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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  • ChiefLethal - January 17, 2011 2:58 a.m.

    @ StrayGator As I was listing those games, I got to MoH and said "yeah this was on PSX. this makes sense". But, its presence on PCs did lead to CoD and the Battlefield series, PC exclusives at the time. Also: @Snoyjoe Those are actually very bad examples of open platforms. The iTune app store, and Apples approach to third party applications, are extremely restrictive in that only Apple approved apps are sold via their store. The only way it runs apps that aren't approved by Apple is if they are jailbroken.
  • Snowyjoe - January 13, 2011 3:54 p.m.

    Arg, I love this article I can't stop commenting!!! Another good example of an open platform for third-party software is the iphone/touch. That gadget probably would of been much less popular if it only ran applications made by Macintosh.
  • Snowyjoe - January 13, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    Why I love the PC is because o mods and the ability to customize your rig :)
  • Snowyjoe - January 13, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    PC all the way!!!
  • Ultima - January 13, 2011 5:12 a.m.

    PC game have always offered far more engaging games with greater depths which require the use of your brain alongside a twitchy finger To put it simply PC's are the daddies of the platforms while the consoles are the noisy kids
  • Valcrist - January 13, 2011 2:56 a.m.

    Sully8764 - I am also starting to save up for a gaming pc, and even tough the initial chunk of cash is indeed more pricey than a console, it seems to me is much more effective in the long run, especially for ppl not living in the US or the UK. Let me elaborate here Obviously I dont live in the US, so any kind of product comes with the dreaded import tax: normally the prices are reasonable but when it comes with electronics, those things are RIDICULOUS. A ps3 game costs what.... 50$? when making a convertion, im left paying almost 80$, thats more than a fifty percent price increase, just last weekend I saw Bioshock 1 on sale, a game that is relatively if not quite old by today´s standards, at the equivalent of 50$. In the meantime, if you go and browse through steam, you find that it costs a nifty 20$, and if you are smart and buy when they have special deals it could cost 15, or 10, or perhaps if you browsed through the big badass holiday sale, it was for 5$, FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS!!!, thats as much as a full meal at your local mc donalds!!! Meaning that sure, getting an xbox might be cheaper at first, but when with 4-5 games you cover the full cost of the console, you can see how it can start going a bit downhill. Second point is the incredible flexibility, have you seen the half life wikia page? theres is a somewhat long list of various mods made for the series, ranging from just a graphics improvement to full blown projects that rival multi-corporation games (just google "Black Mesa Half life Mod" and wet and crap your pants at the same time) Third point perhaps is not a problem, but more like a commodity, which is actual physycal space: how much space does 1 PC needs? a simple desktop should be enough right? How much space a console needs? much much less than that, perhaps even a drawer suffices. How much space does all the games take? now this is when you have to arrange and move and figure out where to keep all the discs, and t mix the cases, and look for the one you whant, when with a pc you just need a big hard drive and a simple click on an icon. Also dont forget that regardless of how much care you put into CDs, sonner or later they will get scratched and start eroding, while with a pc you can re-install em as many times as you like Finally, FPS jsut play soooooooooooo much better with a mouse, seriously. Tried Half life 2 on an xbox after playing it on my pc and it felt so.... unnatural, no wonder headshots in halo games take so long to master, seeing that you have to aim with a stick. That is not to say consoles are just not good enough. I know that I wont get my filling of castlevania, tales of, or megaman from a pc, but you have to admit that the strenghts here are better than its weaknesses .... and also final point, porn is much more easier to get in your pc, so yeah... that kinda decides the argument
  • festerblatz82 - January 13, 2011 2:07 a.m.

    Fellow PC users already eloquently and intelligently posted everything I would say...nice.
  • keltar93 - January 13, 2011 1:49 a.m.

    Agreed, and to a lesser extent, XBLA/PSN/WiiWare games
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 13, 2011 12:06 a.m.

    @ shadowreaper72 Dude seriously, if you don't know what your talking about (you evidently don't) then accept that and don't talk about it. Better yet do some bloody research. You could buy the best of the best and you still wouldn't get to 3 grand for a single machine, and you don't even have to, thanks to the consoles not actually being all that powerful, and the games being developed with them in mind, atm if your pc was good 2 or three years ago it'll still be good today. 500-600 bucks will buy you a solid gaming grade rig that'll last you the rest of this gen quite comfortably, no upgrades needed, all games ran on highest settings hitting 30fps + most of them 50+ Buy even then, if you don't have that kind of money (if your younger, dependant on your parents, I imagine you won't) your average laptop can still lead you to a massive (understatement) selection of free or at least cheep indie titles and mods for older games you'll have no problem running, not to mention some classic oldies from generations gone by.
  • Hullonotna - January 12, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    I am a PC and I disagree with the fact that PC has no exclusive games. Some games just can't be made for a console. EX. free-to-play games, MMO's (for the most part), RTS (for the most part), TBS (for the most part) and many more. Even the modding community is a PC community. PC is great which is why I still play it and can't really play consoles. Also PC takes a bit more skill and knowledge in order to use. Consoles are in the end dumbed down versions of PC's that aren't upgradable.
  • LIKEUCARE - January 12, 2011 10:03 p.m.

