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The PC/Console Gaming Singularity

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 09/23/12 at 01:50 PM CT

Some attentive members of MeltedJoystick have already noticed this, and it was announced through our Press Release system. However, I would now like to officially announce that the MeltedJoystick database now includes PC games.

Why add PC games to a site created by console gamers, for console gamers? This site was built by two people who never played PC games and is run by two other people, one of whom rarely played PC games for the occasional exclusive and one who turned against PC gaming in its entirety. You could easily say that none of the MeltedJoystick staff love PC gaming for what it has always been: an expensive, error-riddled, exercise in poor controls, stiff necks, and first-person shooters. However, PC gaming is no longer the same as it used to be, just as console gaming is no longer the same as it used to be.

PC gaming and console gaming have reached a singularity. Where it used to be that PC gamers were the only poor bastards who had to put up with gigabytes of patches, online DRM, expensive hardware, and poor controls, as of the 7th Generation, console gamers get all of that joy as well. Where console games used to work out of the box, now we get to download patches, deal with limited activations on digitally-distributed games, pay $599 US DOLLAR launch prices, and struggle with motion/touch-based controllers. Of course, some of these motion controllers duplicate the control options provided by a PC mouse via an on-screen pointer… it just seems that most developers haven’t realized this fact.

What developers have realized, though, is that the HD consoles of the 7th Generation (and the upcoming WiiU of the 8th Generation) are more than capable of running games that would have required PC horsepower in previous generations. Thus, instead of two disparate gaming libraries, dividing fans of FPSes, RTSes, and MMOs from fans of Platformers, Action/Adventures, and RPGs, PC gamers and console gamers have been forced into each other’s company by the rampant spread of multi-platform releases. The Iron Curtain of Gaming has fallen. As a side effect of these multi-platform releases, all games are developed with the weakest link – the consoles – as a performance target. While this irks the PC Gaming Master Race quite a bit, it has actually done the majority of PC gamers a favor, as they can now enjoy console-length lifespans on their hardware instead of upgrading/replacing everything on a yearly basis.

When PC gaming and console gaming were two different things, it was nearly impossible to find games that were available to play on a PC and any console. Of course, this could have been due to the fact that consoles and their games were primarily made in Japan and PC OSes and their games were primarily made in America. The singularity combining PC and console gaming has resulted in most current games being multi-platform releases available from day-one on the PS3, Xbox 360, and Steam.

However, while most games are multi-platform, let us not forget that most games are average. The real stand-outs in any gaming platform’s library are the exclusives; and the singularity has only strengthened the need for strong exclusives to sell systems. A mainstream gamer subsisting on the gruel of videogames (things like “Call of Duty” and “Madden NFL”) need not care which platform they own. Those games are nearly identical on the three platforms that support them (and while the PC Gaming Master Race might moan about how boring a game’s console counterpart is without Mods, I find that Mods are rarely worth the bother). Dedicated gamers will always know that Nintendo’s hardware is where to go for ‘Mario,’ ‘Zelda,’ and a whole host of other “required reading” franchises; Microsoft’s hardware is where to go for ‘Halo;’ while Sony’s hardware used to be the place to go for RPGs (though the 7th Generation has been equally hard for both that genre and Sony). The PC, thanks to services like Steam and Good Old Games, is no longer “only” for FPSes, RTSes, and MMOs (though those still exist in plenty), but is now home to a thriving low-budget library of Indie, retro, and simple games (which is ironic, due to the PC platform also having access to the most powerful hardware) that would have fit right in on any console from the 3rd to 5th Generations. Indeed, it was not the 4K graphics and bump maps in PC games that opened the eyes of the MeltedJoystick staff, but simple, cartoony games distributed through Steam that “wouldn’t be profitable enough” for a full console release.

Thanks to the singularity, PC gaming has gotten better, while console gaming has gotten worse. However, both forms of gaming are now so close in parity that I feel comfortable declaring that the PC and console divide is gone and gaming is now just “Gaming.” Of course, the next divide to be overcome is the gulf between Gaming and handhelds. Will the WiiU be the device to close this gap? Will it be the Ouya? Will it be the Microsoft Surface or an Android device (We know it won’t be an iOS device!)? We’ll just have to wait and see: Maybe there will be a second singularity.

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View Nelson Schneider's Profile

Nelson Schneider

Wrote on09/30/12 at 01:32 PM CT

iPhone is not on our to-do list mainly because Nick and I both hate Apple and want nothing to do with their products. It is also not on our to-do list because NONE of the MJ staff are excited about the prospect of cluttering our game database with a bunch of 99-cent Fart Apps.

Of course, we WILL be adding Android smartphone games once the Ouya console becomes something more than vaporware simply because it's a dedicated game machine, not something that plays crappy games on commutes and on the toilet.

And to answer Matt's question: The singularity between phone games and real games would involve universal screen mirroring and controller support. It's going to happen sooner rather than later.

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Chris

Wrote on09/30/12 at 11:19 AM CT

Remember, you can request games - if there is one you have that isn't in the database, use that feature. There are literally more PC games than every other platform combined, so we're adding as we go along, but help is appreciated.

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View Jonzor's Profile

Jonzor

Wrote on09/30/12 at 12:18 AM CT

Well Matt, when Nelson starts playing iPhone games I'm sure Melted Joystick's stance on phone games will mysteriously soften, as well.

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View dbarry_22's Profile

dbarry_22

Wrote on09/28/12 at 11:05 AM CT

Your PC database of games is far from complete. Considering I'm not a big PC gamer and that I don't have a ton of games for it, it's pretty sad that probably half my collection isn't in your inventory.

While I'm glad you added PC games to the website, I suggest you keep working hard on that database.

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View Matt's Profile

Matt

Wrote on09/25/12 at 05:13 PM CT

Yeah, it is nice to see a diversity of gaming genres finally available on the PC, namely thanks to Steam. So, the portable games on iOS and Android are not now a part of the "Gaming"? But these systems would be able to handle a lot of the games (at least the indie ones) on Steam, so what would bring about a second singularity?

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