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PC vs Console – Has the Mark Been Missed?

By July 31, 2007March 24th, 2020Editorial

I?d like to point you all to this article I read online today that has me feeling very conflicted. It is an interview summary with Mr. Roy Taylor, NVIDIA?s VP of Content Relations:

There are three things happening here that don?t make a lot of sense to me:

1. He is claiming that players have switched to consoles over PCs for gaming.
2. He strongly believes that the PC innovation that will drive the PC gaming market share are high resolution screens.
3. He thinks that it is acceptable for a good game to require a $20,000 (yes, twenty THOUSAND) dollar PC.

I found this article troubling for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, it doesn?t make any business sense to me.

Yes, console games are very successful, and they will continue to be very successful. Back in my day, computers and consoles lived happily ever after with Coleco Vision, Atari, Commodore, Apple, Amiga, and so on. In fact, it wasn?t the console?s catching up to computers, it was computers catching up to ? and surpassing ? the consoles!

So, like a fine wine connoisseur, there will always be a market for those who like to buy their white in a box, and their red in a bottle. The PC market is the bottle market, and Mr. Taylor is at least correct in recognizing that.

Now, he is very much correct that to continue to reap the benefits of superior game developer attention, the PC market has to differentiate itself from the console market. Unfortunately, his mindset is based on a myth that believes a console can only plug in to the living room HDTV. I?m sorry, Roy, but monitors are not PC ONLY equipment, and if NVIDIA?s marketing strategy is to say ?Hey, we are after games that display on LCD panels?, they are in for a shock!

In fact, I think this is a very dangerous strategy because it gambles the PC market?s success on a relatively boring piece of equipment ? the flat 2D monitor. It amazes me that the biggest idea the industry can think of is a higher resolution. It just doesn?t strike me as a major breakthrough worth paying top dollar for now that HDTV is commonplace.

The article hints at having PC games with extra levels and more artistic quality, but where is the innovation? Who cares?!??

Here?s the real problem – since when is $20,000 for a PC acceptable? Sure, if you want an Octo-SLI set-up with a CPU farm rendering your video game in your garage while your wife is threatening to run you over as you chant ?serenity now, serenity now?, I guess that?s an option.

Suppose the hardware manufacturers do manage to sell a modest number of these $20K machines. Can you think of a single game developer who would think to develop and market to such a small, boring market place?

Let?s face facts, the PC gaming market is the industry?s dirty little secret. While the average consumer may be impressed by the words ?Dual Core? or ?Intel Inside?, it?s the video games that give customers the annual excuse to upgrade their computer and feed the industry?s families. The PC dollar value has to be something that every day consumers can swallow, and still offer a competitive advantage over their console counterpart.

The good news is the solution is right under NVIDIA?s noses. I know I?m preaching to the choir on this website, but for those of you unfamiliar, stereoscopic 3D (S-3D) is the thrilling technology used in 3D movie theaters like IMAX 3D, RealD, and Dolby Labs. Everyone is jumping on board, including Dreamworks Animation, James Cameron, George Lucas, and more. When millions of moviegoers see Star Wars in re-mastered S-3D, they won?t need to be educated on what TRUE 3D gaming is in video games.

With the exception of speed, NVIDIA?s only competitive advantage right now is their stereoscopic 3D support for video games. While we are very excited to see that NVIDIA is continuing to develop these drivers, it?s time for NVIDIA to put more public focus and private money into it. Their stereoscopic 3D development team is going to be the life blood of that company much sooner than later, and they should have every resource needed to be successful.

It?s not just about NVIDIA! iZ3D has developed proprietary drivers that work on both NVIDIA and AMD/ATI graphics cards, and they further support post processing effects in 3D like never before seen.

If you spent $5,000 on a computer (which is HIGH), and your neighbor spent $400 on his console, how are you going to wow him to your house? Give him a pair of 3D glasses, and he won?t be mowing the lawn for months. THAT?S what the PC industry needs right now, and THAT?S what game developers want to hear. None of this rubbish about high resolution monitors that no one cares about.

Like oil riches being drained from the ground, the PC market understands that time is ticking for the next defendable business breakthrough in gaming, but unlike the world?s energy crisis, the solution is right in front of our eyes and in movie theaters across the country.

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