    I grew up with consoles in my teen years, Mario, Zelda, etc... then once I got to know the true power of PC gaming in late 90s, I knew I had to get a PC! LAN gaming was a main reason in the early 2000. Since that time, I've been PC gaming ever since and yeah, it is my favorite platform... so much freedom over everything... AND, your PC can be used for many other things as well! As for consoles, I kept playing them time to time until the PS3 arrival; that's when I got back into console gaming mixed with PC gaming. Consoles are great for specific games for granted like they aren't for other genres. I really like my PS3 for what it can do and give me what I expect of it. Nonetheless, it won't ever replace my PC gaming craving! NEVER!
  • podsaurus - January 12, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    Still love console gaming but I have grow and attached more to PC gaming.
  • rabidpotatochip - January 12, 2011 9:32 p.m.

    @StrayGator But someone is wrong on the Internet!
  • StrayGator - January 12, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    1. One uninformed boneheaded PC hater says something stupid. 2. Lotsa PC fans feel an urge to counter with a slew of increasingly hallucinatory claims. If you don't want a flame post to ignite a flame war, respond in an accurate, level-headed manner and CHECK YOUR FACTS. One user pulling false statements from yhwh-knows-where doesn't justify you also doing so. Or better yet - ignore him. BTW, MoH1 was a Playstation game (don't think they invented the word "Exclusive" back then). Also, Mario.
  • ChiefLethal - January 12, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    @ shadowreaper EVERY console game is designed and built WITH a PC. Regardless of what you think about costs of building your own rig (you couldn't be more wrong, btw, and if you knew anything about the pricing of PC components you would know just how wrong you are) PCs were the first to innovate in literally every single genre found on consoles Today: FPS? started with Doom, culminating with Half-life RTS? Warcraft, C&C RPG? Ultima I There are more people playing on consoles than PC, and for this reason, titles available for PC must be available on multiple platforms for developers and publishers to see a profit. Did you know Halo was originally slated to be a PC/Mac title, exclusively? That is, until MS bought Bungie, knowing that without a 'killer app' the Xbox would tank. Which is exactly what would have happened. The previous generation was won in a landslide by Sony because the fan base for their original console (the PSX) was many millions larger than that of the newcomer (and untested, simply because this was MSs first foray into the console market) MS with their Xbox. Without Halo, Xbox would have petered out and extinguished, knocking MS out of the console market. Half-life, Call of Duty, Halo, Unreal tournament, Quake, Doom, Medal of Honor, Oblivion, and fallout all started on PCs before consoles. Without these titles, console gaming would not exist as it does today. And considering how consoles seem to be going up $100 (and games $10) with each generation, it wont be long before consoles overlap PCs in terms of price. PC games (that weren't published by Activision in recent years) have been floating at around $50 for around 15 years. Console games have always been more expensive.
  • rabidpotatochip - January 12, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    @shadowreaper72 Why all the PC hate? As long as you aim just below top of the line keeping your hardware current is no more expensive than buying a next gen console plus accessories every now and then. I spent $750 to build my most recent rig a year and a half ago, including a Win7 license, and it runs everything on the market near max settings. I use it for gaming half the time and work the other, so I estimate the gaming cost to be $375. The biggest (read: most expensive) upgrade is the video card but unless you're buying top of the line you can get one for about $150 every two or three years. I spend about $200 every two years to keep my rig current, which adds up to about the same as a next gen console every four. There really aren't that many PC exclusives, no, but that's because developers never know what kind of hardware their games will run on; with consoles, the hardware is the same all across the board which is definitely a point in their favor. Some ports to PC are just lazy, DMC4 comes to mind, but that's not the fault of the platform. On the PC you can also install more mods, buy heavily discounted games through Steam and customize your hardware. On consoles, you're guaranteed that game you bought is going to work with your hardware and you get a bigger screen. I think there's a place for both PC and console gaming, I do both, and they're both worth it. What's important to me is that I can always find screaming 12 year olds to call me a n00b, no matter which system I'm on.
  • cyberpirate - January 12, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    PC is and always will be my system. If I ever get a console it will never get as much playtime as my PC and will probably only get played when friends are over
  • clubsandwich - January 12, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    I am not rich. I can not afford to build a rig and maintain it. I CAN afford minecraft on my lappytoppy, though so I agree. I guess it would pay off though, since I'd offset the price of my rig by stealing all of the games for it.
  • GoldenMe - January 12, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    Hey Dave, if you wanted to start a flame war, why didn't you just say so? Or better yet, make some odd claim about the PS3 or 360. That'll get em stirring.
  • AngryPumpkin - January 12, 2011 8:18 p.m.

    I love mt ps3, ps2, and psp (i have a bit of enjoyment from the wii), but I will never forget how I started off as a PC gamer many years ago. I may have an outdated rig now, so I might not be able to play many of the new games, but I still love my PC (and laptop)

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