With the recent release of Dungeon Siege III, and the upcoming XBOX release of The Witcher 2, I’ve been thinking about the change in the landscape of gaming since 2005/2006 when the current console generation began (360/PS3). Prior to this time, the keyword was “supplement” regardless of whether you preferred a console or the PC platform. No one platform had the best releases nor could consoles keep up with the graphical output of a PC. It was widely adopted to have a PC and console to get the best gaming experience. Why not? The reliance on PCs was much greater then than it is now. Today, while the balance has swung to the side of consoles, still one issue remains: some games are just better with a keyboard and mouse. The operative question is, “how long until consoles catch up?”
Bottom line: they won’t. The console experience is for a different type of user. From a mass-audience perspective, more console users want to play the hottest games without any hassle. That is not the PC world. It is an enthusiast’s market that is going through a massive change this decade. Laptops are becoming cheaper, extreme graphic cards are only for the hardcore segment, and the reliance on tablet/mobile devices is growing rapidly. The market demands over the past 20 years for integrated devices, and the speed in which the world’s mobile telecom infrastructure has grown, has put PC Gaming in an uncomfortable decline. Although developers continue to poor content into PCs, their market is contracting. Eventually they will be forced to find creative ways to bring their games to consoles.
Consider this a major evolution in gaming. Games which rely on a keyboard/mouse combo will eventually lose their home - like the spider-monkey or macaw. This isn’t something to fear. I’m confident developers will find a console mechanic that allows the gamer to properly communicate with the genre. It has to happen in the next few years before PC Gaming goes completely underground. Dungeon Siege III almost got us there. Obsidian certainly made the console controls better than PC but I believe they fell short there. This brings up a desire we all have: will somebody please make a good inventory system for action-RPGs???
Leave your thoughts below. We plan on discussing this in an upcoming podcast - likely in September.