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How to fix what's wrong with PC gaming

In many ways, the PC is the most important gaming platform on the planet. It’s the platform almost everybody has in their home. It defines videogames by pushing the technology forward more rapidly than consoles. Yet it’s also riddled with hurdles that get in the way of its greatness. Unless changes are made, we may see it becoming increasingly marginalized within the gaming industry. Here’s how to make it the baddest gaming platform around once again.


Make PC hardware standards compulsory

Simplify system requirements forever

I’m Microsoft. I’m developing Windows 8. I’m glad you liked Windows 7, but I still don’t feel I’ve done enough for gamers. So I’m making a new rule. AMD, Nvidia, Intel, Corsair, all you guys: the only way I will ever allow you to describe any of your products as ‘Windows 8 Ready’ is if its full name contains only one number. Its User Experience Rating.

This rough measure of a component’s performance was one of the few positive innovations in my horrible mistake Windows Vista, for which I am profoundly sorry. I’ve improved it since, and made sure it’s a fair equivalent of the needs of the most demanding applications and games around. I’ll continue to tweak it slightly as software requirements change, but I’ll never reset the numbers: a 7 will always be better than a 6, even in 2012 when we’re all running 34s.

The system requirements you find on the back of game boxes from now on, until game boxes are antiques, will read: Minimum: 5. Recommended: 7. When you buy a new PC, it will be called a Dell 10, a Mesh 11, a Cyberpower 10.5. I’m holding all you full-systems guys to the same rule: you can’t even ship your machines with my OS if they have a single goddamn number that isn’t telling the customer exactly how powerful it is. Call it the Dominator if you must, call it the Flangemangler for all I care, call it the Ultro-Megalicious Pixel Crusher if you think it’s worth it. But every gamer who wants to buy a graphics card, a system or a game will be able to look at one number and know if it’ll do the job.

Also, I’ve just decided to rescind Games for Windows Live and issue a public apology for Steve Ballmer’s on-stage dancing.


Let’s bring the PC back to E3

The PC needs to be front and centre of the gaming world’s biggest circus

There comes a time in every console cycle where the PC versions of games begin to look, sound and feel 100 per cent better than their console equivalents. That’s when the PC shines. For this generation, that time has already passed – there has been no game yet released that looks as good as Crysis.

In the future, StarCraft II will be one of the biggest online games ever. Crysis 2 will look its best on PC. APB is going to be the silliest, most chaotic city we’ve yet to play in. And Diablo III is going to deliver RPG-powered crack to half of the planet. But we’re not doing much to shout about what’s coming.

This summer at the E3 conference, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will host giant press events where they’ll show off their next big things. Millions of dollars are spent on these jollies. But at events like E3, the very centerpiece of the gaming calendar, the PC is all but forgotten.

The big E3 shows aren’t just about showing off your games to the public. They’re about ensuring that publishers, investors, analysts and suits understand the business case for the platform. Right now, the PC doesn’t have anyone making the business case for it at the world’s biggest gaming event. That needs to change. We need one of our platform guardians, like Microsoft, Valve, Blizzard, Dell, Nvidia, or ATi to launch their own E3 press conference, where the best of PC gaming can be launched and shown off to the world.

102 comments

  • zigs - May 19, 2010 1:36 p.m.

    As someone who would love to game on my PC more, I fully support everything this article says. Pretty much
  • iHazWepon - May 18, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    Ok, most of this article is about making PC gaming, easier, but do you relaize why XBOX and PS3 have so many little children blowing you're ears out with thier screaming and high-pitched voices is because those systems are really eas to use! If a child under 10 could figure out how to install a decent video card or work steam I'd be impressed and wouldn't mind playingwith them, they would probably be able to teach me a thing or two.
  • superrey19 - May 18, 2010 6:17 a.m.

    He had some good points and some I'm not too sure about. Also, to the people that think games don't sell on PC, take a look at Battlefield Bad Company 2 which sold the most on PC according to DICE. Why? Because they listened and gave the PC gamers what they wanted.
  • super0sonic - May 17, 2010 7:14 a.m.

    This is dumb as hell. some good points were made but most of it is flawed. It's like someone who only plays on consoles wrote what they think would fix PC gaming. Most important point is that there is NOTHING wrong with PC gaming. I played games on PC years ago i play games on PC now and i will be playing games on PC when the 720 and PS4 are out.
  • Dorglesisthebest - May 17, 2010 2:48 a.m.

