Is PC Gaming Becoming a Rich Man's Sport?

By Mike on 7:03 pm

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Crysis was released the other day to much fan fair, receiving high ratings on review sites. However, this game exposes one of the major problems with PC gaming today. That being that you need a high end computer to properly enjoy the game. Gamespot noted that Crysis would bring even the most powerful PCs to its knees. From a marketing perspective, this does not seem to make much sense. This severely limits the number of people who can play the game. People who are unwilling or unable to pay $2000+ for a high end, SLI/Crossfire PC with high end graphics cards and processors. Now, I understand that PC gaming has always been on the cutting edge, but perhaps game developers are pushing us to close to that edge, shutting out the vast majority of a massive market.

When asked if Crysis would come to console, Crytek noted that neither the Xbox 360 or PS3 were capable of running the game. Both consoles have much faster CPUs than what you would find in a typical PC and contain GPUs (Radeon X1800 and Geforce 7900 based respectively) that were considered to be high end only a year ago. nVidia still considers the 7900 to be a high end GPU on their website. Game developers need to lay off a bit and start focusing on making their games enjoyable on a typical gaming PC. This was true at one time, it's time they got back to it. PC gaming should not be just a rich man's sport.

1 comments for this post

23 years ago when I got my first 6 mhz PC for around $2300 with a cga monitor, the debate was "Is personal computing a privilege of the rich?". But it is the people willing to pay for leading-edge technology who pave the way for mass-market adoption, competition, and innovation. In time, all things electronic become affordable. Don't think that the leading edge stuff has ever been anything but a rich man's sport, since innovation cannot be funded by razor-thin margins. It is because of those willing to pay for the latest most powerful components that I get to occasionally spend $2-300 to upgrade my systems to what was cutting edge 2 years ago (as opposed to spending $1500 to get current hot technology). I personally don't mind waiting 2 years to play Crysis. I remember 2 years ago there were games that my hardware then wouldn't run (Splinter Cell PT), and I looked at the price of upgrades, and decided to wait a year or so. Now I have 2 7300GTs in SLI, which is no killer video system by any stretch. But it does play the games that were hot 2 years ago just fine. I am not one of those who are willing to pay for the leading-edge development, but I am certainly glad that there are those wealthy enough to do so.

But the point is, in 1984, KROZ and Castle were rich man's sports. It is a good thing we have rich men; because of them I will play Crysis in 2 years!

Posted on 22 November 2007 at 08:30