulse (can’t wait for Demi-God!) and Good Old Games. The OnLive initiative will, I imagine, prove itself to be an alternative for the PC gamer, rather than the new big thing. We’ll keep steadily growing with the rest as ever.