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Microsoft Talks PC Gaming Problems

Written By mista sense on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 9:59 AM

My brilliant PC gaming friends at Rock Paper Shotgun say I'm pretty okay -- for a console fan[*]. But I wasn't always on my butt in the living room; I was raised a PC gamer. And I desperately tried to stay a PC gamer throughout my teens, bravely choking down frustration when the CD-ROMs I purchased failed to run on my machine, gamely and intently restarting every time the titles crashed, persistently calling help lines, searching Usenet and consulting friends when mysterious error messages thwarted my installs.

As time went on, the wall of frustration against which I flung myself continued to grow taller. I'm really only moderately tech-savvy; I'm more knowledgeable than average about computers, but more and more I felt like I had to be an expert on operating systems, drivers, patches, plugins and the whole nine yards just to keep up. These days, everything I play on the PC is browser-based, probably a Flash title, maybe a tiny text adventure. So when the numbers come out that show that PC retail sales are down, I'm one of the ones you can blame.

I can't afford a "gaming PC." The home PC as a game system, though, would sport the largest install base of any console out there -- who doesn't own a computer? But for that to happen, some things need to change.

And so, for the salvation of PC gaming, we must look to Microsoft -- for better or for worse, hence my latest at Kotaku.

To play Devil's Advocate, I do think the opportunities for PC gaming are currently larger, or at least have the potential to be larger, than console. The bleak outlook does not encompass digital distribution, subscription revenue, ad revenue, microtransactions, browser-based casual games, platforms like Steam and GameTap, international sensations like WoW, MapleStory, RuneScape or anything like that. That stuff is much harder to unite under a single banner -- and will probably never, or much more rarely, be seen on the retail shelf.

[Correction:

[1424] (KG): LIES
[14:24] (KG): WE SECRETLY DESPISE YOU FOR YOUR CONSOLE-TOY WEAKNESS]

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