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Games Hardware

Is the Gaming PC Dead? 417

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-way-dude-check-out-my-$8000-alienware dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rahul Sood, HP's CTO of gaming, argues that the days of a market that wants PCs running three $500 GPUs is history; he argues that it's really a tough or impossible sell. '... let's face it, high-end hardware has delivered diminishing returns in terms of value. This is why you don't see ridiculous offerings like Quad SLI and 2-kilowatt power supplies coming from our company.' But don't the ideas of customization and market pricing for components tend to undercut that? Is the gaming PC dead?"
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Is the Gaming PC Dead?

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  • Netcraft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Plantain (1207762) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:51AM (#26220729)

    Until Netcraft confirms it, I won't believe it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by chill (34294)

      Maybe later. Right now the Netcraft guys are too busy getting noobed online by some 12-year old with a quad-SLI nVidia setup with built-in nuclear cooling towers. When they're done, expect a post extolling the virtues of text-based games, ASCII art and nethack.

  • yes. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:52AM (#26220733)

    no.

  • Dupe, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lineman60 (806614) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:54AM (#26220745)
    Every time someone needs to sell an issue of something. they say PC gaming is dead. As long as mmo's or there are Hard core games some one will cater to them.
    • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @03:57AM (#26220761) Homepage

      Not to mention RTS games, simulators like MS Flight Sim, and fisrt-person shooters. All those games are much better on a PC.

    • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ushering05401 (1086795) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:05AM (#26220795) Journal

      Are there MMOs that require multiple $500 GPUs to run properly?

      I thought the PC-MMO connection had to do with needing a keyboard to play effectively... nothing to do with the gaming rigs this article is talking about.

      But I agree, the topic itself is lame.

      • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nossie (753694) <IanHarvie@4Devel ... t ['men' in gap]> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:17AM (#26220855)

        was there ever a PC game that *required* more than one gfx card? no? didnt think so...

        BTW, try playing GTA IV on the PC... for that crippled console port you need a 1.5k cluster farm of PCs

        As before not too long ago, once the consoles start to show their age (which is round about this or next year) and neither Sony nor MS plan on revising theirs soon (they practically bankrupt themselves with them previously) ... PC gaming will rise from the ashes.

        • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Interesting)

          by unapersson (38207) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:41AM (#26220947) Homepage

          I think the difference this time is that higher resolutions have a much higher production cost associated with them. And there is only so much money you can make by targeting high end PC users, most of the money is in the mid range which are on a par with the consoles.

          Given the kind of PCs that are sold on the high street, for most people a console will look like an upgrade in terms of gaming. Of course you'd have to drag them away from WoW first.

          • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tonywong (96839) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:22AM (#26221123) Homepage

            I think the problem is not just higher production costs, but that the games themselves cannot take advantage of having 3 or more GPUs. The diminishing returns of having more than 1 GPU fall off harshly after adding the 2nd GPU.

            I think that if the GPUs delivered better scalability across multiple units you would see higher end setups. I believe this is a software issue, so if 3 GPUs don't yield much increase in performance people won't bother. It's the old adage of software driving the hardware, and not vice versa.

            FWIW, I have dual Dell 3007s with an 8800GTX attached to it. The main reason I got the GPU was for my main game, City of Heroes. It sort of chugs along between 20-40 fps with all eye candy on, and if the GTX280 delivered a lot more performance I would have upgraded to that too. As it stands, City of Heroes does not benefit from a second GPU so adding another 8800GTX does nothing for me. Otherwise I would have done that in a heartbeat if I could double my performance. Unfortunately NCSoft doesn't make City of Heroes very compatible with all the eye candy for ATi cards or I'd have gone 4870x2.

            Now that I'm playing Left 4 Dead as well, I might get an improved setup since the game is not very playable at 2560x1600 with the 8800GTX solo. I turn it down to 1920x1200 non anti-aliased to get 40-50 fps. I'll probably holding out for a GTX295 with dual GPUs on a single card since my motherboard only does AMD/ATI crossfire and not nVidia SLI, or maybe the next generation single GPU setup.

            This is on a Core2 quad running at 3 GHz and 8GB RAM, which isn't too far off the mark of what HP's CTO is complaining is a 'tough or impossible sell'. If the performance of a triple GPU monster actually gave a decent return on performance over a single or dual GPU setup, I believe a decent set of gamers would buy it.

