Do you look forward to our upcoming PC-free era of gaming?

That (PC’s/laptops on the way out) seems to be the opinion of a number of pundits. I worry, as this Cracked columnist does, that post-PC games will be dumbed down exercises in simple LCD addiction. Having been waiting years for my perfect MMORPG to come along, only to still be waiting fruitlessly while endless Skinner Boxes come and go, I now have grave doubts that there will ever be a renaissance in computer gaming creativity, despite increasing hardware capabilities (Moore’s Law may be exponential but computer game design is still relentlessly linear and, nay, probably more complex and time consuming than ever).

So will the move to smaller handhelds be a favorable or unfavorable development for computer games? Will some genres flourish while others stagnate or even die off? Well, since I have almost completely weaned myself from them, having gotten very jaded over the past 6 years or so, I personally lack much confidence in the future of video games.

The RTS genre is almost impossible to implement. RPGs are often better on PC. FPS games are better on PC. I don’t see those going away any time soon.

Ahhh yes, the post PC era. Because a few percentage points of GROWTH less than what was expected on a gigantic, and fairly saturated market means we’re all going to be running photoshop and Excel on our iPads.

No. The PC form factor might change a bit but it’ll be a long time before they are gone.

Not only that, but PC has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts. MMO’s free to play games, social games, are doing gangbusters.

Steam has posted it’s 8th consecutive year with 100% year over year sales growth. Games like League of Legends have over 10 million PC gamers pwning each other. AAA game son PC (like Diablo) clean up (over 6 million sales the first week). The indie scene is huge and very experimental. Day Z, for example has around a million players, all from word of mouth.

I’m actually pretty excited for the future, at least the next 5-10 years. Consoles are finally getting a refresh, meaning modern PC hardware will finally start being used at a more optimized level, and there a lot of new and old but good IP’s coming out.

What happens after that? I don’t know.

Honestly I think consoles are done after this gen. In 10 years games as a service will reign. I don’t know the exact model that will prevail, but I expect the big guys to fight over the next big thing with casuals, while talented developers try and satisfy the more hardcore crowd on PC and on smart TV’s and mobile platforms.

Agree with much of this! The iPad taught us there is a market for a device that’s essentially useless without internet, and so I can see a video game system where all of the graphics processing is cloud based, and the “console” is essentially a client terminal connecting to Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony’s servers to play the game.

If that comes to fruition, why can’t we then play games on our smart TVs with keyboard and mouse instead of a game controller? Seems to me to be a logical extension.

I’ve been hearing “PC’s are doooooooomed!” since the mid-1990’s. Color me skeptical of any such claim I hear.

Hell Google just rolled out the “beta” for it’s gigabit fiber optic internet.

It’s going to take some times to reach the rural folk, but cities will begin to see much improved internet this decade. We’ll finally catch up to the likes of South Korea.

And when that happens I think the MMO space, the competitive e-sports space will open up here as it did in Korea, AND more importantly, cloud based gaming on smart TV’s, mobile platforms, netbooks/laptops, etc, etc, will start to come into it’s own.

10 years from now, IMHO, When you say you are playing an xbox game, it won’t mean you are physically loading a game into a piece of plastic manufactured in China by MS. It’ll mean you’re running A game form the xbox live service. Maybe the game will run on dedicated PC hardware as well as on the cloud on your TV, and perhaps you can play an entirely different role in the same game, but on your cellphone.

It’ll take a long time for Games-As-Service to catch on in the US because we don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of thing right now. Consoles (and PCs) are here to stay until we’re all old, old people.

The only places where broadband will take time to spread represent only a small portion of a very big pie. As long as cities start to modernize their internet infrastructure, I think we can start to see a shift to digital downloads and cloud based services by the end of the decade if not before.

I’ll be old by then, but not old, old.

Missed edit window:

Heck in 2009 the Broadband penetration was 60% :

In 2002 it was around 23% according to google. I can see it being close to 80% in 10 years, and that 20% won’t matter. The rest would represent plenty of real estate for game companies.

  1. Tablet -are- computers. They’re not going to replace desktop computers, they’re going to be the next desktop computers.

  2. The shape of the unit that holds the CPU/Memory/Graphics parts is not what makes a desktop PC so game friendly - it’s mouse & keyboard + bigass monitor.

  3. Therefore, from a video game standpoint, provided the tablet is powerful enough, it will be no different than using a laptop with a dock and external peripherals.

  4. However - the screen and touch interface on a tablet is an unnecessary expense if you already own the keyboard/mouse/monitor and, say, it’s a work device where the company doesn’t want portability. Therefore, there will always be a market for current “headless” desktop pc - even if its shaped in a much more small form factor box than today’s basic beige beast.

  5. The real drag on video games OF THE FUTURE is the stupid console market with its “whatever’s cheapest” approach to hardware. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if ten years from now, all the major platforms games are still being limited to the xbox 720 and the PS4. Meanwhile, desktop PCs (which will include those that are tablet shaped) will easily surpass them.

I liked the larger “video games are just a dying fad” of the 80s, myself.

PC gaming is going nowhere but up, from my perspective. In recent years, I’ve gotten more games of wider variety for less investment than ever before. Sure, I’m nostalgiac for some of the dead genres like flight sims and strategy games, but as the barriers of entry to game development get lower, and distribution and online integration becomes easier, you see more gems like Tribes: Ascend springing up basically out of nowhere.

Another thing is that because consoles and tablets and such as expected to be kept several years, while PCs can get upgraded is that the hardware lags for other devices. While many multi-platform games are identical aside from control scheme, some of them (Skyrim comes to mind) release graphics and texture upgrades for the PC version. Since most Xboxes and PS3s are on some XBL or PSN, the problem is not patch or content delivery. The implication is that the consoles can’t run the new graphics. So I hope that the model doesn’t become “throw it out and get a new one” for financial and environmental reasons.

Besides, everyone knows that manual video games are babies’ toys, and we will have new psionic games in 3 years… (although maybe the Kinect counts!)

True, but then you run into the “Holy shit! Console players are downloading their games now!” problem. Steam works as well as it does because it’s just one piece of the gaming pie. The second everyone is downloading games, the country’s broadband will grind to a halt from all the extra people.

I don’t think it works that way. PC gaming isn’t the only thing going on in the internet right now, for example.

Movies, TV shows, videos, music AND games are all being being consumed by tons of people.

Right. But when you add console game downloads on top of all that, it’s going to put a strain on the system.

The games the kids play these days, they’re just noise. And their long hair and tatoos!

If it does, it would mean our system is embarrassingly bad and we should probably do something about that. Fortunately, Google’s working on it.

OnLive has been offering this for about 2 years now, and unless it’s changed simce I tried it out, it’s laggy as hell and the servers crash all the time. It’s going to take much faster internet connections, and server farms that make Google and Blizzard look like a guy in his garage with a wireless router, to make that kind of content delivery viable.

I’ve never had a server crash on me with OnLive. I actually use the service to try game demos.

Latency is an issue, specially if you aren’t near one of their data centers.

But millions of people use onLive.

Think about that. This sin’t some corporate conglomerate giant like MS, and yet they can more or less handle a few million customers. In 10 years and with the backing of a major player?

In fact it’s already happening. Sony just purchased Gaikai, the other cloud gaming guys. And it looks like Microsoft might be going for OnLive.

Note I don’t necessarily subscribe to said theory-just throwing the claim out for discussion.