Jim's Ramblings

Random happenings from my mostly boring daily life!

Monday, May 01, 2006

PC Gaming -  a one-generation wonder?

Matt's latest post on his blog about the physics cards got me thinking.  They have been talking about these things on the AnandTech forums for a few months now.  I see it almost as a negative development.  PC gaming is already heinously expensive.  Heck, a decent video card alone costs as much as a Xbox 360.  Now they are going to tell us (eventually) that we need physics cards, another 250 bucks down the drain.

I don't like console gaming but I question how long PC gaming will continue to be a viable industry when you have to sink that kind of money into it just for games to be playable.  Teens are already priced out of the market - a decent gaming PC can cost as much as some kids' first cars.  It used to be you needed a PC for non-gaming, so if you threw in an extra 150 for a decent vid card, you could then play games too.  Nowadays, a $500 computer can MORE than handle all your everyday tasks (internet, email, music, writing papers, etc).  By the time you throw in a video card and physics card, along with the super CPU needed for today's games, you are talking 3x that amount in most cases (or more).  Most parents aren't going to be able to justify sinking this kind of money for Christmas or whatever else so their kids can play games - not when Xbox 360 is 300 bucks.  And for some teens, a gaming PC can cost a whole summer's earnings (assuming they work) - also a hard sell.  And heck, we are talking a "basic" gaming
PC here.  If you want to talk top of the line, there are people spending $1200 on 2 video cards ALONE (they run them in "SLI mode").  That's just insane.  And of course, the whole thing is outdated in a year anyway.  And of course, game developers seem to insist on taking every ounce of power (and then some) with their new games - so your new machine you spent 3 grand on last year chugs on the new games unless you  turn the graphics way down.  The price of this hobby has just skyrocketed in recent years in my opinion.

Obviously people of our generation grew up with PC games, and now we are employed and have money to keep up with things to at least some degree.  But today's kids are more and more growing up only on consoles as PC gaming becomes more and more cost prohibitive.  I wonder if PC gaming will die with our generation.


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