    Oh dear, it appears Mr. PC Plug almost forgotten the most important part to his argument: Mods. Go to ModDB, take a look. There are well over a few thousand full, new games you can play for nothing at all so long as you own a single game using a necessary engine, and you can manage a simple installation. These range from new levels and extensions to existing games, to total-conversion mods that have nothing in common with the original game save the engine. Some of these can even be more fun than the original game, Ive managed around 700 hours of sven co-op in the last year alone, with school and a part-time job. Dont like the way a game looks? Just a little internet searching will net you a ton of custom models, allowing you to change the looks of things from NPCs to players to weapons to even map props. Hell, you could even get source SDK or Worldcraft and make your very own game maps or even mods, then play them in game. That kind of freedom and extended game length doesnt make me wish for the platform's quick death. As for Dedicated servers, this more or less explains it http://www.gamesradar.com/f/why-pc-modern-warfare-2s-multiplayer-makes-us-sad/a-20091111114730395075
  • brettssatisfyingdong - May 17, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    @Dibol1987 not my fault you cant be in the PC gamer master race
  • Dorglesisthebest - May 17, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    OK, judging by how well the other well-written posts have been understood, I doubt many of you will take anything from this, but I still have some weird compulsory want to give my 2 cents on things I can talk about. First off, by the looks of it, most of you are less hating PC gaming and more wanting to hating PC gaming. You keep giving out the same very tired reasons, "They are too hard to assemble"/"They are too expensive"/"All PC gamers"/"All PC gamers are smug, elitist dicks that have no friends due to lack of good social networking." This has been said at least 10 times above me, but Ill go ahead and agree that assembling one is incredibly easy, anyone who says it is a hassle has a good chance of not ever trying, and just assuming in a state of ignorance just out of some fear they probably got talking to other ill-informed people. That is honestly no better than the older people who are afraid of using consoles out of some false sense of complexity. As for price, that issue can be described in just one sentence: I could buy one car for a tiny price tag, but at the end of the day Ill lose money from the equally-tiny MPG. And if you think there is no community aspect to PC Games, Ill invite you to download steam for free at http://store.steampowered.com/ (assuming you can run that .exe-Zing!). Just take a look at that 1,100-GAME library, The Deals (Portal for free, EVERY ID GAME EVER MADE for $125, and EVERY VALVE GAME EVER MADE for $100). The roughly 1.5 mil players online out of 25 mil, the free and easy online play, and the enter-your-payment-info-and-download ease of use. Then you can say PC gaming is a terrible platform. Oh, and the internet tough guy called PC gamers nerds that live in their mothers basements must be lost, I always thought any site debating game platforms was a pretty nerdy place to begin with.
  • Dibol1987 - May 16, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    @krzyglue: I definitely agree. No point in buying certain parts if they will only work with game X and have a craptastic performance in Game Y.
  • Dibol1987 - May 16, 2010 10:15 p.m.

    @brettssatisfyingdong: There's something called lack of time and money, jack-ass.
  • brettssatisfyingdong - May 16, 2010 7:27 p.m.

    This article sounds like it was written by a butthurt Mac/xbox user who is mad because things are a bit different, and require work to do. ITS CALLED BUILDING A COMPUTER, ITS NOT HARD
  • RedOutlive10 - May 16, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    You guys couldn't be more right on the spot with making games more complex. It's not only about PC, but I miss when gaming was about throwing you at a world with several rulesets, because they all feel like a narrow experience that's trying to be a movie as much as possible. Something original would be nice, for a change.
  • yasmarc - May 16, 2010 9:40 a.m.

    I've been a PC gamer since the first Warcraft and C&C ever came out but have recently switched over to Xbox360 and finally quit the drug of WoW. I've built and rebuilt my computer to play the games through the ages and enjoyed trying to squeeze the most out of my money. I can honestly say that the one major thing consoles have going in their favor isn't the community (because most people on Xbox Live are dipsh*ts) but the fact that I have NEVER had people over to all sit and play a computer game. PC is not a sociable platform in the sense that people are playing the same room, watching the same screen and having a good time. I hate playing FPS games without a mouse and I feel like it's a step backwards, but I enjoy having people over and screaming at the games more than cussing out my own screen while talking into a mic. PC is simply harder to create a social environment with and unfortunately consoles kill them in this respect. Also don't spout out "LAN PARTY" because I've done that plenty and know they're fun, but lugging around a desktop to play the same game as someone at their house isn't the same as just grabbing another controller and hopping right in. Just my personal perspective on it.
  • BurntToShreds - May 16, 2010 7:18 a.m.

    You forgot "PC Gamer smugness has to stop".
  • Samael - May 16, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    Ah, fuck. Part of a half finished response got left in. Whatever, I don't even care.
  • Samael - May 16, 2010 12:47 a.m.

    Wow. The comments on this article are exactly why I know I will never be able to really become a PC video game player. Too much anger (maybe deservedly so, I don't know and I don't care) and hatred of simiplicity and/or change. This article may be crap. but so is the
  • zaldar - May 15, 2010 10:19 p.m.

    so your perscription for fixing pc gameing is to turn it into a console. I would have expected this from games radar...I expected better from PC Gamer. I expect a response to this article in the magazine. Captcha: entwined ebenezer...really now who is ebenezer entwined with exactly...seems like a new story possibly here Mr. Dickens!
  • Anduin1 - May 15, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    I totally agree with db1331's first post, this article is simply retarded and makes no real valid suggestions on how to make PC gaming better.PC Gamer magazine fell off years ago and should probably close up shop. The magazine is like 60% ads nowadays.
  • e1337prodigy - May 15, 2010 8:24 p.m.

    I agree with all that.
  • krzyglue - May 15, 2010 3:37 a.m.

    @Jesse1066 Not really. The Windows Experience Index isn't an average, but is rather the lowest individual score. So a computer with an ATI 5870 and some an old P4 or something is still going to have an index of ~2. Personally, I think having some kind of "standard" benchmarking system would be good. Along the lines of Energy Star maybe, with minimum standards for each category.
  • HeavyTank - May 15, 2010 2:04 a.m.

    Hell yea. Go PC gaming!

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