So far I’ve just about managed to avoid using this column as a soapbox to stand on while I bitch and whine about my own personal issues with the games industry. Therefore, as I’m about to blow enough hot air to make myself a viable option for NASA’s next spacecraft prototype – I thought it only fair to give you a little bit of warning.
I am, always have and always will be, a dedicated PC gamer. The type that scoffs at playing a first-person-shooter with an x360 pad, and is well aware that compared to Deus Ex, Mass Effect is light years away from being the greatest RPG ever made.
I’m not blind to the advantages of consoles. It’s pretty diffcult to gather your friends around a PC for a game of Pro Evo or Mario Kart, and when it comes to Street Fighter IV a mouse and keyboard just doesn’t cut the mustard. I do however, have an uneasy relationship with consoles simply because since they entered the mainstream all I’ve heard about PC gaming is that it is either A) dying, or B) already dead.
Now if such comments were the misguided outbursts of the odd prepubescent forumite they wouldn’t bother me so much. Unfortunately, it isn’t merely ignorant teenagers who hold this opinion. Ever since Halo betrayed its originally intended platform ten years ago, game after game has either suffered a delayed PC release or been denied one entirely. This very week Dead Space 2 and Alan Wake became the latest casualties of the PC gaming cull.
Frankly, Alan Wake can go boil his pretentious head. The only reason Microsoft have made it a 360 exclusive is to shift more consoles – a preposterous decision for a company who have just released Windows 7. However, Dead Space 2 has been denied a PC release due to alleged lack of sales of the original. It is in this where the real issue lies.
Dead Space was an excellent game, but like GTA IV and many others it was disastrously optimised for PC controls – simply turning Isaac Clarke around was like trying to drag a rhino through a swimming pool filled with treacle.As a result of mistakes made by the developer, sales were lost. But instead of fixing them for the sequel, EA decided to pull the game from the PC altogether.
EA are one of many companies who use lack of sales as a reason not to release games on PC alongside the age-old excuse of piracy. Yet the sales figures they refer to do not include those made via digital distribution services like Steam, which are estimated to make up 47 percent of all PC game sales, and with ten million users on Steam alone, that’s an awful lot unaccounted sales.
If PC gaming does die, it will be because corporations like Microsoft and EA kill it, and it will undoubtedly be a mistake they regret.