            However, most people who are into the top tier of gaming performance also have their own preferences to any gear, and wouldn't pick a whole system from a single vendor, especially HP. I think that segment of the market likes to tweak and build their own boxes in order to get the biggest bang for the buck.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mcvos (645701)

          was there ever a PC game that *required* more than one gfx card?

          Crysis. And then they wonder why the game doesn't sell.

        • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drsquare (530038) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @07:30AM (#26221763)

          As before not too long ago, once the consoles start to show their age (which is round about this or next year) and neither Sony nor MS plan on revising theirs soon (they practically bankrupt themselves with them previously) ... PC gaming will rise from the ashes.

          So, in the middle of a huge recession, will people:

          a) Keep playing their consoles which are good for another five years or so, or
          b) Get the credit card out to upgrade their PCs with the latest bells and whistles so they can play shitty console ports and endless FPS sequels.

        • Re:Dupe, (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @08:14AM (#26221995) Homepage

          Games for both consoles, and the ps3 especially have not been taking full advantage of the hardware...
          They use a lot of pre written code libraries rather than hitting the hardware directly, thus negating the performance advantages of a console, and i don't think many games make full use of the cell chip in the ps3...

          When the hardware starts to age and coders are more familiar with it, you will get much tighter code being written, hitting the hardware directly and cutting out the middle layer of drivers and general purpose code libraries... On a PC you always have the overhead of an OS running, and the fact that things like graphics calls go through several layers before they hit the hardware.

          What we do need badly tho, is for console games to support mouse and keyboard... All the current generation and most of the previous generation consoles support USB devices, there's no reason console games couldn't support the connection of usb keyboards and mice for those who want to play with them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Firethorn (177587)

            there's no reason console games couldn't support the connection of usb keyboards and mice for those who want to play with them.

            I think that Microsoft isn't quite ready for the general public to realize that that $399 'gaming' machine is perfectly powerful enough to run an office suite. With a 1080p HDTV, it's even got more resolution than monitors of 5-10 years ago. 80/160GB? Again, look back a few years, we did fine with less storage than that*.

            There's not actually that much difference between an XBox 360 or a PS3 and a PC/Mac.

            *I am, of course, talking about the average user. Think grandma and the secretary's desktop, not the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dnaumov (453672)

        Yes and World of Warcraft is one of them.

        With the new expansion and the latest 3.0.3 patch, performance took a very big hit for a lot of WoW players. I was playing the game on a E8400 2,4 Ghz, 4gb ram, 8600GT machine and I was seeing my fps in raids hover around 25-40 and around 15-20 in Dalaran. I upgraded to a new videocard (8800GTS) yesterday and it roughly doubled my framerate (40-50 fps in Dalaran now). Now arguably 8800GTS doesn't cost 500$ now, but it did when it first came out.

      • Re:Dupe, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kamokazi (1080091) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:54AM (#26222543)

        No PC Game requires even a single $500 card to run properly.

        Hell, most any game, INCLUDING Crysis, can be run quite well on a $200 card thrown into a budget system from HP/Dell/Acer. You can get a decent syste, with 3GB RAM, AMD X2 processor, and an empty PCIx x16 slot for $400 brand new. Throw in a $150-$200 (9800GT, HD3850) card and you have a very competent gaming PC.

        Now if you want to run games like Crysis at max settings with 60+ FPS, then yes, you will need to splurge on your cards. And there are a few MMOs with good graphics that will use and abuse a $500 card. I played Age of Conan, and it would make my GTX280 cry like a bitch from time to time.

        The PC-MMO connection is mostly because MMO's are evolving games that need to have a client that is adaptable to them. The latest consoles help this a long a lot more than the prior generation, expecially with the 360's capability to install games to disk.

        The mouse+keyboard control is very helpful, although not necessary. FFXI does a pretty good job on the PS2 with a gamepad. It also requires the PS2 hard drive. So it has been doable for a while, it just makes it a hell of a lot harder on the devolopers.

    • by mcvos (645701) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:29AM (#26221147)

      Can we please kill and bury this tired "PC gaming is dead" meme? It's not, and it won't be as long as the PC itself isn't dead. Games are played on any platform that supports them, and that includes cell phones, iphones, pieces of cardboard and yes, even PCs.

