This week the dynamic duo from
Penny Arcade took the east coast by
storm, brining the hugely popular href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/events/paxeast2010">PAX
convention to Boston for the
first time where it was embraced with open arms by a rabid legion of
gamers. However, the packed exhibit hall of the sold out show
isn’t the only trick up the organizer’s sleeves, as
the 3 day show also offers a number of topical panels ranging from the
mundane to the massively popular.

Today, Ten Ton Hammer dropped
in on an interesting discussion titled
The Future of PC Gaming (Yes, there is one!). Consisting of Joe Kreiner
( target="_blank">Terminal Reality),
John Abercrombie ( href="http://irrationalgames.com/">Irrational Games),
Mitchell
Shuster ( href="http://www.lanslidepcs.com/">LanSlide Gaming PCs)
and moderated by Jeff Kales ( href="http://www.penny-arcade.com/">Penny
Arcade), the panelists fielded a
number of questions from attendees,
giving them some food for thought if not necessarily offering up any
overly conclusive proof that the popularity pendulum was due to swing
back towards PCs as the platform of choice among gamers anytime soon. However, that’s not
to say that a number of extremely valid
points weren't made along the way.

One title that got mention numerous times
throughout the discussion by both the panelists and those in attendance
was Runic Games’ style="font-style: italic;"
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2036">Torchlight,
a game that was cited as being a
perfect example of crafting a memorable PC gaming experience which was
made wholly possible by the developers not only understanding, but
designing their game with PC gamers in mind from the word go. The
panelists also went on to cite how it’s the smaller or
independent studios that will likely pave the way for a bright future
for the PC as a gaming platform, even though the past few years have
been primarily dominated by massive triple A title sales.

On the massive front, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow"> style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
(and by extension, MMOGs in
general), and RTS games were given ample mention as being two genres
that will continue to dominate on the PC for years to come because both
offer a style of gameplay that takes full advantage of the more robust
human interface options that a keyboard and mouse provide. True enough,
while both MMOGs and RTS titles have seen ports to consoles in the past with more
proposed projects expected to make the platform jump over the next few
years, consoles are seemingly headed into a very different direction in
terms of interface thanks to the insane popularity of the Wii. So while
PC tech will continue to push the limits of how we experience online
gaming, consoles are clearly making a push towards establishing
altogether different paths for interfacing with games.

An interesting comment was also
made by Mitch Shuster when it comes
to ports – namely that unless PC gamers demand not only
higher quality PC ports of console titles but more of them, then
publishers will simply continue to go where they know they assume the
most profit potential lies ala console gaming. John Abercrombie also
brought up some valid points in terms of the standardized tech of a
console vs. the constantly shifting target of PC tech, specifically
that while PC tech may evolve at a much faster rate than consoles,
standardization will still play a large role in the future of PC gaming
via services like Steam.

So while we’re
thankfully still nowhere near reaching a point
of “one size fits all” PCs built in longer
generational cycles the way the console industry has evolved over the
years, we could still very well continue to see a major shift towards
software standards becoming a more dominant aspect of PC gaming not
only in terms of how we purchase new titles, but also as a means of
addressing
the rampant piracy of PC games which is the single largest
reason why the number of new PC titles released each year continues to
decline while console titles are still seeing exponential expansion. Much like the PSP, until a more permanent solution arises to address
piracy on PCs, fewer and fewer titles will be made for it as a primary
gaming platform as it is simply no longer worth the investment for many
publishers.

All told the discussion on the
future of PC gaming was more of an
affirmation that it’s a good thing for the PC platform to
continue along a different path both with tech and software standards
than the direction we may see consoles headed with the next generation.
So even if an ever increasing number of startup devcos continue to
crank out half-baked party games for the Wii, we MMO gamers know that
the real party is still on the PC and will be for the foreseeable
future.


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.

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