Gaming

Can the PC Survive as a Gaming Platform?

As myriad game makers displayed their wares at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, 10 leading companies in the industry announced on Tuesday that they have teamed up to form a new alliance.

The nonprofit PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) aims to unite hardware and software creators, game developers, publishers and others committed to the PC gaming market with the common purpose of advancing the PC as a gaming platform. The group’s founding members include Acer/Gateway, Activision Publishing, AMD, Dell/Alienware, Epic, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia and Razer USA.

Together, member companies plan to cooperate on accelerating innovation, improving the gaming experience for consumers and serving as a collective source of market information and expertise on PC gaming, the group said.

Rapidly Growing Market

“PCGA members believe that we are stronger and more effective together than any member company is alone, and that our shared vision and group effort will improve PC gaming worldwide,” said Randy Stude, director of the Gaming Program Office at Intel. “Industry forums have proven to foster competition and innovation among member companies and grow markets while improving user experiences.”

The multibillion-dollar PC gaming market serves hundreds of millions of gamers worldwide. It is expected to grow more than 80 percent over the next five years, with major increases in the number of PC gamers, revenue from digital distribution and PC hardware sales, PCGA said, citing market researcher DFC Intelligence.

“Microsoft is a strong believer in the PC as a platform for gaming, and the formation of the PCGA is a major step forward for our industry and for PC gamers,” said Kevin Unangst, senior global director of games for Windows at Microsoft. “Working together, we have an exponentially greater opportunity to propel the PC gaming experience to new heights.”

System Requirements

PCGA will focus on the coordinated marketing and promotion of PC gaming, consistent and accurate reporting of PC gaming market research, and creating forums for member companies to cooperate on solutions to challenges facing the industry, the group said.

One of the group’s first objectives is to produce a set of minimum expectations as to what game developers should be targeting in terms of minimum system requirements for their games, Intel’s Stude told TechNewsWorld.

“Today, developers have no consistent guidance in terms of what they should target, and that leads to consumer confusion,” he explained. “We want to make it easier for consumers to buy or download a game and know that it will work.”

Avoiding Returns

Confusion over system requirements has been an ongoing problem for gamers, Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming with Parks Associates, agreed.

“A lot of gamers will get excited when they see a new game coming out and buy it, then find out later that their PC couldn’t support it,” Cai told TechNewsWorld. “If they’re hard core, they may upgrade to support the game, but if not, they might end up returning it.”

Given recent growth in console gaming, companies in the PC gaming market have a strong motivation to try to keep the PC gaming market healthy, Cai added.

Open Doors

Consumers will also benefit from the alliance’s collaboration via better gaming experiences on their PCs, PCGA said.

“This collaboration will provide developers and publishers with a champion for consistent demographics, hardware adoption, and revenue measurement and reporting,” said David Cole, an analyst with DFC Intelligence. “An authoritative source of information on the PC as a gaming platform will serve as an invaluable catalyst for growing the market and improving the consumers’ PC gaming experience.”

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