      It's not TFA's fault, though. The summary is bad, wrong and desperately sensationalist. TFA doesn't say PC gaming is dead, it just says that it's stupid to have 3 $500 GPUs in your PC is ridiculous, which is kinda obvious in these days where you can get a high end PC for less than $1000.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:40AM (#26221213)
      They didn't say PC gaming was dead. They said the gaming PC was dead.

      The implication is very, very different. One means nobody is gaming on PCs any more - and that's very clearly wrong. The other means that few people are churning vast sums into making dedicated PCs just for gaming - and that quite likely is true.

      I still game on my PC, but I'm one of many who have completely stopped customising my PC for the ultimate gaming performance, because it simply isn't worth the expense any more. I do most of my gaming on other platforms, and the games that do get played on my PC aren't really ones that benefit much from a mega powerhouse anyway.

      So yes, the dedicated gaming PC is dead - or at least, in its death throes if you ask me. But PC gaming won't be going away any time soon. We'll just be gaming on the same type of machines we're using for work, mucking around with our photos and video editing, etc. etc.
    • by cgenman (325138)

      It used to be that PC gaming and console gaming were running neck-and-neck for software sales. Now you're lucky if your PC port makes 20% of the console sales.

      Similarly, there was a period there where optimizing your pc gaming rig seemed like a mainstream pasttime. Now, with laptops, lower-entry games dominate what is left.

      The PC gaming industry as we knew it has completely changed. Is it dead? No, but it has become something completely different.

    • by drsquare (530038)

      Every time someone needs to sell an issue of something. they say PC gaming is dead. As long as mmo's or there are Hard core games some one will cater to them.

      The most successful PC games can be played on on-board video. I think the days of people spending megabucks on the latest video cards to play the latest boring FPS are over.

    • Not until keyboard+mouse are the stock input devices for gaming consoles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garylian (870843)

      The article is about gaming PCs, not PC gaming. You know, the rig itself? The one some folks used to constantly shell out major bucks for the newest fangled gear to get another FPS out of their games?

      Oh, wait! This is /. Where folks can't even bother to read the freaking headline or summary, much less the links it goes to.

      Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing.

  • Game titles shouldn't drive hardware requirements. Outside of Portal, something I can play on my xbox 360, and I don't have to upgrade every 6 months to continue to play new titles, I haven't seen anything new from game makers other than new requirements for my machine to somehow be better to play the same dumb first person shooter remakes. Oh, need I mention that now days you even need a pretty kick'n system to play what amounts to MUDS? Yes, please die. While you're at it, make mouse and keyboard styl

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      New PC games rarely require a system upgrade to play. You can simply turn down the details until it's playable, something you can't do on a console.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        You can't do it on consoles because it's not necessary...
        The console game is written specifically for the exact specification of console that you have, so someone has already done all the tweaking for you.

  • Think about cost! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Amnenth (698898)

    Less demand for high-end machines full of superpowered parts miiiight have something to do with people concerned about spending too much now, maybe.

    Of course, midrange parts becoming 'good enough' is a good factor for me, too. I don't feel the need to run things at stupidly high framerates on the largest resolution screens available.

    • Of course, midrange parts becoming 'good enough' is a good factor for me, too. I don't feel the need to run things at stupidly high framerates on the largest resolution screens available.

      Don't forget detail level. Computer games have started to look pretty nice a few years ago. Half-Life 2 for instance (personally I think Half-Life 1 was sufficient). Anything beyond that is optional prettification and counts as luxury.

      My current PC from 2007 runs Half-Life 2 and its mods at very comfortable frame rates. So

  • HP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:02AM (#26220781)
    What is dead is the days of companies (like HP) being able to deliver a capable gaming PC. This is much different to "gaming PCs are dead". Rahul Sood's argument is correct though. HP "gaming PCs" really would be difficult to sell. This says nothing about gaming PCs in general though. It merely says that gamers are not looking at HP to fulfil their needs. The argument that Sood is putting forth is a well known fallacy (A means B therefore B means A; HP gaming PCs are dead, and therefore the gaming PC is dead... which is of course rubbish).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905)
      Car analogy:
      There are companies that can easily sell high end luxury sports cars, and there are companies that can't.

      I think it's still possible for a company to sell "their brand" gaming PCs (and make money).

      But that company is probably not the current HP.

      If you were a billionaire, you won't be wasting your time building your own high end PC unless it was a hobby (e.g. you were a Tony Stark). You'd tell your trusty valet/butler/PA or equivalent - "get me the best PC, and put the best games and stuff on it,
    • by Tridus (79566)

      Yeah, this. Nobody who wants a PC for gaming would ever think about HP. Their machines are crap for the purpose.

