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PC Games

February 26th, 2007, By Duncan Gough

Here’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot in the midst of the recent ‘next-gen’ hype – when did PC games die out? And what were we doing when they collapsed?

Take a look at Metacritic’s list of top scoring games over the last few years – – I can’t spot more than a couple that were published in the last couple of years. In fact, the only big name PC games that I can think of are the sequels typified by EA – Need for Speed and Fifa Soccer in particular. Of course, the big PC successes over the last few years have been MMO’s, and the picture looks even worse if you discount titles such as World of Warcraft. Far Cry and Half Life 2 are perhaps the only big name games over the last handful of years that have been a success and were designed for PC.

It’s a worrying trend. Valve, makes of Half Life, have moved to support the Xbox and given that the Xbox and Xbox360 are just standardised PCs in a box, that’s no surprise. For a long time it looked like they could signal the reboot that PC games needed, but then their technology was co-opted to help build up the Xbox brand, just as id software did with Doom3. In fact, there have been a few highly anticipated games recently that have suffered as a result of their console compromises – Doom3 and DeusX, to name two.

On the one hand, PC games might look to episodic gaming to prop them up, but at the moment episodic games are more like movie sequels, slow to arrive and pretty unsubstantial when they do.

However, as much as the Wiimote has seemed to reboot Nintendo as an all round gamers console, perhaps DirectX 10 will serve to kick-start PC games. It’s seems wrong to pin the hopes of games on a technology, but the Wiimote is a technological apdaption to gameplay, so perhaps whatever effects DirectX10 can offer will do the same for PC games.

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