PC Gaming: Too Complicated?

IGN PC had a conversation (I think by email) with Randy Stude, president of the PC Gaming Alliance and director of Intel’s Gaming Program Office, and Roy Taylor, the PCGA’s CTO as well as VP of content relations at Nvidia about what the PCGA actually does. The PC Gaming Alliance is made up of various companies that have an interest in promoting PC gaming. Unlike consoles, such as the Playstation brand, X-Box or Wii, there is no single authoritative body or company in charge of guiding the market. PCs are an ‘open’ platform; this is part of the appeal for developers and gamers alike. A report on the state of PC gaming is due out from the Alliance in a few days.

What struck me as interesting in the discussion was this exchange:

IGN: In addition to the perception that PC gaming is expensive, there’s also the notion that it’s complicated. Too many decisions to make when trying to put together a machine, too time consuming to keep up over the years. How do you combat this?

Randy Stude: We hope to simplify the starting point for mainstream consumers; however the PCGA will not directly replace the platform development and marketing efforts of any member of the PC game industry.

Roy Taylor: I am not sure I agree with the question. Most games work “out of the box” now and certainly those that have worked with those suppliers with excellent support programs have benefited from ease of use which matches any console experience.

I think this is fundamentally wrong. Part of the reason gamers play on PCs is because they can engage with the challenges posed by constantly upgrading PC hardware and software technologies. You only have to browse various gaming or geek sites or forums to see this. As I argue in my PhD about car culture, these challenges are what define an enthusiasm. I suggest to a certain extent if gamers were only enthusiastic about the game and not ‘gaming’ then they would play consoles. Consoles are deficient because they do not offer a challenge. Making the PC ‘experience’ more like the ‘console’ experience is an incredibly flawed way to think about it.

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