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:03AM (#26220787)

    Seriously, again? "Not in first place" does not equate to "dead". Yes, PC gaming has waned from it's heyday, but it's still got a solid player base in MMOs, casual gamers, online shooters, RTS games, and simulations.

    Bad summary, incidentally. From the article:

    I am not saying PC gaming is doomed, because it's not--far from it--but the PC with four GPUs, a 2-kilowatt power supply, 16 gigabytes of memory, and a stack of hard drives is all but distant memory, at least for the PC gamer.

    Uh, what? A distant memory? Who would even think this is required for gaming? I've never had a computer even close to that powerful. And I *never* bought ultra top of the line hardware, even when I was very much into PC gaming (and could have afforded it easily). I bought mid-upper tier equipment, as it has the best price/performance ratio.

    Nowadays, I play both console games (having a big-screen TV and a comfey couch makes a pretty big difference), and some older games such as Bauldur's Gate that I never played (picked up I & II for cheap on Amazon), as they play well on my moderately-powered laptop.

    No, PC gaming isn't king, but it's nowhere near an also-ran either.

  • Is he retarded? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Has he looked at what the company he works for [hp.com] has been selling for well over a year now?

    • by TheLink (130905)
      "has been selling for well over a year now?"

      But has it been selling well?

      Maybe it hasn't and hence the silly article.

      If I were so filthy rich, that I could offer to buy girls a car as my pickup line, I don't think I'd want an HP as my high end personal computer...

      If I were one of those "Quad SLI FTW!" gamers, I wouldn't be buying an HP. I'd be personally building my own custom rig.
  • by pecosdave (536896) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:12AM (#26220823) Homepage Journal

    I walk into a coffee shop with people using WiFi and chugging coffee. More than half of the people at these coffee shops are using Macs.

    I hang out with my geek friends, most of them have switched to Ubuntu, but a couple of us are Debian hold outs. Many of us have completely given up Windows.

    Everyone seems to be pissed off at Windows and Microsoft issues.

    Game developers make everything for Windows. I used to be a gamer, when I switched to Linux I played games on Linux. Now the companies that used to make Linux Games (Hello Unreal 3!) have decided not to do it anymore because they're kissing Microsofts ass.

    People aren't moving away from gaming rigs, game companies don't cater to gamers who are on the cutting edge - i.e. ditching Microsoft!

    • by GFree678 (1363845) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:14AM (#26221083)

      Ah. Now I'm reminded of why I don't have too many geek friends. They're obsessed with their operating systems more than what they can do with them. :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Tom (822)

        Ah. Now I'm reminded of why I don't have too many geek friends. They're obsessed with their operating systems more than what they can do with them. :)

        Actually, being able to do something with the OS, instead of fighting with it all the time, is one of the prime reasons while people switch to OS X. A lot of my friends did, over the past two years or so, and most of them come back a few weeks after they switched and tell everyone how much more productive they have become now that the OS has stopped being in the way all the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jabithew (1340853)

      Now the companies that used to make Linux Games (Hello Unreal 3!) have decided not to do it anymore because they're kissing Microsofts ass.

      Or the economics of investing a lot of money to supply a product to a niche market which is rendered even more niche by rampant piracy (the one damned thing which *is* OS-neutral on the PC) are just far too marginal for it to be worth the money.

      Cock-up before conspiracy.

      • by pecosdave (536896)

        Unreal 3 is made and working for Linux, but it's not been released because there was a rumor Microsoft may want to buy Epic. The Linux release was shelved and never released, any mention of "Where's my promised Linux version?" on the message board gets deleted, sometimes so do the accounts of the posters. Because there's no profit in it, or there will be negative consequences if caught playing nice with others?

  • Does someone seriously think the current requirements on some PC games are unavoidable?

    If computer hardware stops growing at the same pace we've grown accustomed, what will die isn't PC gaming but game software careless programming.

    Just as games in a single console have better graphics as time passes (on the same hardware), even a full stop in PC hardware would just force a cleaning and perfectioning of base algorithms.

    Traditionally, this reasoning ends by pointing at the high quality graphics and ridiculou

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:44AM (#26221227)

      Does someone seriously think the current requirements on some PC games are unavoidable?

