Monday, October 25, 2010

Microsoft "Doubles Down" on PC Gaming?

File this one under "I'll believe it when I see it."

This Kotaku story does have some interesting points.  Next month's relaunch of the Games for Windows Marketplace is a good thing for PC gaming, particularly since digital delivery is the future of all electronic media. And although the idea of a cross-platform gaming between Xbox and PC platforms really never amounted to much, another attempt will be nice, if not particularly vital.

The most comical part of the Kotaku story, however, is the reference to the "tremendous line-up of computer games" for 2010. I searched in vain for some idea that this was meant ironically, but no: I think the writer is serious. He goes on to say that "computer gaming isn't just still around, it's making a resurgence," and cites ... 3 sequels, 3 ports, and an expansion set as proof. (And he doesn't mention the most exciting part of PC gaming this year: Minecraft.)

I guess it's a kind of "resurgence," if you redefine what that word means. My writing career parallels the entire rise and fall of computer gaming, so I remember when there were hundreds of releases in a year. In a way, there are still hundreds of releases, if you count casual and Java games, which also migrate to mobile phones and other platforms. But the big-ticket games that drove the PC gaming boom have simply vanished. We put out a 300-page issue of PC Gamer one Christmas during those heady days of the 1990s. We didn't do it based on an average PC-gaming output of 0.5 releases per month.

The muscular years of hardcore PC gaming are not about the return in the midst of a full-blown recession-bordering-on-depression. That's just crazy talk.


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