What's Killing PC Gaming?

PC gaming is dying! PC gaming is dead! PC gaming has hopped the twig! It's joined the choir invisible! But why?

Where can I download Pixel Shader 3.0?I feel entitled to point out that PC's require a brain, and people are dumb. Top tip: PC's and dumbasses are never good combination. If "Autoplay" on a PC disc fails to launch, a large contingent of the console owning population would be left slavering over their 360 joypad wondering why they can't install the latest Colin McRae cash-in. Then they realise their Radeon 9600 won't even run it.

PC gaming is not accessible to these people, and it never will be.

I ain't got no moneyz!To be fair to those lacking a fast enough graphics card, developers have left thousands of PC gamers out in the cold with the switch to Shader Model 3.0. According to Valve's survey the X800 is the 2nd most popular ATI graphics card at the moment behind the much older 9600. Neither of these cards can run games using SM3. In fact, the top 4 most popular ATI cards will not run SM3 games. Of the top 10 most popular cards, half of them will not even get to the main menu of an SM3 game. This amounts to around 182,000 out of 424,000 who will not be able to play an SM3 game with the top 10 most popular graphics cards.

You have to bear in mind that Valve's survey was probably carried out by less than 50% (estimate) of all Steam users. A large amount of users may not have logged in for months, or played HL2 once then never logged in again, and others may have decided not to take part in the survey at all, so it wouldn't be unfair to expect the figure of 182,000 to double at least.

If developers would make games that half of us could actually physically play, I don't think they'd be complaining so loudly about piracy. By shafting hundreds of thousands of consumers they've shafted themselves.

I am illegal downloadingz Bioshock with the bittorrents!Warez (illegal downloadingz) is often cited as the reason for a decline in PC game sales and development. It's not the dark ages anymore, it's 2007, and it's easier than ever to download the latest overhyped PC game using BitTorrent. I took a look at Colin McRae: DiRT, a Shader Model 3.0-only game, on a popular torrent site, then checked the comments. Note these two:

omg! My problem is my graphics card doesn't support shader model 3.0!!
Where do i get the shader model thing from

UPDATE - 04 August: 1 day after posting this, take a look at these incoming visits from Google to my blog. This closes the case on the Shader Model issue. People can't play the damn games these devs are making.

There are plenty of things killing PC gaming, but at the end of the day, if your game is truly a good game it will sell its fair share (Company of Heroes, not that I thought it was brilliant or anything). If your game runs like a piece of shit on 50% of people's hardware, or doesn't run at all, then people will switch to consoles, then we'll see more developers bitching that no one's buying PC games. I suggest that developers just shut their pie-holes, stop making shitty games, and make sure it runs on as many PC setups as possible.


Anonymous , 03 August, 2007

Well said. Company of Heroes spiked THQ's quarterly profit or something didn't it? And that was PC only and downloaded a lot illegally.

Timoh , 04 August, 2007

Your right about the shader model thing. I cant play any of the newer games and it fucking sucks!

Anonymous , 05 August, 2007

anyone know a shader model 3.0 vs shader model 2.0 comparison?

Anonymous , 05 August, 2007

The only one i've found is a Farcry one but thats not a proper SM3 game really. someone needs to compare splinter cell chaos theory and double agent.

Anonymous , 06 August, 2007

Well, if you haven't upgraded your computer for a while, now is the time to do it. It's not just SM3 that's stopping you from playing, there could be other hardware issues. Be sure to verify that the video card you have is SM3 compliant. There are still new cards out there that don't!

ChelseaChelsea , 14 August, 2007

my SM2 card is faster than the cheap SM3 cards. Looks like I wont be buying this game. I already had to skip Splinter Cell:Double Agent.

Anonymous , 21 August, 2007

You're right on the money. The gap between what PC developers think consumers will put up with and how fickle most consumers actually *are* is just huge. If Valve's hardware surveys showed anything, it's that massive numbers of people still have mid to low range systems that they bought not all that long ago, and these people still expect to be able to play games on them. It's easy for people to pour scorn and tell this group to get with the times - but these PC users have a weapon more important than scorn, and that is buying power. If they're left unhappy, game companies will not get any of their money - which is a big problem since as you've demonstrated, they make up a huge chunk of the market. If you piss them off enough, they'll go and buy a console - which is something I'm considering doing even though I have a decent system and all my old favourite games are on PC.

Another symptom of this stupidity is that stores are falling over themselves to sell their expensive PCI-e graphics cards, to the extent that it's hard to find a store selling a decent AGP card (like the x1950) off the shelf. This is despite the fact that in stores near me (until recently at least), shops that sold both types of cards reported equal sales in both, because there's still a sizeable group of PC owners with AGP mobos and respectable systems who are not prepared to upgrade fully yet. This is another thing overlooked by the tendency of game companies to develop for hardware that's not even been released yet.

So yeah, is it any wonder PC gaming is floundering...

Anonymous , 21 August, 2007

DRM, anti-piracy, staggered launches across the world and a hardware triopoly will kill pc gaming:
- The Big 3 Intel, AMD and Nvidia need to cut hardware prices to encorage people to upgrade. But they won't - its a monoploy. We need more hardware competition!
-The USA got bioshock before the EU and look how many euopeans are going to pirate the game to get it early....
-DRM/Anti-piracy encourages hcrackers to crack and share the booy. Galactic Civlisation 2 had none of that and got high sales.

But realistily, nothing will chanage and the industry will strangle itself...:(

Anonymous , 01 January, 2008

I can't see casual gamers sticking with PC gaming in the near future. It's getting harder to play these games like you say and people will just buy an Xbox.

Games like STALKER and The Witcher are few and far between. They're like PC games of old, but to be completely fair I think Witcher is overrated and I didn't find it that great.

We need more companies to make PC games like that though.

Anonymous , 08 October, 2008

I am very dissapointed at how the switch has been made from Shader Model 2.0 to Shader Model 3.0.

Today I purchased 3 of which I could not play! FlatOut:Ultimate Carnage, Mass Effect & Lost Planet Extreme Condition....i got home happy and anxious to play only to receive error messages from each one I installed =(

I went back and returned the games, a value of aprox. $160 in games. This has made me weary and I have begun to look at the requirements now only to find out that most of the new games specify Shader Model 3.0 capable card and since mine isn't Sm3 capable, I might as well forget about it.

A state-of-the-art sm3 top notch video card will cost me over $500+ US Dollars here and i'm not ready to spend that much ... maybe for Christmas as a gift to myself I will.

Anonymous , 23 October, 2008

You can get an 8600GT for $60 or so. You don't need the best one to run those 3 games on decent settings.

r4 nintendo ds , 12 July, 2009

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