      If computer hardware stops growing at the same pace we've grown accustomed, what will die isn't PC gaming but game software careless programming.

      Just as games in a single console have better graphics as time passes (on the same hardware), even a full stop in PC hardware would just force a cleaning and perfectioning of base algorithms.

      Traditionally, this reasoning ends by pointing at the high quality graphics and ridiculously low requirements on the last Blizzard game, but it's been a while since they released a new one. I'd just wait to see the requirements of D3 or SC2 before talking about the effects of a slow down in affordable computer hardware on games quality and future.

      Dramatic optimization through a consoles lifespan happens for several reasons:

      * It's a consistent piece of hardware, so you can get very specific in your optimizations.
      * Each new generation means new hardware to learn, so it's an abrupt transition at the beginning of the product cycle. As such, the unoptimized games are easier to spot than on a PC, which is a more consistent upgrade cycle.
      * You don't need to waste effort on things like scalability or compatibility / fallback coding.
      * Vendor APIs, compilers, and tools tend to significantly improve over the lifecycle of the console.

      It's a little different for PCs, which operate on a more continuous upgrade cycle (witness the slow adoption of Vista and DX10). Also, keep in mind that, by nature, PC programming has to have more layers of abstractions and a heavier-weight OS than a console. As such, consoles will *always* be more easy to optimize than a PC over the long term.

      For PC games, the basic problem is one of Moore's Law versus diminishing returns. Once you get the biggest issues (optimization-wise) out of the way, it doesn't make sense to try to spend hundreds of valuable programmer-hours trying to squeeze a percentage point or two of runtime performance out of your engine, when statistically speaking, in the time you took to do this (and not programming other features), the average PC spec just compensated for that optimization. So, your game may run 5% better than your competitors, but in the same time, they may have added some gameplay features your engine lacks, and simply reduced their content budget by that percentage.

      Or, it's a question of usability versus optimization. Yes, it would be faster to hard-code the game instead of using a scripting engine, but what would happen to the development timeline? Again, the extra time spent developing the game may have actually accounted for the performance difference within the target market in aggregate.

      Computer hardware is not going to just magically stop advancing because you wish it so. But the question of what type of system to target - that's entirely up to the developer. I've seen a number of smaller games running great on very low-spec system (Stardock games, for instance). MMOs tend to take up the middle ground, with a reasonable compromise between visuals and system requirements. And, of course, some PC developers prefer the high-end niche.

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        A very thorough and interesting response. I stand corrected on many points. However at:

        > Computer hardware is not going to just magically stop advancing because you wish it so. But the question of what type of system to target - that's entirely up to the developer. I've seen a number of smaller games running great on very low-spec system (Stardock games, for instance). MMOs tend to take up the middle ground, with a reasonable compromise between visuals and system requirements. And, of course, some PC dev

      • One of the big problems facing game programmers today is actually the requirement of an extra layer of abstraction. In order to get a simultaneous release on PS3 and 360 companies have to either a.) write parallel code for different platforms, or b.) create an API to deal with development for both consoles at the same time. Both options are a pain in the ass, and the easier option (adding an extra API) leads to less than optimal code. Of course, you can still improve the API over time, and you still only
  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:24AM (#26220877)

    most gamers would rather build their own gaming rigs, especially those willing to do triple or quad SLi, watercooling, etc.

  • On a linux desktop? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:25AM (#26220881)

    It seems every year is starting to be the "The year of PC gaming death."

    And, we all know that every year is the year of linux on the desktop and that the year of Duke Nukem is coming.

    Thus, clearly, next year will be the year of playing Duke Nukem on a dead linux desktop*.

    *: According to the latest casting of bones, the prophecy can also be interpreted as: "Penguins will nuke ducks dead from the top of their desks". But I don't think that will happen next year.

    • And, we all know that every year is the year of linux on the desktop and that the year of Duke Nukem is coming.

      I hate to break it like this, but Duke Nukem 3D [wikipedia.org] was released in 1996.

  • Hardly. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by solraith (1203394) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:29AM (#26220897)
    From TFA:

    ... I cannot justify buying three $500 video cards just to play a game.

    Was this ever a requirement just to play a game? Granted, I haven't been around THAT long, but if my current rig and its pair of $200 video cards in SLI mode can run Age of Conan at 70 FPS on maxed out settings, I fail to see why anyone would be shelling out $1500 on graphics hardware alone.

