Valve: PC is the centre of gaming innovation, open platforms are where ideas come from

There's a very simple argument to the misguided notion that the PC is dead or dying. Not just the bog-obvious fact that people have been saying it's dead for years now with no sign of being right, much like a crap soothsayer knocking back the date of the apocalypse every time it doesn't happen. Oh no. The reason the PC is evergreen (though you've likely got a grey or black one, with neon bits depending on how hardcore you are) is that anyone can develop for it, meaning that it will always be gaming's biggest hotbed for new ideas.

Valve's Gabe Newell knows a fair bit about the PC, so he knows this to be true. And he's just come out with some rather forthright comments to that very effect.

Professing that Valve is "tremendously excited about the future of PC gaming", the big man of FPS went on to explain, “We see [the PC] as the centre of innovation of everything that’s going on, whether it’s microtransactions, MMOs, free-to-play, or something like CityVille which – after its first month – has 84 million people playing”

“To us, this is just an indication of why open platforms are where innovations are going to occur.”

And I can't help but agree with him wholesale. Yes, high profile PC exclusives are as rare as rocking horse poop at the moment, and yes multi-format marketing always tends to highlight the console versions, but the openness of the format is the lifeblood of the PC, and something it will always have over consoles ruled by platform-holding overlords.

Above: FPS. It started here. On a PC

Just take ten minutes to browse through Steam on the lookout for cool new stuff you didn't know about. I guarantee that ten minutes will extend to at least half an hour in no time at all. We might be looking at smaller titles, but the ease of development and distribution within PC gaming means that it has a huge, eclectic and ever-growing spread of games packed with new ideas, game mechanics and methods of playing that just wouldn't happen on a format as locked down and heavily vetted as a console, even on any of the download services. PC gaming is healthy, it's just healthy in a different way to the perceived mega-budget domination of console games.

Oh, and most of the cool things that make those big console games exciting? Started on PC. Everything from online gaming to DLC to developers like Valve, Epic, id and Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly. Consoles might bring things to the masses, but PC gaming is the innovation engine fuelling a hell of a lot of them.

But what do you reckon? Will there always be a place for a PC in your life? Or are you happy with a controller and a sofa?

[Source: Develop]

Jan 12, 2011

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