    An often-missed point in this discussion is, even with bleeding edge $500 video cards available, there isn't a game out there that requires more than one of these behemoth cards to run at max settings. None that I've encountered, anyway, and this was true even four years ago when I built my current rig's predecessor.

    As for the gaming PC being dead, mine seems to be alive and well despite being a year old now. I generally build a new rig every three years or so, and it seems to cost roughly $1500 for the entire machine each time. I tend to jump on new games fairly quickly, and I have yet to see my computer choke on one. I never really understood the whole "six-month upgrade cycle" thing for hardware, but maybe my luck with hardware is just that good.

    Either way, the article sounds like more sensationalist over-stirring of the pot to me. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • by afidel (530433)
      Back in 1998 I knew someone that bought a pair of ~$500 (even more inflation adjusted) Voodoo2 graphics cards to play GLQuake at the crazy resolution of 1024*768 =)

      Today I have a 350GFlop GPU that maxes out at 45W of power draw. That's comparable to a top of the line Cray T3D from 1993 which would have had 2048 processors and used hundreds of KW of power =)
  • PC gaming consists of more than just people willing to pay 2000$ for a PC. That kind of expense is plain stupid, the additional gain is too small to be worth the cost and the system will need replacement only slightly later than a much cheaper (e.g. 500$) gaming system. From what I've seen videogame requirements are tapering off anyway, my 600€ system from a few years ago still runs fairly new games at minimum details, my previous systems that cost as much didn't last more than 2 years before upgrading

    • No kidding. Just because some people have "uber rigs" that are stupidly expensive for playing games doesn't mean that those people ARE the PC gaming market.

      My gaming platform of choice is a PC. I've got a single ATI Radeon 4850HD card which cost $170 new and that alone delivers better performance and visuals than either the XBox360 or the PS3 (not substantially better, but better). Anything more than that gives rapidly diminishing returns.

      The rest of the machine is moderately priced, especially since my

  • by Carbon016 (1129067) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:35AM (#26220923)

    First, he equates horrid price/performance setups to "THE GAMING PC" as if "THE GAMING PC" had always meant morons with too much money and too little sense.
    Second, he assumes that this was commonplace before (it wasn't).
    Third, he assumes that the entire software market fails to take advantage of these INSAAAAANE GAMING PCs, after just having attempted to make the point that those PCs only "eke out a few more frames per second".

    What exactly is he trying to argue here? If he's attempting to make the claim that the enthusiast market is dead, why hasn't that same enthusiast market died well before now? It's not just lately that dumping more and more money into a setup gives you diminishing returns, it's always been that way.

    • He's probably new. And possibly trying to defend his job/position. I can't think of any other valid reason for him to put forth these strawman arguments. Well, I can think of a few other reasons...
      • Had he known a bit more about his chosen subject before writing, a great article could have been written about the market's switch to the midrange: ATI, for example, didn't make a giant monolithic design then shrink it down for the midrange, they built it from the bottom up for the midrange and now they are winning in low-mid end price/performance with the 4850. nVidia made their entire lineup obsolete overnight with the 8800GT a few months ago, a small, single slot, efficient card that tied or blew away an

  • ... I think the days of SLI as a gaming thing is numbered since Nvidia and others have been attempting to take GPU acceleration of applications more seriously. SLI is more now mostly for those who buy these cards for computation, and only secondly as a gaming card for those with the disposable income IMHO.

    I never understood why people would pay so much for SLI, in the voodoo days it was neat but the average person didn't have SLI. I also never fully grasped why people were so obsessed with high resolution

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @04:50AM (#26220985)

    First there's the assumption that you have to have some really powerful PC for gaming. Uhhh, no. I know lots of people who game on mid range or lower end hardware. Heck right now one of my friends is in my living room, happily playing WoW on his Lenovo Thinkpad. It's no high end mega machine, just a normal mid range business laptop with a reasonable graphics card (8600M I think).

    However the bigger issue is one that these high end rigs DO exist and sell... Just not from HP. There's tow reasons for that:

    1) Many people who buy those sort of computers want to build their own. I would fall in that category. While I don't buy latest and greatest all the time, I have a pretty high end system. It is also all built from parts. No OEM was involved. I like customizing my system, and I've the knowledge to do so.

    2) A bigger reason in their case is that HP blows at consumer systems. You'll note that companies like Falcon Northwest DO sell high end (often ridiculously so) gaming PCs. HP's problem is they have a reputation for cheap crap, a well deserved reputation in my opinion and I do computer support professionally so I feel it is an informed opinion. They load their PCs full of shit you don't want, use second rate hardware, have poor warranty support, have an amazingly bad download site (anyone who has an HP printer knows) and seem to fail more frequently than our other brands at work. Is it any wonder high end gamers are not interested?

    I find this "Gaming PCs are dead," to be a really stupid idea. Oh really? Then who the hell is buying all this stuff targeted at them? Who is buying GTX 280s, Logitech G15s, Razer Mice? Offices? Not likely. Further who is buying all the games? Best Buy has a whole isle devoted to PC games. That's about as much shelf space as they devote to any single console. Now retail space is expensive. You REALLY think they are doing that just to have them sit there and not sell? You think if they really didn't move that they wouldn't just be special order items? Not hardly. Their beancounters know math. They aren't devoting the shelf space to it because it doesn't move.

    Sounds to me like he's mad that gamers don't want to buy the crap HP pushes. Well I tell you what, I'll give you the magic formula that'll make gamers buy:

    Make a system that has the latest technology from trusted manufacturers, put it in an attractive functional case, don't install a ton of crapware on it, and charge a reasonable price. Done. Gamers will buy that shit. You keep selling crap boxes, well don't expect to get much gamer market.

  • Integrated graphics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by faragon (789704) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:08AM (#26221069) Homepage
    Sice one year ago, I almost don't play "hardcore games" in my PC, simply because I replaced my main desktop with a integrated graphics laptop (now I have two laptops, the main one, docked with a bigger screen and normal keyboard and mouse).

    The point is that I have no intention at all to return to "desktop PC", nor "dedicated graphics", because the integrated graphics (Intel, but ATI/AMD is also OK, if not better) are just enough -cheap, and with longer battery time-. If the PC game runs OK, good, if not, I have a Playstation 3 for more fun (that also run Linux).
  • Perhaps what is dying is what arstechnica calls "The God Box"... but they've always also run "The Hot Rod" and "The Budget Box". In days gone by you almost needed the God Box to run the newest coolest toys (I remember having my boot disk to run Falcon back in the day because it saved memory to load straight into the game) but now the only game my sub $700 system can't run at pretty much full power is Crysis - and I think that was designed to just show off. I think there's still plenty of market for the Hot

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:45AM (#26221235)

    "PC gaming is dead", "PC gaming is dead". Then this or that "expert" claims we won't play on PCs anymore in 5 or so years because everyone's moving over to consoles.

    Guess what? That argument dates back to the first Nintendo console that pushed into the US/Euro market? And? Two decades later and we're still playing on PCs. We still didn't dump the machines and turned to consoles all of a sudden. And for good reason.

    First, some games just do not make any sense on a console. Ever tried a sensible flight sim on a console? How? Oh, I'm sure you could invent some sort of input device that costs a fortune and guess what? Nobody but a few sim nuts would buy it. But the game is pointless without it because you can't pilot a plane sensibly with standard controllers. So the flight sim will never be made due to a lack of market.

    RTS? Ever tried it with a console controller? Until they get a sensible mouse support, I'm not going anywhere near it. Same goes for FPS games. Yes, they made it somehow into the console market, but frankly, before I try to play Halo with a game controller I shoot myself in the foot. Actually, thinking about it, chances are that this is exactly how well I'd be able to aim with the standard controller out there.

    Yes, I'm no fan of the console controllers. I love my mouse and I enjoy having a keyboard.

    What's the next argument? Oh, the ever increasing update necessity. Here's some news for you: Don't make games that need more horsepower than the average gamer machine can muster and you have a bigger market to sell to. It is actually that easy. If you require a game rig with ten graphics cards to make your latest and greatest game even run mediocre, you failed. Simple as that. And no, gamers do NOT want that. They want a good game. Yes, that may include decent graphics, but we already have that, it can be done with normal, current standard PCs! Now make decent games that are still good after the new car smell is gone and the player looks past the shiny surface of your stunning graphics effects! The only damn reason why console games are not so hardware hungry is simply that the hardware is set in stone. You CANNOT demand more than what the console can offer, so the game maker has to adjust to what the game rig can. He can't simply go and tell you you need a better graphics chip for your X360, it won't fly.

    Could we please finally drop this completely ridiculous claim?

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @05:50AM (#26221257)

    Hardcore gamers still flock to the PC...World of Warcraft, Diablo II (and soon III), Starcraft (Starcraft II!!!!!)...Blizzard is enough PC gaming for a large number of PC gamers and that's just the hardcore crowd. Once you factor in TRUE casual gamers it's the consoles that should be looking up to the PC.

    If you openly interpret the definition of PC gaming then PC gaming is clearly the dominant platform. Flash games, web games, online checkers, online chess, online board games (Monopoly is extremely popular), online card games, online gambling games (though I think gambling is a horrid activity), emulation (those SNES games will never die), GGPO, MAME, etc. and then add in AA/AAA titles you have a massive community...

    And way more people own PCs or MACs compared to the three main consoles right now (PS3, 360, Wii). In order to casually game on a PC you usually have the hardware already in your house, people buy a PC (or MAC etc.) for word processing, internet use, or personal use outside of gaming but casual gaming becomes a side usage of their PC.

    My mother uses her PC for work and personal communication but she has started playing puzzle games for fun and actually spent over $100 on puzzle games in the last year. Is she included as a PC gamer?

    Sure she's not killing hookers and cops in GTA or saving the world from mutant-zombies in Fallout 3 but puzzle-gaming is a legitimate genre so should she be counted as a gamer? Would she ever spend any money on gaming console? No. Would she purchase a 'gaming PC' as these manufacturers dupe people into buying? No. But does she game on her old Gateway 1.5GHZ/512RAM...hell yeah she does. She's a gamer....a puzzle gamer. Go mom...

    Now for Christmas mom I need an Alienware 9.7gHz 1000lbs of RAM and 9.1 speaker setup and three ice-cooled (TM) graphics cards.

  • I recently got a cheap 9600GT are replacement for a faster card that died (shoddy Nvidia solder problem, 2 years warranty left). Turns out this card runs Fallout 3 and WoW without problem in 1280x1024, if a little less pretty. This tells me that high-end hardware is for people with too much money and too little sense.

    Same with the ultra-expensive Intel CPUs: Nobody really needs them, except a few that use these as ego-prostetics.

    • by Catil (1063380) *
      I used to buy a $2000 high end gaming PC about every two years and played the first year on the highest possible settings and already hated the machine, when I had to turn a few things off during the second year. Now, I just buy a $500-$800 PC every 3-4 years and I still play at the highest possible settings most of the time. Two things changed:
      1. I just concentrate on a good graphics card and buy everything else for cheap; onboard sound, $30 case, etc. (yes, it doesn't really work for GTA IV. It seems to
  • I can only add my voice to the others above saying that, as a PC gamer, I'm baffled at this straw-man argument from the HP bloke. I'm currently playing Fallout 3 at maximum settings and resolution and at 85 frames per second on a PC that would cost today 450 (for CPU, memory, motherboard and graphics card) to build. And I recently bought a Dell laptop for 700 on which Crysis is very playable.

    Yes, there are guys out there who want multiple GPU watercooled machines. But you don't actually need these. Just in

  • Never gonna happen. (Score:5, Informative)

    by silentrob (115677) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @09:40AM (#26222465)

    The desktop computer as a gaming rig will never die until I can write game code for consoles or cell phones without a desktop computer being somewhere in the pipeline, as it is ground zero for any game development effort.

    Its easier to get set up and develop games on the PC than it is any other platform. As such, it has a much larger independent development community and has more choices when picking games.

    Don't even get me started on the cost of indy development on consoles either. Its gotten better in recent years, but you usually still have to buy a platform development kit, which usually isn't cheap.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday December 24, 2008 @12:54PM (#26223983) Homepage

    There used to be a real need for high-end PCs. In the 1980s and early 1990s, you needed a specially configured PC to run AutoCAD. In the late 1990s, I had a $6000 PC (with a Pentium Pro and a $2000 graphics card) to run Softimage. Stock traders used to order special "trading workstations" with multiple monitor support. Avid had a whole industry selling expensive hardware in expensive furniture for video editing.

    Now you can do all that stuff on stock mid-range PCs. You might need some extra RAM or a multicore CPU, but those are cheap options now.

    Nobody writes games that require a quad CPU. When you look at the benchmarks for "high end" gamer systems, you see them doing maybe 30% better for 2x the cost. The price/performance isn't there.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

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